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Morocco Week in Review 
December 28, 2019

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Morocco’s Head of Government: Education Has Utmost Priority

While Morocco’s education sector is facing some of its darkest days, the Moroccan government says the sector has the highest priority.

By Yahia Hatim - Dec 22, 2019 Rabat

The sectors of education and training are “the first priorities” of the Moroccan government because they are essential levers for the country’s progress and development, said Morocco’s Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani. El Othmani made the statement on Saturday, December 21, at the opening of a national conference on “the private sector and the framework law 51.17 relating to education, training, and scientific research,” in Agadir. During his speech, El Othmani recalled the 32% increase in the education budget between 2016 and 2020.

The medinas of Morocco: An ultimate itinerary to exploring the country's heart and soul

In achieving a balance between modernity and tradition, Morocco is coming to terms with the challenges of the time.

Zeenat Hisam

In June, we decided to explore Morocco's enchanting cities and took a labyrinthine route into the country. From Casablanca, located at the central-western part, we traversed the northwestern cities of Rabat, Shafshawan and Tétouan. Finally, my daughter and I then came down to Fez in the central-north, proceeding to the southwestern city Marrakech, the last city on our two-week itinerary, before catching the return flight from Casablanca.

Sights and sounds of Rabat

As we got down from the train at the new Rabat-Agdal Railway Station, we marvelled at its state-of-the-art structure, facilities and ambiance. Opened in November 2018, along with the launch of the bullet train Al-Boraq, the station symbolises the transformation of the city into a dynamic modern metropolis, yet retaining some of its historic identity. The first thing you notice as you get out of the station and your taxi cruises down the boulevards is the street art in Rabat, the capital city of Morocco. It is not the kind of the art on the walls you occasionally come across in a teeming metropolis like Karachi. In Rabat, you discover eclectic murals painted in vibrant colours not just on the walls but on the facades of commercial buildings,

Will Travel For Zen: A Yoga Retreat In Mystical Morocco

Katherine Parker-Magyar Contributor Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own. From cities to jungles, I write about culture, travel and adventure.

It was two a.m. Western Sahara Time, the third night of my international yoga retreat. I was on the rooftop terrace of a riad in downtown  Marrakech, watching a cat slink between the geometric turrets of the high walls overlooking the city, convinced I was suffering a panic attack.
I use that term lightly, as I've never had a panic attack before, and wasn't sure I qualified at the exact moment, but it was undoubtedly the closest I'd ever come to the brink of internal chaos. How did I get here? 

Physically, I'd boarded a TAP Air plane bound for Portugal en route to Marrakech Menara Airport. Emotionally, it began months ago, when I learned about the ethos behind Souljourn Yoga and met its charismatic founder, Jordan Ashley, who was 25 when she envisioned her NGO. She'd give her first TED Talk on the subject a few short years later.

Morocco’s Development Model: A Quiet Revolution Towards the Future.

The new committee for a Moroccan development model includes six Moroccans from the diaspora who could revolutionize the process.

By Abdellah Boussouf - Dec 20, 2019

We can only be optimistic about the announcement of the members on Morocco’s new development model committee, released on December 12, 2019. Moroccan Ambassador to France Chakib Benmoussa will lead the committee after being appointed on November 19. After King Mohammed VI outlined the need for a new development model in his 2019 Throne Day speech and again in the King and People’s Revolution speech on August 20, Moroccans noticed a significant increase in public debate among civil society, political parties, intellectuals, and the Moroccan diaspora, even before the announcement of the list and the appointment of the president. This movement is an essential indication of the importance of the involvement of everyone in building Morocco’s future, where territorial justice and social development is concerned. ======================================

EU Bank Loans Spanish Bank €15 Million for Small Enterprises in Morocco

Morocco has received several loans from international banks for renewable energy projects, utilities, and disaster management.

By Safaa Kasraoui -  Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News. Dec 20, 2019 Rabat

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) gave a loan of  MAD 165 million ( €15 million) to Banco Sabadell Succursale Casablanca (BSC) to help finance small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Morocco. Both banks signed an agreement for the loan on December 19, allowing BSC to finance SMEs, Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) reported. Banco Sabadell Branch Casablanca (BSC) was established in 2009 as the Moroccan branch of Spain’s fourth-largest banking group, Banco Sabadell SA (BS). The news agency added that the agreement is “in line with the strong economic ties between the EBRD, Morocco and Spain, with the presence of a dense network of more than 600 Spanish companies in the Kingdom and a total of almost €4.5 billion in cumulative investments.” A founding member of the EBRD, Morocco became a country of operations in 2012.  The bank invested approximately €2 billion in Morocco through 60 projects. Morocco has received multiple loans recently from different international institutions, including the African Development Bank (AfDB), the World Bank, and the European Investment Bank.

EU Grants €389 Million to Morocco for Border, Reforms, Development.

The financial support is part of the Euro-Moroccan Partnership for Shared Prosperity.

By Hamza Guessous  - Dec 20, 2019 Rabat

The European Commission granted Morocco €389 million as part of its support for Moroccan reforms, inclusive development, and border management, on Friday, December 20. The financial support will contribute to the development of the “Euro-Moroccan Partnership for Shared Prosperity” announced at the end of the 14th meeting of the Morocco-EU Association Council held in Brussels on June 27.
“Morocco has long been a privileged partner of the European Union with which we share our borders and aspirations”, stressed the EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy, Josep Borrell. ======================================

Moroccan Companies Need Visionary Leadership to be More Effective.

How can Moroccan firms implement effective structure, functions, and governance based on a visionary leadership model?

By Ilias El Ouagari - Ilias El Ouagari is a strategic management professional in a real estate consultancy firm in Rabat with an MBA. Dec 21, 2019 Rabat

Developing employees’ skills is a core piece of achieving organizational effectiveness, and Moroccan businesses would be more successful if they adopted a new leadership strategy to accomplish that development. The main problem in some Moroccan companies is that most work processes are centralized, which can weaken the overall performance, innovation, and career development of employees. According to Dutch social psychologist Geert Hofstede’s theory of cultural dimensions, Moroccan companies tend to have a high level of “power distance:” Centralization is popular, and there is a big gap between managers and their subordinates. Moroccan firms should instead adopt a corporate culture based on visionary leadership and a flexible management style. ======================================

How to Make Moroccan Pickled Olives.

Morocco is the second largest producer of table olives in the world, and the sixth largest producer of olive oil.

By Layla Dahamou - Dec 22, 2019

As winter weather hits Morocco, people all over the country begin to collect olives from trees in their gardens and from expansive olive tree groves across the country to crush for olive oil. However, the best time to pick olives for pickling is in September when the green olives start to turn yellowish, showing that the delicious little fruits are ripe for picking. Moroccans serve pickled olives as appetizers, with breakfast, and as an accompaniment to any main dish. Pickled olives are also a key ingredient in many tagines. The Moroccan countryside sees olive groves spread over its vast and diverse landscape, producing various types of olive. Traditionally the red olives are used with chicken dishes, while black olives work better with tagines and fish dishes. You can buy pickle olives in hanouts (local stores) and markets across the country, but it is just as easy to make them at home in a just a few simple steps.

There are only a few ingredients for this recipe:

2kg of green olives
Plenty of water
1 lemon, cut into cubes
Do not forget that you will also need a kilner jar for storage.

Let’s get pickling!

Clean the olives and drain, discarding any spoiled fruits.
Make 2 to 3 incisions in each  olive.
Throw the olives into the jar and cover with water. 
Place the jar in a dark place, and change the water every 24 hours for a week to 10 days.
After a week, taste the olives to see if they are ready for brining – they should not be bitter.

Marrakech: Monkeys See, Monkeys Do When They’re Forced To

I am caught in a moral dilemma: Who is crossing the line of morality? The relationship between the tourist, the handler, and the maltreatment of animals is a blurred and confusing one.

By Caley Koch - Originally from Washington DC, Caley is an aspiring writer and editor who is currently attending DePaul University in Chicago for her Bachelor’s degree in creative writing. Dec 22, 2019 Marrakech

An orange tree was growing in the courtyard of the hotel I was staying at in Marrakech. The manager told me that if I looked down on it from the terrace, I could see a chameleon. I looked over the same leaves and branches a thousand different times without any luck.  I was told that Marrakech is the “must see” location in Morocco for all its eye-catching busyness and unique stimulation. I was also told to keep an eye out for monkeys who wander the streets in Marrakech. I am typically not one for all-things-chaotic, but something about the vibrant frenzy of culture made me understand why Marrakech is a “must see.”   I was oddly fascinated by the unfamiliar grittiness of the souq. I stepped in blood-stained cobblestone from gutted fish, smelled the stench of chickens chained to boxes, pushed my way through dozens of locals and tourists alike all trying to make their way out of the maze and into the open square.

Imsfrane: An Exhilarating Climb Over Stereotypes About Moroccan Women.

By Wafa Fouali - Wafa Fouali is an English language teacher in El Kelaa de Sraghna who loves to exercise. Dec 21, 2019 Rabat

Hiking Morocco’s peaks, however, became an important part of exercising my own independence as a Moroccan woman. My journey to hiking mountains faced an added obstacle because I was born two months premature and have lowered immunity. Since I could not play as other kids do, I became dependent on my brother Hicham. Unwilling to play, jump, or do any sports activities, I naturally abhorred physical education during my schooling. After graduation, I gained self-confidence through engaging in community services, but exercise also became important to me. I started to go running regularly and loved it.

ISESCO Includes Rabat Among Islamic World Heritage List

The Ministry of Culture said that the inclusion of the city of Rabat in the list will “give a strong impetus efforts made by Morocco” to preserve and promote the national and intangible cultural heritage.

By Safaa Kasraoui - Safaa Kasraoui is a journalist at Morocco World News. Dec 18, 2019 Rabat

The Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) has approved Morocco’s request to include the country’s capital, Rabat, among the list of Islamic World Heritage. The organization announced the inclusion of Rabat on the list during the 11th congress of culture ministers, running in Tunis at the initiative of ISESCO. A statement from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports said that  ISESCO made its decision on the basis of a proposal introduced by El Hassan Abayba, Morocco’s Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports.
Abayba is also the spokesperson of the Moroccan government.

Read Also: ISESCO to Create Virtual Museum of Morocco’s Ksour, Kasbahs

He made the proposal during the current Congress in the presence of Morocco’s ambassador in Tunis, Hassan Tariq. The statement from the ministry said that the decision comes as “recognition of the historic and civilization status that Rabat enjoys.” The release described the city as a “human heritage and a place of coexistence and unity.” The ministry also finds that the capital of Morocco embodies “modern renaissance” through cultural and development projects under the “Rabat, city of lights and cultural capital of Morocco” program. The programs are in line with the cultural specificities, making the city one of the “African and Islamic capitals.” The decision comes in less than a week when the United Nations, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) added Morocco’s traditional Gnawa to the list of the Cultural Heritage of Humanity on December 12.

Moroccan Startup Wins Regional Startup Competition.

Competitors from Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria spent two months developing their project ideas before the Moroccan project “Kit Biotech” was crowned as best startup.

By Yahia Hatim - Dec 22, 2019 Rabat

Moroccan project “Kit Biotech” has won the 2019 Maghreb Francophone Incubator (IFM) competition for startups. The award ceremony took place on Friday, December 20, in Rabat. The contest, organized by the Francophone University Agency (AUF) in the Maghreb and the Moroccan Center for Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship (MCISE), brought together 12 students from Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria. The students presented their startup projects in front of an expert jury. MCISE mentors accompanied the students for two months to help them bring their projects to life.
Three Moroccan projects finished in the first three positions of the competition. Sara Maghzaz won the competition with her “Kit Biotech” project, followed by Naoual Ibn El Fadil with her “Jnane Amir” project, and Aymen Hilali for his “Wood Recycling Lab.”

The competitors took part in several workshops to improve their technical skills, ranging from elaborating a business model to validating an action plan for their startups. Following every workshop, the students had to present their project’s progress in front of a jury before moving on to the next session. AUF’s regional director in the Maghreb, Jean-Luc Tholozan, told the press that the competition aims to develop and support entrepreneurship. The agency selected the most promising startup projects in the region and hosted the students behind them for two months to help develop their ideas.

The agency will finance and support the winning students until they bring their projects to life, Tholozan added. The director explained that the term incubator in the contest’s name refers to a place that offers administrative, technical, and socio-economic advice, allowing project-holders to concretize their ideas.

AUF is an association of universities, research centers, and higher schools that use French as the main language. The agency counts 990 members from 118 different countries, according to AUF’s vice-rector Clement Ramiarinjaona. AUF’s Maghreb office opened in Rabat in 2012. It ensures the coordination of AUF’s action between 118 members from Morocco, Libya, Tunisia, and Algeria. #######################################

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