In 1990, according to a UN estimate, the population amounted to 25,009,000 residents, spread over an area of 458,730 km 2, excluding the territories of the former Western Sahara, annexed in 1976, and those of the former Rio de Oro (administered for a short period by Mauritania) occupied in 1979. The annual rate of population increase is still high (2.6 % in the period 1985-90), especially when compared to the available resources. The average life expectancy at birth is 59 years for boys and 63 for girls. The high rate of illiteracy (51% in 1990) and the considerable density of the population in urban centers (48.5% in 1990) constitute heavy mortgages for a modern and balanced development of the country. As many as 15 cities have over 100,000 residents, while four urban agglomerations (Dar-el-Beida, Rabat-Salé, Fès and Marrakech) have passed the half million mark. Dar-el-Beida (Casablanca) stands out among all, gathering almost a tenth of the population of the entire state. Morocco is a constitutional monarchy: the government is accountable for its actions to the sovereign, Ḥasanii ben Muḥammad, and the House of Representatives, made up of 306 members, of whom 204 are directly elected and the remainder by local bodies and professional organizations.
Economic conditions. – The economy of Morocco has shown in recent years a balanced contribution of the various productive sectors. Thus agriculture provided, in 1990, 16% of GDP, industry 33% (with an incidence of the manufacturing sector equal to about 18%), while the remaining 51% is supplied by the service sector. Among the latter, trade contributes 15%, the weight of the public administration is significant and a marginal role is played by finance, transport, etc. The guidelines envisaged by the plan policy for the second half of the 1980s have highlighted a lesser direct involvement of the state in the productive sectors. In 1991 the per capita GDP it had settled at around US $ 1,000, according to a World Bank estimate.
With the exception of particularly favorable years, in which the production of cereals covers almost the entire internal needs, Morocco still has to import part of what it needs to feed the population. Among the cereals (86.5 million q in 1991) the most common are wheat, barley and corn. An excellent contribution is provided, also to exports, by first fruits (9,400,000 q of tomatoes produced in 1990), citrus fruits (7.7 million q of oranges and 3.2 million q of mandarins and clementines) and legumes buckets (4.4 million q in 1991). From viticulture oriented to winemaking, flourishing in a distant past, only 300,000 hl of wine were obtained in 1991, equal to a quarter of what was produced in 1975. when the sector was already heavily affected by lower exports to France, not offset by domestic demand, practically non-existent due to the prohibitions imposed by the Islamic religion on the use of alcoholic beverages. Beet production continues to be sustained (31 million q in 1991), with the aim of limiting the use of the foreign market for the supply of sugar. The production of dates (1 million q in 1991) and olives (4.4 million q in 1991) are also of some interest. Overall, agricultural and food production in 1991 recorded an increase in absolute value (compared to the annual averages calculated for the period 1979-81) equal to 87%. For Morocco 1999, please check estatelearning.com.
The zootechnical patrimony is still important, thanks to the presence, in 1991, of 19.3 million heads of sheep and goats and 3.4 million cattle (in 1990). Fishing, which feeds a thriving canning industry, has shown dramatic progress in the last decade, going from an annual production of 280,000 t in 1979 to 520,000 t in 1989. The extractive industry can always count on phosphates (18, 7 million tonnes in 1989), which put Morocco in third place in the world ranking of the sector. Ḥūribka, Yūsūfiyya, Ben Ǧarīr and Masqala are the major centers of origin of the mineral. Furthermore, iron, lead are extracted, which in 1990 supplied 66,900 t of metal, manganese (16,400 t in 1989), cobalt, zinc, antimony, etc. The absence of energy resources in significant quantities forces Morocco to allocate approximately 15% of its foreign expenditure to this sector. Electricity production reached 9056 million kWh in 1989; the installed hydroelectric power is equal to 27% of the total. The food industry (sugar and oil mill) stands out in the manufacturing sector, followed by the chemical, textile and leather industries. In 1990, the industrial production index had reached the value of 133, compared to the 1980 value of 100. Casablanca is the center that monopolizes at least half of the country’s activity. This is also due to the high share of the population that has concentrated in the city, despite the restrictive measures implemented by the administration. Its port has reached a respectable movement, expressed, in 1990, by the 16 million tons of goods handled.
Foreign trade suffers from a chronic deficit situation aggravated in the last decade by recurrent droughts and the drop in phosphate prices: in the period 1988-90, exports paid only 65.6% of imports. The major expenses concern semi-finished and finished industrial products, machinery and fuels. 63% of exports are made up of products from the manufacturing industry followed at a distance by those from the textile, agricultural and mining sectors. The EEC (to which Morocco is linked by free trade relations) has absorbed, in recent years, about 60% of exports and has supplied 47% of imported products. France, Spain and the United States are the best suppliers; France, Spain, Germany and Italy are the best customers.
Cinema. – The history of the cinema of Morocco is characterized by a constant influx of foreign filmmakers and producers, which allowed the country to equip itself, since the end of the Thirties, with the most advanced structures and infrastructures in the entire Maghreb area, even if the national production struggled to get started. In 1944 the Center Cinématographique Maroquin (CCM) was established, which mainly produced short films, while the distribution and exhibition remained with private individuals, who mainly supplied Egyptian and French genre films.
Only at the beginning of the seventies can we speak of the birth of a true national cinema, which finds its manifesto film in A. Binānī’s Wašma (“Tracce”, 1970), characterized by an interesting linguistic research. Along the same lines, which Moroccan critics define as “intellectualistic”, we also find the films of al-Smī῾ī (El Chergui ou le Silence Violent, 1975, dramatic story of a woman who resorts to magical practices to recover her husband; Quarantaquatre, ou les Récits de la nuit, from 1981, which recounts, using the narrative structure of the Thousand and One Nights, the life of two families, one Arab and one Berber, from 1912 to 1956), by J. Farḥātī (Une brêche dans le mur, 1978; La plage des enfants perdus, 1991) and the poet A. Bū ῾Anānī (Mirage, 1980, a fantastic tale). The works of L. Laḥlū (Soleil de printemps, 1969; La compromission, 1986), Akim Npury (Le facteur, 1980), A. Ma῾nūmī (al-Ayam al- Ayam, “Oh, the days!”, 1978) and above all by S. Ben Barka, who in 1972 enjoyed international success with Les Milles et une mains, the story of a miserable carpet craftsman exploited by traders, and then with Amok (1982) enhances the moral values of his country, making use of an excellent protagonist, the singer Morocco Makeba.
Always lacking from a quantitative point of view, but lively from a qualitative point of view, the production of the Eighties still offers some important names such as A. ῾Ašūba, author of Tarounja (1980), which avails itself of the collaboration of a popular Moroccan musical group (nāss al-ġiwān). To Morocco ῾Abd al-Raḥmān al-Tāzī we owe Le grand voyage (1981), about the misadventures of a young truck driver; Farḥātī’s Poupées de Roseau (1981) is a denunciation of the condition of the Moroccan woman; the contrast between tradition and new times is the main theme of al-Zaft (1984), directed by T. Saddīri; more marked by an avant-garde cinema are Ḥ āda by Morocco Abū al-Waqār and Chams by N. al-Ṣifrīwī, both from 1986.