Morocco is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of nearly 32 million and an area of 710.850 km².
Its capital is Rabat, and its largest city is Casablanca; other large cities includes Fes, Salé, Marrakesh, Tangier, Meknes, Oujda and Tetouan.
Morocco has a rich culture and civilization, which remained mainly indigenous throughout times and the Moroccan cuisine has long been considered as one of the most diversified cuisines in the world.
Morocco has a coast on the Atlantic Ocean that reaches past the Strait of Gibraltar into the Mediterranean Sea. It is bordered by Spain to the north , Algeria to the east, and Mauritania to the south.
The information technology and communications sectors have been witnessing significant expansion as well. Morocco is the first country in North Africa to install a 3G network. The number of Internet subscribers in the country jumped 73% in 2006 over the year-ago period. Further, a new offshore site at Casablanca, with state-of-the-art technologies and other incentives, has grabbed the attention of many global multinationals. Setting up offshore service centers in the nation has become tempting. Such is the rate of growth, that off-shoring and IT activities are estimated to contribute $500 million to the country’s GDP and employ 30,000 people by 2015. The communications sector already accounts for half of all foreign direct investments Morocco received over the past five years.
Morocco is the world's third-largest producer of phosphorus and the price fluctuations of phosphates on the international market greatly influence Morocco's economy
Berbers constitute the largest ethnic group in the country although arabization played a key role in the moroccan culture, which resulted in a majority of arabic speaking berber-ethnic population.
Because of the conflict over Western Sahara, the status of both regions of "Saguia el-Hamra" and "Río de Oro" is disputed. The United Nations views Western Sahara as a non-self-governing territory, and as a case of unfinished decolonization. Morocco's rule in the territory is not internationally recognized, nor is the independent republic proposed by Polisario, a Saharawi group which fought against the Spanish colonial rule and then for Western Sahara's independence as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic . There is a ceasefire in effect since 1991, and a UN mission is tasked with organizing a referendum on whether the territory should become independent or recognized as a part of Morocco. At the time, both parties signed an agreement to this effect, but Morocco has since 2000 refused to accept such a referendum, while Polisario demands that it be held.
The territory is mostly administered as the Southern Provinces by Morocco since Spain handed over the territory to Morocco and Mauritania after the Madrid Accords in 1975-76. Part of the territory, the Free Zone, is controlled by the Polisario Front as the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. A UN-administered cease-fire has been in effect since September, 1991.
The geography of Morocco spans from the Atlantic Ocean, to mountainous areas, to the Sahara . Morocco is a Northern African country, bordering the North Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, between Algeria and the annexed Western Sahara.
A large part of Morocco is mountainous. The Atlas Mountains are located mainly in the center and the south of the country. The Rif Mountains are located in the north of the country. Both ranges are mainly inhabited by the Berber people. At 172,402 sq mi , Morocco is the fifty-seventh largest country in the world . Algeria borders Morocco to the east and southeast though the border between the two countries has been closed since 1994.
There are also four Spanish enclaves on the Mediterranean coast: Ceuta, Melilla, Peñón de Vélez de la Gomera, Peñón de Alhucemas, and the Chafarinas islands, as well as the disputed islet Perejil. Off the Atlantic coast the Canary Islands belong to Spain, whereas Madeira to the north is Portuguese. To the north, Morocco is bordered by and controls part of the Strait of Gibraltar, giving it power over the waterways in and out of the Mediterranean sea.
The Rif mountains occupy the region bordering the Mediterranean from the north-west to the north-east. The Atlas Mountains run down the backbone of the country, from the south west to the north east. Most of the south east portion of the country is in the Sahara Desert and as such is generally sparsely populated and unproductive economically. Most of the population lives to the north of these mountains, while to the south is the desert. To the south, lies the Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony that was annexed by Morocco in 1975. Morocco claims that the Western Sahara is part of its territory and refers to that as its Southern Provinces.
Morocco's capital city is Rabat; its largest city is its main port, Casablanca. Other cities include Agadir, Essaouira, Fes, Marrakech, Meknes, Mohammadia, Oujda, Ouarzazat, Safi, Salé, Tangier and Tétouan.
Morocco is represented in the ISO 3166-1 alpha-2 geographical encoding standard by the symbol MA. This code was used as the basis for Morocco's internet domain, .ma.
The climate is Mediterranean in the North and in some mountains , which becomes more extreme towards the interior regions. The terrain is such that the coastal plains are rich and accordingly, they comprise the backbone for agriculture, especially in the North. Forests cover about 12% of the land while arable land accounts for 18%. 5% is irrigated. In the Atlas ( Middle Atlas), there's some different climates: Mediterranean , Maritime Temperate that allow different species of oaks, moss carpets, junipers, atlantic cedars and many other plants, to form extensive and very rich humid cloud forests. In the highest peaks a different climate may occur. On the other side of Atlas mountains , the climate changes, due to the barrier/shelter effect of these mountainous system, turning it very dry and extremely warm during the summer , especially on the lowlands and on the valleys faced to the Sahara. Here it starts the big Desert Sahara and it's perfectly visible, for example, on the Draa Valley, on which it's possible to find oasis, sand dunes and rocky desert landscapes. So the climate in this region is desert.