Morocco - Infrastructure, power, and communications

Morocco enjoys one of the most highly developed infrastructures in Africa. The country is served by a network of 57,847 kilometers (35,946 miles) of primary and secondary roads, of which 30,254 kilometers (18,800 miles) are paved. With growing numbers of licensed automobiles, the road system, especially in urban areas, has become highly congested. According to official statistics, road accidents claim up to 3,000 lives annually. Plans are currently underway to modernize the country's railway system, which plays an important role in the transport of phosphates and their derivatives.

Morocco has 70 airports, 11 of which are major and quite modern, and efforts are underway to modernize all of them in 2001. The largest of them, an international airport just south of Casablanca, offers flights to several destinations in Europe, the United States, Canada, the Middle East and Africa. It is serviced by more than 50 airlines that bring in most of the country's tourists. Rabat has 24 ports, which handle 98 percent of the Morocco's foreign trade. The port of Casablanca is a world-class port and the second largest in Africa. In addition to goods, Morocco's ports also service tourist ferries to and from Spain and France.

Electrical power is provided by the state-owned Office National de L'électricité (National Office of Electricity, ONE). Despite the recent discovery of modest amounts of oil reserves in Morocco, most electricity is produced from imported fuels, mainly from Saudi Arabia. Morocco's total power capacity is estimated at 13.16 billion kilowatts, 124 million of which are imported, mainly from Spain. Power shortages are common. The government is planning to build additional power plants and boost electric capacity by the end of 2010 to meet the increasing demands of industrial projects and extend electric services to currently unserved rural areas. About 80 percent of Morocco's rural areas are not electrified, and it is estimated that some 12 million rural inhabitants live without electricity.

Telecommunications services in Morocco are thoroughly modern and have greatly improved since the mid-1990s. Most telephone service is provided by the state-owned Maroc Telecom and Meditel, the country's two largest telephone companies. The country had 1,455,853 phone lines at the end of 1999. Mobile service is also available. In 1999, Morocco had 27 Internet Service Providers.

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