The mineret that takes you home

About Membership Volunteer Newsletters Souk Links

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web
Morocco Week in Review 
March 12, 2016

On International Women's Day, a Reflection On the Past Year in Morocco
Moroccan American Center for Policy (Washington, DC) Caitlin Dearing Scott

International Women's Day - every March 8 - offers an occasion to celebrate the achievements of women and the successes of the fight for gender equality while reflecting on the challenges that remain. Morocco kicked off the occasion over the weekend, with the 2nd annual Women's Day Race in Essaouira, which drew large crowds, and several magazines devoting articles to the topic.

Among the highlights was an article in Jeune Afrique, "Morocco: Mohammed VI, the King for Women," detailing how "in 16 years of rule, the king of Morocco has reconciled the country with its women," by making women's rights a priority, working to reconcile conflicting cultural views on the role of women, investing in women's education, and encouraging income-generating activities for women. That said, as the author points out, there is "a gap between the very voluntarist policies of the State, led by the king, and a society that cedes to the sirens of conservativism." Nevertheless, while debate continues over the reforms initiated under King Mohammed VI, there is consensus that they have been "one of the cultural revolutions of the Arab world."
In another piece, Challenge Magazine published a list highlighting the leadership of 60 women in fields from business to politics and civil society. According to the publishers, the piece was specifically designed to "identify the extent of the skill areas explored by Moroccan women," and go beyond discussing only women in high-profile positions- though several developments last year have certainly enhanced the role of women in that regard.
For one, new regionalization laws were adopted before the local and regional elections in September, mandating a 27% requirement for women candidates in Communal Councils and a 1/3 requirement in Regional Councils. Increased political participation and representation at the local and regional level should provide further support for the implementation of other women's rights reforms.

And the recent reshuffling of Morocco's diplomatic corps has made the country the leader in the Arab and Muslim world for the representativeness of women in diplomacy - a fact the Huffington Post Maghreb chalks up to the 2011 Constitution, which "guarantees women's rights and ensures their presence in the public sphere."

Of course, as with the continued fight elsewhere in the world, it is far from over. The challenges of gaps in existing legislation, implementation, and continued cultural conservativism remain. The latest debate is over the need for improved legislation on domestic violence. Women's groups have been joined by the National Council for Human Rights (CNDH) in advocating for sweeping changes in both the law and practice to address this issue. As a result, a draft law has been in the works for some time.
This reality - of successes achieved and obstacles remaining - is all the more reason to join women in Morocco - and the rest of the world - in celebrating today and committing to the achievement of full gender equality.
For more on the topic, please see our issue brief.

Morocco- Women Make up 70 of Upper level Positions in Public Administration
MENAFN - Morocco World News - 09/03/2016

A new study shows that that Moroccan women make up 70% of upper-level positions in public administration. In the public administration sector 35 percent of all employees are female and 70 percent of upper-level positions are held by women according to official statistics published by the Moroccan government on Wednesday. Mohamed Moubdi Minister of civil service and modernization of administration released the statistics during the National Observatory for Public Sector Jobs held in Rabat. The figures shows that 536004 government employees are men while 188811 employees are women.

In comparison to the 35 percent feminization rate of the public administration sector local and national security forces employ more women on average. Thirty-nine percent of people working in municipal police forces and in national security are women. However women make up only 9 percent of senior positions in either department. Moubi said that the government hopes to increase the proportion of women in senior-level security positions to 22 percent in the near future.

The statistics also offered insight on the presence of women in the various sectors of public employment. Women make up 59 percent of public school teachers 31.6 percent of government doctors 41 percent of pharmacists 34 percent of judges and 15 percent of lawyers the figures showed. Approximately 900,000 to 1.2 million women work in the private sector including those involved in seasonal work for the agriculture and tourism industries. The minister also said that women make up 51 percent of Moroccans 59 percent of the country's rural population and a third of the kingdom's labor force. Every morning approximately three million women go to work in both rural and urban areas he added

Morocco- International Women's Day: Women's Fingerprint on Entrepreneurship 
MENAFN - Morocco World News - 07/03/2016

International Women's Day is annually held on March 8 to celebrate women's achievements throughout history and across nations. It is also known as the United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace. This year the Ministry of Moroccans Residing Abroad and Migration Affairs will highlight Moroccan women's achievements in the entrepreneurship field by organizing a meeting on March 10 2016in Marrakech in partnership with the Association of Female Entrepreneurs in Morocco (AFEM).

Forty Moroccan women from around the world representing 19 countries distinguished themselves through their entrepreneurial dynamism in different sectors including new information technologies industry communication design food transportation and logistics cosmetics finances will be celebrated.
AFEM is a pioneer association uniting women who are heads and executives of businesses in Morocco.

Founded on September 28 2000 by. Salwa Karkri Belkziz the association has always worked with determination and selflessness to promote women’s entrepeneurship. As an open gate for female entrepreneurs nationally and internationally AFEM now has a strong network of more than 500 women at the head of legal companies such as SA SARL SNC generating over 50,000 jobs.

Female entrepreneurs make up for approximately one third of all entrepreneurs globally. According to one study conducted in 2012 there were approximately 126 million women that were either starting or already running new businesses in various economies all over the world. As far as those who were already established there was an approximate 98 million. Not only are these women running or starting their own businesses but they are also employing others so that they are participating in the growth of their respective economies.

For this reason the meeting aims to encourage networking and to support women who want to start their business in Morocco by celebrating female entrepreneurship sharing experiences and offering feedback. It will also provide an opportunity to reach out to female experts specialized in the development of entrepreneurship.

Dispatches: No Excuse for Domestic Violence in Morocco
Rothna Begum Researcher, Women's Rights Division

“My husband beats me. He abuses me. My family doesn’t help me. They just say ‘be patient, he’ll change.’ The first time, I went to the police. They didn’t believe me, they told me to go home.” These are the opening words of a new video by Moroccan performer Mounia Magueri, widely known for her comic sketches on social issues. In the video, Magueri plays the role of a domestic violence survivor, an abusive husband, a police official, and a prosecutor. The words of each fictional character highlight the problem of domestic violence. In this video, Moroccan comedian and feminist activist Mounia Magueri plays the role of a domestic violence survivor, an abusive husband, a police officer, and a prosecutor—thus highlighting the problem of domestic violence from different angles.

Morocco has no domestic violence law and violence against women is widespread. A 2009-10 government survey found that nearly two-thirds of women had experienced physical, psychological, sexual, and economic violence. Some 55 percent of the two-thirds of women reported “conjugal” violence.
In February, Human Rights Watch reported on Morocco’s weak response to preventing domestic violence, protecting survivors who seek help, and prosecuting abusers. We interviewed 20 women and girl survivors of domestic violence. They said that their husbands, partners, and other family members punched, kicked, burned, stabbed, and raped them.

Many of these women told us that the police did not record their statements, told them to leave, and refused to investigate or arrest abusers even after prosecutors ordered them to do so. With no domestic violence law, Moroccan officials lack guidance on how to handle these cases. They also lack an “order for protection” mechanism so common in other countries, which can restrain abusers from approaching the victim. The stories of four of these women are highlighted in a social media campaign directed at the Moroccan Minister of Women and Family, Bassima Hakkaoui, with the Arabic hashtag الحقاوي_عطيني_حقي #, meaning “Hakkaoui: Give me my rights.”

The Moroccan government has drafted a law on violence against women, but it has been pending with the government since 2013. While the draft has good elements, it lacks a strong definition of domestic violence and does not criminalize marital rape.

Today is International Women’s Day, and women across Morocco are demanding that the government pass a strong law on violence against women.
In her video, Magueri tells Morocco’s Minister of Women and Family to “get a move on, roll up your sleeves, and publish a strong draft law.” 
We couldn’t agree more

Moroccan Women Honored at UNESCO on International Women’s Day
Tuesday 8 March 2016 - Larbi Arbaoui Rabat –

Moroccan women were honored at UNESCO headquarters in Paris on Tuesday in celebration of International Women’s Day. Moroccan Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mbarka Bouaida, and the Director-General of UNESCO will co-chaired the event on March 8. A roundtable about Moroccan women was held at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris around 10 a.m.

Entitled “Women’s Rights in Morocco: Between Promises and Effectiveness”, the conference was devoted to the evaluation of the situation of women’s rights in Morocco, five years after the adoption of the 2011 Constitution, and thirteen years after the Moudawana, the reform of the family code, went into force.
The round table was attended by several Moroccans from various fields of expertise who spoke on the rights and the place of women in Moroccan society.
Driss El Yazami, the Chairman of the National Human Rights Council, Nadia Bernoussi director of the National School of Administration (ENA), and other experts on the issues of equal opportunities, the role of women, and their rights were among the speakers of the conference.

Yazami made a speech on the implementation of the 2011 Constitution, while Bernoussi spoke about the place of women in the new Constitution.
The president of the Socialist International Women (ISF) and member of the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP) Wafaa Hajji maade a speech about “Women and power.”

Rabha Zeidguy, member of the High Authority of Audiovisual Communication (HACA), devoted her speech to freedom of expression and gender equality in media.

Morocco Green Plan a Model to Follow in Region: UN Special Rapporteur 
MENAFN - Morocco World News - 08/03/2016

Morocco Green Plan could serve as a model for countries in the region in the field of food security the Special Rapporteur on Right to Food Hilal Elver.
“The Plan could play a determining role in improving food security and inspire other countries in the region as a model of good practice” Elver said during a plenary session at Human Rights Council in Geneva. She stressed that Morocco Green Plan has “enormous potential for transforming the agricultural sector into a stable source of growth competitiveness and broad-based economic development”. She also hailed “significant” accomplishment made by Morocco in eradicating extreme poverty and eliminating hunger.

He highlighted a number of other policies and strategies that have also been introduced in Morocco to achieve inclusive economic growth and reduce poverty in the country with the goal of investing in and developing the sustainability of the sector.

“Morocco continues to demonstrate its political willingness and responsibility to fight climate change” she said commending “the important role” it has played in international climate change diplomacy. She also highlighted the “significant efforts” being made to develop infrastructure in Dakhla noting the important agricultural and fisheries projects in the region.

The UN Rapporteur recommended Morocco to strengthen existing efforts to significantly reduce the unemployment rate by targeting women and young people and increase the number of retraining programmes and vocational and technical training programmes as well as incentives for employers to create jobs and hire women and youth where appropriate.

This meeting was held in the presence of Morocco’s Permanent Representative Ambassador in Geneva Mohamed Aujjar.”

The Moroccan Telecommunications Fiasco and Why Change is Needed 
MENAFN - Morocco World News - 09/03/2016

Moroccans are being deprived of their basic right to communicate. As a country with aspirations of modernization and growth the ability to connect and share both professionally and socially is an incredible tool that should be utilized. Nevertheless the National Telecommunication Regulatory Agency (ANRT)the company that currently holds the rights to national telecommunicationhas banned the use of VoIP services (Whatsapp Skype Viber) in Morocco presumably due to the perceived negative impact that they have on the market.

From one perspective this is totally understandable. ANRT has pointed out that it has the right to do this: it holds the contracts which it then sells to the companies that consumers use (Maroc Telecom Meditel and INWI). It wants to protect and promote the industry; it is after all what it was created to do.
The problem here is that ANRT acts as if this is its sole purpose. Even the name of the organization points to the fact that it is there to regulate and aid communication. People are not happy with what the three companies currently provide and so have chosen VoIP alternatives. Blocking those alternatives is not so much regulation as it is ignoring a failure in their own ability to sustain themselves in a free market.

Following the backlash to the ban which manifested itself in boycotts at the Maroc Web Awards and a campaign to 'unlike' the three company's pages on Facebook both Meditel and INWI distanced themselves from the decision.

In separate statements they insisted that it was not their choice to ban the VoIP services and that they do not lose anything if people choose to use the internet based services alongside their own.

ANRT seems to be comfortable in completely ignoring the wider responsibilities that it holds. As I have already said communication helps improve the economic and social standards of a country. Moroccans obviously do not feel that the services provided to them by telecom companies are good enough. Users constantly complain of poor signl and a generally expensive service so for them the decision to use VoIP is obvious.

Another crucial misunderstanding is that ANRT does not provide the same function as VoIP whose services range much wider than basic telecommunications within Morocco. To deny businesses and entrepreneurs the ability to contact people from all over the world immediately makes their lives more difficult. Morocco needs to appear appealing for all sorts of investors and business partners; the inability to communicate will make many potential deals less feasible.

On a social level too there are an estimated four and a half million Moroccans living abroad all presumably with families still living here. We saw one example of this earlier this week when a young British-Moroccan girl sent a message to King Mohammed VI asking for the ability to talk to her grandparents again via Skype. This was not one isolated situation: ANRT is responsible for denying these people the ability to communicate which is against their basic human rights.
The Moroccan people are angry and they should be. ANRT was established in 1998 to oversee a telecommunications market that is drastically different from the one we see today. Its creation did not take into account the usage of internet-based communication like VoIP. The current system is simply outdated and needs to be modernized in order to allow Morocco to connect with the wider world.

ANRT needs to be more transparent and engage directly with the Moroccan people. If its purpose is to aid communication in the country then it has blatantly failed at that. Instead what they have achieved is to create a market of insufficient mobile providers to restrict services that those providers do not succeed in maintaining to starve businesses of the access to communication services that they need to survive and most damning of all to fundamentally neglect the people they are supposed to serve.
Morocco World News. All Rights Reserved. Re-published with permission. This material may not be published rewritten or redistributed without permission

Did You Say Interfaith Dialogue: How Do You Go about That?
Sunday 6 March 2016 - Abdellatif Zaki Rabat

When you operate with several hats, as I often had to do, it happens to you to be in places and with people who would hardly meet or be part of the same events had your career been limited to a single occupation. It is for this reason, that I very often was in situations in which issues related to religion were discussed. While a few of these were highly structured official encounters addressing “Interfaith dialogue” among duly mandated religious figures, others were formal academic meetings of different genres and formats, others were rather informal talks among peers who think of themselves as intelligent enough to take the stakes so seriously as to invest money, time and energy to promote such exchanges wherever they hear they are being undertaken.

A last type of such talks, by far the highest in number and perhaps also the most edifying, was with students and concerned individuals from the various parts of the world that for reasons of their own have at some time felt they had listen to others and/or let others listen to them and who had joined discussions I have organized for many years for the purpose. Some called these seminars, others took them for courses, others thought of them as intercultural opportunities. I called them conversations.

The Big Three, namely Judaism, Christianity and Islam have been the most frequently addressed in these events. It seems, in fact, that the highest concern for dialogue in the triad North Africa, the Middle East and the West is with these three. Should any of the triad feels a threat from competing religions in other parts of the world, which is easily conceivable, they see none of it in the three. On one single occasion have I seen scholars and monks speaking for other religions invited to such events. I must add to this, too, that they were hardly given time to present their opinions, talk or respond to others’ comments.

What has often made the whole issue more exciting, however, is that multitude of derivatives, competing outgrowths and opportunistic trends that mushroom in the vicinity of the major religions which often see them as nuisances damaging their natural ecosystem and challenging what they would very much prefer to be legitimate for them alone. It was interesting to watch the efforts of speakers for mainstream and major trends to contain their composure and maintain decent levels of patience and civility in their presence and when they take turns in a discussion. This has usually made the exchanges more lively and spicy and attending them a more gratifying learning experience.

In this text, I will not indulge in what interfaith dialogue has been or should be like. I will limit myself to a few observations and questions. Without inviting anyone to extreme terminological mania, I would like to recommend strongly that a lot of caution must be heeded when using the terms faith, dialogue and interfaith, both while looking into the concepts and when preparing for settings to host discussions about them.

In fact, the more the concept is taken to the field for actual practice, the more the initiatives find reasons to refer to themselves in different ways. The practice has developed a range of appellation including interreligious dialogue, interbelief dialogue, interpath dialogue and, transbelief dialogue. Notwithstanding, the distinctions which many are making between these, they all refer to an intention or purpose to bring followers of different religions together, to create conditions conducive to intelligent interchange amongst them so as to improve their attitudes towards each other through the promotion of better knowledge of who they are, their beliefs and their values. The hope of all these is to build the capacity for each to respect the others and to accept them without, however, breaching their own rights to their own beliefs and faith and, whenever possible, even comfort them in their own relationships with the gods they have chosen to worship.

Looking back on my modest experience, I think that the conditions most conducive to meaningful exchanges in the area have been, paradoxically, those that were organized along secular lines. In fact, these, more than any religious principle or tradition, guarantee freedom of speech, critical approaches to thinking and to assessing thought and they do it all in respect of the beliefs and convictions of each and all. Also, because a secular set up does not exclude any issue from the discussion, it allows a more open and detailed outline to the discussion, and therefore ensures exposure from a wider perspective and ensures more comprehensive knowledge of that which is subject to debate. One important advantage a secular set up offers for such dialogues is the technical arsenal of professional communication that ensures true listening, equal participation to all, equal respect of all propositions, neutral reformulation techniques, nonjudgmental facilitation and contractual management of the dialogue sessions.

Likewise, one of the major conditions that have made exchanges progress is the initial clear identification and statement of the principles, tenets and values on which the convictions and the dogma of each Faith are constructed. The mutual nonjudgmental understanding of the respective Faith systems of all the participants to the conversation is a pre-requisite for it to be possible.

Furthermore, the professional secular management of such dialogue that is expected to help overcome the feelings of hatred and aggressiveness that have been increasingly building among different faiths will secure that it does not defeat its own objectives and avoid its being highjacked to become a platform to invite others to a different faith or to demean their own.

A difficult, but necessary condition to obtain prior to the Interfaith investigation per se is the formal expression of the objectives for which each is seeking the exchange. This is achieved through sharing the fully written expression of everyone’s expected takeaways. The intentions motivating everyone’s engagement in the enterprise must thus be clearly formulated and known to all parties in the conversation. No intention should be concealed nor discarded for moral or ideological reasons.
Furthermore, prior to addressing issues of Faith and interfaith, a thorough discussion should be conducted of the various powers and influences, both material and immaterial, which religious institutions hold or have held in various times in the sociopolitical, economic and cultural environments of each participant. The discussion of the institutional status of religions usually uncovers how Faith has been affected by manipulative mechanisms through various attitudes towards education and roles in the orientation of science and scholarship, the organization of cultural networks, the control of public expression and, command of economic systems.

The ecological situation of each religion has thus to be dissected and analyzed in sociopolitical cultural and economic terms to reveal attitudes towards the various representations and manifestations it perceives as hardline trends, dissident deviations, minor movements, infected versions, ideological schools, threats to its stability, etc. and identify how it has faced up to each throughout its history.

This step is followed by a historical survey of the feelings, sentiments, attitudes and memories of behaviors that may have marked the history of those that have been involved in various types of relationships of the religions to be talked about. In fact, the history of the contact of religions has been marked by cases of one suppressing the other-s, humiliating them, cases of severe language abuse, ideals of primacy, positions of supremacy, propensity to have the final word, firm conviction of right and wrong, strong beliefs of exclusive legitimacy, etc. These have to be identified and cleared both within each religious tradition and among religions in contact.

This survey also covers previous “relationships,” “reasons” and/or “coalitions” which might have caused some religions to implode or that might have brought some closer or pushed them farther away from one another. Actually, the pursuit of thoroughness in prior knowledge about each other is important as it is the extent of initial knowledge of and about issues to be discussed that determines the attitudes, the responsibility and the care with which one indulges in the whole interchange project as well as the ability to respect those involved in it.

Unless the total spectrum of the variants of a Faith are accepted in the process of a particular dialogue, it will be flawed by recurrent false notes coming from marginal sources. Likewise, unless both institutional doctrines and interpretations of religious establishments, on the one hand, and opinions of individuals proposing diverging assessments and different experiences and of scholars holding opposing stances are included in the dialogue, whatever conclusions it will reach will lack overall coherence and will remain fragile.

Making sure the event will not result in further complications, difficulties or negative sentiments and attitudes is critical prior to the launch of the Interfaith exchange. This calls for the verification of the legitimacy of mandates, when there are some and of the authenticity of intensions and objectives but also of sound and shared knowledge about the religions against whose background Faith will be discussed. A measure of the success of any human interchange can be the extent to which positive influences have resulted in changes of the initial elements and advancement towards objectives set ex ante. Leaving a discussion as one had entered it is evidence of its failure.

What any one engaging in such an enterprise needs to know, however, to avoid unnecessary frustration is that no matter how hard they will try to keep things under control and regardless of the good will of all partners, the course of development of the group will always remain uncertain. No matter how earnest and good willed individuals are and regardless of how hard they try, they will not add up to make a coherent community of though in a few days, let alone a few hours. They will often start with the firm determination to make breakthroughs towards true understanding of each other and towards concord and to keep passions under rational and reasoned control. Long held convictions will, however, most often pop up when they are expected the least, over a word said or unsaid, a comment or simply a smile or a look that may be interpreted as judgmental, denying a right to difference or as pooling antagonistic attitudes towards one.

Reason will rarely aver not to be the only argumentation strategy. But is that not to be expected in a discussion of the non rational? And is it not a true privilege, one worth all investments, being part of such rich and authentic, albeit fiery and overheated at times, rare and precious moments of eagerness, total involvement and humane attempts to tame provoked passions, rising tensions, exposed nerves and to hold back drives to fight roughly for one’s own survival as well as for the protection of the most sacred elements of one’s identity? Such dialogues make a life!

Act Early to Prevent Kidney Disease
Saturday 5 March 2016 - morocco world news By Asmaa Bahadi Rabat

Around the world, many events take place every year on World Kidney Day to spread awareness about preventive behaviors, awareness about risk factors, and awareness about how to live with a kidney disease. On March 3, on the occasion of the World Kidney Day and the second French-Moroccan meeting on nephrology issues, The Moroccan Association for the Fight of Kidney Diseases organized a lunch debate at the Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity in Casablanca, to speak about the severity of acuteness diseases especially for children.

Only some 100 kidney transplantations were made in Morocco in the past 20 years, said nephrologist Professor Amal Bourquia, comparing the figure with the number of transplant surgeries in Spain, where 5,500 such operations were conducted in 2005. Mrs. Bourquia, also the chairwoman of the Moroccan Association for the Fight of Kidney Diseases, deplored the lack of information about “kidney transplantation in Morocco and the little interest in people suffering from renal diseases.”

Professor Bourquia insisted on taking charge of kidney deficiency patients, because of the excessive cost of medication, adding a haemodialysis session is charged at MAD 15,000 (USD 1,525) and transplant surgery costs MAD 200,000 (USD 20,336). Kidney transplants, which can save lives, should be a national fight, she said, adding that the practice faces difficulties owing to the means and equipment needed and cannot be developed unless all concerned parties get effectively involved, calling for a national strategy to remedy the situation.

World Kidney Day aims to raise awareness of the importance of our kidneys to our overall health and to reduce the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide. Participants in World Kidney Day events seek to encourage the systematic screening of all patients with diabetes and hypertension for CKD (chronic kidney disease) and preventive behaviors, as well as educating all medical professionals about their key role in detecting and reducing the risk of CKD, particularly in high risk populations.

In addition, World Kidney Day stresses the important role of local and national health authorities in controlling the CKD epidemic. On World Kidney Day all governments are encouraged to take action and invest in further kidney screening and encouraging transplants as a best-outcome option for kidney failure, and the act of organ donation as a life-saving initiative.

Kidney disease can affect children in various ways, ranging from treatable disorders without long-term consequences to life-threatening conditions.
Acute kidney failure is a serious condition that develops suddenly. It often lasts a short time, and may disappear completely once the underlying cause has been treated and if the patient receives the needed medical management. It can also have long-lasting consequences with life-long problems.
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) doesn’t disappear with treatment, and tends to worsen over time. CKD eventually leads to kidney failure (end-stage kidney disease) and needs to be treated with a kidney transplant or blood-filtering treatments (dialysis) for life.

English to be Taught in Primary School in Morocco
Thursday 10 March 2016 - morocco world news Rabat

Rachid Belmokhtar, Moroccan Minister of Education said on Wednesday in Rabat that English will be taught in the fourth grade of primary school, according to Maghreb Arab Press (MAP).“The teaching of English that will start from the 4th grade will be particularly important in education,” noted the minister, while welcoming the results of the program “Access” for learning English in middle schools, a pilot experience that will be extended to several institutions  in secondary education.

The Minister went to add that the promotion of foreign languages is “likely to increase opportunities for students to easily integrate into the labor market while allowing them to open up to science subjects.” According to the Minister, this openness “is necessary to strengthen the strategic position of Morocco, and honor its agreements with English-speaking or Spanish-speaking countries.”

A report published by Moroccan think tank Rabat Center for Political and Strategic Studies last summer urged the Moroccan government to adopt English as the country’s first foreign language instead of French. The report pointed out that the teaching of English across the country is of paramount importance to enable Moroccan students to compete in today’s job market.

“Maintaining the French language directly after Arabic in the curriculum is neither based on objective measures nor on standards offering good opportunities both locally and internationally for Moroccan students,” the center said.

Last year, Abdelilah Benkirane, head of the Moroccan government, said that Morocco should turn English into its primary language of education “because it is the language of today’s science, technology, and commerce.”

Agadir: Home of Gastronomy
Wednesday 9 March 2016 - morocco world news By Asmaa Bahadi Rabat

Agadir will host the second Gastronomic Meeting on March 18-20 under the theme “Gastronomy: A pole of excellence on economic development.” The honorary presidency will be entrusted to Mr. André Marcon, president of the French Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI). The meeting will also shed the light on another form of gastronomy, pastry, with the exceptional presence of five chefs from the Alain Ducasse cooking school. French chefs Régis and Jacques Marcon will host this year’s Gastronomic Meeting.

After more than 30 years in the kitchen, Régis teamed up with his son Jacques in 2004 to set up the Régis et Jacques Marcon restaurant. In addition, the meeting will be hosted by Kamal Rahal Essoulami, the president of the Moroccan Federation of Culinary Arts.

Many activities are planned for the meeting, from cooking demonstrations to lectures, tastings, and brunches, as well as a gala. Of course, one cannot forget the main event: gastronomic meals.

Joël Cesari, Johan Leclerre Trochain Laurent, Henri Gouny, Myriam Ettahri, Chef Moha or Karim Ben Baba are a few of the 30 chefs attending. The Gastronomic Meeting aims to highlight diversity and promote the quality of local products, specifically seafood, by uniting political, economic, tourism, and education actors in the context of exchanging experiences in order to give Agadir an image of a tourist destination on a gastronomic level by bringing together the Moroccan and French cuisines.

Morocco is producing solar power at night Solar power plant could become biggest in world
By Alanna Petroff LONDON (CNNMoney)

Springing up on the edge of the Sahara desert are rows of curved mirrors as far as the eye can see.  They're part of what could become the biggest solar power plant in the world.

Morocco is investing about $2.6 billion on the construction of the Ouarzazate complex, which forms the heart of a $9 billion strategy to harness one of the country's greatest natural resources -- sunshine. When completed in 2017, it will cover an area nine times the size of New York's Central Park and generate enough electricity to power about 1 million households.

The first phase was officially opened last month and a further three linked plants will come online by the end of next year, according to the president of the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy, Mustapha Bakkoury. "It's very impressive," Bakkoury told CNNMoney. "You cannot see the end of the (solar) mirrors."
Morocco has been developing solar and other sources of renewable power for years. It has just set itself the ambitious target of meeting just over half the nation's electricity needs from renewable power by 2030.

It's trying to wean itself off imported fuel and reduce emissions at the same time, said Bakkoury. Morocco is using solar technology that operates very differently from traditional solar panels, which use photovoltaic cells to convert sunlight directly into electricity.

The Ouarzazate complex uses large curved "mirrors" that track the sun like flowers and channel radiation to generate steam inside a network of tubes. The steam drives a central turbine that generates electricity, which flows into the national grid for use by Moroccan homes and businesses. Perhaps most impressive is that the complex can continue to operate after the sun sets. Heat from the system can be stored for hours in tanks filled with molten salts. That allows steam to be generated for hours and keep turning the turbine at night.

The operational portion of the Ouarzazate solar complex provides 2% of the country's daily power, and the country has a long way to go to hit its targets. But analysts say Morocco has a good track record when it comes to executing on its plans.

"I think Morocco should be commended for delivering on its ambition," said Ben Warren, a global power and utilities expert at EY, formerly Ernst & Young. "Other countries have been, to date, noticeable for talking about ambitious renewable plans, but not implementing them." He said Morocco is joining the ranks of solar superpowers alongside the U.S., Chile and South Africa.

Power usage in the country is growing at a rapid rate and infrastructure has to keep pace. Bakkoury expects national power consumption will double in 10 years.
The ability to store power for hours at a time is crucial for a country such as Morocco because usage peaks after the sun goes down, he added.

How to get lost in Fes, Morocco, home to the mother of all medinas
March 12, 2016 Paul Ewart Escape

WHILE squeezing myself through a mud-brick alleyway – one that would prove impassable for anyone carrying a few extra kilos – my guide tells me a story about a Canadian tourist who got lost in the medina. “Yes, seven years and seven children later, she’s still here!” he says, laughing. I can well believe it.
Only five minutes have passed since we entered the famous medina and already my sense of direction is shot.

Multiple identical streets blend into one amid a frenzy of activity. The whine from the knife-sharpener’s stone wheel combines with a steady “ting” as a neighbouring coppersmith painstakingly beats out intricate designs; old women dodge playing children as they carry their home-kneaded dough to bake in communal backstreet bakeries; stallholders decked out in colourful hooded djellabas lazily sip mint tea as donkeys loaded with produce amble slowly up the narrow lanes. This assault on the senses is Arabian Nights made real.

Situated just north of the Middle Atlas Mountains and dating back to the ninth century, Fes was Morocco’s capital for more than 400 years and is still considered its religious and cultural centre. It’s also home to the mother of all medinas – the most complete medieval city in the Arab world. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the medina is comprised of 13km of sandstone walls housing some 10,000 alleys, making it the largest car-free urban area in the world. Here the past and present coexist almost seamlessly. While Fes has been sidelined by Marrakech in modern times, its historical importance cannot be denied.

Undoubtedly, one of the biggest attractions here is shopping. This is heaven for souk and market aficionados, even those of a less retail-inclined persuasion will find hunting for bargains infectious. From brightly coloured woven textiles and ornately glazed ceramics, to handmade “zellige” tiles and silver, Fes is where the country’s master craftsmen make their wares and there’s a souk for everything. Perfumes, incense and spices abound at the Souk el Attarine. In Souk el Henna, traditional Moroccan cosmetics and beauty products – including the famous Argan oil – entice locals and visitors alike.

No matter what you’re after, bargaining is essential and if you’re keen to cover multiple souks then hiring a guide is advisable.

Retail therapy aside, the medina is also the perfect place to explore the country’s culinary heritage. For breakfast, grab a cup of milky Moroccan coffee and join the tightly-packed benches of local men for a steaming bowl of bessara – a fava bean soup, flavoured with communal bowls of cumin, chilli and salt.
For lunch, the boho melting pot of locals, expats and tourists that is Cafe Clock is a good option. Its outdoor terrace is the perfect spot from which to people watch and the house special of camel burger is a firm favourite with diners. And for dinner, you really can’t leave without trying at least several tagine dishes.
After a hot and exhausting, sweaty day spent pounding the pavement, I end my time indulging in one of Morocco’s best traditions: the hammam. The splashes from the hot water being poured over my body echo around the marble-clad chamber.

Candlelight illuminates the ornate tiling and soon I’m lying on my front, my muscles being expertly pummelled into submission. “Ca va?” asks my smiling attendant. “Oui ca va,” I answer – and I meant it. This should be a mandatory post-medina experience for any visitor. Thankfully, there are plenty of public hammams.

Magical, unique and enchanting, Fes truly needs to be seen to be believed. But believe me, two days spent getting lost in the medina is enough. After 48 hours in the claustrophobic labyrinth, you’ll definitely need to come up for air.

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 it 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