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Morocco Week in Review 
July 17 2021

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Moroccan-American Network to Celebrate 6th Morocco Day

The event is to be held virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, keeping in line with the past events.

Oussama Aaamari, July 08th, 2021 Rabat

The Moroccan-American Network presented the 6th celebration of its annual Morocco Day, which will be held on July 22, 2021. The event entitled “Educating Small Business Post Covid: Prospects and Challenges” is held annually by the network and is officially recognized by the American capital, Washington D.C.
The conference will bring together executives from American businesses with Moroccan entrepreneurs and government representatives, a press release from the Moroccan American Network detailed. This year’s event aims to explore business opportunities and partnerships in the south of Morocco, such as Laayoune and Dakhla. Mohamed El Hajjam, the President of the Moroccan American Network, said that the event is “just the first step in a long and ambitious journey to strengthen Morocco’s position in the United States.”……

Global Finance Ranks Morocco 24th Safest Country

Morocco is considered the safest country in the North African region, outperforming Algeria, Tunisia, as well as many European countries.

Toms Dumpis, July 11, 2021 Rabat

Morocco has ranked 24th in Global Finance's "World's Safest Countries 2021" list, outperforming other North African countries such as Algeria, which ranked 61st, and Tunisia, 93rd. The news outlet ranks the world's safest countries based on three "fundamental factors," namely, war and peace, personal security, and natural disaster risk -- which includes various problems that arose with the emergence of COVID-19. All data was taken from 2020, based on reports from 2021.
Within the parameters considered by the organization, Morocco scored an 8.05 on the Global Finance Safety Index Score, where a lower value indicates higher safety. The top three countries on the list are Iceland, which is the highest ranking country with a score of 3.97, United Arab Emirates in second place with a score of 4.2, and Qatar in third place with a score of 4.56.Among…

101 Arabian Tales: How We All Persevered in Peace Corps Libya

By Rich Fisher Jul 13, 2021

The Peace Corps is now 60 years old. The U.S. Government-run volunteer program -- which from the start has provided international aid in the form of person-to-person social, economic, and educational development -- was established per Executive Order by JFK in 1961; later that year, Congress passed the Peace Corps Act. On this edition of ST, we speak with Randy W. Hobler about his book, "101 Arabian Tales: How We All Persevered in Peace Corps Libya." This work documents Hobler's own experiences as a Peace Corps volunteer in Libya in the late 1960s……

Women’s Empowerment: Morocco's Vaccination Warriors

All across Morocco, female doctors, nurses, and volunteers joined forces to shoulder the vaccination campaign.

Meryem Barrakat July 03th, 2021 Rabat

This week, the official website  of Morocco’s vaccination campaign proudly and prominently displayed the number “10, 059, 937,” indicating that more than 10 million people in Morocco have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.  ince the North African country launched its vaccination campaign at the end of January, Morocco has led a successful journey towards immunization. Within five months, the country has fully vaccinated about 25 % of the population, setting a good pace for reaching herd immunity. Indeed, with the use of China’s Sinopharm and Oxford’s AstraZeneca, Morocco ranks amongst the countries with the highest vaccination rates in the MENA region.  ……

What Is Design Thinking and How It Can Serve Innovation in Morocco?

A people-centered endeavor driven by the urge to creatively solve problems, Design Thinking combines a problem-solving and impact-creating mentality with the empathy-driven principle to genuinely understand people’s problems and satisfy their needs.

Oussama Berrahal, June 26th, 2021

Innovation is one of the most talked about topics in Morocco since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Every business is talking about it and every governmental branch is thinking about leveraging it in order to smoothen our country’s economic and social growth.  Still, it is extremely difficult to pinpoint what innovation realistically is or entails. We tend to think that it is this tremendous leap forward disrupting industries in the blink of an eye. In a realistic sense, however, innovation  has to do with a series of incremental changes that modify people’s behavior. In short, innovation is all about people. 
At Rethinking, a Design Thinking agency, we primarily work with European clients but we also serve Moroccan businesses…

Advanced Arabic Instruction - A Key To Reducing Learning Poverty?

A June World Bank report cites advancements to Arabic teaching and learning as the key to reducing learning poverty in the Middle East and North Africa.

Grace Holden, July 09th, 2021 Rabat

Across countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), 59 percent of children are in learning poverty — they cannot read and understand an age-appropriate text by age 10, according to the World Bank. The release of a World Bank report exploring learning poverty in the MENA region on June 29 which aims to make those responsible for education decision-making more aware of the ways Arabic teaching and learning can be improved. The World Bank also live-streamed a launch event on the 29th, hosted by the Queen Rania Foundation, featuring policymakers from across the MENA region. The event focused on the themes central to the report and highlighted the voices of students in the region.  Ultimately, the World Bank has composed findings on learning poverty, driven by the wider principle that a lack of engagement between children and their education system withholds countries from fulfilling their socioeconomic potential.
The report outlines the ways in which the teaching and learning of the Arabic language can be made more effective as a means to combat this deficit of effective learning in the region. There is a wealth of general guidance, supported by scientific research, that can be used by education professionals to advance teaching of Modern Standard Arabic (MSA). ……

David Serero Launches Royal Opera of Morocco

In addition to the works making up the classical opera canon, the company plans to produce original operas in Darija.

Khouloud Haskouri, July 09th, 2021 Rabat

World-renowned French-Moroccan actor, opera singer and producer David Serero,  announced he is working on the creation of the first Moroccan Opera Company named Opera Royal du Maroc. he Royal Opera of Morocco's mission is to develop and promote the art of Opera in the country. The company also aims to train future Moroccan opera singers to perform the most notable works of the canon.  A season of major works from the operatic repertoire, in the original languages of French and Italian, will be organized. Serero also announced that some lyrical works will be composed in Darija, by Moroccan composers the company plans to commission.  A tour reserved for Moroccan singers is also planned, to promote the country's culture overseas. The company also stressed that partnerships with other opera houses around the world are to be expected. David Serero told MAP in an interview of his ambition to create a version in Darija, of the infamous Georges Bizet opera Carmen. ……

Moroccan Courts To Accept Documents Written In Foreign Languages

Amended and adopted by the Justice Committee, the draft law on the organization of the judiciary no longer requires the translation into Arabic of documents to be submitted in court.

Khouloud Haskouri, July 08th, 2021 Rabat

Morocco’s Justice Committee adopted the final article to reform a law requiring all court documents be submitted in Arabic on Thursday, July 7. Article 14 of the judicial organisation law now stipulates that " papers and documents can be submitted in a foreign language, and that the court may request a translated copy afterwards if necessary. Prior to this amendment, the law's disposition to exclude documents in foreign languages from court submission constituted a blockage in the judicial process.  Among the bottlenecks this law created were the high costs plaintiffs were required to pay in order to have their official documents translated.  The provision therefore has hindered equal access to justice for Moroccans because of the systematic and preliminary additional costs for any person wishing to assert their rights in court or defend themselves against any form of injustice. ……

Chari, First Moroccan Startup to Join American Y Combinator Accelerator

Chari, a Moroccan B2B e-commerce startup, is the first Moroccan startup selected to be part of the American Y Combinator startup accelerator program.

Safae Daoudi, July 08th, 2021 Rabat

Y Combinator, an American startup accelerator, has invested in Morocco’s e-commerce startup Chari by acquiring 7% of its shares.  Chari is a Moroccan B2B e-commerce startup and was founded by Ismael Belkhayat and Sophia Alj in January 2020.  Chari’s model is not only innovative and unique in Morocco, but throughout North Africa, as it strives to digitalize the market for fast-moving consumer goods (FCGM).  According to Chari’s website, commerce in North Africa lacks organization and is often fragmented with “approximately 200,000 local shops selling more than 10 billion dirhams of merchandise each year” in Moroccan cities.  The app Chari allows store owners to buy commodities online by connecting them to providers. ………………………..

From Morocco to the San Fernando Valley: Journey of Em Habanim

You can’t walk through the grounds without noticing the artistic reminders of centuries of Moroccan Jewish history.

Ari L. Noonan July 13, 2021

It makes sense to consider the proud Moroccan roots of the 300 member families of Em Habanim Sephardic Congregation, housed in a large, two-story brick structure in Valley Village. Moroccan Jews are very much about roots. You can’t walk through the grounds without noticing the artistic reminders of centuries of Moroccan Jewish history. Numerous stained-glass windows and wooden carvings are among the prominent furnishings. Rabbi and spiritual leader Joshua Bittan, a member of the synagogue for the past 47 years, leads a visitor through the entrance off the parking lot into the Social Hall. From inside the hall, the traffic noise along Laurel Canyon Boulevard vanishes. The first stop in the hall is a tall display case that contains various items intended to be a permanent reminder of the birth of the Em Habanim (translated as “Mother of Children”) community. One of these items is a memento donated by one of the founders: a leaflet dropped from the sky by American armed forces before the Allied invasion of French North Africa in 1942……………………

Morocco Announces Call for Interest in Sijilmassa Archaeological Site

Sijilmassa, one of Morocco’s oldest sites for commerce and civilization, received official recognition as a cultural heritage site in 2017.

Michael Sauers, July 13th, 2021 Rabat

Morocco’s Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sports Othman El Ferdaous announced on Tuesday a national call for expression of interest in Sijilmassa, Morocco’s 1300-year-old cultural heritage site.  The site, located 100 kilometers southeast of Errachidia and a mere 120 kilometers from the Morocco-Algeria border, has served as a marvelous attraction for archaeologists and researchers for decades.  “This exceptional 75 hectares open air heritage site is divided in 6 different areas subject to this call for international partnership with the National Institute of Archaeological and Heritage Sciences (INSAP),” said Ferdaous in the post. ……

'Zour Bladek': A New Initiative to Captivate Moroccan Tourists

The program began broadcasting on Saturday, July 10th on the national TV channel 2M, with the subject of the episode being the Agafay desert.

Oussama Aamari, July 12, 2021 Rabat

The Moroccan National Office of Tourism (ONMT) announced a new television program on Wednesday entitled “Zour Bladek” (“visit your country”), in an effort to encourage Moroccans to travel to different cities in the country. The program began broadcasting on Saturday, July 10th on the national TV channel 2M, with the subject of the episode being the Agafay desert. The program, hosted by Najlae Bellouri, encourages Moroccans to explore the country, highlighting tourist destinations and highlighting some of the activities to engage in if they go there……

The Fashion and International Popularity of Moroccan Caftans

Morocco’s traditional garment grows to become a universal staple in fashion with prominent individuals across the world.

Michael Alvarado, July 08th, 2021

Moroccan caftans are paving their way towards becoming a mainstream staple in the fashion world as their international popularity garners the attention of many people.  Celebrities and well-known designers are utilizing this traditional garment in different types of settings around the world. Caftans are often worn for special occasions like weddings and Eid celebrations, or are worn as casual attire. The dresses also have a wide range of different styles, patterns, and colors. ……………

Laila Lalami Introduces Moroccan Readers To ‘The Other Americans’

Laila Lalami’s third novel “The Moor’s Account” was a Pulitzer Prize for Fiction finalist in 2015, while “The Other Americans” won her the Arab American Book Award in 2020.

Khouloud Haskouri, July 14th, 2021 Rabat

Internationally acclaimed Moroccan author Laila Lalami presented her latest novel, “The Other Americans,” at a literary event in Rabat, on Monday. Laila Lalami is a novelist and professor of creative writing at the University of California, Riverside.  The Hassan II Foundation for Moroccans Living Abroad hosted the event, to “introduce the Moroccan-American author to the francophone audience,” as her novel’s translated edition was recently published. After graduating with a BA in English literature from the University of Mohammed V in Rabat, Lalami moved to University College London to pursue an MA in linguistics. In 1992, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a PhD in Linguistics at the University of Southern California……………………….

Unemployment and Inequalities: COVID-19’s Impact On Moroccan Women

Women in Morocco displayed great vulnerability in terms of unemployment, domestic tasks, and access to healthcare as a result of COVID-19.

Micaela Alvarado, 08, 2021 California

Since the global outbreak and rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus, inequalities and unemployment rates skyrocketed in various countries. Specifically, COVID-19’s impact on Moroccan women has made them more vulnerable to financial instability, violence (especially domestic), and difficult living conditions.  In a recent study, Moroccan academic Professor Moha Ennaji interviewed 40 people (25 women and 15 men) to explore the different challenges each person faced as a result of the pandemic.  With the enforced stay-at-home orders, curfews, closures of schools, airports, cafes, and mosques, Ennaji found that women suffered more job loss than men. Women had a higher job loss of about 17.5% in comparison to men ( 15.1%). ……………………..

Moroccan Minister of Health Announces Future Moroccan Blood Agency

Health Minister Khaled Ait Taleb stated that the new blood agency will be the result of a “restructure” of current health care procedure. Taleb stated the agency will attempt to centralize the function of the several national and local blood transfusion centers already operating throughout Morocco. These centers, which Taleb described as having a “key role” in providing a vital service to patients throughout the country, will be able to continue to operate with increased support from the new national agency.  Taleb reported that the amount of blood donors in Morocco has “doubled” in recent years. This increase in the country’s blood donation supplies necessitates the implementation of a new central organization to ensure continued access to the supply for anyone in need of its services. Taleb reported that the health ministry records a current blood supply of 498 blood bags in Rabat, 556 bags in Marrakech, and 426 bags in Meknes.  ……

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