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Morocco Week in Review 
April 24 2021

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

MRA NGO Raises Awareness Against Violence Towards Women in Morocco

The aim of the MRA NGO is to support women and women’s rights.

By Nihale Azahhaf - Mar 26, 2021

On Thursday, NGO Mobilising for Rights Associates (MRA) held a webinar to discuss research findings  on the violence against women under the theme, “Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in Morocco.” The online meeting featured Aicha Sakmassi, executive director of the association Moroccan Women’s Voices; Saida Kouzzi, a founding partner in Mobilising for Rights Associates NGO; Hasna Allali, president of Amal Association for Women and Development; and Amal El Azzouzi, president of association Tafiil Moubadarat, meaning Activating Initiatives.

Morocco World News also attended the meeting. According to Amal El Azzouzi, some of the central objectives of the research is to spread awareness regarding violence against women in Morocco and make the government more responsive to the issue of violence against women.
There were 1,213 female participants in the study who had suffered from domestic violence. Researchers interviewed the women to learn of their specific stories of domestic abuse and how they dealt with it. …………………………….

Blooming Morocco: One Argan Seed at a Time

By Zuha Afzal - Zuha Afzal is currently a 4th-year student at the University of Virginia. Apr 18, 2021

Deciphering effective mechanisms for long-term growth is a journey that most certainly involves a variety of factors. Factors such as sustainable growth, women empowerment, clean drinking water, and planting trees are all integral in order to ensure brighter futures for Moroccan communities.  Planting trees is a unique factor that promises a greener, more vibrant, and interconnected future for Morocco. Morocco is gifted with an abundance of tree varieties, from pine forests to poplars to jujube trees.  The most notable one, however, is the famed argan tree, better known as “The Tree of Life.” Prevalent in the southwest region of Morocco, the argan tree is renowned for its plethora of health and environmental benefits as well as women empowerment. The preservation of argan trees in Morocco is a vital development strategy that ensures positive developmental growth for coming generations…………………………

Learning to like Ramadan while living in Morocco

Apr 20, 2021 by Britt Luby

I did not expect to like Ramadan. By that point, my husband and I had been living in Morocco as Peace Corps volunteers for about six months, and it had been a difficult six months. Now, on top of the heat and the harassment, a long month of fasting loomed before me. In fact, I had prepared to dislike Ramadan so much that I had scheduled a one-week vacation to Nice, France, right in the middle of it. Flights were just $60 each way, and sneaking off to the South of France seemed like the best way to survive the season. Ramadan, the ninth month of the Muslim calendar and commemorated this year from April 13 to May 12, is a holy month and a time of spiritual reflection and self-improvement. Many Muslims will fast from food and water from sunrise to sunset as a spiritual practice. As a practicing Catholic, a month or so of fasting was fairly familiar to me. I was used to giving up sweets from Ash Wednesday until Easter. But giving up water? From sunrise to sunset on a 100-degree day? For 30 days in a row? This was too hard! Our community, nestled in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains, was not dreading Ramadan as I was. Anticipation was palpable in the air as my host mother, Habiba, stocked up on dates and sellou. An abandoned storefront turned into a chebekia bakery seemingly overnight. Moroccans are Muslim by law, so nearly every single resident of our town was preparing for Ramadan…………………..

Drought: Morocco’s Agriculture Sector and Climate Change Challenges

By Michael Sauers - Apr 14, 2021 Rabat

The Oxford Business Group (OBG) released a new report on climate change in Africa and cited desertification as a growing danger to Morocco’s agriculture sector.  In the report, the OBG cited the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization data that suggests Africa is the 2nd driest continent with nearly 40% of the continent affected by desertification and drought. Morocco’s agriculture sector relies primarily on grain production. Nearly 75% of usable agricultural surface areas (SAU) contain cereal crops. However, cereal crops only make up 10-15% of revenue and 5-10% of employment opportunities in the sector. 
As drought looms over Morocco’s agriculture sector, researchers seek to implement new strategies to combat the effects of climate change. ……………………..

Moroccan Government to ‘Integrate’ Amazigh as Official Language

By map - Apr 20, 2021 Rabat

Morocco’s Permanent Inter-Ministerial Commission, which is in charge of monitoring and evaluating “the implementation of the official character of the Amazigh language,” has  approved an “Integrated Government Plan for the implementation of the official character of the Amazigh language,” reported MAP, Morocco’s state media.  The commission made the announcement earlier today at the end of its first meeting chaired by the Head of Government Saad Dine El Otmani, , according to a statement by El Othmani’s office. During the meeting, El Othmani stressed the “special nature of this meeting, which is an essential step in the adoption of the first integrated government plan for the implementation of the official character of the Amazigh language,” MAP said.
The newspaper quoted the head of government’s office’s statement as saying that the  “plan is a clear and harmonious roadmap for all government departments in the years to come.” ………………..

Recent Discoveries Suggest a Prehistoric Community in Anti-Atlas

By Toms Dumpis -  Apr 19, 2021 Rabat

“Clear evidence” points to Morocco’s Anti-Atlas Mountains as a possible “larger scale” site for prehistoric occupation. According to a study in the scientific journals Almogaren issue 52, the discovery of debitage stone at Imaoun suggests the existence of a possible prehistoric community, which would have existed about twenty kilometers northeast of the Akka oasis in the Anti-Atlas. While prospecting in the region in 2017 and 2018, researchers discovered Levallois lithic material in Imaoun. The Levallois material refers to the knapping technique, a sophisticated way of shaping stone tools in prehistoric times. Julien Biver, Carmen Hause and Luc Hermann, researchers and co-authors of the study, believe that “The homogenous production based on the use of local raw material could indicate an important site.”………………

Ramadan in Morocco: A New Perspective on Food, Society, and Fasting

Ramadan is the ultimate test of resilience and brings out the best of Moroccan society.

By Michael Sauers - Apr 17, 2021 Rabat

Although I have spent nearly two years in Morocco, I have always somehow missed the opportunity to spend Ramadan in-country. This year, I finally have the chance to spend Ramadan in Morocco and experience all the feelings of camaraderie and goodwill that often go hand-in-hand with Ramadan.  Since my initial discovery of Islam and the Moroccan culture, fasting has always seemed daunting. I was fortunate enough to spend a year in Meknes, Morocco where I dove into studying Modern Standard Arabic and subsequently, Islam. I lived with a Moroccan family for a year and got a firsthand look at the festivities of Ramadan during Eid al-Fitr. Although I’m a Christian, I have always been fascinated by the holy month of Ramadan. My social circle in America consists primarily of Muslims and I’ve had many unique opportunities to partake in Ramadan festivities such as attending ftour at local mosques and Eid al-Adha celebrations. I’ve always dreamed of spending Ramadan in a Muslim country to feel the true spirit of Ramadan………………………………

Rebuilding Education in Post-COVID-19 Morocco

With the abrupt coronavirus outbreak, the government strove in unusual haste to devise a complete online education scheme in the blink of an eye.

By  Youssef Laaraj  - Youssef Laaraj A high school teacher of English. Apr 18, 2021 Rabat

Thirteen months after the first shut-down, the world is nearly wrecked by the COVID-19 pandemic. The novel coronavirus, this lethal microbe, caused a near global standstill. It marked the social, economic, and moral bankruptcy the world has been heading to with great velocity. But who can stand stronger in this macro dog-eat-dog race? The death and infection tolls have been skyrocketing for months. Worse, victims could not say a last word to their loved ones and their loved ones could not take a last look at their dears. Yet, the supreme law of the universe pushes life forward with no time for prolonged mourning.
Only a few countries can still grapple with the unseen ghost owing to sufficient preparation and well-built capacity. The building not only of material infrastructure, which is surely of critical importance, but of humans. China, Germany, Japan, and New Zealand are some of the model countries which stand out for being able to fight the invisible enemy with collective responsibility and manifest determination………………………………

Enrich Your Table With Moroccan Almond and Honey Briouats

Moroccan sweets are to die for. Making them, however, require both patience and a passion to enjoy the crowd-favorite flavor and exquisite look.

By  Safaa Kasraoui  - Apr 17, 2021 Rabat

Besides its religious and community value among Moroccans, Ramadan is also a month when locals bring the best from the country’s renowned cuisine. If you have ever visited Morocco during the month, you certainly noticed the triangle-shaped sweets, briouats, among dishes served during iftar (breakfast).
Briouats’ size can differ, but the taste is the same — unless a strange recipe comes along as a sequel. If you tasted briouats in Morocco and crave them when you are back home, this recipe can help you enjoy them for a second time. All you need are the right ingredients and your sweet tooth………………..

Morocco, Kingdom of International Solar Radiance

The Moroccan solar program may still have a long way to go although the kingdom’s tangible advances in developing renewable energies continue to grab headlines worldwide.

By Abdelfatah Ait Ammi  - Apr 20, 2021 Rabat

Morocco’s solar program may still have a long way to go although the kingdom’s tangible advances in developing renewable energies continue to grab headlines worldwide. A stark contrast, however, in reporting about the green energy transition by national and international media begs stakeholders’ attention and warrants wisdom from national institutions. In short, to diversify its energy supplies away from fossil fuels and reduce the impact on climate change, Morocco has adopted more sustainable energy practices while boosting its energy independence. In this respect, the kingdom has set an ambitious renewable capacity target, currently at 52% by 2030, including a 2,000 megawatt (MW) solar program. By successfully commissioning multiple wind and solar power plants, Morocco has managed to achieve approximately 34% of its target over the past decade…………………………

Morocco Can Become the Leader Africa Needs on Tech Policy, Digitization

The next technological frontier is in blockchain technologies, and Morocco’s growing continental prominence means it could become Africa’s leader on this digital revolution front.

By  Charles Catania  - Apr 17, 2021

Call me a traditionalist, but any student of American history should have a great respect for the role Morocco has played on the international stage. Morocco was the first country to recognize American Independence, less than two years after the Declaration of Independence was issued. The two countries then signed a treaty of peace and friendship in 1786, fortifying the longest unbroken relationship in American history. Recently, former US Senator Carol Moseley-Braun (D-IL) noted that Morocco should be considered a key player in US-African relations. She’s right, of course. Morocco’s recent realignment with the African Union under King Mohammed VI, in conjunction with their role as one of Africa’s most advanced economies, allows the country to lead on a number of policy issues which could affect the economic direction of the continent for decades.  In a speech given at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa on January 31, 2017, King Mohammed promised that Morocco will be “a motor for common economic growth,” adding that “[i]t is time that Africa’s riches benefit Africa.”………………………….

How Morocco Can Protect Migrants in Efforts Against Human Trafficking

“Unfortunately, a slave trade still exists today and particularly threatens young women, women, and migrants.”

By Nicole Luz  - Nicole Luz is an undergraduate student at the University of Virginia and an intern at the High Atlas Foundation, Morocco. Apr 10, 2021

Increased global awareness about human trafficking has shown many that slavery is not a thing of the past, but that it has rather just taken new forms. 
The UN Office on Drugs and Crime defines human trafficking, also known as trafficking in persons (TIP), as “the recruitment, movement or harboring of people for the purpose of exploitation – such as sexual exploitation, forced labor, slavery or organ removal…by the use of improper means such as the threat or use of force, fraudulent schemes, deception, or abuse of power.”  As of 2016, 40.3 million people were victims of human trafficking worldwide. In Morocco, human trafficking seems to be on the rise, with an increase from 131 identified survivors in 2018 to 423 in 2019; 146 of the latter were foreigners. These may be people brought to Morocco involuntarily, but they are often also migrants, who are particularly vulnerable to trafficking…………………

IMF States Morocco’s Economic Recovery Speed Relies on Vaccinations

As of April 19, the number of COVID-19 vaccines administered in Morocco is 8.86 million

By Staff Writer - Apr 20, 2021 Rabat

The speed of economic recovery in Morocco depends on the successful completion of the vaccination operation against COVID-19, said Mission Chief for Morocco of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Roberto Cardarelli on Monday. “Morocco has shown agility in the procurement and distribution of vaccines to its population, thus setting an example at the global level in terms of immunization,” he said during a webinar under the theme “Global Economic Forecast: What Prospects for Morocco and the MENA region?” Signs of recovery are visible in the rebound of exports and in the industrial sector, which created nearly 80,000 jobs in the fourth quarter of 2020, Cardarelli said. The service sector, including tourism, depends largely on the progress of vaccination, he added.
The IMF projects economic recovery in Morocco will start slowly at similar levels in North Africa and the Middle East (MENA) region, said Cardarelli.
“The significant weight of tourism in Morocco affects the economic recovery,” he said…………………………..

Catholic Charity Report Claims Morocco Violates Religious Freedom

The reports warns about an “authoritarian government and Islamist extremism.”

By Jasper Hamann -  Apr 21, 2021 Rabat

The Catholic charity “Aid to the Church in Need” (ACN) has painted a dire picture of religious freedom in Morocco in its 2021 report. The group released its annual “Religious Freedom In The World Report 2021” on April 20, that paints a skewed picture of the world. The ACN report described Morocco, often lauded for its religious freedom and coexistence, as a country where “severe cases” of religious discrimination occurs. It places Morocco in its “orange” category of countries that experience “discrimination, hate crimes and religiously-motivated violence.” The ACN’s report describes Morocco as suffering under an “authoritarian government” as well as “Islamist extremism.” The report states that religious freedom in Morocco has improved since 2018, yet presents an unrecognizable picture of Moroccan society.

WEF: Morocco Ranks Third in MENA for Effective Energy Transmission

Morocco follows Qatar and the UAE in leading the MENA region for Effective Energy Transmission, according to the WEF global ranking.

By Michael Sauers -  Apr 22, 2021 Rabat

Morocco ranked the third-best Arab nation as part of the World Economic Forum’s Fostering Effective Energy Transmission 2021 Report, published on April 20.
The report assigns each country a ranking based on the Energy Transition Index (ETI) with several criteria attributed to the ranking. Qatar’s ETI score ranked first (60) in the MENA region followed by the UAE in second (57.5) and Morocco in third (56.8). Morocco ranked 66th in the overall global ranking, exceeding international standards in fields such as economic growth and development, energy access and security, and regulation and political commitment. Fields in which Morocco fell below the international standards include transition readiness, capital investment, and human capital and consumer participation. In 2020, Morocco ranked 51st globally, however, the COVID-19 pandemic reduced its ETI score from 58 to 56.8. Morocco invested nearly $5.8 billion (MAD 51.6 billion) in renewable energy programs and announced 100 sustainable energy projects in 2021, such as the Fask Dam Project.

‘ClimateLaunchpad’: Green Innovation Competition Opens to Morocco

By Toms Dumpis - Apr 21, 2021 Rabat

ClimateLaunchpad, the self-described largest green innovation competition, has opened its doors to Moroccan competitors for this year’s iteration.  According to a press release shared with Morocco World News, as of April 20, the competition welcomes applications from over 56 countries across the world.  The competition’s goal is to “unlock the world’s cleantech potential that addresses climate change” by welcoming green innovation in “renewable energy, energy efficiency, food and agriculture, water, transportations, industrial technology or [in] any other way to tackle climate change.” It is set to begin with an “intensive 2-day Boot Camp” and six coaching sessions for select participants, the statement noted. The opening sessions will further whittle down the competition to two best competitors from each country. In turn, the two will have the opportunity to pitch their ideas at the Global Grand Final in September 2021. In turn, the world’s top 16 ideas will gain access to the Climate-KIC’s Accelerator, which is a program focused on “cleantech” commercialization. There are also cash prizes available to help the most viable start-ups to move forward and, ultimately,  leave a positive impact.

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