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Morocco Week in Review 
February 8, 2020

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Women and youth awareness video: Moroccan women’s association (in Darija)

On Wednesday January 29th, 2020; The Association: National Union of Moroccan Women (UFM), which Princess Lalla Meryem presides, has launched a new listening and support platform "We are all with you",    كلنا معكfor women victims of harassment or family violence; and youth living in difficult conditions. The phone hotline 8350 is operational 24/7, and a free-downloadable software on personal phones for GPS location is available on AppStore/Play Store. The platform is also supposed to offer technical guidance and support for youth entrepreneurs, and job hunters.
Check the association promotional campaign video here in Arabic:

Nearly 13 Million Tourists Visited Morocco in 2019

While the number sets a new record for Moroccan tourism, there is still room for improvement to further boost Morocco’s position as a top tourist destination.

By  Yahia Hatim  - Feb 3, 2020 Rabat

Moroccan tourism reached a growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2019, recording nearly 13 million tourists, revealed the President of the National Tourism Confederation (CNT), Abdellatif Kabbaj. Kabbaj revealed the numbers on Saturday, February 1, at a press conference in Marrakech about CNT’s road map to promoting the Moroccan tourism industry. French tourists remain the largest group of visitors to Morocco, with around 1.99 million French nationals visiting the country in 2019………….
More here:

An Argument for ‘Rural Tourism’ in Essaouira-Agadir Atlantic Strip

Currently, the Atlantic strip between Essaouira and Agadir is in a strong position on the cultural and seaside tourist chessboard, mostly through its popularity for surfers, but the region is gaining new impetus with the advent of the seaside resort Mogador, and Taghazout, both planned for completion in 2020.

By  Jamal Guilloul  - Feb 1, 2020 Essaouira

Currently, the Atlantic strip between Essaouira and Agadir is in a strong position on the cultural and seaside tourist chessboard, mostly through its popularity for surfers, but the region is gaining new impetus with the advent of the seaside resort Mogador, and Taghazout, both planned for completion in 2020. So, alongside cultural and seaside tourism, the coastal strip will be able to offer a new kind of tourism: “rural tourism,” making the region a full-fledged strategic destination.  I would like to point out that the descriptions relating to each component on the tourism menu aim to demonstrate the richness and uniqueness of the region’s potential, and to justify investment in such sectors to better welcome international, and intranational, tourists to the region.

First, I will present the natural heritage of the region, focused mainly on the rural and urban aspects of Essaouira and its surrounding area, as well as the high demand fromtourists for visits to the region.  Thus, the description of the city of Essaouira is intended to demonstrate that the uniqueness of the region has been successful in attracting high numbers of tourists and, so, will be equally successful in attracting tourists to the rural communes and areas surrounding the small city.

Why Moroccan Scholar Ibn Battuta is the Greatest Explorer of all Time

In the 14th century, the Moroccan wanderer Ibn Battuta spent nearly 30 years traveling some 75,000 miles across Africa, the Middle East, India and Southeast Asia.

Author: Evan Andrews Aug 22, 2019

The title of “history’s most famous traveler” usually goes to Marco Polo, the great Venetian wayfarer who visited China in the 13th century. For sheer distance covered, however, Polo trails far behind the Muslim scholar Ibn Battuta. Though little known outside the Islamic world, Battuta spent half his life tramping across vast swaths of the Eastern Hemisphere. Moving by sea, by camel caravan and on foot, he ventured into over 40 modern day nations, often putting himself in extreme danger just to satisfy his wanderlust. When he finally returned home after 29 years, he recorded his escapades in a hulking travelogue known as the Rihla.

Born in Tangier, Morocco, Ibn Battuta came of age in a family of Islamic judges. In 1325, at age 21, he left his homeland for the Middle East. He intended to complete his hajj—the Muslim pilgrimage to the holy city of Mecca—but he also wished to study Islamic law along the way. “I set out alone,” he later remembered, “having neither fellow-traveler in whose companionship I might find cheer, nor caravan whose party I might join, but swayed by an overmastering impulse within me and a desire long-cherished in my bosom to visit these illustrious sanctuaries.”
Battuta began his journey riding solo on a donkey, but soon linked up with a pilgrim caravan as it snaked its way east across North Africa. The route was rugged and bandit infested, and the young traveler soon developed a fever so severe that he was forced to tie himself to his saddle to avoid collapsing. Nevertheless, he still found time during one stopover to wed a young woman—the first of some 10 wives he would eventually marry and then divorce during his travels.

In Egypt, Battuta studied Islamic law and toured Alexandria and the metropolis of Cairo, which he called “peerless in beauty and splendor.” He then continued on to Mecca, where he took part in the hajj. His travels might have ended there, but having completed his pilgrimage, he decided to continue wandering the Muslim world, or “Dar al-Islam.” Battuta claimed to be driven by a dream in which a large bird took him on its wing and “made a long flight towards the east…and left me there.” A holy man had interpreted the dream to mean that Battuta would roam across the earth, and the young Moroccan intended to fulfill the prophecy. Battuta’s next few years were a whirlwind of travel. He joined a caravan and toured Persia and Iraq, and later ventured north to what is now Azerbaijan. Following a sojourn in Mecca, he trekked across Yemen and made a sea voyage to the Horn of Africa. From there, he visited the Somali city of Mogadishu before dipping below the equator and exploring the coasts of Kenya and Tanzania…………..
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The 17th ‘International Nomads Festival’: A Celebration of Culture

The cultural festival returns for its 17th year in March to celebrate and preserve Moroccan nomadic heritage.

By  Steven Goodwin  - Feb 1, 2020 Rabat

Musicians from around the world will descend on the Moroccan oasis town of M’hamid El Ghizlane, in the Zagora province, for the annual International Nomads Festival from March 19-21. The festival celebrates cultural diversity as many nations come together to celebrate with music, poetry, storytelling, and cultural dances. The event also welcomes foreign musicians to participate in the activities and perform. Musicians from India, Senegal, Niger, Somalia, Algeria, Mali, Poland, and Italy will be performing local music and dance alongside local Moroccan artists. Festival-goers can expect to hear traditional Moroccan musical sounds of the oud, taarija, qanun, drums, and harps, as well as traditional music from other cultures. The festival aims to preserve the rich history, heritage, and identity of the nomadic tribes in the region. Nomadic tribes value tribalism and community; their ancestry and mobile way of life are a significant part of their culture. Nomadic tribes in Morocco live completely independently, making their own medicine, herding cattle, collecting water from wells, and collecting their own firewood.

Everything to Know About Surfing in Rabat

Surfing in Morocco attracts tourists each year to cites such as Taghazout and Agadir, but the capital, Rabat, provides a unique experience for those in the quest to find the perfect wave.
BY  Henry Hylbert  - Feb 2, 2020 Rabat

Each winter, swells form Morocco’s biggest waves of the year as international travelers and locals alike seek the best spots to catch a wave. For many, tried and true gems such as Agadir, Dar Bouazza, Oued Cherrat, are priorities, but the country’s capital, Rabat, makes a solid case for recognition.  With its northern location, Rabat offers a great stop on a surf tour with waves for all skill levels, an easy rental experience, and a unique surrounding culture.  Surf starts picking up in October and hits full stride in the January and February months with the arrival of the winter swell. In the spring, the surfing can be quality, but the waves are not as consistent.

Casablanca to Host its First International Gastronomy Festival 

“More than a feast for the taste buds,'' the festival will offer experiences of Morocco’s rich heritage through culinary art.

By Steven Goodwin  - Jan 31, 2020 Rabat

Food lovers and connoisseurs from around the world will gather in Casablanca to taste innovative, edible creations at the city’s debut international gastronomy festival from March 6-8. Themed “gastronomy as a lever for development in Africa,” the event aims to uplift Morocco and other African nations by promoting tourism, local restaurants, and cultural food practices. The event will display a variety of cultures’ food practices and gastronomy, the art and science behind good eating. The festival will especially focus on the beliefs and practices surrounding cooking and eating in Africa.

Is Digitization the Future for Morocco’s Business Sector?

In an ever-changing digital world, Morocco is racing against the clock to achieve its transition, but will it succeed in becoming a leader in this newborn sector?

By Yahia Hatim  - Jan 26, 2020

Morocco, like many developing countries, is currently in a transitional phase between the paper era and the digital age. Organizations are transitioning from relying on physical documents for their everyday functioning to using digital technology to solve their problems.
As Morocco’s digital transformation goes ahead at full speed, Morocco World News sat down with one of the transformation’s leading actors to discuss the future of digitalization and how it will affect Morocco’s economy. Yasmina Benchekroun, Managing Director at the Moroccan branch of Abergower, a British multinational specialized in digitization, shares her experience in this burgeoning economic field and her forecasts for the future.

Agadir Reflects on Morocco’s Judeo-Amazigh Heritage

The Jewish presence in Morocco dates back to the time of the Phoenician Carthaginian state, more than 2,500 years ago

By Morgan Hekking - Feb 5, 2020 Rabat

Agadir is hosting Morocco’s first Judeo-Amazigh tolerance forum from February 3 to 7 to highlight the cultural and religious diversity of the country’s national heritage.  The cultural event features a photo exhibition from the Museum of Moroccan Judaism, cultural activities, conferences, and visits to the synagogue of Agadir, the Rabbi David Ben Baroukh Mausoleum, and the Mellah of Inezgane. The curator of the Museum of Moroccan Judaism, Zhor Rehihil, is confident that the forum will enhance Jewish-Amazigh heritage as part of Moroccans’ common identity. The Jewish presence in Morocco dates back to the time of the Phoenician Carthaginian state, more than 2,500 years ago.  North Africa experienced multiple waves of Jewish migration, notably in 587 BC after the siege of Jerusalem.  The First Jewish-Roman War in Palestine in 66 AD resulted in a mass displacement of Jews, many of whom found refuge in Morocco.  The Spanish Inquisition in the late 15th century also triggered a wave of Jewish migration to Morocco.

Morocco’s New Program for Business Support ‘to Change Moroccan Economy’

The launch of Morocco’s plan for supporting entrepreneurship is expected to reshape Morocco’s business sector.

By Yahia Hatim - Feb 4, 2020 Rabat

The Integrated Program for Enterprise Support and Financing, launched on January 27, will reshape Morocco’s economy, opening up new and unique entrepreneurship opportunities, said the Chairman of Credit Agricole du Maroc bank, Tariq Sijilmassi. Thanks to the program, the small businesses of today have the potential to turn into medium-sized businesses in the coming years, and then into large businesses, said Sijilmassi. “In Morocco, there are not many large companies dating back hundreds of years,” the businessman noted. “All major Moroccan companies, or medium-sized ones, were born 20 to 50 years ago.”

As anti-Semitism increases, let's remember how Morocco saved its Jews

By Menachem Genack, opinion contributor — 02/02/20

“There are no Jews in Morocco; there are only Moroccan citizens.” This was how King Mohammed V of Morocco responded to the Vichy government of France to the request to turn over Jewish citizens. “I do not approve of the new anti-Semitic laws, and I refuse to associate myself with a measure I disagree with,” he told the French government officials. “I reiterate as I did in the past that the Jews are under my protection, and I reject any distinction that should be made amongst my people.”  While other rulers made common cause with the Nazis due to their shared anti-Semitism, Mohammed V was a strong supporter of the Allies, and he took seriously his role as “Commander of the Faithful,” which entailed protection not only of Muslims but of his Jewish and Christian subjects as well. During the Vichy rule, no Moroccan Jews were deported or killed. 
My parents escaped from Belgium to Casablanca en route to the United States during the war and thus were saved. Recently, I met with Hillary Clinton, and she mentioned to me that she had just returned from a trip to Morocco. She asked me if I was aware of the country’s history of benevolence toward its Jewish community. I told her that my own family was a beneficiary of that history and that I was traveling to Morocco myself in a few days. ……
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King Mohammed VI Launches Agadir Urban Development Program

The program will promote the population’s living conditions through numerous socio-economic projects.
By  Hamza Guessous  - Feb 4, 2020 Rabat

King Mohammed VI presided this evening over the launch of the Agadir Urban Development Program (2020-2024), a structuring project to promote the city’s role as an integrated economic hub and locomotive of the entire region. Worth MAD 6 billion (around $625 million), the urban development program aims to consolidate the city’s strategic position and strengthen its attractiveness as a national and international tourist destination
The program is also set to improve human development indices and promote the living conditions f the population, particularly the inhabitants of under-equipped neighborhoods.

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