Morocco is also poor compared to the rest of the Arab world. The class gaps are very large. The king himself is one of the richest men in the world, owners of over 20 palaces, and even the families that revolve around the court and the traditional elite usually share in the excesses.
Worst of all are the social conditions in the underdeveloped countryside, where poverty varies with crop outcomes, and in the large slums around the big cities. About a tenth of the city’s residents are expected to live in slums, called French-style bottlenecks. This is not just a problem due to poor living conditions. Poverty and overpopulation also lead to crime and social problems, and the authorities are worried that extremist groups will take hold.
- Countryaah Official Site: Official statistics for population in Morocco, including population growth, density, and estimation in next 50 years.
The World Bank has warned of a serious shortage of clean water within a few years, partly because over nine tenths of the fresh water is used in large-scale agriculture. New dams and water pipes are being built, but in rural areas only half the population has access to clean water. Many villages depend on a single source of drinking water. Every fourth Moroccan has no access to sewage in the home. Assistance efforts in the country, for example by US USAID, are aimed at disseminating water-saving technology.
Several advances have been reported in the medical field. The fight against HIV succeeds better in Morocco than in most African countries and has been highlighted as an example by the UN. 350 deaths in HIV / AIDS were registered in 2018, in a population of 35 million. The number of newly discovered cases dropped by 42 percent between 2010 and 2016.
Thanks to vaccination programs, some childhood diseases have disappeared. Mortality among infants and new mothers has dropped, but it is still high. In the health care sector, there is also a shortage of both doctors and hospital beds, even in the cities. At the end of 2018, both physicians and other healthcare professionals as well as pharmacists conducted strikes and other protests against lack of healthcare resources and medicines.
The social security system is fairly well developed among employees, but it only covers about a quarter of the adult population.
According to data released by Unicef in 2013, more than two-thirds of the population could read and write, but conditions are improving: the proportion of literacy among young people is much higher. However, many go to school for only a few years, and the traditional norms within the family are still strong, especially in rural areas where some girls may never start school. However, the country’s economic and political development has slowly but surely changed the role of women in society and the family. Half of the adult women are illiterate – but of the women aged 15-24, three out of four are literate. It has also become more common for women to seek work outside the home. Yet almost three out of four women are still outside the formal workforce. In 1979 a Moroccan woman had an average of 5.9 children, but in 2014 the figure had dropped to 2.1 children.
At the suggestion of King Mohammed, major changes in family law were implemented in 2004, despite opposition from conservative and Islamist groups. A married man now has to go to court to be divorced, the one who has custody of the children can keep the home, unmarried women over 18 do not have to have a male relative as guardian, the marriage age has been raised to 18 years and girls and boys are given the same inheritance right from grandparents. Polygamy is only allowed in exceptional cases and is only accepted if a judge and the first wife say yes. After a law change in 2014, a man who committed rape can no longer avoid prison by marrying the victim. The change came after an attention-grabbing case where a 16-year-old girl committed suicide after being forced to marry a man who raped her.
Sex outside marriage is still prohibited by law. It is also homosexuality, homosexual acts can give prison; however, it is accepted in tourist areas. Thousands of people are prosecuted every year for extramarital affairs. In 2018, according to news agency AFP, 170 people were convicted of homosexuality. 73 were convicted of illegal abortions; The procedure was only allowed in the past if the mother’s life was in danger, but the penal code has been mitigated so that abortion is now allowed even after rape or incest as well as severe injuries to the child can be feared.
FACTS – SOCIAL CONDITIONS
Infant Mortality: 19 per 1000 births (2018)
Percentage of HIV infected: 0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young women
0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of HIV infected among young men: 0.1 percent (2018)
Proportion of population with access to clean water: 83.0 percent (2015)
Proportion of the population having access to toilets: 88.5 percent (2017)
Public expenditure on health care as a percentage of GDP: 5.5 percent (2015)
Public expenditure on health care per person: US $ 171 (2016)
Proportion of women in parliament: 21 percent (2018)
The European Parliament says no to fisheries agreements
The unexpected message that the fisheries agreement with Morocco is not being renewed is justified by the fact that it also includes Western Saharan territorial waters. Morocco responds by ordering all European fishing vessels to immediately leave Moroccan (which also includes Western Saharan) waters.
PAM founders become advisors
The king appoints his friend Fouad Ali al-Himma as adviser. This one leaves his party, which failed in the election. The royal advisers are beyond the control of Parliament but often have more influence than elected ministers.
Election to the House of Representatives
Despite protests and calls for a boycott of the February 20 movement, the early parliamentary elections will be held on November 25, in fairly calm forms. PJD wins, and with 107 of the 395 seats, gets significantly more representation than any other party has previously received. The turnout is 45 percent. PJD leader Abdelilah Benkirane is appointed prime minister.
Aid workers are kidnapped
The three are removed from the Western Saharan refugee camps in Algeria controlled by Polisario. A breakout group from Aqim takes on the kidnapping. Suspicions are also directed at local smugglers, the Moroccan intelligence service and Saharan Islamists.
Death sentence for terrorist acts
A Rabat court sentenced a man to death for lying behind the blast attack in Marrakech in April. It is the first death sentence in Morocco in almost 20 years. Eight other persons are sentenced to imprisonment for participating in the act.
A new constitution is approved in a referendum
The swiftly announced referendum will be held on July 1, resulting in a clear victory for the king’s constitutional proposal (see Political system). More than 98 percent of the participants are said to have voted yes. The turnout should have been just over 72 percent. Many within the February 20 movement, which had tried to organize a boycott, question the figures.
Proposals for constitutional reform are presented
According to the draft, the prime minister’s powers are to be slightly expanded, but without the king’s power really being cut. The February 20 movement protests that there is not enough time for a debate on the proposals. Critics also think that a democratically appointed electoral commission should draft the constitutional changes.
Editor gets jail
Rachid Nini, who is the editor-in-chief of the country’s largest newspaper al-Massae, is sentenced to one year in prison for his chronicles of corruption and abuse of power to have “offended” state officials.
Morocco is offered to become a GCC member
Morocco replies that it is studying the offer to join the Gulf States Cooperation Council with “great interest”. The other members are the six monarchies of the Arabian Peninsula (see Foreign Policy and Defense).
Protests are turned down
Security forces are working hard on protesters who continue to protest against state power.
17 dead in explosion
Most of the victims of the attack in Marrakech are tourists. Three suspected perpetrators are arrested, one of which is said to have a connection to the terror network al-Qaeda. However, representatives of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim) deny this.
The King goes to the protesters to meet
He appoints a commission to propose a number of constitutional reforms. The message is generally well received by the opposition groups – liberals, left-wing activists and Islamists – who gathered in the “February 20 movement”. However, some express skepticism.
Mass protest in Rabat
The Arab protest wave is also growing in Morocco, where a mass protest is announced on February 20. The protesters demand political reforms and limited royal power, as well as the recognition of Barbarians as official language and the release of political prisoners.
Tunisian revolt support
Protesters gather outside Tunisia’s embassy to show their support for the “jasmine revolution” that erupted there. Most are young, many are involved in Western groups or in human rights and anti-globalization organizations.