Friday, January 11, 2013

Moroccan News Briefs #82

Happy 69th Independence Manifesto Day Morocco

January 11, 1944 was the date of the introduction of the Manifesto of Independence and today Moroccans will join in celebration of the 69th anniversary of this landmark event. The High Commissioner for former resistance fighters and former members of the Liberation Army says the country "...will pay tribute to the men and women of the National Resistance Movement who sacrificed body and soul for their country and remember the epic struggle of intrepid defenders of the integrity of our nation, starting with a firm belief in the rightness of their cause."

Morocco continues to invest in tourism

Morocco in 2012 invested 14 billion dirhams (1.26 billion euros) in the tourism sector, creating 4,400 jobs and increasing its bed capacity by 10,300, the Moroccan tourism ministry made known in its yearly budget report.

Morocco last year increased its bed capacity by 7,000 and created 3,000 jobs, maintaining its position on the international market and attracting almost 10 million tourists by November 2012. The ministry also made significant investments in refurbishing training facilities and creating new ones, according to the report.

In 2013, the ministry will focus on developing domestic tourism by breaking ground on the third phase of a new tourism resort at Medhia under the so-called Biladi Plan, which King Mohamed VI launched in September.

Morocco literacy project reaches milestone

According to a report carried by Magharebia, more than 6 million Moroccans have benefited from literacy programmes over the last decade, according to figures unveiled last month.

"Some 735,000 people benefited from literacy programmes from 2011 to 2012. This is a record for the past ten years," Illiteracy Eradication Directorate (DLCA) head El Habib Nadir said at a Marrakech press conference on December 16th.

Morocco won honourable mention at the 2012 UNESCO Confucius Prize for its efforts, especially projects aimed at helping women become more independent through literacy.

These outcomes are also the fruit of support from technical and financial partners, which includes financial aid from the European Union. The EU has been a donor since 2008 while UNESCO has provided technical assistance through its office in Rabat as part of the Literacy Initiative for Empowerment (LIFE).

Nadir said that the efforts made in this field include the mechanisms created to build the capacities of the parties involved in the programme. This involves training between 10,000 and 14,000 teachers every year. The training is provided on the basis of a prescribed list of literacy trainer skills.

In addition, NGOs are being trained in various aspects of literacy project management, such as mobilising beneficiaries and programme design, monitoring and evaluation.

Law to protect young girls is rejected

The Islamist PJD has taken what many are describing as a backward step by rejecting a bill criminalizing any sexual contact with minors. In Morocco, the rapists of under-age girls are protected by law as long as they marry their victims. There have long been calls for the repeal of Article 475 of the penal code and given the public revulsion felt at such crimes it was expected that the repeal would be past. However MPs have turned a deaf ear to the demands expressed by civil society in the aftermath of suicide last March of Amina Filali. This week the commission of Justice of the House of Representatives led by the Islamist PJD rejected an amendment which would have criminalised sexual intercourse with a minor even if it is consensual. Socialists MPs wanted to put on the same level as rape.

Marrakech Marathon has 4000 entries

Some 4,000 athletes, including 950 foreigners, will participate in the 24th Marrakech International Marathon on January 27th.

The IAAF ranks the Marrakech marathon as 1st in Africa and 25th in the world.

Mixed weather for Fez

The cold weather in Fez is expected to continue this week. A slightly warmer day on Saturday (reaching 17 degrees Celsius) will be followed by showers on Sunday and Monday with tops around 14 degrees and lows down to 12 or 13.


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