The Moroccan diaspora
consists of emigrants from Morocco
Morocco , officially the Kingdom of Morocco , is a country located in North Africa. It has a population of more than 32 million and an area of 710,850 km², and also primarily administers the disputed region of the Western Sahara...
and their descendants. Of the estimated 4.5 million Moroccans living abroad, roughly two thirds live in Europe
Europe is, by convention, one of the world's seven continents. Comprising the westernmost peninsula of Eurasia, Europe is generally 'divided' from Asia to its east by the watershed divides of the Ural and Caucasus Mountains, the Ural River, the Caspian and Black Seas, and the waterways connecting...
; the remainder are distributed throughout the Americas (including North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...
and Latin America
Latin America is a region of the Americas where Romance languages – particularly Spanish and Portuguese, and variably French – are primarily spoken. Latin America has an area of approximately 21,069,500 km² , almost 3.9% of the Earth's surface or 14.1% of its land surface area...
), Australia, Africa (in particular West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...
), and the countries of the Arab World
The Arab world refers to Arabic-speaking states, territories and populations in North Africa, Western Asia and elsewhere.The standard definition of the Arab world comprises the 22 states and territories of the Arab League stretching from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the Arabian Sea in the...
Europe has long been a destination for Moroccan migration, with Moroccans arriving in some countries at least as early as the twentieth century. The largest concentration of Moroccans outside Morocco is in France, which has reportedly over 1.2 million Moroccans, and the Netherlands and Belgium (about 1.0 million Moroccans from the Rif).
There are also large Moroccan communities in Spain (about 767,784 Moroccans), Italy, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland. Many Moroccans have also settled for quite a long time in the United States, Canada, Brazil and other Arab countries, most notably Libya. Some other Moroccans have immigrated to other parts of Africa where they have prospered financially.
The majority of the Moroccan diaspora is Muslims, with sizeable minorities of Moroccan Jews and Moroccan Christians. While a minority emigrated to Israel
The State of Israel is a parliamentary republic located in the Middle East, along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea...
since the end of WWII, many Jews (about 100-150,000) remained in Morocco.
The Moroccan diaspora, while historically guest workers. Because of the economic opportunities, many Moroccans have also worked in the Arab World, most notably in Persian Gulf countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait amongst others.
Moroccans were influential in the history of Spain, back when their ancestors the Moors ruled (in phases) most of the Iberian peninsula from the conquest of Cordoba in 711 AD to the explusion of the last Moors from Granada by the Spanish Inquisition in the end of the 15th century.
Author the newly released book “Moroccans abroad. Identity and cultural diversity”. Professor Bekouchi looks at the five million Moroccans living in the four corners of the globe, of whom 300,000 represent the elite. For him, if these Moroccans abroad could be listened to and motivated by the Moroccan policy makers, they could create wonders. “They already exert some influence on negotiation strategies and on the partnership between Morocco and their adopted country”, highlights the author. This goes back to the history of the emigration of Moroccans to Europe and elsewhere. He recalls that it was at the beginning of the last century that the first Moroccan mass emigrations began. The toughest and most obedient natives were chosen to engage in World War I or to fill in for French farmers and labourers detained on the front line. Yet, the veterans have been too little compensated. Today still, they earn barely a fifth of that of their French counterparts.
At the start of the 1960s, crews were sent by European employers to hire the most docile rural labour.
The departures led to painful separations and psychological effects in the families remaining in Morocco and those in the host countries. Until the start of the 1970s, many contingents left for France, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. 90% of migrants were rural men, with little education and no professional qualifications, recalls Bekouchi.
And from March 26, 1996, without a visa, entry to European Union countries was prohibited for Moroccans and Magrhebians. The result was the start of illegal immigration. Thus Bekouchi comes back to the problem of illegal immigration and its dramatic consequences. Thus, tens of thousands of “harragas” died a sea or on the road. The book contains the figures on the extent of the diaspora. More than 83% of the total ended up in Europe, and one in two lives in France, totalling 1.3 million Moroccans. Regarding more recent immigration, the Moroccan community in Spain comes in second with its 800,000 members, followed by Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany. The author discusses the problem of trafficking Moroccan women in Arabic countries. For the most part, they practice prostitution via pseudo-contracts of employment. Bekouchi takes an interest in the Jewish diaspora the first great waves of which emigration began with the declaration of the Israeli state in 1948. Another very strong period was during the 1967 war. They are scattered between Israel, the United States, Canada, France, Belgium and Latin America.
Recently, New Commerce Group, an e-business consulting firm based in tangier Morocco has developed a Social Network website called Moroccan Diaspora http://www.moroccandiaspora.com. It is the first interactive Moroccan Social Network for Moroccans around the world.
The Moroccan Diaspora website project aims to "map" Moroccan presence around the world and enable Moroccan from all over the world to connect with each other, share ideas and know how, network and contribute to the future of Morocco.