Casablanca is a city in western Morocco, located on the Atlantic Ocean. It is Morocco's largest city and the capital of the Grand Casablanca region, with 3.7 million inhabitants and an area of 1,615 km².
Casablanca is also the largest city in the Maghreb and has one of the largest artificial ports in the world. This city is considered the economic and business center of Morocco, although the national political capital is Rabat.
Casablanca is located on the Chaouia Plains which has historically been the breadbasket of Morocco. It has a hot-summer Mediterranean climate.
Data and Facts
- Etymology: The original name of Casablanca was Anfa, in Berber language. After the Portuguese took control of the city in the 15th century they changed the name to Casa Branca. The present name, which is the Spanish version came when the Portuguese kingdom was integrated in personal union to the Spanish kingdom.
- Built in 1993, the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca has the tallest minaret in the world
- Casablanca, one of the most rated american films took place on this city although the movie was filmed in a hollywood set rather than the real city.
- Head of the state: King Mohammed VI, since 1999.
- Language: Arabic and Berber.
- Country motto: God, Homeland, King.
- Currency: Moroccan Dirham (MAD)
- Median age: 29.7 years
- Life expectancy: 77.3 years
- Religion: 99.9 % Islam
The Moroccan Constitution establishes a monarchy with a Parliament and an independent judiciary. With the 2011 constitutional reforms, the King of Morocco retains less executive powers whereas those of the prime minister have been enlarged.
The constitution grants the king honorific powers; he is both the secular political leader and the "Commander of the Faithful" as a direct descendant of the Prophet Mohammed. He presides over the Council of Ministers; appoints the Prime Minister from the political party that has won the most seats in the parliamentary elections, and appoints the members of the government.
Since the constitutional reform of 1996, the bicameral legislature consists of two chambers. The Assembly of Representatives of Morocco has 325 members elected for a five-year term, 295 elected in multi-seat constituencies and 30 in national lists consisting only of women. The Assembly of Councillors has 270 members elected for a nine-year term by local councils.
Casablanca is a commune, part of the region of Casablanca-Settat. The commune is divided into eight districts or prefectures, which are themselves divided into 16 subdivisions or arrondissements and one municipality
The 1956 Moroccan independence brought several years of economic hardship for Casablanca, but the city soon revived through its focus on industry and commerce.
The Grand Casablanca region is considered the locomotive of the development of the Moroccan economy. It attracts 32% of the country's production units and 56% of industrial labor. The region uses 30% of the national electricity production. With MAD 93 billion, the region contributes to 44% of the industrial production of the kingdom. About 33% of national industrial exports, MAD 27 billion, comes from the Grand Casablanca; 30% of the Moroccan banking network is concentrated in Casablanca.
The rapid commercial progress of Casablanca, especially the growth of its port, has established it as the economic capital of Morocco. It accounts for more than half of the bank transactions and industrial production of the country.
Casablanca’s industries include textiles, electronics, leather works, food canning, and the production of beer, spirits, soft drinks and tobacco.
Fishing is also important. The catch includes soles, red mullet, turbot, sea eels, crabs, and shrimps. The Casablanca and Mohammedia seaports activity represent 50% of the international commercial flows of Morocco. One of the most important exports is phosphate.
In the last few years, the Moroccan economy has been developed and modernized thanks to many ambitious and challenging reforms that the government has undertaken to enhance the country’s business climate. A set of measures have been applied to attract Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) and to improve the Moroccan position on the African continent and on a global scale.
Hence, the new constitution of 2011 constitutes a major basis of the society’s democratization, and a renewed state of law more amply. At the time of major political tensions in Arab countries, Morocco’s political landscape has been relatively stable and has been able to make major strides in the areas of trade, investment and privatization policies.
Also, the Moroccan government has been working on communication to set up a positive image to investors regarding its business climate. It continues to improve its infrastructure in order to increase territorial linkages, reinforce anti-corruption measures, support employment-generating activities and develop managerial skills.
Despite all the efforts that have been deployed by the Moroccan authorities to reinforce the economic and business tissue, there are still many flaws that interrupt the effective regulations and hence affect negatively the business climate.
In recent years, Moroccan authorities have been successful in attracting a relatively consistent flow of foreign capital, mainly relying on the national privatization program, the conversion of foreign debt into investments and the operations of public services concessions. Other sectors have taken over, including banking, tourism, energy and industry.
The Moroccan government has implemented policies to improve the infrastructure and make the town more livable.
The Casablanca Tramway is the rapid transit tram system in Casablanca. The network consists of two lines covering 47.5 km but there are further lines under construction.
Buses are the principal means of public transport. A network of petite and grande taxis provide service for travelers within the city and within the surrounding region, respectively.
Casablanca's main airport is Mohammed V International Airport, Morocco's busiest airport. Regular domestic flights serve Marrakech, Rabat, Agadir, Oujda, Tangier, Al Hoceima, and Laayoune, as well as other cities.
Casablanca is well-served by international flights to Europe, especially French and Spanish airports
The world has seen a rapid rise in competition between cities to secure the investments, jobs, businesses and talent for economic success.
Although this market in Morocco is still in a very early stage, investing in the country will bear its fruits in the not-so-distant future. There is, however, work to be done at the level of policies, corporate mindset and startup development.
Morocco’s business environment is highly dependent on domestic regulations which determine the international expansion a Moroccan company may have, such as sending and receiving money from abroad, as well as general exposure to international competition. This brings many potential entrepreneurs to give up before even trying to set up a new venture.
One of the main government’s objectives for entrepreneurship is the creation of new jobs in order to increase the country’s economic growth and tackle the unemployment issue. A real challenge for Casablanca is creating job opportunities that appeal to recent university graduates so they will stay and help build the kind of high-quality workforce that new industries need.
Morocco has also adopted in its development strategy the concept of sustainable development that promotes the balance between environmental, economic and social dimensions, with the objectives of improving the living environment of citizens, strengthening the sustainable management of natural resources and the promotion of environmentally friendly economic activities.
While there is still a lot of work to do we can find several ongoing initiatives, both domestic and internationally sponsored, in order to develop this ecosystem. Some of them are Startup Weekend by Startup Maroc; Impulse sponsored by OCP Entrepreneurship Network; or Maroc Startup Competition by Startup Maroc and OCP Entrepreneurship Network.
Social Wellness and Human Resources
The Morocco healthcare system has both public and private layer. AMO is Morocco's Mandatory Health Insurance that is divided into public (La CNOPS), private (CNSS) and RAMED (low economic status health insurance).
Education is mandatory for children between the ages of 7 and 13 years. In urban areas the majority of children in this age group attend school, though on a national scale the level of participation drops significantly.
Morocco's education system consists of 6 years of primary, 3 years of lower-middle / intermediate school, 3 years of upper secondary, and tertiary education.
Casablanca has Arabic- and French-language schools at different educational levels. There are also various cultural and utilitarian institutes, such as the Goethe-Institut, the Municipal College of Fine Arts, the Municipal Library, a prehistory society, an institute of fishing, and a horticultural society.
Newspapers in Morocco are primarily published in Arabic and French, and to a lesser extent in Berber, English, and Spanish.
Some of the most read papers are: Morocco World News, La Dépêche marocaine and Al Alam.
There are many museums in the city. The most visited according to Tripadvisor are Musee Abderrahman Slaoui, Museum of Moroccan Judaism, Villa des Arts de Casablanca and Laredo Art Gallery.
Music in Morocco is diverse and intricate. The type most widely enjoyed typically depends on the region. There are 6 primary genres of Moroccan music: Berber music, Chaabi, Gnawa, Malhun, Rai and Sufi music.
Casablanca hosts numerous music festivals, such as Jazzablanca and L'Boulevard,as well as a museum dedicated to Andalusi music, Dar ul-Aala.
Many sports are practised in clubs, however, football seems to be the most popular sport activity in Casablanca. The city is home to two popular football clubs: Wydad Casablanca and Raja Casablanca.
Casablanca hosts The Grand Prix Hassan II, a professional men's tennis tournament of the ATP tour.