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Morocco Week in Review 
March 6 2021

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Happy Peace Corps Week! Many thanks to US Embassy Morocco

and RPCV Sam for the inspiring message.

Peace Corps Marks 60 Years Promoting Peace, Friendship (VOA)

February 28, 2021

It was 60 years ago when President John F. Kennedy signed an executive order putting in place the Peace Corps – an international volunteer organization to promote peace and friendship. VOA Correspondent Mariama Diallo has more on the challenging and rewarding experiences of so many who have taken part over the years.

The Peace Corps commemorates its 60th Anniversary 17 photos

Peace Corps Marks 60 Years of Global Volunteerism

Voice of America 27th February 2021,
Peace Corps 60th Anniversary Marks 60 Years of Service and the Beginning of a New Chapter
Since its founding in 1961, the Peace Corps has been making a difference around the world

US Friendship Association To Promote Morocco-Israel Collaboration

The association seeks to promote Judeo-Moroccan history and culture, and mutual understanding.

By Anass Mountassir -  Mar 3, 2021 Rabat

Members of the Jewish-Moroccan community have created the  Moroccan-Israeli Friendship Association (MIFA) in the US  to strengthen relations between the two countries. Rabbi Gad Bouskila, a member of the Moroccan Jewish Center Netivot Israel Congregation in Brooklyn, New York, is the honorary president of MIFA. The rabbi created  the Moroccan-Israeli Friendship Association in partnership with the Mustapha Ezzrghani who will run the association’s day-to-day activities. “The association seeks  to promote a “mutual understanding of the history, culture and contemporary society of Morocco and Israel,” the association announced in a statement. The MIFA aims also to “recall the historical facts which have distinguished Morocco as a pioneer in the consolidation of the values ​​of peace and tolerance and the fight against anti-Semitism.” The founders said the association “adheres to the spirit of the 2011 Moroccan Constitution,” which enshrines the essential place of Judaism in the cultural plurality of Morocco . …………………………..

Morocco Day 2021 Economic Summit for US Economists, Investors

Morocco Day returns with a March 29 economic summit following the success of its two-day event in January,

By Jasper Hamann - Mar 4, 2021 Rabat

Morocco Day 2021 continues its year-long program with an economic summit focused on US economists and investors on March 29. The upcoming economic summit comes after a successful two-day virtual program in January. The Morocco Day 2021 Economic Summit will focus on the digital economy, knowledge exchange, and empowering local economic actors.  Artificial intelligence will also appear on the program, promising to decode “artificial intelligence in front of the local investor and its transformation from science fiction to the world of business and investment.“ The event aims to promote digital transformation at small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) “as a way to overcome devastating crises” amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  Morocco Day 2021 in its press release emphasized that “the post-Covid-19 era requires from the local investor a high capacity for adaptation to international changes in order to overcome this period of disruption.” …………………………………….

Alex Lasry: Son of Jewish-Moroccan Billionaire Runs For US Senate

Lasry is the senior vice president at the Milwaukee Bucks which is co-owned by his Marrakesh-born father Marc Lasry

By Jasper Hamann -    Feb 20, 2021 Rabat

Alex Lasry could become the first US senator of Jewish-Moroccan descent after announcing his candidacy on Thursday. Alex Lasry is the son of Marc Lasry, a hedge fund billionaire who was born to a Morrocan jewish family in Marrakech.  Marc Lasry emigrated to the US at age 7 but continues to recognize his roots, organizing a lavish 60th birthday party in Marrakech in 2019. Lasry made a reported $1.8 billion through his hedge-fund before in 2013 being considered for the position of US ambassador to France, which he declined. Still, Alex Lasry’s father has been an important player in US politics as an influential Democratic donor, raising funds for both Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden after having supported Kamala Harris in the primaries. While Alex Lasry presents himself as a progressive Democrat, his father is anything but. Ahead of the last election cycle Marc Lasry had doubts about whether it would be good if Democrats won “too much” in the 2020 elections. “I don’t think it’s going to be good. You know that if the Democrats sweep, you’re going to have more regulation,” Lasry stated. “You’re going to have higher taxes, I just don’t see that as being a positive for the market,” he told Halftime Report ahead of the election…………………………………

Morocco Submits UN Proposal for International Day of Argania


Following the 75th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA 75), Morocco invited all member states and stakeholders to observe the International Day of Argania on May 10. Morocco’s draft resolution cites the instrumental role of the Argan tree in promoting local jobs and eradicating poverty, highlighting the implementation of targets with concrete policies and actions, within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In urging the UN to recognize the cultural and socioeconomic significance of Argan, Morocco wishes to build upon previously adopted resolutions to promote trade for sustainable growth and production of Argan and its derivatives. The North African country notes, specifically within the framework of “the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” that eradicating poverty “is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development.” Morocco also invites all parties to strengthen cooperation in preserving Argan trees, arguing that the cultivation of the Argan tree contributes to “the economic empowerment and financial inclusion of local communities.”……………………
Morocco Submits UN Proposal for International Day of Argania (

UN Adopts May 10th As International Day of Argania

Morocco had urged the UN to establish an international day that recognizes the important role of the argan tree in “economic empowerment and financial inclusion of local communities.”

By Safaa Kasraoui -  Mar 3, 2021
The Permanent Mission of Morocco to the UN announced today that the UN General Assembly has adopted a resolution proclaiming May 10th of each year as the International Day of Argania.
This week, Morocco submitted a draft resolution, citing the important role of the argan tree in promoting job creation in rural areas across the country.
Morocco’s resolution seeks to promote trade and sustainable growth and production of argan and its derivatives.
The resolution is in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, that seeks to eradicate poverty.
The North African country also called on the international community to strengthen efforts to preserve argan trees, arguing that the sector contributes to the ‘economic empowerment and financial inclusion of local communities.” …………………………………

WeMash Digital: Moroccan Startup Supports Businesses’ Digital Transformation

By  Abdelmalek El Morabit  - Feb 28, 2021

Founded in September 2020 by Nizar Berdai, WeMash Digital is a growing Moroccan initiative that brings together a team of young, ambitious, and creative developers, consultants, and graphic designers.  The fresh startup specializes in digital marketing, design, web development, advertising, market research, SEO, and social networks. By combining information technology (IT) and innovative ways of communication, WeMash Digital’s 10-person team works to help enterprises grow by designing websites and web platforms with effective digital strategies. At a time when both small and big businesses were closing their doors and letting go of their employees, the idea behind WeMash Digital was starting to develop. As Morocco put into effect different restrictions of movement (ROM) measures, many companies sought alternative ways to move their businesses online. WeMash Digital was devising ways to help them with this transition. ……………………..
WeMash Digital: Moroccan Startup Supports Businesses’ Digital Transformation (

Morocco’s Civil Society Continues Fight for LGBTQ+ Rights Amid COVID-19

By Oumaima Latrech  - Feb 27, 2021 Rabat

Morocco-based LGBTQ+ group Nassawiyat, which translates to “feminists,” studies the marginalization and rights violations against Morocco’s minority groups amid the pandemic in its recent report “Loubya fi Zamane Corona” (Arabic for Beans in the time of Corona). “Loubya” or “beans” in English, is a slur widely used by Moroccan social media users to refer to a queer person. The report summarizes the living conditions of the LGBTQ+ community in Morocco during the lockdown through a series of interviews that members of the Nassawiyat collective conducted. Despite its difficulties, the pandemic has shown solidarity between Moroccan LGBTQ+ activists and international NGOs to call out homophobia, the report found……….
Morocco’s Civil Society Continues Fight for LGBTQ+ Rights Amid COVID-19 (

Moroccan Novelists Among Nominees for International Arabic Fiction Award

By Khouloud Haskouri -  Mar 3, 2021 Rabat

The International Prize for Arabic Fiction (IPAF) published the 2021 longlist containing16 authors. Among them are two Moroccan novelists, Abdelmeguid Sabata and Youssef Fadel.  The IPAF 2021 longlist is diverse in both the selection of countries and ages.  The novels listed cover a multitude of issues relevant to the Arab world. The newly announced longlist includes two Moroccan novels, out of 16 potential winners.  Youssef Fadel is a 72-year old award-winning Moroccan author, with a career spanning over five decades. Having written many novels and plays with strong political themes, Fadel’s work is considered a major contribution to the Moroccan literary scene.  Fadel is listed for his novel The life of Butterflies, in which he explores fictitious accounts set in the midst of a major Moroccan historical event, the failed 1972 coup attempt. Having lived through the years in question, the subject matter is a consistent theme in his previous work.  Abdelmeguid Sabata is one of the youngest writers on the list at 32 years old. He is a celebrated author, having won the Moroccan Book Award in 2018 for his novel The Zero Hour………………………….

Morocco to Set Up Higher School of Technology in Ouarzazate

Ouarzazate is known for attracting cineasts from across the world, including Hollywood. Minister of Education Saaid Amzazi reviewed the designs of the project during a visit today, revealing that the soon-to-be inaugurated facilitated cost a MAD 30 million ($3.35 million) budget. Accompanying Amzazi on the visit were Minister of Tourism Nadia El Alaoui and the Delegate Minister for Higher Education and Scientific research Idris Aouicha.  Aouicha said that the school will offer basic training in the technical fields that should meet the needs of the region, especially in the fields of cinema and electricity…….

Uncovered Hammam in Seville Reveals Morocco’s Historic Splendour

By Jasper Hamann-  Mar 4, 2021 Rabat

A hammam was discovered in Seville when a local tapas bar underwent renovations, uncovering a pearl of Morocco’s history and culture.  The owners of tapas bar “Cervercería Giralda” in Seville had aimed to use the current lack of customers, due to the pandemic, as a chance to renovate their building.  The bar is situated below a 1920s hotel built in the Moorish Revival style that was popular in the early 20th century. As such, the owners figured that its Islamic appearance originated from the architectural style that was popular when the hotel was constructed.  They discovered a centuries-old masterpiece built during the reign of Morocco’s Almohad dynasty. The building was discovered to date back to the 12th-century, unlike the 1920s as previously thought.
At the time, the hammam was part of a network of over ten thousand hammams that are still present in Morocco today…………..

Two Moroccan Women Win L’Oreal-UNESCO ‘For Women in Science’ Award

Two Moroccan women win the prestigious L’Oreal-UNESCO award of “for Women in Science” supporting scientific careers.

By Oumaima Latrech -  Mar 2, 2021 Rabat

The 2020 L’Oreal-UNESCO Maghreb fellowship program awarded two Moroccan researchers, Jihane Ouchrif and Najlaa Fathi for their outstanding research in STEM. Both Ouchrif and Fathi are praised for their research that contributes to STEM fields and were each granted a scholarship of 10 000 € ($12040) to finance their post-PhD projects. Ouchrif is a PhD student at Hassan II University in Casablanca, majoring in electrical engineering and telecommunications. Her research focuses on designing prototypes of the optical detector based on the optical transistor of fiber optic communication systems………

Economist Discusses Measures to Facilitate Informal Sector Integration in Morocco

By Khouloud Haskouri -  Mar 4, 2021 Rabat

The latest episode of The Policy Center for the New South’s weekly show interviewed Najib Saoumai on the challenges of integrating Morocco’s informal sector.
On August 6, 2020, Morocco announced its recovery plan from the COVID-19 pandemic with a budget of MAD 120 billion ($13.4 billion). The main focus of the plan is to relaunch the economy, safeguard and promote employment, preserve the health of workers, promote good governance, and speed ​​up the process of formalizing the economy. The integration of the informal sector, a scourge that weighs heavily on the domestic economy, depends, among other things, on the ability of local authorities to create a “suitable” local business climate, according to economist Najib Saoumai. Saoumai was the guest of The Policy Center for the New South’s (PCNS) weekly program, “PCNS Tuesdays”…………………..

Moroccan Expatriate Receives Canadian Award for Volunteering

“This award motivates me to do double my efforts”

By Zineb Bourchouk - Mar 1, 2021 Rabat

Moroccan Faouzi Mittouili has received an award from the Canadian Province of Ontario for his volunteer services.  Mittouili, who is the president of the Moroccan Association of Toronto (AMDT), expressed his gratitude and satisfaction for receiving the award on February 25. “It is a great honor for me, my family, the other volunteers, and the entire Moroccan community residing abroad,” he said in an interview. Faouzi Mittouili was born in Marrakech and has lived in Canada since 2014. He is well-known as an active member of the Moroccan community residing abroad. In 2020, Mittouili organized several events despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Moroccan Association of Toronto (AMDT) has a goal of creating “a community solidarity dynamic among the Moroccans of Toronto by organizing events with a social, cultural, educational, sporting and economic vocation,” according to the group’s website. ……………………

Despite Rumors, Moroccan Tagine Declared Safe

By Toms Dumpis -  Feb 24, 2021 Rabat

The tagine is one of the most iconic Moroccan products, and despite the rumors published by select local newspapers, is not harmful to health, the Moroccan Head of Government Saad Dine El Othmani recently declared. During a plenary session in the House of Representatives on February 1, the Moroccan head of government stressed the superb quality of the tagine. El Othmani addressed the concerns due to the rise of rumors of high concentration of lead in the earthware. Some producers may still use negligible amounts of lead in the production of the baking dish, but they are far below the threshold of danger. While the World Health Organization has set the limit of five milliliters per kilogram, the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism and Handicrafts has set a much more stringent threshold of two milliliters per kilogram. The president of the Oulja Potters Association, Abderrahim Chanoune explained to a local Moroccan newspaper that “the products are tested [for lead] free of charge in laboratories and are monitored by committees sent by the Ministry of Crafts.” ………

‘Tamwil Online Platform’: New Funding Platform for Assisting Moroccan Entrepreneurs

The Tamwil project is launched with the aim of reviving the COVID-19 impacted economy and facilitating the steps needed for doing business in Morocco.

By Hamza Guessous -  Feb 22, 2021 Rabat

The Regional Investment Center (CRI Marrakech-Safi) and the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises of the region of Marrakech-Safi (CGEM-Marrakech Safi) launched on Friday, February 19, the first online funding platform for entrepreneurs.  Called the “Tamwil program,” the scheme is designed to support business holders, investors, already-established businesses, and even unsuccessful businesses. With the support of the Near East Foundation (NEF) and in partnership with the Business Incubator, Emerging Business Foundation, the online platform grants entrepreneurs and business holders an on-hand exploration of their funding options. In a statement to Morocco World News, the Director of the pole, economic impetus, and territorial offer at Regional Investment Center of Marrakech Safi, Mohamed Amine Sabibi, said that the platform will serve as a venue for assisting investors and project holders through their search for funding. ……

Moroccan University Inaugurates Africa’s Most Powerful Supercomputer

Mohammed VI Polytechnic University has launched the African Supercomputing Center that aims to boost Africa’s research capacities

By Jasper Hamann - Feb 20, 2021 Rabat

Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) has officially launched its new datacenter that hosts Africa’s most powerful supercomputer. The new entity at UM6P will provide high performance computing (HPC) to boost research on the African continent. UM6P on Friday launched its new African Supercomputing Center (ASCC) in partnership with the University of Cambridge and technology firms Dell and Intel. The ASCC aims to provide resources for vital research in Africa in topics such as Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics, Genomics, Food Security, Agriculture and Mining. As Africa’s premier supercomputer, the ASCC has amazing capacities. The supercomputer contains over 69000 CPU cores, over 8000 terabytes of storage, and more than 1300 servers for its networking capabilities. It has “a clear and well-developed vision to create a world class Supercomputing Centre with the largest HPC system in Africa, acting as a technological beacon, demonstrating global research leadership,” UM6P announced in a press release………………………………………………

Moroccan Street Food at Home: Recipe for Maaqouda, Potato Fritters

By  Zineb Bourchouk, - Feb 27, 2021 Rabat

In the streets of an old Moroccan medina, or in weekly souks (open-air markets), you are likely to come across a sandwich stand that sells Maaqouda. It is a delicious potato fritter that you can pair with anything from a simple tomato sauce to fried eggplants and bell peppers to sardines caught off Moroccan shores. 
Since I can remember, I loved inviting my family out for lunch and buying Maaqouda sandwiches. Knowing that it costs less than MAD 10 ($1), and that I was 12 years old, we would joke about how it was the only meal I can afford.  This became a tradition. Whether I buy or make Maaqouda for family and friends, it is always an enjoyable guilty pleasure that I love to share.  This Moroccan potato fritter is one of my favorite comfort foods and it holds a special place in my heart. I love sharing it with my Moroccan and non-Moroccan friends and introducing them to this delicious Moroccan speciality.  Today, we share with you a healthier homemade version of Maaqouda: A beloved Moroccan street food that is easy and fast to make……………………..
Moroccan Street Food at Home: Recipe for Maaqouda, Potato Fritters (

Northern Morocco Facing Protests Over Deepening Socio-Economic Crises

Morocco shut down borders with Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla to rescue its internal economy.

By Safaa Kasraoui - Feb 28, 2021 Rabat

The towns of Fnideq and M’diq in northern Morocco witnessed several protests recently, with demonstrators denouncing social disparity and socio-economic crisis in the region. One of the latest protests took place on Friday in front of the headquarters of the municipality of Fnideq. The small town in the Tangier-Tetouan Al Hoceima region  is home to thousands of citizens whose main source of living was the smuggling of goods from Spanish enclave of Ceuta and Melilla.
Morocco, however, shut down borders with the two enclaves to rescue its “bleeding” internal economy. The country closed crossing borders with the Spanish enclave of Melilla before the emergence of COVID-19, while it suspended access to the Ceuta border Tarajal II gate on October 9, 2020. In closing the country to both enclaves, the Moroccan government complained mainly about the highly negative impact the smuggling of goods had had on its economy. In February 2019, the director-general of the Moroccan Administration of Customs and Indirect Taxation, Nabyl Lakhdar, estimated the value of the products entering Morocco through the Ceuta border between €550 million and €730 million. Lakhdar stressed that Morocco was forced to turn to “radical” solutions to “permanently put an end to contraband border crossings with Melilla and Ceuta.”………………
Northern Morocco Facing Protests Over Deepening Socio-Economic Crises (

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