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Morocco Week in Review 
June 19 2021

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

‘Caftan Season’ Hillary Clinton Promotes Traditional Moroccan Fashion

Hillary Clinton kicks off “caftan season” in a throwback picture on social media.

Sanae Ziadi, June 18th, 2021 Rabat

"It's caftan season. #tbt", says the caption along with a photo Hillary Clinton shared with her followers on her personal social media accounts. In the photo, she appears at an event wearing a Moroccan caftan alongside her husband, Bill Clinton. The photo where the former US secretary of state sports a sky blue caftan didn't fail to prompt a flow of cheerful, positive comments on her "great choice of color," "elegant outfit," and "her fabulous look" on her Instagram account which has more than 5 million followers.  The picture dates back to August 2017 and was taken at an event at the glamorous Cipriani Wall Street venue in New York, during the wedding of Sophie Lasry, daughter of the successful Moroccan American businessman Marc Lasry who fosters close relations with the Clinton family. …

The American Legation in Tangier: Symbol of 200 Years of US-Morocco Ties

Amid changing dynamics in the Western Sahara conflict, the Tangier-based American Legation can become an ideal platform from which both Moroccans and Americans can resourcefully advocate for the preservation of their common interests.

Bouzekri Chakroune, June 8, 2021

American-Moroccan relations were excellent since the birth of the American republic in 1776 and the American Legation in Tangier serves as a remarkable lasting landmark of the American-Moroccan friendship. Sultan Mulay Suleiman granted the site as a generous donation to the US government in 1821. American-Moroccan relations were excellent since the birth of the American republic in 1776 and the American Legation in Tangier serves as a remarkable lasting landmark of the American-Moroccan friendship. Sultan Mulay Suleiman granted the site as a generous donation to the US government in 1821. Over the years, the Legation has undergone steady extension after the purchase of neighboring houses. This fabulous US diplomatic post is reminiscent of the Moroccan–American Treaty of Friendship - the Treaty of Marrakesh - still in force at present and that was concluded between Alawite Sultan Mohammed III and US President George Washington in 1786. The first vowed to protect the American fleet crossing the Mediterranean against the aggressions of Barbarian pirates. American academics like late Professor John Damis had lauded these strong centuries-old ties in his monograph “Moroccan-American relations.” During the Second World War, US intelligence agents were headquartered in the Legation and managed to decipher secret Nazi codes in Operation Torch that facilitated the landings of the Allies in North Africa in 1942……    ==============================

Close to 70% of Moroccan Students Passed 2021 Baccalaureate Exams

After the exam deliberations this Friday, June 18, the results have officially been announced today, Sunday, June 20, 2021.

Khouloud Kaskouri, June 20th, 20201 Rabat

Morocco's Ministry of National Education announced that the success rate in the regular session for the national baccalaureate exam for 2021 is at 68.43%, compared to 63,08% last year.  A source from the ministry told media outlets last week that the success rate during the regular cycle of the national baccalaureate degree exams was estimated at 74% in some regional academic establishments this year.  The figures come amid serious competition between academies of the East and the Rabat-Sale-Kenitra region to top the educational scene in Morocco. Official data indicate that, compared to last year's exams, the success rate increased this year in most of the regional academies of education and training, with varying rates ranging from two to eight points. 
Data also suggested the superiority of female students’ performance over their male classmates.  According to a statement from the ministry, females made up 55.54 % of passing students. This is becoming a pattern as female baccalaureate candidates also outperformed their male classmates in last year's exams. 
Out of the total of enrolled students, 52.72% of them passed with “honours”. The highest mark recorded this year is 19.53, from the region of Marrakesh, in the physics department.  The success rate in scientific fields reached 66.55%, while it stood at  73.29% in the field of literature and arts………………..  

FNM Museums in Morocco Are Now Free of Charge for Students

The Ministry of Education signed a contract with the National Museum Foundation to allow students free access to Museums.

Safae Daoudi, June 10th, 2021 Rabat

The Ministry of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research, and the National Museum Foundation (FNM) signed a framework partnership agreement to allow students to visit museums affiliated with FNM for free.  The FNM was created in 2011 to enhance and promote Morocco's cultural and artistic heritage through its museums.  The recent agreement will provide free access for students and pupils every Wednesday and Friday. Students must book their visit beforehand and are to be supervised by guides.  This recent development suggests that the ministry and the foundation intend to promote Morocco's heritage and incentivize young people to learn more about the history and culture of their homeland…………….

‘Act4Community’: OCP’s Platform for Collective Meaning, Community Empowerment

Nabila Tbeur, Head of OCP’s Act4community Platform, speaks to Morocco World News about the centrality of social entrepreneurship, local capacity-building, and individual growth in OCP’s strategic vision.

Tamba Francois Koundouno, June 19th, 2021

It’s a vindication of OCP Group’s versatile corporate strategy that the Moroccan company has been linked to many developments in different fields - from being a digital trendsetter in Africa to promoting sustainable agriculture worldwide and being a keen actor of social empowerment. Although already the world’s largest phosphate mining and global leader in the fertilizer market, OCP sees - and projects - itself as so much more. For Nabila Tbeur, Head of OCP’s Act4community Platform, an initiative that encourages OCP employees to put their expertise at the service of the development of local communities, OCP is essentially about channeling transformative projects, vision, and talents to have a sustainable impact on the surrounding environments. Be it in its different sites in Morocco and its dozens of subsidiaries across Africa, Tbeur says, driving OCP’s strategy is a desire to be an actor of sustainable change, a promoter of sustainability, and a vector of socio-economic empowerment………………..

Study Reveals 25% Increase in Moroccans Studying in the US

1,499 Moroccans studied in the US’ higher education institutions during the 2019-2020 school year.

Michael Sauers June 16th, 2021 Rabat

Data collected by showed a 25% increase in Moroccan students studying in US higher education institutions since the 2010-2011 school year. The report stated that 1,201 Moroccan students studied in the US in 2010 as opposed to the 1,499 Moroccan students that studied in the US during the 2019-2020 school year……

Bilateral Trade Between US, Morocco Increased Fivefold Since 2005

There are currently approximately 150 US companies operating in Morocco, which was facilitated by the Free Trade Agreement enacted in 2006.

Toms Dumpis June 08th, 2021 Rabat

Trade between Morocco and the US has grown over five times since 2005, a year prior to the enactment of the joint Free Trade Agreement (FTA).  The agreement, which was signed in 2004 and enacted on January 1, 2006, aims to increase trade and grow investment opportunities between Morocco and the US. Since the FTA’s inception, bilateral trade between the two countries has increased fivefold, reaching $5 billion (MAD 44.1 billion) in 2019, said David Greene, Charge d'Affaires of the US Embassy in Morocco. Speaking at the celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Morocco-US Free Trade Agreement on June 7 in Casablanca, Greene highlighted that the agreement has facilitated the creation of thousands of jobs and promoted the economic development of both the US and Morocco…  =====================================================

ONDH Report Shows Half of Moroccans Consider Themselves ‘Poor’

Although Morocco’s absolute poverty rate has fallen from 15.3% in 2001 to 1.2% in 2019, ONDH’s survey found that one in two Moroccans are still considered poor.

Michael Sauers June 14th, 2021 Rabat

Morocco’s National Human Development Observatory (ONDH) discussed a report from 2012-2019 outlining the “Dynamics of Poverty” in Morocco during a webinar on Tuesday. The survey does not account for the devastating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Morocco’s economy. The report’s main finding is that “poverty concerns one in two Moroccans.” Since 2012, the absolute poverty rate in Morocco has fallen from 20.4% to 17.7%. However, the starkest contrast in data appears in the rift between the urban and rural population.  According to the report, the relative national poverty rate has fallen from 20.4% to 17.7% since 2001. Of those living in rural areas, 36.8% fell below the national poverty rate while just 6.4% of residents of urban areas fell below the threshold. 
Morocco’s poverty line lies at an annual income of MAD 14,667………………………….    

Recorded Cases of Violence Against Women Declined 11% in 2020

The DGSN revealed this Wednesday that violence against women decreased by 11% in 2020 compared with the past year.

Safae Daoudi June 13th,2021 Rabat

Morocco’s General Directory of National Security (DGSN) reported on Wednesday this week a decline of 11% in violence against women in 2020, during an awareness day dubbed: “The challenges and stakes of supporting women and girls, victims of violence.”……

Surf activists support Morocco's young

Water sports enthusiasts have set up a surf school in the sleepy Moroccan coastal town of Tarfaya to support the local community. Youngsters can take free surf lessons and language classes. Reaching the sleepy Moroccan port town of Tarfaya takes roughly a day from the country's north. Here, a group of young water sports enthusiasts have set up a surf camp and café by the name of "Nuevas Olas," or New Waves. They are teaching local youngsters to surf, and offer a place where water sports enthusiasts can socialize and swap ideas. Salim Maatoug is the organization's director, Hossin Ofan coordinates the surf school activities……

An industry in pieces

Why are Morocco’s famed artisans paving roads in the desert?

Covid-19 has smashed the country’s pottery capital

Jun 12th 2021 SAFI

A LITTLE MORE than a century ago, Boujemâa Lamali, an Algerian by birth, was recruited to Morocco by its French colonial administrators. His mission: to revive the country’s tradition of artistic pottery. So Lamali set up a school in Safi, on the Atlantic coast. The city became a hub for artisans. Before the pandemic some 2,000 of them officially worked in Safi’s 212 registered potteries. Thousands more toiled off the books. In total, Morocco’s craft sector employed 2.3m people, a fifth of the country’s workforce, and accounted for 7% of GDP.

Today, though, the winding alleys of Safi’s famed Colline des Potiers (Potter’s Hill) are quiet. The tourists who thronged the streets—and bought the pottery—have gone, because of covid-19. Morocco’s GDP fell by around 7% in 2020. A large number of Safi’s potteries have closed. For the first time in generations, most of its artisans are jobless or hanging on by a thread. “Divorces have skyrocketed,” says an elder. “What can a man do when he comes home each day with nothing for his family?” The government has tried to help the jobless, but only those who worked formally are eligible for its monthly handouts of $220. Locals say artisans have been moving “in droves” to the desert in search of work as day-labourers on a big road-building project………

Building Morocco's resilience to natural and climate-related disasters: World Bank additional financing to protect against risks

News Provided By African Press Organization

June 12, 2021

The World Bank today approved US$100 million in additional financing to help Morocco strengthen its ability to withstand the impact of natural disasters. The extra financing will be used to scale up an existing US$200 million Integrated Disaster Risk Management (DRM) and Resilience program by improving the country’s institutional capacity for disaster risk management and risk-reduction investments……………………

How one project in Morocco is teaching women to harness the sun’s energy

Towards Equality: In Morocco, a training program in management and marketing of solar ovens and cookers is helping women in rural areas to create their own cooperatives, with the aim of contributing to inclusive and climate-resilient development in the regions and promoting gender equality

Mohamed Ali Mrabi L’Économiste (Morocco)

Building a more sustainable world alongside women while enabling them to improve their income and living conditions. That is the goal of the Faredeic project (For its acronym in French, which means Argan and Rural Women Engaged for Inclusive Economic Development and Climate). It was created in Morocco, one of the African countries most threatened by climate change, which suffers an increased pressure on natural resources, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Today, each citizen has access to 600 cubic metres of water per year on average, four times less than in the 60s. Hence the importance of implementing innovative solutions, to favour both the energy transition, particularly in the rural areas, and women’s inclusion……

World Bank Approves $450 Million Loan for Moroccan Social and Financial Reforms

The World Bank approved the loan to help facilitate Morocco’s plans to increase public access to various financial and digital services.

Shaquile Goff, June 18th, 2021 Denver

The World Bank released a press release today announcing it would be awarding Morocco a $450 million dollar loan through its Financial and Digital Inclusion Development Policy Financing (DPF) program. The loan “aims to expand the availability of financial services and digital infrastructure for individuals and businesses, as well as improving financial inclusion and digital entrepreneurship.” This is the second of three DPF loans the World Bank plans to give to Morocco. …              

Pride Month and Morocco’s Ongoing Fight for LGBTQ+ Rights

Simply celebrating LGTBQ+ pride around the world is still an existential matter for which individuals continue to fight.

Micaela Alvarado June 12th, 2021

Every June, many countries in the world celebrate Pride month to reflect on the fight for LGBTQ+ civil rights. Gay equality is still an active work-in-progress for millions around the world. There are nearly seventy countries around the globe that penalize homosexual behaviors, and about half of those are in Africa. Although there is still work to be done on the issue, Morocco is seeing a huge increase in advocacy for gay equality.  While most Western countries have had several decades of LGBTQ+ advocacy, Morocco’s fight for LGBTQ+ rights is relatively new. Currently, “lewd or unnatural acts with an individual of the same sex” is illegal under Article 489 of the Moroccan Penal Code. Any relationship and sexual orientation that do not conform to the law can be punished from anything between six months to three years’ imprisonment and receive a fine ranging from $20 (MAD 200) to $100 (MAD 1,000). ……

Think Tank: Morocco’s Growth Model Effective, but Unequal

Compared to other Maghrebi countries, Morocco has actually benefited from the Arab Spring in 2011, showing itself as a stable country for any future investments.

Toms Dumpis, May 31st, 2021 Rabat

In a recent report on economic and social stability in the Maghreb, the Institut Montaigne covers the current situation of Morocco, calling it “an effective but unequal growth model.” Opening with meditation on the nature of the Mediterranean Sea, a “junction more than a barrier,” the report assesses the current situation in the Maghreb, namely Tunisia, Morocco, and Algeria, as well as the ramifications for Europe. In describing Morocco’s growth model as “effective but unequal,” the institute draws a comparison to its eastern partner, Tunisia, to assess the similarities and differences between the two countries.  While the two Maghrebi countries share an “‘open’ growth model” driven by tourism, exports, and consumption, and a “considerable primary sector,” Morocco has still managed to emerge “about 20 places ahead of Tunisia in both Doing Business and Global Competitive Index.”……………..  

Bab Zouina: Where Tourism Meets Community and Community Means All

Bab Zouina or the “Door of Beauty,”’ is an eco-lodge/ retreat center encapsulating grace in all aspects of its operations: For the guests, the space, the hosts, and the world.

Aine Donnellan, May 29th, 2021

In the saga of our globalized world, tourism is both the villain and the hero. It has caused environmental damage, cultural commodification, and declined living standards for local communities across the globe. But tourism is also a source of joy, a key driver of socio-economic development in many countries, and has increased our collective environmental awareness. Bab Zouina is taking small steps to ethically integrate tourism into its local community.  The booming tourist destination of Morocco aims for a heroic creation when forging their personal version of this double-edged sword: Sustainable tourism is on a nationwide rise. The former top-level, now grassroots-actor Karim Zein left the corporate world six years ago to set up an eco-lodge near Marrakech. And in keeping with the national spirit, his small-scale sword-forging leans towards benevolence……….     

Morocco’s New Development Model a Pan-African Leap into the Future

While other nations struggled in the face of COVID-19, Morocco has only been further strengthened in its choices and has been confirmed once again as  a nation that upholds the values of empathy, solidarity, and responsibility.

Youssef Amrani, June 11th, 2021 South Africa

Two weeks ago, Morocco adopted a New Development Model that will reshape the way our nation conceptualizes plans for its own future. The Kingdom of Morocco has always known how to continuously focus on the progress of its nation and the well-being of its people. As a reflection of this unwavering commitment, Morocco never failed to reassess the path of its destiny to keep pace with the requirements of development and prosperity in an ever-changing world. As such, the New Development Model stands as a testimony to Morocco’s forward-looking approach and paves the way for a promising, inclusive and bright future for all Moroccans regardless of their gender, social, political or religious backgrounds.  ……  =====================================================

Contemporary Art: Comparing a Moroccan Artist and an American Painter

The different styles of contemporary art take inspiration from universal themes of personal identity and the artist’s environment.

Micaela Alvarado, June 20th, 2021

Contemporary art focuses on ideas and concerns rather than just the look of the art piece. It is meant to provoke deep thoughts within the viewers or beholder, often regarding identifiable causes in the world. Both Moroccan artist, Hassan Hajjaj, and American painter, Amy Sherald, produce work that embody the definition of contemporary art while centering on their identity and being influenced by the setting around them…

Minister of Culture Signs Deal to Create New Annual Prize for Cultural Publications

The agreement will see the creation of a new prize focused on “the best cultural publications on participatory digital encyclopedias,” according to the announcement.

Shaquile Goff, June 16th, 2021 Denver

The Minister of Culture, Youth, and Sports Othman El Ferdaous revealed a new agreement that was reached with the Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco. The agreement consisted of plans to start a new annual competition that plans to highlight some of Morocco’s rich culture in the digital age. According to Mr. El Ferdaous’ statement, both the academy and the Ministry will work to “support the emergence of new cultural and digital uses” through the competition, as well as working towards “the democratization of culture and to promote national cultural and symbolic richness in several languages.” 
The competition will accept submissions in text, audio, image, and video formats.

Farida Fassi: ‘Math is Hard, Physics is Beautiful’

Farida Fassi, a Moroccan scientist with an illustrious career in physics, talks to Morocco World News about her trials, tribulations, and achievements.

Toms Dumpis, June 13, 2021 Rabat

Farida Fassi is a well-established Moroccan researcher and a professor of physics at Mohammed V University in Rabat, the Moroccan capital. Morocco World News (MWN) reached out to her to discuss her experiences, her academic -- and social -- work, as well as the state of academia in Morocco.  Fassi recently also made it into the top ranks of the international 2021 AD Scientific Index, which looks at various metrics for productivity and academic citations to rank scientists worldwide. The Moroccan professor ranked 38th in the world, and second in Morocco, the Arab league, as well as in Africa……….

President of Mohammed V University Discusses School’s International Ambitions

In an exclusive interview with Morocco World News, Mohammed V University’s President Mohammed Rhachi discusses his school’s rising global prominence and what this means for the future of the university.

Shaquile Goff, June 12, 2021 Rabat

Mohammed Rhachi, the acting president of Mohammed V University in Rabat, sat down to speak with Morocco World news, following a new release of global university rankings that placed his university first in the Maghreb region, and 946th globally.  Rhachi was initially appointed as the president of the university three years ago, and since then he has helped in maneuvering the school on a track that has proven to be immensely successful in improving its global standing. According to Rhachi, “this 64 rank jump came as a result of a controlled strategy that was not an individual accomplishment, but rather the fruition of a group effort.” ……     

Morocco Presents New Development Model to Foreign Diplomats

Morocco is working to combat poverty, unequal access to education, and weaknesses in the healthcare system by implementing a new development model and social security project.

Michael Sauers, June 15th, 2021 Rabat

The president of Morocco’s Special Commission for the Development (CSMD) Model, Chakib Benmoussa, presented a general report today on the new development model in front of a diverse delegation of foreign diplomats at Morocco’s Foreign Affairs Ministry.  The diplomats hailed from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, Japan, and many other partner nations……………….

Moroccan Students to Sit for 2021 National Exams Amid COVID-19

Baccalaureate candidates will sit for the 2021 national exams from June 8 to 10, under special COVID circumstances, for the second time in a row.

Safae Daoudi, June 07, 2021 Rabat

Morocco’s Ministry of National Education, Vocational Training, Higher Education and Scientific Research has announced that the national baccalaureate exams for this year are set to take place from June 8 to 10.  The Ministry specified that exams for the scientific branch would occur between June 8 and 10, at 8 am. For the literary branch, the exams will be carried out on 11 and 12 June, respectively.  Students across Morocco sit for this national merit-based examination every year to earn a diploma that is required to access university.  Due to school closures caused by Morocco’s ongoing state of emergency, the ministry of education postponed the baccalaureate exams last year to July 2020 and canceled exams for ninth and sixth-grade students. …………….

National Museum Foundation Receives Donation for 10th Anniversary

Museums in Morocco closed down on March 16 of 2020 due to COVID-19, and only reopened in July of the same year.

Khouloud Haskouri, June 07, 2021 Rabat

The National Museum Foundation (FNM) has announced that it received a “generous” donation made up of a large collection of the great names in Moroccan painting.  This donation was given to the FNM on the occasion of the 10th anniversary of its creation, and it’s offered by patron El Khalil Belguench. Morocco’s National Foundation of Museums was created in 2011. Chaired by Mehdi Qotbi, the FNM is a non-profit institution attributed with legal personality and financial autonomy, tasked with strengthening the governance of Moroccan national museums it manages on behalf of the government. This generous donation was described as “a pledge of confidence” in the work accomplished by the FNM for its 10 years of existence, in a press release from the Foundation. ……………….

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