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Morocco Week in Review 
May 8 2021

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

US, Morocco Convene to Discuss Progress of MCA Compact II Agreement

The 11th session of the Strategic Orientation Council of the MCA-Morocco Agency focused on a wide range of activities that strengthened the US-Morocco partnership and improved Morocco’s private and agriculture sectors.

By Michael Sauers -  Apr 28, 2021 Rabat

Morocco’s Minister of Economy, Finance, and Administration Reform Mohamed Benchaaboun chaired a committee meeting with representatives from the US’s Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) to discuss updates on the Compact II agreement. The US formed the Compact II agreement in November 2015 and stated its aims to “improve the quality of human capital and land productivity” through digitization in Morocco.  The US allocated $450 million (MAD 4 billion) and Morocco will match 15% of the contribution. During the 11th session of the Strategic Orientation Council of the MCA-Morocco Agency on Tuesday, the committee discussed the “significant progress made in the implementation of the various activities under Compact II.” Activities focused on secondary education, vocational training, employment, industrial land, rural land, and land governance…

English to Replace French as Morocco’s Primary Language

April 28th, 2021

The results of an online survey published to mark the UN’s English Language Day appear to show that two thirds of young Moroccans believe that within five years, English is set to replace French as the country’s primary language. The British Council, the UK’s international organization for cultural relations and educational opportunities, ran an online poll of 1,200 young Moroccans between the ages of 15 and 25. According to the Council’s report, ‘Shift to English in Morocco’, when asked which languages were the most important to learn, 40% choose English, while only 10% mentioned French………………….

OCP Promotes Sports, Youth Empowerment in Central Morocco

The move is aimed at integrating young rural people to benefit from their talents and to upgrade the sports facilities in general in low-income rural areas.

By Safaa Kasraoui -  May 4, 2021 Rabat

The OCP Group’s Site Al Gantour continues to provide assistance to the youth and vulnerable populations in rural areas with the construction and development of a nearby synthetic turf field in the village of Sidi Ahmed in Youssoufia province, near Marrakech. The OCP “Site El Gantour” group is committed to efforts aimed at developing sports infrastructures in the province of Youssoufia. The latest project is part of a socio-sports initiative seeking to establish and develop high-level infrastructures for open-air sports activities.  OPC is carrying out the sports infrastructure scheme in partnership with the local authorities of Youssoufia, and in coordination with the technical services of the “Site Al Gantour” initiative. The partnership aims to strengthen the integration of young people, to benefit from local talents, and to modernize the sports sector in general in the underserved rural areas. This program includes the construction and development of a series of local sports fields in several neighborhoods of the city of Youssoufia, as well as in the villages of the province………………………………..

Climate Change: Morocco to Introduce Environment Code

The environment code is part of Morocco’s commitment to boost environmentally friendly projects to ensure sustainable development.

By Staff Writer -  May 4, 2021 Rabat

Minister of Energy, Mining, and Environment, Aziz Rabbah, announced on Monday that his department is preparing an environment code to combine all the texts related to the field. Rabbah announced the project at the House of Representatives. The large number of projects related to the environment, which concern numerous sectors, encouraged the ministry to work on a draft environmental code, the official explained. The project, which is nearing completion, will serve as a reference by combining all environment-related texts, including laws, decrees, decisions, and administrative procedures. Rabbah said his ministry deployed all financial means to prepare the code, of which its draft will be submitted to the General Secretariat of the government in a few weeks. The official expressed satisfaction with several sustainable development projects Morocco launched in line with the country’s strategy…

Opinion: Morocco’s jailed journalists deserve the Biden administration’s attention

Moroccan security forces disperse a protest in front of the parliament building in Rabat on April 16. The protest was held in solidarity with arrested journalists Suleiman Raissouni and Omar Radi, who are on hunger strike, and to demand their release. (Jalal Morchidi/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock)

Opinion by the  Editorial Board April 30, 2021

ONE OF the more awkward foreign policy problems inherited by the Biden administration is President Donald Trump’s reckless recognition in December of Morocco’s claim to the disputed territory of Western Sahara. The move reversed long-standing U.S. policy and placed Washington at odds with European allies, African nations and U.N. resolutions. Mr. Trump acted not on the merits of the issue, but as part of a deal to induce Morocco to upgrade its relations with Israel. It was an unjust and unnecessary reward for a regime that, under King Mohammed VI, has grown increasingly autocratic. With many foreign challenges to juggle, the new administration unsurprisingly has been slow to clarify whether it will confirm the Trump position or reverse it, as it has been urged to do by 25 senators. Before it decides, it ought to engage with the regime about its human rights record — and, in particular, its assault on freedom of expression. A number of Moroccan journalists and human rights activists have been prosecuted for criticizing the king or exposing corruption, and two particularly prominent journalists are now more than three weeks into hunger strikes that could have tragic results……

Making the Farmer King: The Need to Shift Our Approach to Agriculture

There is a persistent problem of a broken or non-existent agricultural chain in the agro-allied sector in the global south. This has led to an industry whose growth has remained stunted over the years.

By  Olufunmilayo Aiyegbusi  - May 2, 2021 The Hague

Looking through my grandfather’s diary 25 years after his death, I got some insights into the life of a farmer. Although he had three farms which would have added up to at least 100 acres of farmland, he was not conversant with climate-adaptive farming and lived in perpetual fear of low yield. If only he had access to some training in agriculture, maybe those farms would still exist today and I could have trained as a farm manager. ………………………………

Morocco, UN Preparing to Celebrate the First International Day of Argania

By  Toms Dumpis  - May 7, 2021 Rabat

Morocco and the wider international community, are preparing to celebrate the first International Day of Argania, on May 10. Morocco first proposed the annual celebration of its national tree to the UN earlier in the year, inviting all member states to observe the International Day on May 10. The draft resolution cited the instrumental role of the argan tree in promoting local jobs and eradicating poverty, which goes hand-in-hand with the UN’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It did not take long for the UN to adopt Morocco’s resolution. On March 3, the UN proclaimed May 10th as the International Day of Argania.
The celebration is a result of Morocco’s efforts to bring the international community’s attention to the North African country’s undertaking to further develop its already thriving Argan industry………………………..

CNDH Report: 2020 Was Tragic Year By All Accounts

CNDH recommended the government to work on making the country’s economy a lever to human rights amid the ongoing crisis due to COVID-19.

By  Safaa Kasraoui  - May 6, 2021 Rabat

The National Human Rights Council (CNDH) released its annual report that assesses and recommends on human rights development in Morocco. The CNDH started its annual report with opening remarks from its President Amina Bouayach, who described 2020 as a “tragic” year due to the repercussions of the global COVID-19 crisis. Bouayach said it would not be an exaggeration to acknowledge that Moroccans experienced a series of events that will be “engraved in human memory forever.” CNDH argued that COVID-19, despite its challenges, prompted solidarity and a shared responsibility among Moroccans. The chairwoman of the human right institution additionally emphasized that some people were surprised to see a country like Morocco, with limited resources, winning the battle against COVID-19 day after day thanks to the contribution of all citizens and their patience……………………………………

Morocco Spends MAD 3 Billion Annually On Road Network Maintenance

Morocco’s Minister of Transports and Logistics spoke of the Moroccan government’s increasing investments in road construction and maintenance of road quality.

By Staff Writer -May 5, 2021 Rabat

Abdelkader Amara, Morocco’s Minister of Equipment, Transport, Logistics, and Water, announced that the North African country allocates an annual budget of MAD 3 billion for the maintenance of the national roads network. The figure represents 46% of the total budget allocated for roads in general. Speaking earlier today during a hearing session at the parliament, Amara stressed that not maintaining the country’s road infrastructure would be a big loss for the national purse given the amount reserved for road maintenance.  The minister went on to reveal that the regular maintenance of the national road network cost the Moroccan government a total of MAD 250 million ($28 million). Citing Morocco’s increasing efforts to invest in road construction projects, Amara also highlighted his ministry’s eagerness to consolidate its achievements in terms of road maintenance. ……………..

Ramadan Reflections on Jewish-Muslim Relations

With the rise in intolerance and hate crimes worldwide, Moroccan models of Jewish-Muslim coexistence – past and present - offer a promising future.

By  Adina Friedman  - Adina teaches at George Mason University’s Carter School for Peace Building and Conflict Resolution, and is Founding Director of ILLI Initiatives. May 2, 2021

Holidays are a time for reflection and rejuvenation. They may separate us temporarily from those who do not share our customs, but can also offer opportunities to connect with them and celebrate our diversity and our commonalities. Ramadan is an excellent time to reflect on Jewish-Muslim relations, past, present, and future.  The relationship between Judaism and Islam began in the seventh century, with the advent and spread of Islam in the Arabian Peninsula. Judaism and Islam share a great deal in terms of their basic religious outlook, jurisprudence, and practice. Both calendars are lunar, though the Jewish calendar is adjusted every few years to the solar one…………………………..

Making the Farmer King: The Need to Shift Our Approach to Agriculture

There is a persistent problem of a broken or non-existent agricultural chain in the agro-allied sector in the global south. This has led to an industry whose growth has remained stunted over the years.

By  Olufunmilayo Aiyegbusi  - May 2, 2021 The Hague

Looking through my grandfather’s diary 25 years after his death, I got some insights into the life of a farmer. Although he had three farms which would have added up to at least 100 acres of farmland, he was not conversant with climate-adaptive farming and lived in perpetual fear of low yield. If only he had access to some training in agriculture, maybe those farms would still exist today and I could have trained as a farm manager. …………………………

Morocco’s Hassan Hajjaj Makes Mark on Post-Pandemic Art Scene

The series encompasses a variety of photographs of local models, design, and cultural context from Morocco, the most commonly recurring theme in the artist’s work.
By  Dina Toum-Benchekroun  - May 1, 2021 Rabat

As the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel becomes slightly closer, Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj has wasted no time in resuming the worldwide exhibition of his series “My Rockstars.” On February 7, 2021, Fotografiska in New York City in collaboration with Maison Europeenne de la Photographie in Paris displayed the VOGUE, Arab Issue series. Shortly after, a second exhibition opened in New York at the Yossi Milo, where Hajjaj’s My Rockstars series is on display until May 29. ……

Recent Discoveries Suggest a Prehistoric Community in Anti-Atlas

By  Toms Dumpis  - Apr 19, 2021 Rabat

“Clear evidence” points to Morocco’s Anti-Atlas Mountains as a possible “larger scale” site for prehistoric occupation. According to a study in the scientific journals Almogaren issue 52, the discovery of debitage stone at Imaoun suggests the existence of a possible prehistoric community, which would have existed about twenty kilometers northeast of the Akka oasis in the Anti-Atlas………………………..

Djebli Club: Moroccan Eco-Hostel Challenging Restrictive Social Structures

“We do a lot without money here… The concept is to share. To exchange time and energy instead of paper notes - and people seem to dig it!”

By  Aine Donnellan  - May 1, 2021

Knowledge is power and such power is too narrowly distributed, according to Allae Hammioui, owner and founder of Djebli Club. Djebli is a participatory hostel in northern Morocco, where guests pay their way by sharing skills. The aim is to mitigate perceived societal asymmetry through art and knowledge.  All pieces of furniture at Djebli Club are made from local material, by local hands – including these wonderful hanging bird cage-like chairs. Allae describes his project as “an artistic residence and an idea-laboratory,” and with it, he hopes to develop the rural town of Moqrisset, where Djebli is located, using tourism as a motor for change. With a firm belief that by changing minds, you change the world, the anarchistic artist is pursuing his idea of a revolution against societal structures that keep people stuck in poverty:…………………….

Physical, Spiritual Health Benefits of Fasting During Ramadan

Better nutrient absorption, a longer lifespan, and heightened self-awareness can all come from observing the holy month.

By  Nihale Azahhaf  - May 2, 2021 Rabat

Fasting during the month of Ramadan is an ideal way to recommit to a healthier and more balanced lifestyle. The holy month teaches people how to regulate their eating habits and maintain self-control and self-discipline.  Since Ramadan fasting only lasts from dawn to sunset, there is an opportunity to replenish one’s energy reserves from sunset until dawn. This is in fact the only period of the day when people eat meals: Iftar (the breaking-the-fast meal) and suhoor (the pre-dawn meal)……

Amzazi, Future of Morocco’s Social Development Model is Human Capital

Minister of Education Saaid Amzazi underlined the development of new opportunities for students as human capital is the key to accelerating Moroccan society into the future.
By  Michael Sauers  - May 3, 2021 Rabat

Morocco’s Minister of Education Saaid Amzazi reiterated the importance of human capital and higher education in Morocco’s new social development model during a webinar hosted by Fez’s Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University. King Mohammed VI announced a new social development model in 2019. The King stated that Morocco would reform its current education model to stimulate development in Morocco and present new opportunities for Morocco’s next generation. Amzazi noted the progress made by the Special Commission on the Development Model (CSMD) is staying on track with the development model’s current timeline. The King created the CMSD in December 2019 to liaise with Moroccan society and the government………………………..

World Bank to Support Scientific Research, Specialized Training in Morocco

The World Bank Group’s latest contribution to Morocco’s post-pandemic development strategy includes projects on gender equality, sustainable development, job security, and social security.

By  Tamba François Koundouno  - May 1, 2021

High-profile representatives from Morocco’s Ministry of Education, Vocational Training, and Scientific Research met on Friday in Rabat with a World Bank Group delegation to discuss partnering on projects aimed at improving “the area of higher education” in Morocco, reported MAP, the Moroccan state media.  Representing Morocco were Minister of Education, Saaid Amzazi, and Delegate Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research, Driss Ouaouicha. For its part, the World Bank Group was represented by Jesko Hentschel, the bank’s director for the Maghreb, and Xavier Reille, the Maghreb country director of the International Finance Corporation (IFC)…………..

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