What Is the Moroccan Dirham (MAD)?

The Moroccan Dirham (MAD) is the official currency of Morocco. The Bank al-Maghrib, Morocco’s central bank, controls the issue and circulation of the Moroccan dirham. One Moroccan dirham is subdivided into 100 centimes (or cents). Each unit is called a santim.

As of July 2021, $1 USD is equal to roughly 9 MAD.

Key Takeaways

  • The Moroccan Dirham (MAD) is the official monetary currency of Morocco.
  • One Moroccan dirham is subdivided into 100 centimes (or cents).
  • The Moroccan dirham comes in both coin and banknote forms. The banknotes have denominations of 20, 50, 100, and 200 dirhams.
  • The coins currently in circulation are five, 10, and 20 centimes (coins), and 0.5, 1, 2, 5, and 10 dirhams

Understanding the Moroccan Dirham

The word dirham is derived from the name of a historical Greek currency, called the drachma. Prior to 1882, Morocco issued copper coins (called falus), silver dirhams, and golden benduqui. In 1882, a system of modern coinage was introduced in Morroco, which included the mazuna, the dirham, and the rial (500 mazunas = 10 dirhams = 1 rial). When Morocco became a French protectorate in 1912, the national currency switched to the Moroccan franc. Then, the dirham was reintroduced on Oct. 16, 1960.

The Moroccan dirham comes in both coin and banknote forms. The banknotes have denominations of 20, 50, 100, and 200 dirhams. The coins currently in circulation are five, 10, and 20 centimes (coins), and 0.5, 1, 2, 5, and 10 dirhams.

The current series of banknotes, issued in the reign of Mohammed VI, is in circulation alongside a series of banknotes issued in the reign of Mohammed VI's father, King Hassan II. The current banknotes feature an image of King Mohammed VI and the royal crown. The notes also include an image of a Moroccan doorway, a nod to the country’s architectural heritage.

In 1960, after the end of the French protectorate, Morocco introduced the dirham again to replace francs (1 dirham was equal to 100 francs). The first dirham banknotes were overprints on earlier franc banknotes.

Morocco's Economy

The King of Morocco, Mohammed VI, has legislative and executive control over monetary policy, as well as religious, and foreign policies. He rules through an elected parliament. Attempts to depose the King have failed, and the country remains a constitutional monarchy. Demonstrators, including some during the Arab Spring uprisings, continue to push for reform that will ultimately lessen the power of the King.

Morocco, located in Northwest Africa, is a prominent regional power. According to data from the World Bank, Morocco had a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 3.1% in 2018 and 2.5% in 2019. In 2020, the gross domestic product (GDP) growth was -7.1% (largely due to the economic impacts of the global pandemic caused by the COVID-19 virus).

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Exchange Rates for the U.S. Dollar to Moroccan Dirham?

One U.S. dollar equals around 8.95 Moroccan dirhams.

Where Can I Exchange Moroccan Dirham?

You can exchange your U.S. dollars to Moroccan dirham at an airport vendor, at a bank, and in most hotels. 

Where Can I Get Moroccan Dirham?

The Moroccan dirham can only be bought once you arrive in Morocco because it is a closed currency. You are only allowed to bring in or take out 1,000 dirhams; the remaining currency must be exchanged.

What Is the Best Currency to Take to Morocco?

Euros, U.S. dollars, and British pounds are all easily exchanged in Morocco. Some locations will accept payment in euros if you do not have Moroccan dirham. (However, you should expect less favorable rates than what you can get at a bank.)