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Morocco Week in Review 
January 19, 2019

Virtual Magazine of Morocco on the Web

Moroccan TV Channel “Tele Maroc” features Americans attracted by Amazigh culture, singing in Tashlheit in Morocco

Morocco's Amazigh push for official recognition of their new year

Rally marks continued efforts by the Amazigh identity movement to gain the government's recognition.

14 Jan 2019

Hundreds of people gathered in Morocco's capital Rabat to mark the start of the Amazigh new year with a sit-in, calling on the state to make the celebration a national holiday. "This day is an occasion to highlight our strong attachment to the land and pay tribute to those who defended our freedom," Adil Adasko, an Amazigh community leader, said at the rally on Saturday.

Morocco’s Amazigh want their new year to become official holiday

Maghreb Countries Celebrate Amazigh New Year 2,969 Today

The Amazigh New Year celebrations are on.

By Ahlam Ben Saga - Rabat – Today, January 12,

North African countries, Morocco, Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, and parts of Egypt, are celebrating Yennayer, the Amazigh (Berber) New Year 2,969. Joyous Amazigh festivities have begun in Algeria. People have taken to the street to dance, serve traditional food, play traditional music, and share happy moments. Videos and pictures of raised Amazigh flags and people in colorful traditional outfits amid festive celebrations are circulating on social media.

At Berber Street Food, Housemade Harissa and Vivid Traditions

By Ligaya Mishan Dec. 20, 2018

When Diana Tandia makes jollof rice, she lets it burn a little at the bottom of the pot, just enough so that smoke rises to possess every grain. At Berber Street Food, the tiny restaurant she opened in the West Village in September, the rice arrives stained reddish-orange, with smoke still in its soul. After a wallow in melted tomatoes, bay leaves and thyme, it’s as rich as — if daintier in scale than — the grand heaps served at West African restaurants in Harlem or the Bronx.

Agroforestry empowers Morocco’s mountain women


Suisi Rheia was checking the olives on her tree in front of the community huilerie, or olive oil mill. It was already mid-November 2018, but some fruits were still green, while others were almost totally purple. All of them were definitely full of water, not ready for the harvest due to too much rain after a long period of drought. In the Rif, Morocco’s northernmost mountains, the climate is more unstable than ever.

Solar energy in Morocco

Solar energy in Morocco is transforming the renewable energy scene. One of the world’s biggest solar power plants is situated in Morocco.

Video here:

Low Standards in Moroccan Schools Puts Children’s Education at Risk

The low standards in Moroccan schools, especially in rural areas, hinder children’s education.

By Ahlam Ben Saga - Rabat

A group of Moroccan pedagogical inspectors gathered on Thursday, January 10, at the National Union of the Moroccan Press in Rabat to discuss the country’s education system, from pedagogy to human resources. The meeting, attended by Morocco World News, voiced concern for the fate of the Moroccan educational system because it still suffers from deficiencies and poor infrastructure.
It starts with teaching methods. In 2000, Morocco decided to move from a system of “pedagogical goals” to “competency-based learning.”

Minister: More Than 600 Engineers Leave Morocco Annually

Lack of job opportunities leads Moroccan educated elites to look for better employment conditions outside Africa.

By Safaa Kasraoui - Rabat

Morocco’s Minister of Education Said Amzazi spoke about his strategy to reform Morocco’s education system and vocational training. Amzazi recognized the deficiencies in the job market, emphasizing that more than 600 engineers leave the country to look for better opportunities abroad every year. Amzazi, however, argued that brain drain is an “international phenomenon.” He added that it is the result of graduate students desire to look for more “favorable working conditions.”

Rabat University and Mississippi State to Set Archeology Program

A delegation from Mississippi State University met Morocco’s minister of culture and International University of Rabat officials

By Morocco World News - Rabat

A delegation from Mississippi State University (MSU) recently came to Morocco to develop relations with the International University of Rabat (UIR). The MSU delegation, representing the Office of the Provost, the political science and public administration department, and the anthropology and Middle Eastern cultures department, met Morocco’s Minister of Culture and Communication Mohamed Laaraj and officials of the UIR to explore academic partnerships. MSU and UIR are developing a study abroad program in which students spend a month working on digs, cultural integration, and language immersion, according to Peter Ryan, MSU’s associate provost.

British Teenager Wins Morocco Desert E-Bike Challenge

Adams relied on his father’s tips and GPS tracking to find his way to win.

By Morocco World News - Rabat

British cyclist Robert Adams, 15, recently won the Morocco Desert Challenge in the E-Bike 25 class. Adams told CNN he relied on his father’s tips and GPS tracking to find his way to victory. Alone for much of the race, the teenager finished 30 minutes ahead of his closest competitor.“The navigation is a skill in itself. I think that’s what makes this event so unique,” Adams told CNN. “You could be the fastest rider there but if your navigation isn’t up to scratch, you’re not going to do well.”

Morocco: Into the Blue in Chefchaouen

15 Jan, 2019

From azure to zaffire, the world of blue has a breathtaking home in Morocco's ancient Rif Mountains, and it's well worth the journey writes Courtney Whitaker. The old man is walking slowly. He's holding a large, modern-looking backpack that doesn't quite fit in with his traditional Moroccan djellaba and taqiyah (skullcap). He moves purposefully. He's looking for something, and suddenly he sees it: tourists. In a sudden, swift movement, the backpack is on the ground and the man is cradling a giant cobra. He's patting it, talking to it as though it were a placid and much-loved pet puppy.

Study: Child Marriages in Morocco Are Increasing

HCP’s report based on the latest statistics from the Ministry of Justice found that the overwhelming majority of child marriage waiver requests are made for teen girls instead of for teen boys.

By Ahlam Ben Saga - Rabat

Child marriage continues to be an issue in Morocco despite the country’s attempt to curb underage marriage, especially for girls, by raising the legal marriage age from 16 to 18 in Article 20 of the 2004 Mudawana (Family Code). Child marriages can be legalized if the family gets a waiver for the minor. The number of waiver requests for minors increased to 41,669 in 2015, compared to 38,331 in 2007, according to the Moroccan High Commission of Planning (HCP). Ninety-nine percent of the requests were for female minors. Among the requests made, adouls (notaries) accepted 85 percent and rejected 15 percent.

Report: Morocco is Stable, Faces Persistent, Fundamental Challenges

Morocco may have collected investors’ plaudits and confidence over the years, but the country could still face troubles in the coming years.

By Tamba François Koundouno - Jan 16, 2019 Rabat

Despite an overall stable economy and positive scores in a number of international reports on economic performance, Morocco is still in need of “more decisive structural reforms” to ensure sustainable and inclusive growth.

Visiting Morocco is like tumbling down a rabbit hole

With a thriving economy, the country boasts resplendent architecture, charitable locals, a progressive society and a cultural feast

16 January 2019 - Greg Arde

Visiting Morocco for the first time is like tumbling down a rabbit hole. It is a curious, intoxicating journey that elicits gasps of wonder — behind every door, there’s more enchantment to marvel over.
Hemmed in by the Atlas Mountains, the Mediterranean, Atlantic and Sahara, the North African country is a sensory overload The architecture is resplendent in its detail, across the old-walled medinas to the palaces that span the country, it is a combination of intricate patterns inlaid in glass, marble, cedar and stone.

Morocco Produces 6.6 Billion Eggs Annually, Consumes 185 Per Person

Morocco produced enough eggs to meet domestic demand in 2018, when Moroccans ate 185 eggs on average per person.

By Tarek Bazza - Rabat

Morocco produced 6.6 billion eggs in 2018, 5.8 billion of which were produced in the formal sector, the National Association of Egg Producers (ANPO) has announced in Casablanca. The average egg consumption per person per year, according to ANPO Vice President Abdellatif Ezzaim, significantly increased between 2010 and 2018, from 138 to 185 eggs. However, the consumption level remains very low compared to global figures.

The Economist: Morocco’s Political System Lying Between Authoritarianism, Democracy

Only one African country has reached “full democracy” according to last year’s Democracy Index by the Economist.

By Morocco World News -  Jan 10, 2019 By Zakaria ouadghiri Rabat

Morocco ranks 100th out of 165 countries, with 4.99 points out of 10, in the Democracy Index 2018 by the Economist Intelligence Unit. Morocco, ranked third in the MENA region after Israel and Tunisia, falls into the category of hybrid systems between “authoritarian regimes” and “flawed democracies.” The report categorized Algeria and Egypt (9th and 10th in MENA) as authoritarian regimes.

Morocco: A Must Visit Country

Dr Mohamed Chtatou  A Brave African World  Fri, Jan 11, 2019

Sumptuous landscapes, ancestral heritage, smiling and welcoming inhabitants: Morocco is a refreshing and rewarding destination, which is also easy to access from anywhere. Sumptuous landscapes, ancestral heritage, smiling and welcoming inhabitants: Morocco is a refreshing and rewarding destination, which is also easy to access from anywhere. The stone here tells centuries of history and each city will have something to tell you beyond the walls of kasbahs and medinas. The desert offers silence and blue silhouettes of nomads, the Atlas will amaze you with the beauty of its different scenery and the sea will rock your seaside desires and dreams.

Nestled at the foot of the High Atlas, Marrakesh has become a trendy destination offering both the scenery and European infrastructure. A few hours' flight is enough to reach the iconic Jemaa El Fna square and the UNESCO World Heritage listed medina. It concentrates the greatest assets of the city: the souks, the riads transformed into guest houses, the hammams and the magnificent Bahia Palace. In venturing beyond, one discovers the Jardin de Majorelle - the last home of Yves Saint-Laurent -, the luxurious neighborhoods of Guéliz and Hivernage, the Palmeraie and of course the breathtaking landscapes of the Atlas.

35% of Moroccan Electricity Came from Renewable Sources in 2018

Morocco produced 35 percent of its electricity mix from renewable energy sources in 2018 and has a plan to reach 52 percent by 2030.

By Tarek Bazza - Rabat

Morocco produced 35 percent of its electricity output from renewable energy sources by the end of 2018 with an installed capacity of about 3,000 megawatts, Minister of Energy, Mining, and Sustainable Development Aziz Rabbah said Wednesday in Rabat at the ministry’s media day. The kingdom aims to produce 52 percent of its electricity mix from renewable sources by 2030.

ISESCO to Create Virtual Museum of Morocco’s Ksour, Kasbahs

The Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) plans to digitize Islamic heritage and monuments.

By Morocco World News -  Jan 12, 2019 Rabat

The Islamic Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ISESCO) plans to create a virtual museum of the ksour and kasbahs in Morocco, as part of celebrating the Year of Heritage in the Islamic World in 2019, a statement by ISESCO says. A ksar (plural ksour) is a fortified village that may include a kasbah, which is a fortified center or citadel. Such villages are found in Arabia, North Africa, and Iberia. The Moroccan city of Ksar El Kebir and the Kasbah of the Oudayas neighborhood in Rabat were named after historical villages. ================================================

Morocco’s Crackdown Won’t Silence Dissent

When she joined the National Union of Moroccan Students in 1978, Khadija Ryadi knew she’d face hardship. “At that time,” she recalled, “we were constantly followed by the police.” But today, she told me, life may be even harder. “Now not only are we followed but we are also listened to and photographed, and everywhere. The repression has remained, but the instruments have changed. I never feel at ease.” Recently, Ryadi, who was the president of the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (also known by its French acronym, AMDH) from 2007 to 2013 and won a United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights in 2013, has raised eyebrows. In interviews with me, she denounced “a return to the Years of Lead”—a reference to the decades of harsh oppression in the 1960s to 1990s under Morocco’s King Hassan II.

Record Citrus Production in Morocco Led to Dumping of Surplus.

Despite high records in Morocco’s citrus production last year, the success had a negative outcome for some farmers.

By Morocco World News - Rabat

The 2018 fall-winter citrus harvest made records in some regions of Morocco, but some producers had to dispose of surplus fruits because they did not have cold storage capacity and marketing channels. Minister of Agriculture Aziz Akhannouch held a meeting on January 9 in Rabat with agricultural interprofessional organizations to discuss the citrus sector in Morocco.

Florida Companies Are ‘Well-Suited’ to Do Business in Morocco

By Tarek Bazza - Rabat

Enterprise Florida (EFI), the state’s principal economic development organization, “will lead a business delegation of small and mid-sized Florida manufacturers and services providers on an export sales mission to Casablanca,” EFI said in a press release on January 10. The trade mission is scheduled for April 14-18 with the aim to facilitate business cooperation between the Florida delegates and their counterparts in Morocco.“Morocco has become a top destination for foreign investments and trade,” said Manny Mencia, senior vice president of international trade and development for EFI.

The macabre portrait of Marrakech by George Orwell

George Orwell's life and its many twists are reflected in his famous novels and essays. Born on the 25th of June 1903 in India, he worked in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) as a sergeant in the imperial police, then made his debut in journalism in London but really began writing in Paris. He also made a brief passage through Morocco, where he wrote this essay entitled «Marrakech».
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Fare With Flair: Lamb gives meatball Moroccan flavour

Jill Wilcox, Special to Postmedia News  January 11, 2019

My love affair with meatballs began when my Mom served me my first plate of spaghetti and meatballs. The tender rounds of beef and pork had simmered in tomato sauce all day. I was hooked.
Years later, my sister introduced me to Swedish meatballs and that was followed by my sister-in-law’s delicious Texan meatballs. ===============================================

I visited the world's largest film studio, where Moroccan locals are cast as everyone from Osama Bin Laden to Jesus and the desert is littered with the wreckage of 'Game of Thrones' and 'Gladiator'

Harrison Jacobs, Thursday, January 10, 2019

Atlas Film Studios is a 322,000 square-foot studio in southwestern Morocco that is considered to be the largest film studio in the world. More than 200 major films and television shows have filmed there, including "Gladiator," "Ben Hur," "Kingdom of Heaven," "The Mummy," "The Passion of the Christ," and, most recently, "Game of Thrones" and "Aladdin."

Moroccans Are Pessimistic About Their Ability to Save Money in 2019

By Ahlam Ben Saga - Rabat

According to a study by the High Commission for Planning (HCP) based on interviews with Moroccan households, 82 percent of households said that they will be unable to save in the next twelve months. Describing households who do not expect to save as “pessimistic” about their financial situation, HCP showed the balance of opinion between households who expressed negative opinions versus the ones who expressed positive opinions.

Ahmed El Inglizi, the 18th century English renegade who built parts of Essaouira

In the 18th century, English convert Ahmed El Inglizi was hired by Sultan Mohammed ben Abdellah to build parts of Essaouira. The architect, who left Christianity for Islam, was known for refurbishing Rabat’s ancient Medina and joining corsairs in Salé. Sultan Mohammed ben Abdallah, who reigned Morocco from 1757 to 1790, was an openminded ruler. His modern policy allowed him to establish diplomatic relations with powerful western states, repulse the French in Larache and conquer Mazagan from the Portuguese. But what distinguished him from his Alaouite predecessors was his architectural works that relied, mostly, on European renegades. One of these foreign architects was Ahmed El Inglizi, known as Ahmed Laalaj.
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See more of Morocco on the fast train

A new high-speed line linking Tangier and Casablanca makes it easier to see the sights The speed indicator in our carriage just keeps going up: 200km/h . . . 250 . . . 300. It tops out at 320km/h, but it feels as if we could just keep accelerating. We’re banking round curves and scything across countryside. It’s exhilarating. Outside, everything passes in a blur: kids dash after a football, goats scamper across green scrubland, rows of plastic greenhouses reverberate with shards of sunlight.

The most iconic desert in the world is the Sahara. I drove for days, rode a camel for hours, and slept under the stars just to see it.

Harrison Jacobs Jan. 12, 2019

Stretching from Egypt to Morocco, the Sahara Desert is the largest hot desert in the world, comparable in size to the continental US. While there are many ways to visit the Sahara, possibly the most iconic way is to visit Erg Chebbi, one of Morocco's many ergs, or seas of sand dunes. Erg Chebbi is often used for films because of its stunning expanse of iconic fire-orange sand dunes. To reach Erg Chebbi, one has to drive for two days from Marrakech through mountains and desert, before switching to a camel for the final stretch.I recently visited and, while the sunset and sunrise were unforgettable, the dunes were far from the immaculate waves you see in photos, thanks to the hundreds of ATVs and 4X4s that ride through.

Why Banks in Morocco Are Spreading the Wealth Around Africa

Moroccan banks' expansion across Africa will allow Moroccan businesses to invest and integrate better into the continent, gaining lucrative market access. Morocco's economic integration with African countries — including current negotiations for a free trade agreement — will, in turn, attract foreign manufacturers to increase investments in Morocco. Morocco will need to address its high level of domestic unemployment to ensure stability.

Traditional Moroccan food is a must-try at NW Side restaurant

Flavor Favs: Moroccan Bites Tajine

By Erica Hernandez - Digital Journalist , January 11, 2019 SAN ANTONIO

In Morocco, it is customary to eat lunch at home every day with family, and that is why Nadia Elmarodi and her family decided to open Moroccan Bites as a way to still have lunch together as a family. They are now serving their favorite dishes from home for the San Antonio community.

A Moroccan Publisher Reflects on the Struggles Independent Presses Face

Kenza Sefrioui / 10 Jan 2019

The Frankfurt Book Fair, held in October, is the most important international fair dedicated to books and book rights. It celebrated its 70th anniversary last year, although its origins date back to the Middle Ages. I attended in the fall for the third time since I created the publishing house En Toutes Lettres in Casablanca.

About My Mother: Morocco, men and meeting God

About My Mother was a poignant read [Diana Alghoul/TNA] Diana Alghoul

Following the story of Lalla Fatima, About My Mother, by Tahar Ben Jelloun, closely unpicks the life and mind of a woman who was once a strikingly beautiful mother but Alzheimer's in its latter stages decayed her mind and body. Lalla Fatima was born in the historic city of Fez when she was married off as a teenager in the 1940s and became a widow soon after. Sitting on her deathbed, she recalls her husband and the two other marriages that followed.

FAO Names Argan Water System in Morocco as Global Agricultural Heritage

The designated system features a rainwater reservoir dug into a rock.

By Morocco World News - Rabat

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) designated an agricultural system based on argan in Morocco as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) site, in November. The decision came following a proposal by Morocco’s Oasis and Argan Zones National Agency (ANDZOA). The agro-forest-pastoral system of Ait Souab-Ait Mansour, in the southern Chtouka Ait Baha province, relies on the “metfia,” a rainwater reservoir dug into a rock. Locals have been cultivating argan trees in the region for centuries.

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