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Morocco Week in Review 
July 11, 2020

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Morocco- Young Kwon- 2019 Peace Corps Week Video Challenge

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Celebrating US-Morocco Relations on the 4th of July

As the US celebrates its Independence Day, we reflect on US-Moroccan relations and Morocco’s role as the first country to recognize the US as an independent nation.

By Kristen Gianaris -  Jul 4, 2020 Rabat

As the US celebrates its Independence Day, we reflect on US-Moroccan relations and Morocco’s role as the first country to recognize the US as an independent nation. The Fourth of July — also known as the United States’ Independence Day — has been a federal US holiday since 1941. However, the annual celebration dates back to 1776 when the Continental Congress voted for independence from Great Britain. A year later, Morocco became the first nation to recognize the US as an independent sovereign country.  In 2020, King Mohammed VI sends a congratulatory message to current US President Donald Trump in light of the nation’s Independence Day. On behalf of Morocco, Mohammed VI shared his sincere wishes for progress and prosperity to the American people. ………..
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Morocco Extends State of Emergency Until August 10

Morocco has been under a state of emergency since March 20.

By Safaa Kasraoui -  Jul 9, 2020 Rabat

Morocco’s government decided on Thursday to extend the state of emergency for one more month, until August 10. Moroccan officials made the decision during a meeting of the government council. The fourth extension comes one day before the scheduled July 10 end of the state of emergency, after Morocco announced a third extension on June 10. The spokesperson of the Moroccan government, Saaid Amzazi, announced the news after the government council meeting, saying that the government approved draft decree 02.20.426. Minister of the Interior Abdelouafi Laftit submitted the draft decree to extend the validity of the state of emergency throughout the national territory to tackle the spread of COVID-19. The state of emergency extension will run from tomorrow until August 10 at 6 p.m. Morocco has been under a state of emergency since March 20, after an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country…………
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Ministry of Culture Enters Partnerships to Support Morocco’s Museums

Morocco’s Ministry of Culture has signed three new agreements to support national artists and museums

By Kristen Gianaris -  Jul 2, 2020 Rabat

Morocco’s Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports and National Museums Foundation (FNM) are strengthening their partnership after signing three separate agreements to share and promote the cultural wealth of the country. The first agreement regards the loan of 100 works by Moroccan artists from the unexposed collection held by the Department of Culture. A joint press release by the two collaborating organizations announced their plans to exhibit the works throughout the country and internationally. Secondly, in order to enrich the FNM’s collections and assist artists impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, MAD 2 million ($200,000) will be contributed toward a program of acquisition of works by Moroccan professional artists residing in Morocco…………..
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Black Lives Matter: Confronting Discrimination

Like many people around the world, I was horrified by the murder of George Floyd.

By Thomas Reilly -  Thomas Reilly is the UK Ambassador to Morocco. Jul 9, 2020 Rabat

Like many people around the world, I was horrified by the murder of George Floyd. Kneeling with impunity on someone’s neck as they shout “I can’t breathe; I can’t breeze” until they die shows a total absence of care or compassion for a fellow human being.  It was shocking and abhorrent. Like many people around the world I completely understood the wave of anger of the Black Lives Matter protests. The murder and the outpouring of justified rage over it has led me into a long period of serious reflection – I am sure I am not the only person for whom Black Lives Matter has had that impact.
Do I actively practice the values I espouse?
Do I role model that diversity and tolerance in which I so passionately believe?
Have I turned a blind eye to intolerance and, in so doing, had I condoned discrimination?
Have I behaved in a way that did not passionately support diversity?
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80-Year-Old Moroccan Man Sits for 2020 Baccalaureate Exams

Age is not a criteria if one is determined to fulfill their dreams.

By Safaa Kasraoui -  Jul 5, 2020 Rabat

A picture of a Moroccan man aged almost 80 years old sitting for Morocco’s 2020 baccalaureate exams has been going viral on social media. The photo shows the man wearing a jellaba and a face mask while answering questions on his exam paper. The determined exam taker received applause and encouragement from a score of Moroccans, who took to social networks to show support. Some even called on the Ministry of Education to reward the man for his determination. 
This is not the first time that an older candidate sat for the high school-level national exams. Last year, a 70-year-old Moroccan woman participated in the 2019 baccalaureate exams………..
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How Morocco Can Apply Innovative Methods to Advance Financial Inclusion

Empowering the most vulnerable groups through innovative applications of blockchain technology and digital finance will promote financial inclusion, gender equity, and income equality.

By Kareem Hussein -  Jul 2, 2020

Under the leadership of King Mohammed VI, Morocco has made great steps toward gender equity, establishing tremendous levels of economic growth while eliminating poverty. This trend must continue in order to ensure Morocco’s future prosperity.  The redesign of the current national National Electronic Identity Card (CNIE) system will result in greater social targeting and higher levels of social protection. It will also give governmental agencies the ability to collect data on the Moroccan population as a whole, which can be used for greater economic and societal pursuits.  This new e-CNIE system should combine the current national databases of the Moroccan population, and through using data cleaning, it should establish the necessary societal infrastructure for Morocco’s bright future…………..
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Morocco’s ONEE Expands Clean Drinking Water Projects

ONEE is launching projects and making significant investments in mitigating Morocco’s water stress in the country’s Guercif province, contributing to water infrastructure development nationwide.

By Kristen Gianaris -  Jul 3, 2020 Rabat

Morocco’s National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE) is launching a local drinking water project aimed at contributing to water infrastructure development throughout the country.  According to a recent press release, the director general of ONEE, Abderrahim El Hafidi, and the governor of Guercif province, Hassan Belhami, launched a project under the National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water to provide Guercif residents with a clean drinking water supply by 2022. Totaling MAD 95 million ($9.8 million), the project includes the construction of four new boreholes that will pump 80 liters of water a second into the city’s pipes from the “Targa” or “Madi” dam. As well, project designers involved a plan to construct a water tank with a capacity of 6,000 cubic meters, with its pipes stretched across 32 kilometers……………. 
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Join a Nomadic Chinese Artist Community on an Odyssey From Morocco to Mongolia

By Liam Hess Photography by Luca Campri July 1, 2020

In 2017, the Italian photographer Luca Campri was adventuring solo across Morocco when he landed at the Taragalte music festival, a celebration of global nomadic communities and their respective music cultures held at the door of the Sahara desert. After spending an idyllic weekend wandering the streets of the oasis town of M’hamid El Ghizlane and listening to traditional Berber music in the sand dunes at night, he was ready to make his journey back to Marrakech. Then, on his way out of the festival, he spotted a striking figure: the young Chinese artist Yi Zheng, who was preparing to hitchhike with her British boyfriend, muralist Luke Gray, and a group of local acquaintances in the same direction as Campri………..
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The Challenges of Post-COVID-19 Recovery in Morocco

As we move beyond the immediate health crisis, policymakers must seize the opportunity to implement bold forward-looking reforms.

By Moha Ennaji -  Moha Ennaji is an author and international consultant. Jul 4, 2020

The global, regional, and national impact of the COVID-19 pandemic is collateral at all levels, especially at the health, economic, and social levels.  Economic recovery will require a lot of time, maybe three years, and can only be gradual. It will likely be impossible without State support. Furthermore, economic recovery will require the combined efforts of all actors in the public and private sectors. The key is solidarity among groups within each society and between countries.
Morocco is by no means exempt from the macro-economic fallout from COVID-19. According to the Moroccan High Commission for Planning (HCP), all economic indicators show markedly declining forecast levels which, presumably, are likely to deteriorate even more in the future…

Morocco’s GDP shows a forecast decline of 3.8 points, corresponding to MAD 10.9 billion ($1.1 billion) in the second quarter of 2020. The economic growth rate should not exceed 0.8% — as a result of drought, COVID-19, and prolonged lockdown — instead of an average initial growth estimated at +2.5%. GDP growth in the first quarter of 2020 stood at 0.1% compared to 2.8% a year earlier.

Several Moroccan companies have prepared social plans to downsize up to a third of their workforce in order to ensure their survival. This is a reasonable approach, according to the employers, but it may put tens of thousands of people, all classes combined, in precariousness. The State must quickly find a solution.

The Moroccan government has introduced several palliative measures in response to the COVID-19 crisis:……………
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‘Night Walk’ Becomes First Moroccan Film to Hit Hollywood

"It was a really great experience," said the prominent actor Mickey Rourke talking about ‘Night Walk’ film in an interview on Good Morning Britain.

By Jihad Dardar - Jul 3, 2020 Rabat

“Night Walk,” a film by Moroccan director Aziz Tazi is set to become the first Moroccan film to hit Hollywood. The movie, starring Mickey Rourke, Sean Stone, and Eric Roberts, is set for distribution in Hollywood and across North America in the coming months. American actor Sean Stone stars as Frank, a western journalist who meets and falls in love with an intelligent Arab woman played by Sarah Alami. After Sarah dies in a tragic accident, Frank is wrongly imprisoned by corrupt police. In his quest for justice, Frank resorts to breaking out of prison to seek revenge on those who destroyed his life…………
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Early Assessment Points to Satisfaction With Moroccan Distance Education

Morocco suspended in-person classes at all schools at all levels on March 13 as concerns grew over the spread of COVID-19.

By Morgan Hekking -  Morgan Hekking holds a BA in International Relations from Hobart & William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. Jul 8, 2020 Rabat

Morocco’s Minister of Education Saaid Amzazi said Monday that the country’s adaptation to distance education during the COVID-19 pandemic has positively reshaped “the collective image of the school and the teacher.”  At the House of Representatives on July 6, the minister and government spokesman said the Ministry of Education is preparing an assessment of Morocco’s distance learning experience.  The assessment is based on an official evaluation of the process by the general inspectorate of educational affairs, as well as a poll that consulted 100,000 individuals impacted by distance learning. …………
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How Credit Agricole Continues to Assist Morocco’s Farmers

The largest credit union for agricultural communities in Morocco, Credit Agricole has continuously provided for Moroccos’ farmers and rural populations.

By Madelyn Haden -  Jul 5, 2020 Rabat

Agricultural credit unions provide financial assistance for agricultural development and housing projects for rural communities. In Morocco, where upwards of 40% of the population is agriculturally dependent, these institutions are vital for the growth of the community.  The most well known of these credit unions is Credit Agricole of Morocco Group (GCAM), a French bank operating in more than 50 countries. In 2017, GCAM was not only recognized as the best credit union in Morocco, but was named the best development finance institutions in Africa by the Association of African Development Finance Institutions (AADFI). Since the founding of Credit Agricole in Morocco in 1961, the bank “has been committed to agriculture and socio–economic development in rural areas.”……….
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Morocco’s Experience With COVID-19, Distance Learning, and Fragility

Are both teachers and students equipped with the necessary pedagogical and technical skills to shift from in-class to virtual education?

By Habiba Hafa -  Jul 4, 2020 Rabat

The coronavirus emerged as a sudden, multidimensional crisis that has changed all aspects of life. Within the new normal, protecting human life has become more important than anything else.  The shift comes with behavioral necessities such as wearing masks, frequently washing our hands, and maintaining social distance. However, the most important element of necessary behavioral changes in the new normal is to work and study from home. Declared a public health emergency at the international level, authorities took rapid “coronian” as an emergency strategy to face the COVID-19 crisis. The lockdown measure has affected many aspects of life, rendering many elements of day-to-day routines meaningless and delaying most activities. ……….
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Morocco Fully Engaged in Global Mobilization Against Racism – Ambassador

17 June 2020

Geneva - The Kingdom of Morocco, a country rich by its plural identity, is fully engaged with the several calls and voices that speak out strongly against any form of racism and criminal acts which result from it, said Wednesday in Geneva the Ambassador Permanent Representative of Morocco to the United Nations Office, Omar Zniber.

"As a melting pot of populations from various origins, enriched by its African, Andalusian, Hebrew and Mediterranean tributaries, Morocco is imbued with the culture and values of tolerance, coexistence and recognition of the other," said Zniber, who was speaking at the Urgent Dialogue on racism and police violations, within the framework of the 43rd session of the Human Rights Council. Morocco rejects all forms of racism and condemns them in the strongest possible terms, he pointed out………..
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NGOs Condemn Surge of Violence Against Women in Morocco

In recent months, several tragic stories of violence and sexual abuse against women and young girls made the headlines in Moroccan newspapers.

By Yahia Hatim -  Jun 19, 2020 Rabat

In recent weeks, Morocco has seen a surge in violence against women and girls, with several incidents occurring across the country, prompting reactions from local NGOs. In a recent joint press release, the Injad Association Against Gender-Based Violence and the Women’s Solidarity Network, two Moroccan NGOs, have expressed their “great dismay and concern” following multiple reports of “brutal attacks and heinous crimes” against young Moroccan girls.
The press release mentioned several recent incidents, including the rape of a 6-year-old girl in Tata, southern Morocco, as well as the sexual abuse of two girls less than 13 years old in separate incidents in Temara and Fquih Ben Salah……………..
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IRES: Humans, Nature at the Heart of Morocco’s New Development Model

The 257-page report presents extensive recommendations for Morocco’s new development model.

By Yahia Hatim -  Jun 30, 2020 Rabat

The Royal Institute for Strategic Studies’ (IRES) report on Morocco’s new development model has called for revaluing humans and their relationship with nature and putting the two at the heart of the development process. The report, titled “Towards a new development model,” is a contribution by IRES to the discussion on the new development model, in accordance with King Mohammed VI’s directives in his October 13, 2017 speech, calling for the renewal of Morocco’s development model. IRES finished drafting the French version of the report in June 2019 and the English version in August 2019. The institute also submitted the report to Morocco’s Special Commission on the Development Model (CSMD) in February 2020……………
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French Museums to Enhance Exhibitions of Morocco’s Amazigh Heritage

The Jardin Majorelle Foundation in Marrakech is set to guide MuCEM and the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Paris in curating Amazigh heritage collections.

By Morgan Hekking -  Morgan Hekking holds a BA in International Relations from Hobart & William Smith Colleges in Geneva, New York. Jun 22, 2020

Marseille’s Museum of Civilizations of Europe and the Mediterranean (MuCEM), the Jardin Majorelle Foundation in Marrakech, and the Yves Saint Laurent Museum in Paris have partnered to highlight the richness and diversity of Morocco’s Amazigh (Berber) heritage. MuCEM and the Yves Saint Laurent Paris Museum, in partnership with the Jardin Majorelle Foundation, will exchange their different protocols on conservation, restoration, and inventory of Amazigh heritage collections. A joint statement from the three partners explained that the collaboration adds to their policy of international cooperation and aims to improve knowledge of indigenous Moroccan culture and consolidate means to transmit that knowledge to the public………..
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Five Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms And How to Avoid Them

Hurdles are a part of everyone’s life, and choosing how we face challenges can be difficult and confusing. Identifying unhealthy habits and avoiding them can promote healthier living.

By Jihad Dardar -  Jul 4, 2020

Mental health is our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It is just as important as physical health in every stage of our lives. In fact, having poor mental health can cause a number of physical health issues. Different people cope with stress in different ways, but sometimes our coping mechanisms can be unhealthy and can actually harm our mental health. Mental health plays a huge role in how we behave, think, and feel, and our decision processes. When we face mental health issues, it can be hard to make the right choices about how to cope and overcome challenges. Some of the most common mental illnesses are depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and eating disorders, but with the stigma attached to mental illness and societal taboos surrounding mental health, very few people ask for help. Consequently, many people develop unhealthy habits to cope with difficult situations………..
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Founder Farouk Essalhi Reflects on the Moroccan Youth Film Festival

The Moroccan Youth Film Festival is the fruit of passion, determination, and hard work. Farouk Essalhi shares an inspiring story of a dream coming true.

By Asmae Nakib -  Jun 21, 2020

Farouk Essalhi founded the Moroccan Youth Film Festival (MYFF) in 2018. The festival is a contest where a jury of filmmakers judge a collection of short movies, animations, and documentaries after their screening.  The event aims to shed light on the creations of young filmmakers from all over the world. As the word “youth” in the name of the festival indicates, only high school students under the age of 19 can submit their works to the managing team.  In an interview with Morocco World News, Essalhi discussed the inspiration and logistics for the first run of the festival, as well as his hopes to revive the event in 2020.

The Festival’s Inspiration and Purpose: The founder and president of the festival revealed that he has been passionate about videography, cinematography, and filmmaking for as long as he can remember. “It is a passion that I discovered early on in my childhood, and I nurtured and developed it in my own way,” he said………
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