The mineret that takes you home

About Membership Volunteer Newsletters Souk Links

Morocco Week in Review 
November 9, 2019

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Dear Ivanka: An Open Letter of Welcome and Advice

The Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative is undoubtedly a great initiative for human development in the sense of gender equality, women’s empowerment, and social justice, and Morocco is a fertile ground for its success.

By - Dr Mohamed Chtatou is a professor at the University of Mohammed V in Rabat. Nov 2, 2019

Dear Ivanka,
Hello, Salaam. I read in the news that soon you will be officially visiting Morocco to enhance women’s empowerment programs. Moroccans, one and all, are most grateful to you and to the United States of America. Morocco and America have the longest-unbroken treaty of friendship and cooperation, since 1786. America is a reliable ally and a tremendous friend, of which all Moroccans are proud, to say the least.

Back in 1967, in the city of Sefrou, 30 kilometers south of Fez, I became friends with a Peace Corps volunteer by the name of Gaylord Barr from Yakima, Washington. He not only taught me the English language but most importantly to love and respect the “other” in his “otherness.” And I will be grateful to him for my whole life.

As you surely know, Morocco is, indeed, two Moroccos: The center, mostly urban and coastal, and the periphery or deep Morocco, mostly mountainous and Amazigh (Berber). Unfortunately, most of the crucial infrastructure is in the center: Hospitals, roads, industries, universities, etc. The periphery is still lacking in most necessities of life. I am not trying to be negative just for the sake of it, but the country is in need of territorial equity and social justice. Women in most societies are the center of life and existence. They give birth, a God-given gift that men do not have; they cement families and allow interaction between their members. However, in traditional societies women are used and abused; women are discriminated against and enslaved, and that is certainly not fair in an era of civil and human rights. All these wrongs have to be eliminated and this can only be done through education: Functional literacy for mature women and full education for young girls.

Dear esteemed Ivanka,
In rural Morocco, women do everything. They cook, clean the house, raise the children, work in the fields. On top of all that, they are supposed to honor their marital obligations. Alas, our society is still patriarchal, and it treats women almost like furniture to be moved around at will. How can this be changed? The answer is empowerment, empowerment, empowerment … and that is what you have come to our country for. For that we are grateful to you, to the Trump administration, and to your wonderful country, America. ……………..

Tea for two: Ivanka Trump looks chic in a traditional gray suit as she enjoys milk and dates with Princess Lalla Meryem of Morocco, after landing in Rabat to promote her women's empowerment initiative

By Charlie Lankston For  Published, 6 November 2019

Ivanka Trump kicked off her trip to Morocco in royal fashion, sitting down to enjoy tea with Princess Lalla Meryem, who greeted the first daughter off the plane as she landed in Rabat.  The 38-year-old looked fresh-faced and relaxed, despite a long overnight flight from Washington, D.C. - during which she even managed an outfit change.  She stepped onto the tarmac to meet the princess wearing a chic gray embroidered suit jacket by local designer Fadila El Gadi with coordinating pants and a pair of matching high heels, having left chilly D.C. in a long burgundy and tan trench coat, and a dark turtleneck. Clearly thrilled with the warmer weather in Rabat, Ivanka beamed happily as she stepped out of a black car that appears to have transported her from the plane to the terminal, where Princess Meryem was waiting to meet her.  After a warm welcome at the airport, Ivanka was taken to enjoy a traditional Moroccan tea.  Both she and Princess Meryem were presented with milk and dates, which are often served in the country as a welcome snack, as well as at celebrations and parties.  They then sat down to enjoy tea together - during which Ivanka no doubt took the opportunity to discuss her global women's empowerment program, the Women's Global Development and Prosperity Initiative, which she will be promoting throughout her visit to the country.

Game of Thrones Universe to Return to Morocco.

The cities of Ouarzazate and Essaouira are both often used in Hollywood films and international TV series.

By Yahia Hatim - Nov 1, 2019 Rabat

Television network HBO has  announced a new series entitled House of the Dragon. The new series will be set in the same universe as the famous drama series Game of Thrones. The announcement comes only a few months after the broadcast of Game of Thrones’ final episode. House of the Dragon will be a prequel set 300 years before the events of Game of Throne and will tell the story of House Targaryen and their ascension to power.

Between the Old and New: Life in Morocco’s Unstructured Economy

One mother told me that her child did not want her to go to his school because he is embarrassed by how she talks and dresses.

By Fayza Benjeddi - Fayza Benjeddi is an economic and social development consultant living in Rabat. Oct 27, 2019
Rabat – When approaching development projects in Morocco, or simply building a business, a good understanding of Moroccan socio-economics is necessary. In any of Morocco’s cities, it is evident that people in the same place belong to different socio-economic structures: the “old economy,” the “new economy,” and the in-between “unstructured economy.”
Failing to understand the dynamics of each one and how they interact will likely lead to the failure of a social or economic project, such as those with the goal of lowering poverty or violence.

Morocco Allocates MAD 7.88 Billion to Fight Territorial Disparities

The ministry of agriculture’s objective is to connect remote areas, improve their infrastructure, and facilitate access to drinking water and electricity systems.


The Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development, Water, and Forests has allocated MAD 7.88 billion for the reduction of territorial and social disparities in the rural areas programme (PRDTS) for 2020. Minister of agriculture Aziz Akhannouch made the announcement yesterday, October 31, in Rabat. The minister presented his ministry’s budget for 2020 to the House of Representatives at a parliamentary session. Around MAD 3.42 billion of the budget will go towards the fund for the development of rural and mountainous areas (FDRZM). The fund aims to connect remote areas, improve the infrastructure in rural areas, and ensure access to drinking water and electricity systems. According to the minister, the budget for rural development has increased by 27% over the last two years.
Akhannouch also announced the launch of new projects under the international cooperation programme, with a budget of around MAD 200.2 million.

Morocco & UNIDO Agree to Develop Green Technologies for African Countries

Head of Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) Mustapha Bakkoury and Director General of UNIDO LI Yong inked on Tuesday an agreement destined to enhance further cooperation between the two sides in clean and sustainable energy. The agreement was signed on the sidelines of the 18th UNIDO General Conference currently convened in Abu Dhabi, UAE, under the theme: “Industry 2030 – Innovate. Connect. Transform our Future”. MASEN and UNIDO agreed to develop advanced renewable energy technologies for developing countries, particularly African countries. The Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy spearheads development programs of integrated projects aimed at creating an additional 3,000 MW of clean electricity generation capacity by 2020 and a further 6,000 MW by 2030.The goal is to secure 52% of the country’s energy mix from renewable sources by 2030.

Morocco Maintains ‘Very Low’ Score in English Proficiency Index

Morocco’s education minister has been advocating French language use, emphasizing that English will not replace French any time soon.

Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News. Nov 5, 2019 Rabat

Morocco ranked 76th in the 2019 English Proficiency Index (EF EPI), maintaining a “very low” score in the recent ranking. The index listed Morocco among the very low proficiency countries with a score of only 47.19. In 2018, Morocco scored 48.10, and the index listed it 60th out of 88 countries.
Morocco maintained its position in the regional index, where it is ranked sixth behind Tunisia (fifth), and Ethiopia (fourth).

Morocco’s CNDH Says Penal Code Must Catch Up with Society

A ruling Islamic party and the general perception of Morocco as a predominantly conservative suggest caution as to the prospects of CNDH’s radical measures.

By Tamba François Koundouno - Nov 2, 2019 Rabat

The National Council for the Defense of Human Rights (CNDH), Morocco’s leading authority on human rights-linked issues, has picked its side in the ongoing debate between conservative and progressive Moroccans on whether the country’s penal code needs revamping. In recommendations published in a recent memorandum, the CNDH made the point that a number of legal provisions as contained in the Moroccan penal code are no longer reflective of the profound societal changes the North African kingdom has witnessed. According to the memorandum, some articles need to be either amended or downright dismissed to make the whole penal code more compatible with contemporary Morocco.

How to Make Moroccan Barley Bread

Bread is a staple in every Moroccan household and is served with most traditional dishes. There is nothing better than warm homemade bread to accompany a hot tagine.

By Layla Dahamou - Nov 3, 2019

Barley bread is a traditional bread in Morocco. We serve it with tagines and other main dishes but also as a meal in its own right. For me, it is the best breakfast. Freshly baked barley bread dipped in olive oil really is an unbeatable way to start the day.   
While this kind of bread can bought in shops and bakeries, there really is not much better than the taste of homemade bread. Today, I will show you an easy recipe for barley bread that is guaranteed to go down well in your home.

The Phoenicia: A Voyage to Rewrite History

Is it just a myth, or “one of the greatest voyages in maritime history”?

By Madeleine Handaji - Nov 4, 2019 Rabat

Everyone knows that Christopher Columbus and his crew were the first to sail across the Atlantic ocean to the Americas in 1492. What if I told you this was not true? Captain Philip Beale, a retired British Navy officer, and the crew of the Phoenicia set sail from Essaouira port, Morocco, on November 2 to prove exactly that.  Built in 2008, the Phoenicia is an exact replica of a wrecked Phoenician ship found in Marseille. The Phoenicians, an ancient civilization born in the region we now know as Syria nearly 3,000 years ago, were legendary sailors. Rumored to have circumnavigated Africa before the Romans had even imagined Egypt, the Phoenicians held trading posts across Africa.  According to London’s “The Phoenicians: The Greatest Sailors Exhibition,” as early as “600 BC a fleet of Phoenician ships was said to have embarked on an epic journey to circumnavigate Africa.” In 2008, the crew of the newly-built Phoenicia set out to prove that the myth was, in fact, history.

Opinion: Exclusivity, Elitism Dominate at Fez Festival of Sufi Culture

While it is easy to rationalize the festival’s exclusivity as a strategic decision, one key issue still remains: Exclusion of this nature directly opposes the principles of Sufism. 

By Morgan Hekking - Oct 29, 2019 Rabat

The 12th annual Fez Festival of Sufi Culture took place from October 19 to 26, 2019. The festival’s program rolled out to locations throughout the ancient city of Fez, Morocco’s spiritual capital.  Every year, the festival’s director Faouzi Skali approaches the event with the hopes of spreading a positive image of Islam through Sufism.  Faouzi Skali, director of the Fez Festival of Sufi Culture. Skali sees the festival as a way to “consolidate the positioning of Morocco in the intercultural dialogue by throwing a bridge between East and West.” With the theme “Sufi culture, a spiritual humanism for our time,” Skali’s goal for this year’s festival was to create a space in which people can come to understand the significance of Sufi culture and revive the legacy of Sufism in Moroccan civilization.  “Somehow people lost this connection, this spirit of Sufism,” Skali told Morocco World News. “Fez is really a city of Sufism, but people are not always aware of that.”

Through the Lens:  Moroccan Photographer Captures Injustice

Photographer Seif Kousmate has travelled from Mount Gourougou to the desert of Mauritania with his camera to capture and address injustice.  
Wouter IJzerman works as an intern at Morocco World News, focusing on the relationship between the Netherlands and Morocco. Nov 2, 2019 Rabat

After working for several years in Paris as a project manager in civil engineering, Kousmate switched gears by dedicating himself to the hand-to-mouth existence of freelance photography. With a one-way ticket to Thailand, a backpack, and the urge for self-discovery, Kousmate spent two years of his life traveling the world before returning to Morocco to dedicate his life to what matters most to him: addressing injustice, one photo at a time. 
Originally from Essaouria, Kousmate witnessed how migrants from sub-Saharan Africa flocked to the major Moroccan cities from 2010 and onwards. “I found myself asking: Why do people go through all the trouble of traveling so many miles to cross the Sahara and end up here in Morocco?”

Shared humanity

Prevailing media coverage revolving around the lives of sub-Saharan migrants fueled Kousmate’s desire to delve into this topic. “The reports we get to read are always the same: NGO’s are collecting clothes and migrants are dying because of the cold. And more importantly, we almost never get to hear their personal stories. Instead, we get to hear of ‘groups of people who are moving from A to B’”. “The angle of shared humanity is completely missing. We are talking about people who are leaving everything they know and care for, and are ready to die en route to their destination. Ask yourself the question, why would they do so? And Would you truly not do the same thing if you were to be standing in their shoes?”

The humanitarian photographer emphasized that trust is key to his work; “So, in 2016 I decided to tackle this topic. It wasn’t easy! It took me several months before they trusted me. Many of them come from Mali, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Senegal, in general countries in West-Africa.”
“After having spent some time at a migrant camp located around Fez, I was told to go to Mount Gourougou in the north, to get a proper taste of their lives.”
Kousmate explained that “Initially, you get to hear a lot of inconsistencies and soft-spoken lies because they do not trust you outright, you have to earn their trust. I did not take any pictures in the beginning in order to do so”

Study Shows Marriage is Declining in Morocco

A study by a British NGO suggested last year that Moroccan women tend to marry in their late twenties or early thirties.

By-Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News. Nov 5, 2019 Rabat

The High Commission for Planning (HCP) has published a report showing that single living is on the rise in Morocco. The report, “Population and development in Morocco,” emphasized that marriage has been in a continuous decline in Morocco in recent years. The report studies the current average marriage age compared to the previous generations.  The study emphasized that  Moroccan women used to marry on average at the age of 17 while men tied the knot at 24 during the independence era (1956). However, the average age for first marriages reached “very high levels” (31 years for men and 25 years for women) in 2014.

These postings are provided without permission of the copyright owner for purposes of criticism, comment, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and may not be distributed further without permission of the identified copyright owner.  The poster does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the message, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Return to Friends of Morocco Home Page

About Membership Volunteer Newsletters Souk Links