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Morocco Week in Review 
August 7 2021

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Fulbright Celebrates 75 Years of Global Actions, Opportunities, Connections

Fulbright offers exchange opportunities for students, scholars, artists, teachers, and professionals from diverse backgrounds, and has benefitted more than 370,000 grantees.

Khouloud Haskouri, Aug. 2, 2021 Rabat

The Fulbright Program, the US Department of State’s flagship international exchange program is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year under the theme “Impact: 75 Years of Global Actions, Opportunities, and Connections.”  A number of virtual and in-person activities will be held internationally to demonstrate the benefit of the program to individuals, institutions, and communities. Through the Moroccan-American Commission for Educational and Cultural Exchange (MACECE), which was opened in 1982, more than 3,000 Moroccans and Americans have benefited from the Fulbright program. ……

Celebration of the 22nd Anniversary of Throne Day

Moroccan Embassy in DC June 30th, 2021

Morocco's El Bakkali Full of Pride Following His Historic Gold Medal Win

August 4th, 2021

Moroccan runner, Soufiane El Bakkali won his country’s first gold medal in the Men’s 3,000m Steeplechase during the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games. It is Morocco's first Olympic gold medal since 2004 when Hicham El Guerrouj clinched first place in both the 1500 m and 5000 m. The 25-year-old star spoke to beIN SPORTS in an exclusive interview following his incredible win……

Morocco Opens Doors of its First ‘Smart’ Vaccination Center

The new vaccination center in the Nouaceur province will provide pre-vaccination screening, logistics management, and data analysis about vaccinations.

Toms Dumpis, Aug 5, 2021 Rabat

Morocco's Ministry of Health launched the country's first “smart” vaccination center in the Nouaceur province. Launched on Wednesday, August 4, Morocco's first “digital and integrated” vaccination center spans a surface area of approximately 2,200 meters square, and aims to vaccinate between 3,000 and 4,000 people on a daily basis, according to Morocco's state media. The new vaccination center, dubbed the Vaccinodrome by local media, is a digital vaccination center, where patients can track their vaccination process, from registration to receipt of their second dose, by using a QR code. In addition, COVID-19 screening will also be automated, with the ability to pre-screen the patients for the virus, as well as monitoring and analyzing data from daily vaccination progress to provide an overview of the entire process……

Deloitte Report Examines Future of Moroccan Economy Post-COVID

Deloitte described the Moroccan socio-economic response to COVID as “remarkable” in its new report.

Shaquile Goff, Aug. 5, 2021 Denver

Morocco is the central focus of a new report by international business consultancy group Deloitte, as the company examines the strategy utilized  by  Moroccan officials to strengthen the national economy in the face of a global recession. In the 47-page report, economic analysts Emmanuel Gadret, Mehdi Serghini, and Alexandre Kateb examine the comprehensive plans and “major measures” the kingdom implemented in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. The analysts cite reports by the World Bank, which described Morocco’s economic strategy as “swift and decisive,” and the International Monetary Fund, which hailed the Kingdom as making “the right choice for its citizens.”

The report lists Morocco’s national infrastructure development as part of its achievements leading up to and during the pandemic.  Upgrades to the country’s roads, railways, and ports have helped facilitate trade for the North African nation. Coupled with new trade agreements signed with the US, EU, Turkey, Egypt, and the African Continental Free Trade Area (AFCTA), these decisions helped give the country an “economic buffer” as economic activity slowed down for most of the world……

Morocco’s Tourism Revenues Declined by 62.7% in May

Overnight stays in classified establishments also decreased by 70.1%.

Safaa Kasraoui, July 25th, 2021 Rabat

Tourism revenues in Morocco witnessed a decrease of 62.7% at the end of the first five months in 2021, compared to a drop of 30.6%  recorded a year earlier.The Moroccan Department of Studies and Financial Forecasts (DEPF) released new data indicating that the change covers a decline of 22.8% during the first two months of the second quarter this year and of 68.8% in the first quarter of the same year. According to the statement, Morocco’s tourism sector’s added value dropped by 50.3% in the first quarter this year compared to a decline of 57.7% in the fourth quarter in 2020 and 7.6% in the first quarter of the same year. DEPF’s data attributed the change to the drop in the number of tourist arrivals by 78.1% at the end of March 2021. This figure represents a -90.3% decline in the number of foreign tourists and -57.6% for Moroccans residing abroad…

Why the Battle of the Three Kings Lives On In Moroccan Memory

August 4th marks the 443rd anniversary of the historic battle that saw Moroccan forces defeat Portugal.

Oussama Aamari, Aug. 4th, 2021 Rabat

Like any other ancient nation, Morocco possesses a rich history of wars, struggles, and battles, but few of these battles are as important and as prolific in the collective memory as the Battle of Wadi Al-Makhazin, also known as the Battle of the Three Kings. As part of the European attempts to subject Muslim Morocco and its neighboring regions to Christian rule, the Portoguese King Sebastian landed in Tangier with an army of more than 20,000, allied with the deposed Moroccan Sultan, Al-Moutawakil. At this time, Morocco was under the control of the Saadi Sultanate, which got its name from the Arabic word “saad,” which means happiness, due to its subjects reporting being exceedingly satisfied with its rule……

France‌ ‌Provides‌ ‌$237‌ ‌Million‌ ‌Funding‌ ‌to‌ ‌Morocco‌ ‌to‌ ‌Promote‌ ‌Climate‌ ‌Initiatives‌ ‌

The funding is intended to provide Morocco with resources to improve territorial resilience and fight social disparity.

Shaquile Goff, July 29th, 2021 Denver

The French Development Agency (AFD) signed an agreement with Morocco today to tackle climate and social issues within the country.  According to stipulations of the deal, the AFD agreed to provide over $237 million in funding to promote “climate (resilience) and reduction of social disparities.” In addition, the AFD will provide separate funding for “technical assistance,” which will amount to over $4.1 million. The deal is part of a cooperative agreement between AFD, and the Communal Equipment Fund (FEC), operating under the Ministry of the Interior. The agreement was signed in the presence of France’s Ambassador Helene Le Gal, AFD Morocco Director Mihoub Mezouaghi, and FEC Director General Omar Lahlou on Wednesday…………..

Morocco to Reform Compensation Fund, Lift Butane Gas, Sugar, Wheat Subsidies

Morocco’s 2022 budget may lead to a 3.2% growth of the national economy.

Michael Sauers, July 28th, 2021 Rabat

Morocco’s Minister of Minister of Economy, Finance and Administration Reform, Mohamed Benchaaboun, announced on Wednesday that the government intends to begin gradually lifting subsidies on commodities such as sugar, wheat, and butane gas. The minister made the announcement before the Finance Committees of the Parliament as the Moroccan parliamentarians discussed the government’s budget for 2022.  In April 2021, the Compensation Fund stated that it would decrease subsidies for the products. However, Benchaaboun’s statement is the first official announcement in parliament. 
Read also: Morocco's Compensation Fund: Subsidy Decrease for Butane Gas, Sugar
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Moroccan government has had to reconsider its budget……

Morocco's First National Plan for Electric Mobility is Under Development

Morocco's transportation sector is responsible for 23% of the country's CO2 emissions, and 38% of the county's total energy consumption.

Toms Dumpis, July 26th, 2021 Rabat

Several details have emerged regarding the Moroccan government’s plans to study, and at a later date implement, the country's first national electric mobility plan that will advance the intersection of sustainability, transportation, and energy. Adapted from Paris Process on Mobility and Climate (PPMC) "Global Macro Roadmap for Transport Transformation," Morocco's new national plan will help the government address and mobilize all actors and stakeholders of the transportation ecosystem, ultimately, helping Morocco build innovative infrastructure in order to achieve is sustainable development goals. Morocco's National Office for Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE) awarded the contract to develop the Roadmap to BIP/EMC on July 16, 2021, totaling at a cost of MAD 3.28 million ($366,202)…

Morocco’s Investment Committee Approves Development Projects For Job Market

The 23 investments will be worth over one million dollars, and will focus on creating jobs in several crucial Moroccan industries.
Shaquile Goff, July 24th, 2021
Denver - Morocco’s Investment Committee announced a new program featuring 23 separate investments into the Moroccan labor market. 
The plan was announced Friday by the Minister of Industry, Moulay Hafid Elalamy. Elalamy stated that the new investments are projected to create “7,987 direct and indirect jobs.” The $1.085 million investment will be spread across Morocco’s most vital industries. 
This will include investments into standard education, higher education, tourism, entertainment, and jobs in the energy sector. According to Elalamy, these industries represent about 39% of jobs in Morocco…………………………..

'Maghrebi Rivalries': Germany's Hope to Stifle Moroccan Development

Amid France's and Germany's reinvigorated efforts to discredit Morocco's growing influence, a German think tank's report on Magrebi rivalry from 2020 has resurfaced, driving further the divide between the two sides of the conflict.

Toms Dumpis, July 28th, 2021 Rabat

Amid France's and Germany's reinvigorated efforts to discredit Morocco's growing influence, a German think tank's report on Magrebi rivalry from 2020 has resurfaced, driving further the divide between the two sides of the conflict. Isabelle Werenfels wrote the "Maghrebi Rivalries Over Sub‑Saharan Africa" report in 2020, for the German Institute for International & Security Affairs (SWP), a German think tank that regularly advises the Bundestag and the German government at large. The report appears relatively neutral at the surface level. Deeper investigation however reveals doublespeak and implications not obvious at first, but ultimately typical for such Western publications. The report describes Morocco's development as fueling "Algeria’s feeling of growing irrelevance," and leaving Tunisia playing catch-up, as Werenfel highlights the suitable circumstances for the European Union to "put Morocco’s hegemonic ambitions in perspective."
While the growing diplomatic rift between Germany and Morocco was already evident back in 2020, the state-aligned German think tank was stressing that the EU should treat the aforementioned developments "as an opportunity for African integration and triangular EU/Maghreb/Sub-Sahara cooperation."………………….

Five Street Foods in Morocco That Are Uniquely Moroccan

Moroccan gastronomy is much more than just couscous and tagines.

Michael Sauers, July 30th, 2021 Rabat

Although Morocco is known for dishes such as tagine and couscous, the kingdom has a growing scene of street food that can keep up with the largest of appetites. Almost every region is notorious for a street delicacy. Here are five of Morocco’s most unique street foods.

Morocco’s rendition of fried potato patties, known as maakouda, is best served by itself or inside a sandwich. Most famous in Morocco’s former capital of Fez, the fried treat is made of simple ingredients: potato, flour, eggs, and herbs.  After achieving a mashed potato consistency, the potato patties are fried which results in a crispy, golden crust on the outside while the inside remains hot and mushy. One of the best spots for a delicious Maakouda sandwich is in the new city of Meknes. M3i9date Ba Mbarek is known for extremely cheap sandwiches with single pieces of maakouda starting at just MAD 2. Ba Mbarek’s completely loaded sandwich comes with two fried eggs, three maakoudas, cheese, bologna, green olives, and Morocco’s harissa hot sauce……

A French immigrant in Morocco: Leila Slimani's new book

In her latest historical novel, French literary star Leila Slimani tells the story of her grandmother who emigrated to Morocco after World War II.
"She was very brave, she spoke Arabic and Berber. She was a funny woman, an independent woman who told us so many stories of her childhood."
When Leila Slimani speaks of her grandmother, there is notable affection in her voice. Her latest novel, The Country of Others, is inspired by the life of her grandmother, a blond, blue-eyed woman from France who came to live in Morocco after the Second World War to marry Slimani's grandfather. The result is a powerful, enlightening and oftentimes disturbing historical novel……

In Pictures: The Stalagmites and Stories of Morocco’s Fabled ‘Hercules Cave’

From Greece to Morocco, the cave of Hercules is home to ancient rock formations and a stunning view of the ocean that tells the tale of the ancient Gricean warrior.

Michael Sauers, Aug 03, 20121 Rabat

Morocco has a rich adventure history, and almost every famed traveler from Ibn Battuta to the Gricean Hercules has passed through the kingdom. Although Northern Morocco is known most for its beautiful Andalusian architecture and delectable seafood, it is also rich in cultural sites such as the famous Hercules Cave, just 15 kilometers southwest of Tangier’s city center. The ancient lore of the great adventurer Hercules claims that the warrior traversed the northern coast of Morocco and found refuge in a cave whose mouth opened to the Atlantic Ocean. Beyond the cave’s ancient mythological roots, it is also well-known for its unique opening to the water, which is shaped like the continent of Africa. In addition, the cave is a paradise for geologists as it features a wide array of special rock types and formations……………………………..

Samir Bennis’s Timely Book Explores Centuries of Tumultuous Morocco-Spain Relations

The book’s central thesis is that past Spanish chroniclers' condescending views of Muslims and Moors continue to dictate much of contemporary Spanish discourse on and attitude toward Morocco.

Tamba Francois Koundouno, July 29th, 2021 Rabat

Between April and May of this year, as Moroccan observers and officials appeared to marvel incredulously at Madrid’s apparent ignorance of basic diplomatic reciprocity as the “essential” Spain-Morocco partnership gradually disintegrated, Samir Bennis had a theory of why the Spanish government acted as it did. 
While many commentators saw in Madrid’s dismissive attitude towards Rabat a surprising turn of events from a government that has long described Morocco as an indispensable partner, Bennis saw remnants of a centuries-old habit whereby Spanish authorities were conditioned to look upon the North African country as an inferior and junior partner Spain could treat as it sees fit.  

At the heart of the then exacerbating diplomatic fallout between Rabat and Madrid, Samir wrote in an op-ed in May, was “the fact that the Spanish mentality has not really evolved on Morocco and Moroccans.” Instead, “it has remained frozen, trapped in the ghosts of the past and a visceral and inherent hostility to Morocco that generations of Spaniards have inherited and kept alive.”…………………………………….

New Book Sheds Thorough, ‘Dispassionate’ Light on Western Sahara Conflict

The first publication of an upcoming series of books on the Sahara issue, the book offers a thorough analysis of the ramifications and impact of the conflict on Continental Europe, the Mediterranean, the Maghreb, and Sahel regions.

Khouloud Haskouri, July 28th, 2021 Rabat

A new English-language book shedding light on the Western Sahara dispute was published today, July 28. Titled "Rethinking the Sahara Dispute: History and Contemporary Perspectives," the book is a collective work completed at the initiative of the Coalition for the Autonomy of the Sahara (AUSACO), to be published ahead of Morocco’s Throne Day on Friday, July 30.  AUSACO, formerly the International Platform for the Defense and Support of the Moroccan Sahara, is an independent network made up of 3,000 lawyers, academics, journalists, and civil society actors committed to advancing the Western Sahara resolution process. 
The members of AUSACO advocate for the resolution of the conflict through the publication of articles, books, and statements to the press, and by organizing conferences and events on the Sahara question. ……….
The book is the first publication of an upcoming book series devoted to the Moroccan Sahara entitled “AUSACO Book Series.”……………………..

Morocco Notes Sharp Increase in Unemployment Among High-Degree Graduates

In spite of the government's efforts and support for the private and public sectors, unemployment spiked this year in Morocco compared to 2020, especially in urban areas and among highly educated workers.

Khouloud Haskouri, Aug. 3, 2021 Rabat

Morocco’s High Commissioner for Planning (HCP), in its latest report, reported an increase of 0.5% in the unemployment rate.  Rising from 12.3% to 12.8% at the national level despite the eased restrictions and a relaunch in economic activity, in the second quarter of 2021. The sharp increase was most prevalent in urban areas, going from 15.6% to 18.2%.  In rural areas, the HCP notes a significant decline in unemployment rates, going from 7.2% to 4.8%......................

Moroccan students in the UK Increased by 51% in 6 Years

England hosts the majority of the students, the study shared with Morocco World News shows.

Safaa Kasraoui, Aug. 2nd, 2021 Rabat

A new study shows a 51% increase in the number of Moroccan students in the UK within the last six years.  An Erudera study demonstrated a remarkable increase between the 2014-2015 and 2019-2020 academic years. The study shared with Morocco World News showed that the 2014-2015 season saw the enrollment of 645 Moroccan students in comparison with 975 students in 2019-2020. According to the distribution of students, 880 Moroccan students enrolled in universities in England, while 45 students enrolled in Scotland. Approximately 35 students were studying in Wales, while 15 were in Northern Ireland, the study finds…

Archaeologists announce major Stone Age discovery in Morocco

29 Jul 2021

Archaeologists in Morocco have announced the discovery of North Africa's oldest Stone Age hand-axe manufacturing site, dating back 1.3 million years.
The find pushes back by hundreds of thousands of years the start date in North Africa of the Acheulian stone tool industry associated with a key human ancestor, Homo erectus, researchers on the team told journalists in Rabat.
It was made during excavations at a quarry on the outskirts of the country's economic capital Casablanca.
"This major discovery ... contributes to enriching the debate on the emergence of the Acheulian in Africa," said Abderrahim Mohib, co-director of the Franco-Moroccan Prehistory of Casablanca program.
Before the find, the presence in Morocco of the Acheulian stone tool industry was thought to date back 700,000 years……………………….

New Book Analyzes Algerian Political Aims to Prevent Moroccan Sovereignty

Algeria’s agenda to sow political discord in the Western Sahara region is exposed in an explosive book, written by several experts with extensive knowledge on the subject.

Shaquile Goff, July 31st, 2021 Denver

A collective book examining Algeria’s true intent in supporting seperatist groups in the Western Sahara region has revealed some of Algeria’s efforts to meddle in Morocco’s territorial integrity was recently dissected.  The work, titled Rethinking the Sahara Conflict: History and Contemporary Perspectives offers a refreshing perspective on an issue that is often misconstrued by mainstream academic and media sources. The book was published by the Autonomy for the Sahara Coalition (AUSACO), and called on many experts on the subject to reanalyze the current narrative regarding the Western Sahara conflict.  According to Jerome Besnard, a French essayist and the editor of the book, Algeria’s “manipulation of the Polisario” in carrying out its agenda is perpetuated by biases in many academic reports.” This narrative, Besnard argues, “falsely portrays Morocco as a territorial aggressor in the region.” Besnard notes that Morocco has contributed to development investments in the Western Sahara region, which remains a “historically central” territory for Morocco……

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