Brain Food: Us and them - Morocco

Morocco gained independence from France in 1956. Agriculture and the extractive industries are the backbone of its economy - the country is the world's largest exporter of phosphates - although manufacturing and services are increasing in importance. Farming's contribution to GDP fluctuates according to rainfall, from 18.3% in 1996 to 11.6% in 2000, a drought year. The government is restraining public funding and encouraging private investment.

- Close to a fifth of Moroccans were unemployed in 2003 (nearly four times more than in the UK), and 43% of the labour force work in agriculture.

Despite significant investment in education, the illiteracy rate is one of the highest in the Arab world, and is twice as high among women as it is among men, though things are improving. Education services are particularly underdeveloped in rural areas, where most of the Berber population live.

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