The dirham is the official currency of the Kingdom of Morocco. This fully convertible decimal currency has a hundredths subunit called the centime. The current dirham was introduced in 1960 after Morocco gained independence from France, and the sole issuing authority of the dirham is the central bank of Morocco, Bank Al-Maghrib.
The first Moroccan dirham was a silver coin of the benduqi-denominated currency used before 1882. The dirham then evolved into a subunit of the Moroccan rial, issued from 1882 to 1921. Five mazunas was equal to one dirham, and 10 dirham was equal to a single rial. The benduqi was abandoned for the Moroccan franc in 1921 when the country became a protectorate of France. When full independence was gained in 1960, the new currency was dubbed the dirham, and it circulated alongside the franc at a rate of 1 dirham: 100 francs until 1974. In 1974, the centime was introduced as a subunit of the dirham to replace the devalued franc.
The Banque du Maroc was established in 1959 and was charged with the responsibility of issuing the dirham. The bank’s powers were expanded in 1967 to include supervising commercial banks and financial institutions within the kingdom. Twenty years later, the name of the bank was changed to Bank Al-Maghrib for all languages commonly used in Morocco. Bank Al-Maghrib became a modern central bank in 1993, and today, the fundamental duties of the bank are to issue currency, implement monetary policy, ensure the stability of the dirham, manage foreign reserves and manage the payment system.
The Moroccan dirham circulates as both a series of coins and banknotes. Coins are minted in denominations of 5, 10, 20 and 50 centimes and 1, 5 and 10 dirhams. Currently circulated banknotes are in denominations of 20, 50, 100 and 200 dirhams.
Morocco has a diversified privatised economy anchored in services industries, at 50 percent of the GDP, and mining, which accounts for 33 percent of the GDP. The country is the largest exporter of phosphorous in the world and benefits from an annual GDP growth rate of 4 percent to 5 percent. The fastest growing industries are tourism, textile manufacturing, information technology and telecommunications. Morocco is a member of several trade agreements, such as the European Free Trade Association. However, several factors are hindering further economic growth, including a dependence on petroleum imports, drought and an undeveloped agriculture industry.