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MISSIONARY SPOTLIGHT- Kingdom of Morocco

March 2006

Area: 172,414square miles.

 

Neighbours

:

Western Sahara, Algeria, and Spain (enclaves and islands). Morocco is Africa’s closest link to Europe, bordering the Strait of Gibraltar.

Environment

:

Morocco has the highest mountains (Atlas mountains; Jebel Toubkal 4,165 m) in North Africa. Its fertile coastal regions are well irrigated. The southern part of the country is Sahara desert. There is a rich wildlife, with extensive forests and European and African plants and animals.

Government

:

Constitutional monarchy, with legal systembased on Islamic and European law.

Population

:

32.5 million.

Life

expectancy:

Males 68 years; females 73 years.

Ethnic

groups:

Arab-Berber 99%; others, including French, Spanish and Jewish 1%.

Languages

:

Arabic (official), Berber and French (business and government).

Literacy

:

Males 64%; females 39% (estimates).

Capital

:

Rabat (1.7 million).

Major

cities and ports:

Casablanca (3.4 million),Agadir, Marrakech, Fez and Tangier.

Economy

:

Morocco has significant agricultural and mineral resources. Its main currency earners are mined phosphates (Morocco and Western Sahara have 70% of the world’s reserves), tourism and agriculture. There are also significant oil deposits. Although relatively rich in resources, the economy has been hampered by war in the Sahara and occasional severe droughts. There is significant poverty, with many illegal immigrants crossing to Spain and beyond seeking employment.

Religions

:

Muslim 99.85%, Catholic 0.1%, and Jewish 0.05%. Sunni Islam is the official religion and proselytism of Muslims is forbidden. There are only about 1000 evangelical believers.

History

:

Morocco became independent from France and Spain 50 years ago, in March 1956. It claims and administers the territory of Western Sahara, whose sovereignty remains unresolved.

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Morocco