Saturday, April 17, 2010
Moroccan News Briefs
Sufi Festival begins today, 17 April
The Fes Festival of Sufi Culture begins today with an introductory lecture at 15h30 at the Batha Museum the medina. Founder and Director of the Festival Faouzi Skali will ask 'What is Sufism?'.
The opening concert tonight at 21h00 at the Batha Museum will feature Sheik Habboush and Jalal Eddine Weiss (tickets Dh200 at the door).
See the full programme here, although there have been some changes.
Moroccan Jewish Day at Al Akhawayn University
The University in Ifrane will hold its second Moroccan Jewish Day on Wednesday 21 April, with the theme "Judeo-Moroccan heritage in creating Moroccan arts".
The conference will be hosted by a wide range of guests such as Mr. Andre Azoulay, adviser to His Majesty the King, Simon Levy, director of the Judeo-Moroccan Heritage Museum of Casablanca, Samuel Kaplan, US ambassador to Morocco, and the presidents and representatives of Jewish communities in different regions of Morocco (Fez, Sefrou, Oujda, Marrakech, Essaouira and Casablanca) and the Jewish communities of France, Canada and the United States.
The program also includes an exhibition of art objects, from the Foundation of the Jewish Moroccan Heritage Museum and a musical evening.
Organising the day is the student Mimouna Club, established in 2007 to encourage students to discover Jewish-Moroccans who has always been part of the history of Morocco. The Club also aims to discover the Jewish traditions in their differences and similarities with Muslim traditions in the Moroccan context, and especially to introduce Moroccan Judaism as a model of coexistence between Jews and Muslims in the Arab world.
Mimouna is the name of a Jewish-Moroccan traditional feast which celebrates freedom, community, friendship, life and hospitality among Moroccan Jews and their Muslim fellow citizens, the statement said.
Quo vadis Merinides Hotel?
Rumour has it in the medina that this eyesore of a hotel on the hill above Fez has been sold and will be razed to make way for a super-star hotel in the mould of the extra luxurious Mamounia in Marrakech.
The Merinides, which has splendid views over the medina, gets pretty poor reviews from guests on forums such as Tripadvisor, so perhaps this would be good thing. Certainly no-one will be sorry to see the block-like 70s architecture go.
Morocco to achieve the Millennium Development Goals by 2015
Morocco is among the few countries that will achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015, head of Morocco's statistics office Haut Commissariat au Plan (HCP), Ahmed Lahlimi Alami said, writes Mokhtar Thabet for Global Arab Network.
This conclusion was confirmed by many studies and analyses carried out by the United Nations, the UN Development Programme and HCP, Lahlimi underlined during a workshop on the presentation of the 2009 national report on MDGs.
Recalling that Morocco was able to reduce the 1990s growth and human development deficits, he noted that the achievements made in terms of economic, social and urban infrastructure contributed to the decentralisation of the nation's economy and a better distribution of jobs, incomes and basic social services.
The large-scale anti-poverty programme "National Initiative for Human Development" (INDH) has contributed to minimizing the rates of unemployment and poverty during the last decade through improving the living conditions of the populations, particularly in rural areas, he said.
Lahlimi noted that though Morocco's economy has shown relative resilience due to the effects of the global economic crisis, it lost 0.9% of its GDP growth rate in 2008 and 2.4% in 2009.
Moreover, Morocco's economy expanded by 7.8% year on year in the final quarter of 2009, taking the full-year rate of GDP growth to an average of 5.2%, said the UK think-tank, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
Terming as "impressive" the fourth-quarter growth rate, the think-tank said value-added output from the agricultural sector swelled by 26.9%, while output from mining and energy rose by 10.2%.
Manufacturing and construction activity grew by 3.8% and 6.1% respectively, said the EIU, adding that following this strong performance, Morocco was upgraded to investment grade by ratings agency Standard & Poor's in March.
Changes in agricultural output can have a significant effect on private consumption, added the think-tank, noting that the non-agricultural sector's role will increase over the longer term as manufacturing develops and construction expands on the back of government housing and infrastructure projects.