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Morocco Week in Review 
October 16 2021

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Morocco Day Celebration: US’ Alexandria Explores Laayoune, Dakhla Investment Assets

In 2019, Alexandria’s Mayor Justin Wilson said he would make November 5 an annual day to celebrate Morocco’s diverse culture and investment opportunities.

Oumaima Latrech Oct. 12th, 2021 Rabat

The Moroccan American Network (MAN) will celebrate the southern region of Morocco in the city of Alexandria, Virginia, on November 5, under the theme “I-ON Morocco: The future of South and Africa.” The event aims to introduce Moroccan cities to Americans and also to create exchange opportunities between American businessmen and their Moroccan counterparts, while encouraging small and medium-sized Moroccan companies to expand their businesses in the US market.

This year’s event will focus on promoting Laayoune and Dakhla, two coastal cities in southern Morocco. The southern provinces have in recent years attracted many foreign investors and seen the inauguration of different international diplomatic bodies. In a press statement, the organizing committee of the “I-ON Morocco” event spoke about its keenness to promote the particularities of all the twelve regions of Morocco. Mohammed Hajjam, President of the MAN, described this event as a window through which Americans can take a look at Morocco’s history, cultural heritage, and economic progress.

This is not the first time for the MAN to organize such an event; the network previously held its very first “Morocco Day” in 2019 at the Willard Intercontinental Hotel in Washington, D.C. to celebrate the country’s rich and diverse culture…

New Investment, Marketing App Launched in Laayoune with US Support

The LaayouneConnect platform will facilitate connections between investments and local business opportunities in the region.

Shaquile Goff, Oct. 13th. 2021 Denver

A US-backed platform for connecting national and international investors to the Laayoune region was launched this Wednesday in a bid to attract more international investors to fund economic development in the southern Moroccan city.  The LaayouneConnect platform is an initiative funded by the US Department of State’s Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI), the platform is the latest in the “Promoting the economic opportunities of Dakhla and Laâyoune” program, a joint MEPI-Moroccan initiative. ……

US Embassy Highlights Morocco’s ‘Growing Status’ as Gateway to Africa

Tanger Med’s geographical location is turning Morocco into a gateway to Africa and Europe for many international companies.

Safaa Karaoui, Oct. 13th, 2021 Rabat

The US Charge d’affaires, David Greene said he was “thrilled” to visit the Tanger Med Port recently. In a readout about Green’s visit to the Moroccan port, the US embassy in Rabat quoted the Charge d’Affaires as describing the port as one of the “largest container ports in the world.” “We are proud to be able to support Morocco’s growing status as a trade ‘Gateway to Africa,’ which this port exemplifies,” David Greene said. The US embassy emphasized that the port is beneficial to hundreds of American companies, including Lear Automotive and Delphi Automotive Systems, which have expanded manufacturing activities in the Moroccan port.   US companies operating in the port employ over 10,000 people……

First Time in Morocco’s History: 7 Women in Power Positions

Morocco continues to intensify its efforts to bolster gender equality, thus, almost doubling women ministers compared to the previous government.

Amal El Attaq Oct. 08th, 2021

Seven Moroccan women are at the forefront in Morocco’s newly formed government, as opposed to the previous one which only consisted of four women ministers.  This time, women held the third of ministerial positions, thus raising women's participation in the government and leading key departments. Given their extensive and diversified backgrounds, some have been assigned crucial sectors, such as the Ministry of Economy and Finance, as well as the Ministry of Health……

UN in Morocco Calls for ‘Reinventing the Future of Girls’ in the Country

The UN’s statement comes on the eve of international girls day, and calls for the substantiation of Morocco’s ambitious New Development Model.

Khouloud Haskouri Oct. 10th, 2021 Rabat

The United Nations system for development in Morocco has launched an appeal to “reinvent the future for every girl.” The UN's call comes on the occasion of the International Day of the Girl, celebrated on October 11 of each year, and is part of the “reinventing the future for every child” campaign launched on May 25. As part of the campaign, the UN Development System in Morocco is calling for the adoption of an integrated vision and approach to support and accompany the governmental program to place the realization of girls' rights among the priorities that will determine the success of other goals. Reinventing the future for girls means unleashing their potential to shape their own future through access to quality education, basic healthcare coverage, effective social protection services and functioning participation, as well as empowerment mechanisms, according to the UN system’s statement published this Saturday, October 9…

Renewable Energy and Bottom-up Decentralization in Morocco

By Dr. Yossef Ben-Meir  Monday, 11 Oct 2021

The Kingdom of Morocco is a place of hope and promise of honest attempts to make strides commensurate with the humanistic journey. It recognizes in its Constitution, laws, policies, and programs that community participation is the essential ingredient for achieving optimal outcomes, including sustainability and ever-deeper satisfaction among the people.

The premise of the nation’s family code is rooted in not just centuries but millennia, calling for justice and equity in regard to women and men and our gender-based experiences. Morocco has also determined—based on its own historically informed outlook, but also from lessons around the world drawn over time—that concentrating the power of decision-making and control over the affairs that matter the most to people ought to rest among them and in the public administrative tier closest to them. This is also a matter of recognizing human dignity: distant determinations which are imposed are rarely as appropriate as those that people make for themselves and their families alongside their neighbors and community members…

Marrakech English Book Festival to Reinforce Status of English in Morocco

The Marrakech English Book Festival aims to solidify English as a language of culture in Morocco as well as “a language of fun.”

Hanna Chaudhry Oct. 14th, 2021 Rabat

From November 26-28, Marrakech will be the focal point of a series of conversations concerning the rising popularity of English in Morocco and its significance as a language of connection, fun, and adventure. The Marrakech English Book Festival, which will run for three days, will be driven by the desire to connect Moroccans, especially its youth, to the English language, and the hope of building a bridge between the the English speaking community in the country, according to the British Business Association (BBA) Morocco, and the British Moroccan Society (BMS), the organizers of the event. The festival is governed by a small Literary Advisory Committee and comprises a series of multiple events featuring Moroccan and international authors and artists, a pop-up English bookshop, as well as children’s storytelling in the famous and culturally significant Djemaa el Fna square……

Tattoos are growing in popularity in Morocco

By Maravi Post Reporter Monday, 11 Oct 2021

The art of tattoos is increasing in popularity amongst the young in Morocco. Although not recognised by law, tattoo studios have been opening in large cities such as Rabat, Casablanca and Marrakech. Tattoos however remain a divisive issue in the country. Those who choose to get inked may face problems as explained by this Moroccan sociologist. “Moroccan society still rejects the idea of tattooing, for many reasons, including religious, health, and social reasons. Despite this rejection, there is an increasing turnout at tattoo parlours, but there isn’t absolute freedom, because there are some young people who get tattoos in secret. And there are those who defy society despite being subjected to some bullying”, says Mustapha Yassine…

Morocco to launch its national investment and export brand, Morocco Now

(MENAFN- Nausheen Shamsher) Dubai, October 10th, 2021

Morocco is officially unveiling its investment and export brand, Morocco Now, on the sidelines of the Kingdom's participation in Expo 2020 Dubai. This initiative aims at promoting Morocco as a world class industrial and export platform to accelerate foreign investment. Indeed, at the instigation of His Majesty King Mohammed VI May God Assist Him, Morocco has built first-class trade and transport infrastructures and has definitively embarked on the path of industrial emergence over the past 20 years, namely:
• Tanger Med, #1 sea connection in Africa and the Mediterranean and #20 in the world……

‘Morocco Now’ Strategy’s Vision to Improve Africa’s Global Position

Morocco’s new investment strategy will also improve integrated value chains.

Oumaima Latrech Oct. 14th, 2021 Rabat

As the Moroccan economy gradually closes its output gap in the post-COVID era, the anticipated investment strategy “Morocco Now” is expected to benefit the African continent and  provide solutions for global challenges. The Moroccan delegation at the Expo 2020 Dubai is currently holding an investment week to promote the newly launched “Morocco Now” brand. Many anticipate the long-awaited strategy to further develop Morocco’s investment and export landscape.
The relaunch of the national economy in 2021 happened quicker than expected and is projected to rebound to 5.3% this year, representing a 1.1% increase since April. Youssef El-Bari, Secretary General of the Moroccan Investment & Trade Ministry, explained in an interview with CNN that Morocco was able to stand out among African countries due to notable investments in renewable energies……

Akhannouch’s Government Pledges to Promote ‘Made in Morocco’ Label

Morocco’s new Prime Minister promises to take the necessary measures to promote the “Made in Morocco” label.

Jihane Rahhou, Oct. 13th, 2021 Rabat

Morocco’s new Head of Government declared on Monday, October 11, that his government is committed to promoting Moroccan labels nationally and internationally by enacting strategic protectionism. As part of its 2021-2026 program, Prime Minister Aziz Akhannouch said in a speech before the two chambers of the Moroccan parliament that the government will enact a number of policies to help domestic industries.  The new policies are mainly driven by the need to make the “Made in Morocco” label the backbone of post-pandemic economic growth, he argued. Simplifying legal and administrative procedures relating to the creation and management of startups will ensure that small and medium companies will operate within a legal framework. 
Calls for promoting and supporting national brands date back to the 2014 “Made in Morocco Label” initiative. …………………..

Morocco Promotes Tourism Investment at Expo 2020 Dubai

Morocco’s favorable economic climate enabled the country to rank second among the best investment destinations in Africa.

Oumaima Latrech, Oct. 13th, 2021 Rabat

The Moroccan Agency for Tourism Development (SMIT) organized “Morocco Tourism Day” conference on October 11 at the Morocco pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, with the event serving as a platform for meetings and exchanges around investment opportunities in the North African continent.
Imad Bergad, Chairman of the Management Board of the SMIT, inaugurated the conference by announcing that Morocco offers a broad number of opportunities to investors interested in the African market. The SMIT further reassured foreign investors from the Gulf countries of the business climate offered by Morocco and expressed its keenness to promote the country, especially its southern provinces,  as a business destination……

What Does The Future Hold for Morocco’s Startups and Digital Economy?

Recent reports indicate that with the world moving towards an increasingly digital future, the digital sector will prove essential for Morocco’s economy.

Oussama Aamari, Oct. 10th, 2021 Rabat

As Morocco’s economy grows larger and more prominent regionally and beyond, the most pressing question that is often asked is about the next step for the Kingdom. As the world’s economy has steadily moved towards a more digital direction during the 21st century, to the point where the world’s biggest companies center around digital and online services, it seems that developing this sector is the next logical step for Morocco as well. This is already happening. Morocco’s digital ecosystem and economy has seen several improvements and growth, whether it is from already established multi-nationals entering the market, or through entirely new business and projects started by Moroccans themselves. And yet, as the country enters a crucial period for this transition, there are a lot of questions to be asked. So what does the future look like for all of these digital companies and startups in Morocco? What are the shortcomings of the environment and the system at this time? And what can be done to improve it further? ……

Inwi Launches ‘Connected Classrooms’ Initiative To Support Rural Students

Inwi engages young people in volunteer activities and gives them a sense of pride and identity while helping vulnerable communities.

Oumaima Latrech, Oct. 05th, 2021 Rabat

The Moroccan telecommunication operator Inwi has unveiled the “connected classrooms” action to celebrate the 10th anniversary of its “Dir Iddik” initiative.
“Dir Iddik” serves as a bridge between charities and volunteers through collaborations with Moroccan associations of different sizes to help communities in need.
Inwi announced in a press release on October 5 that the “connected classrooms” action will mobilize several volunteers and partner associations in rural regions across Morocco to set up multimedia rooms for approximately 5,000 students and 100 teachers from vulnerable rural communities. More than 500 volunteers will take part in the initiative and will actively participate in equipping the multimedia rooms, improving the classes’ layout, and taking part in different training and workshops with students……

Caftan Lati: Female Startup Promoting Moroccan Caftans Worldwide

Moroccan Caftans are gaining international recognition, thus encouraging the emergence of female entrepreneurs.

Amal El Attaq, Oct. 13th, 2021 Rabat

Moroccan caftans are not only treasured traditional garments and timeless pieces of clothing, but are also becoming high fashion pieces attracting Moroccan start-ups. An example of a young Moroccan start-up is “Caftan Lati,” caftan supplier. Despite having a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Finance, Nouhaila Faqir, 22, co-founder of the project, finds working on caftans as an opportunity to glorify the heritage of Morocco with creativity and pride. Today, she continues to excel in the fashion industry amidst the hardships presented by the global pandemic. ……

Marrakech to Host International Contemporary Dance Festival ‘We Walk’

From November 22 to 29, the red city will host the 15th edition of the International Festival for Contemporary Dance.

Jihane Rahhou, Oct. 12, 2021 Rabat

The “We Walk” contemporary dance festival is returning to Marrakech this November after one year of absence from the cultural scene due to the COVID-19 crisis. In a press release Morocco World News received a copy of, the International Festival for Contemporary Dance organization committee announces that Marrakech will be hosting two events.  “On the one hand, the festival We Walk ‘Nemchi’ is a distinguished dance festival in the Moroccan cultural scene created in 2005,” reads the statement.  “On the other hand, the Dancing Biennale, a Dance Festival that debuted in 1997 with one clear objective: exploring novice talents and promoting the continent’s unique choreographic genre. The authentic aspect of the festival lies in that it takes place each year in a new destination.” …….

Morocco’s Health Ministry Raises Awareness on Mental Health Day

People with mental illness are more likely to suffer from poverty than the rest of the population.

Oumaima Latrech, Oct. 12, 2021 Rabat

With this weekend marking World Mental Health Day, Morocco’s Ministry of Health launched a national campaign from October 10 to 17 to fight against the universal stigma of mental illness. Themed “Mental disorder is a state of health, dignity and rights for you and me,” the campaign aims to challenge the stigma and discrimination against mentally disordered people and to raise community awareness to make it easier for them to seek help and to recover. Arguing that people with mental illness should be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of human rights, the ministry revealed that surveys have shown that negative social attitudes worsen people’s conditions, hinder their integration within the society, and prevent them from having access to treatment. According to the World Health Organization, over 700 million people suffer from depression globally, and 50% of them do not receive proper medication. The ministry of health has been working on a new strategy to improve mental health treatment in Morocco through 4 main actions: improving psychiatry departments, diversifying therapy offers and mental health interventions, protecting patients’ rights by fighting against stigmatization, and reinforcing healthcare measures……

WeCasablanca Festival to Celebrate Morocco’s Musical Diversity

WeCasablanca Festival will return this year after being cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Amal El Attaq Oct.11, 2021 Rabat

After several months without live music and festivals, WeCasablanca is set to return in late October to mark its fifth anniversary and celebrate Morocco’s cultural diversity.  Scheduled to take place at the recently rehabilitated Velodrome stadium between October 21-24, organizers of this year’s WeCasablanca festival have promised to grace the event’s visitors and fans with “4 days of colorful musical celebrations, carried by very beautiful Moroccan voices.”  In a statement, organizers also highlighted that the festival will feature a rich, diverse program and celebrate the new generation of young artists exporting Moroccan music. 
As well as paying tribute to Morocco’s cultural diversity, the festival wants to put emerging artists on the limelight to boost their visibility on the Moroccan and international cultural scene……

Dear Morocco: Revisiting Home

Growing up in England, my Moroccan identity was an important part of my life, from spending my summers playing with my cousins in Tangier, to trying to learn more about my culture at home with my father.

Safia Lamrani, Oct. 12th, 2021

Being a half-British half-Moroccan actor residing in London, creating art that explores my mixed heritage has always been important to me. My father was born and raised in Tangier, Morocco, where he met my British mother and moved to England to marry.  Growing up in England, my Moroccan identity was an important part of my life, from spending my summers playing with my cousins in Tangier, to trying to learn more about my culture at home with my father. My childhood is full of fond memories of my times in Morocco and so it was heartbreaking when due to full time university studying and then the pandemic, I was unable to visit Tangier and my family for several years. However, finally in September 2021, I was able to go back. In the lead up to this trip, I had been practicing my Darija, keen to feel a sense of belonging and connection to the home I had been away from for so long. I was nervous that I would feel like an outsider, a tourist in a place integral to my identity and sense of self. ……

Morocco Records Highest Unemployment Rate Since 2001

Morocco’s unemployment rate in Morocco rose to 12.8% in the second quarter of 2021, a 0.5% increase as compared to the second quarter of 2020

Jihane Rahhou, Oct. 12, 2021 Rabat

As of April 2021, Morocco’s unemployed population stands at 1.6 million, an increase of 128 thousand unemployed people, according to the High Commission for Planning (HCP). Among the worst hit sectors in Morocco is the handicraft industry, which lost 53 thousand job positions. However, Morocco’s agricultural, construction, and service sectors all recorded an increase in employment of 318 thousand, 108 thousand, and 40 thousand jobs respectively. An economy's performance is tracked using many indicators, including unemployment rate. The Indicator represents the number of unemployed people in the working age group (15-65 year-olds). Unemployment rate is closely related to the Gross Domestic Production (GDP) indicator, which keeps track of the market value of goods and services produced in an economy. Economists agree that an increase in GDP results in a reduction in unemployment in a country. ……

Asilah Cultural Moussem Returns for Fall Session

The cultural event includes workshops for children and exhibitions of young Moroccan artists.

Oumaima Latrech, Oct. 1, 2021 Rabat

In partnership with the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Communication and the municipality of the northern city of Asilah, the Asilah Forum Foundation is organizing the fall session of the International Cultural Moussem of Asilah from October 29 to November 18. The artistic and cultural event will be marked by the organization of six colloquiums as part of the Al-Mouatamid Ibn Abbad Open University. Themed “The Maghreb and the Sahel: the inevitable partnership,” the inaugural conference will take place from 29 to 31 October. This will be followed from November 3-5 by a colloquium on “What future for electoral democracy?” 
Luis Amado, former Portuguese Foreign Minister, will attend the conference on electoral democracy as moderator, the Asilah Foundation forum said in a statement. Mauritanian writer and academic Abdullah Ould Abah will moderate the third colloquium “Arabs and new regional and international changes: Whither pan-Arabism?”……

Abdelfettah Bellali: The Artist Who Painted Morocco's Map with Soil

After the US recognized Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara, Bellali devised an original way to paint Morocco’s map.

Nisrine Jaouadi, Oct. 10th, 2021 Rabat

Abdelfettah Bellali is a Moroccan painter and artist born in 1971 in Marrakech and currently living in Tangier. Ever since the self-taught artist was a kid, he was always very fond of drawing and painting. Although he was committed to pursuing management and information technology in school, he eventually went back to his first and only passion: art. For Bellali, art is the peace and harmony of nature……………………….

Nora Fatehi Promotes Moroccan Cuisine on ‘Star vs Food’ Show

The Dilbar queen aced her attempt to cook Moroccan plates on international TV, once again promoting her Moroccan roots abroad.

Oumaima Latrech Oct. 09th, 2021 Rabat

Moroccan and Bollywood actress Nora Fatehi appeared as a guest in the latest episode of the cooking reality show “Star vs Food” on Discovery+ channel with the engineer-turned-chef, Rahul Desai, the Executive Chef of “Blah! Mumbai.” Fatehi never misses an opportunity to promote her culture on TV sets arounds the world. This time, she unveiled another part of Morocco’s rich culture by cooking two well-known and quintessentially Moroccan dishes, chicken Tagine with candied lemons and olives and lamb Harira…

‘Morocco, Kingdom of Taste’ Culinary Showcase in New York

Morocco aims to lead agriculture and seafood exports in the US.

Oumaima Latrech Sept. 24th, 2021 Rabat

Morocco Foodex will organize a vast communication campaign to promote various flavors of Moroccan products in the prestigious district of Hudson Yards Public Square & Gardens in New York from September 25 to 29. The pop-up showroom at Hudson Yards opens to the public from 1p.m. to 6p.m. (GMT -4) on Saturday, September 25, and from 11a.m. to 6p.m. the following days. New Yorkers can expect to discover a wide range of Moroccan products, namely, fruits and vegetables, citrus, olive, local products, and fisheries. This year’s event will be hosted under the theme “Morocco, Kingdom of Taste” and will primarily highlight Moroccan agricultural and seafood products demonstrating the country's reliability, credibility, and authenticity…………..

New Home for Medina Mules

New stables have been built with the aim of protecting the remaining working mules, donkeys and horses of the Fez Medina. As Suzanna Clarke reports, the public are encouraged to visit and support this innovative project.

Suzanne Clarke, Oct. 14th, 2021

Dr Gigi Kay, director of the American Fondouk, estimates that only about 40 mules and 100 donkeys are still working in the Fez Medina. Whereas, once hundreds clip-clopped along the streets and alleys, carrying goods from leather to handicrafts to food to furniture.  "The mules are part of the patrimony of Fez and they are disappearing fast," says Dr Kay. "And those that are left, we need to value them more. We need to put them in the front of our campaigns to keep Fez alive. They are part of Fez, and have always been part of Fez. The association of mule owners goes back to the time of Leo the African in the 15th century. So I think it would be a great shame to lose them." The Mules of the Medina project, (called Dar el Brell in Arabic), comprises 30 new stables, and a paddock filled with sand, located near Oued Zhoune at the bottom of the Fez Medina. It's near where tourist buses stop. It's hoped there will eventually also be a cafe there. 
When I arrived at the new stables a mule was happily rolling in the sand paddock, which looks onto a stunning view of Mt Zalagh. …

Moroccan Cancer Research Looks to Improve Survival Rates for Women

The multi-step project will span fourteen years and include the creation of a specialized research center.

Shaquile Goff, Oct. 6th, 2021 Denver

Cancer research is taking a significant step forward in Africa with a new Moroccan-created initiative to delve further into ovarian cancer research.  The Ovarian Cancer in North-East Morocco (OVANORDEST) program is a multi-step program founded by Moroccan cancer researcher Khalid El Bairi. El Bairi’s research addresses an area that is severely under-investigated in Morocco. At the time El Bairi began the project, data sources related to ovarian cancer’s causes, effects, and survival rates were found to be nearly non-existent within the country.  El Bairi’s project seeks to rectify the situation in three phases. The first phase, scheduled to last between 2017-2022, will lay the framework for the program by collecting real-life data on ovarian cancer in Morocco, while also establishing support systems for oncologists currently treating the disease. ……

AIDS, Hepatitis Patients in Morocco Call For Health Coverage

Under King Mohammed VI’s ambitious social security program, Morocco hopes to achieve universal health care by 2025.

Amal El Attaq, Oct. 06ht, 2021

In an open letter to Morocco’s new Prime Minister, Aziz Akhannouch, the Moroccan Association for the Fight against AIDS (ALCS) called for the implementation of the royal pledge to expand Morocco’s health coverage.  The association invoked the conclusions of a workshop recently organized by King Mohammed VI to stress his plan to include all Moroccan citizens in his ambitious social security project, urging authorities to pay more attention to categories of populations suffering from chronic diseases. Morocco’s new government should take into consideration the country’s public institutions and local authorities’ recognition of the principle of “ equal access of citizens to their right to healthcare; social protection and medical coverage,” reads the letter. It added: “The government should consider the United Nations High Level Meeting (HLM) conclusions held in 2021, on which a Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS seeking to end inequalities and getting on track to end AIDS by 2030 was adopted. “Social initiatives related to HIV treatments, including testing and prevention programs should be supported by the government as defined by the Joint United Nations Program on AIDS.” ……………………..

Hydroponics and Vertical Farming in Morocco and the World

By MaraviPost  Thursday, 14 Oct 2021  By Carter and Henry Prillaman

A vision for the future of agriculture and possible implementation in Marrakech, Morocco

Our agriculture system as we know it needs to change. We see an enormous amount of waste in current practices through using up too much water, using too many pesticides that hurt the neighboring environment as well as waste of produce through imperfection or being pest ridden. This, combined with flagging and in some cases stagnant yield increases in soil systems across the world will soon require sweeping and rapid changes in growing methods. As our population continues to grow, food production will grow and our methods of growing should change as well.

There are methods available to us today to not only change the way we grow produce for the better, but also increase yields in a smaller space. Vertical farming through hydroponics or aeroponics gives us the opportunity to grow larger amounts of produce in seemingly unavailable spaces. Rooftops, indoors, in older warehouses—you can grow plants and stack them on top of each other to farm a consistent crop that produces year-round and quickly, uses less water and energy, is more pest resistant, and can help alleviate some of the logistical trouble of transporting produce to and from farms to cities everywhere…………………...

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