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« Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #33 of 54: Mauritius | Main | Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #35 of 54: Mozambique »

August 10, 2006

Ozodi Osuji Weekly Lectures on African Countries #34 of 54: Morocco

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) ---
34. MOROCCO
Flag of Morocco

Formal Name: Kingdom of Morocco.

Term for Citizens: Moroccans.

Capital: Rabat. Population: 1, 668, 000.

Independence Achieved: March 2, 1956, from France.

Major Cities: Casablanca, Rabat.

Geography:

Morocco is in northwest Africa. It is bordered by Algeria, Mauritania, Mali, Western Sahara and the Atlantic Ocean. Morocco is about 172,414 square miles (not including Western Sahara, formerly Spanish Sahara). Morocco is dominated by the Atlas mountain ranges. There is Mediterranean climate in the coastal lands; some rainfall. The temperature in the interior and South is mostly arid and hot.

Society: Morocco’s population is estimated at 30, 506,000. About 50% of the population is urban. Population centers are along the coastal regions.

Ethnic Groups: Arabs are the majority and Berbers are the minority group. Arabic is the official language. The educated class also tends to speak French.

Education: There is free primary and secondary education but not compulsory. Literacy is estimated at about 51.7% of the population.

Economy: Agriculture plays a large role in the economy. Mining and light manufacturing exists. GDP estimate: $115 billion; Per Capita GDP: $3, 900. Monetary Unit: Dirham (MAD).

History and Government:

Morocco was originally inhabited by Berbers, then ruled by Carthaginians, Romans, and was eventually conquered by Arabs in 683 AD. Morocco was the setting from which Arabs crossed into Spain in the eight-century. The Moors (Maure) who ruled Southern Europe for Centuries are today’s Moroccans. In the 19th century, parts of Morocco came under Spanish rule. Morocco gained independence in March 2, 1956. It adopted a constitutional monarchy form of government. The king appoints a prime minister to govern the country on a day-to-day level. However, the king can remove the elected political figures from office. The country is divided into 35 provinces and the king appoints governors for them. Morocco claims ownership of parts of Western Sahara and fought wars with the Polisario who resisted Moroccan take over of their country. There are political parties but, by and large, the king is the dominant decision maker in the country. The king governs through a prime minister, that he appoints, who is in charge of the day-to-day affairs of governance.




CONTEMPORARY HISTORY AND POLITICS



Morocco (actually the Kingdom of Morocco or Al Mamlakah al Maghribiya…Maghreb means the West) is an ancient land. The earliest documented history shows that Berbers lived in the area thousands of years ago. Then many groups came through, such as Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Vandals, Visigoths and finally Arabs in the seventh century. All these people left their marks on the land.
Despite the several groups that have mixed in Morocco, Morocco is mainly composed of Berbers, Arabs and Africans.
Whereas ancient empires left their marks on Morocco, it is the Arabs that left lasting impact on Morocco. Today, most Moroccans speak Arabic and are Sunni Moslems.

Europeans came calling during the scramble to stake out the territory of Africa in the 19th century. Morocco became part of French protectorate in 1912.
Morocco gained independence from France in 1956 and adopted a constitutional Monarchy form of government. The King, however, has strong executive powers; he appoints the prime minister from the elected parliament and can remove him or even disband the parliament.

Morocco is divided into 37 provinces.

The economy of Morocco is dependent on mining of phosphates. Income from Moroccans living abroad is the second largest source of income and income from tourism comes in third. Morocco produces cannabis (hashish), though illegal, but a handsome source of revenue for the country.

Morocco is a well governed Arab state. This means that it is not democratic but is stable. The King and his ministers keep a good handle on things. The only trouble spot is Morocco’s claim to its neighbor to the south, Western Sahara. A freedom fighting group is active in that territory fighting for the area’s independence.

Ozodi@africainstituteseattle.org

Posted by Administrator at August 10, 2006 09:42 AM

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