Saturday, February 16, 2019

New books for the Fez Medina Children's Library

The Fez Medina Children's Library has just acquired 92 new books, as a result of donations from sponsors and a recent trip to the Casablanca Book Fair
Librarian Samia Bachraoui and treasurer Suzanna Clarke at the Casablanca Book Fair

"This year we expanded our range to include an extra 22 books for young adults, as well as 14 reference books, and six art and craft books," said head librarian Samia Bachraoui.

Treasurer Suzanna Clarke said, "We are aware that the children who attend the library regularly are growing up and need more challenging material, so we wanted to supplement the picture books for younger readers we've bought on earlier trips."

The book purchases were made possible with the generous support of donations from Caroline di Carlo, the Sheik family, Cafe Clock and Plan-It Morocco, ​among other sponsors.

Librarian Samia Bachraoui talks to the Association of Moroccan Libraries

The Medina Children's Library is currently looking for a larger space, close to its current location off the Ta'laa Sghira in the Fez Medina, so it can service a larger number of children and increase the activities on offer.

To find out more about the Fez Medina Children's Library CLICK HERE. 


Thursday, February 14, 2019

Stan Breckenridge in Concert in Fez

Stan Breckenridge in Concert! Monday, February 18 at 7 PM. ALIF Riad, Derb Drissi, Batha, Fes Medina

This concert, in honour of Black History Month and organised by the US Embassy in Rabat and the ALC-Fes/ALIF Music Club, is free and open to the general public.

Stan Breckenridge is a professional musician, academician, author, and holds a Ph.D. in Musicology from Claremont Graduate University In Claremont, California. He has performed and given lecture-performances in England, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Lithuania, Mexico, Poland, Slovakia, and the Ukraine. Stan has appeared with and/or performed for personalities such as Madeleine Albright, Bill Cosby, Mahalia Jackson, Jerry Lewis, Martha Reeves (of the Vandellas), Larry McCormick, Rowan and Martin, David Ruffin (of the Temptations), Nancy Sinatra, John Travolta, and John Wayne.

Stan Breckenridge has nine albums: Inspirations (2014), Out of Love for Jazz (2012,) Reflections (2009), A Soulful Christmas (2008), This Is My Song (2007), Live in Poland (2005), Solo (2003), Meditations (2001), and Expositions (1999). He also recorded an album in 2017, "Black and Tan Fantasy," with Poland’s longest-running traditional jazz group – Jazz Band Ball Orchestra (JBBO).

Dr. Breckenridge was selected as a United States Distinguished Chair Fulbright Scholar to Poland for 2012-2014, where he taught at the University of Marie Curie Sklodowska in Lublin, and Jagiellonian University in Kraków. Currently, in addition to performance, he is an “Artist in Residence” Visiting Professor in the Faculty of English at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland.


Wednesday, February 13, 2019

The Casablanca Medina gets a makeover

The rehabilitation works of the old medina of Casablanca are now entering its last phase, that of the makeover of the public space and the restoration of buildings in ruins

Started in 2010 under the leadership of King Mohammed VI, the rehabilitation program is in its final phase to the delight of the inhabitants. "The medina is changing its face," says Hassan, who lives near the famous restaurant La Sqalla. "The shops are changing their storefront, the streets are cleaner and above all we feel safer with the new public lighting," he says. Today, the old medina and its monuments are popular places for tourists, whether national or foreign. "We see more and more tourists wandering our streets," says Hassan.

Led by the Casablanca Urban Agency and a committee of 18 members, the program has been divided into two main phases. The first, already finalised, extended from 2010 to 2014 and consisted of upgrading the infrastructure of sanitation, water and electricity networks, the restoration of walls, equipment and squares. In 2016, the King inaugurated the health centre and Dar Annassij (weaving house), located in the heart of the medina of Casablanca.

Monuments have also been restored, such as the Ettedgui Synagogue and the Sidi Allal Al Karaouani Mausoleum. In the same way, the Buenaventura church has been converted into a culture house.

Among the main actions carried out were the upgrade of the "Bab Marrakech" crèche, the construction of the "Derb Cadi" youth and women's home, the completion of the "Opera" socio-sports centre and the realisation the "Craftsmen's Space" project, which supports the efforts made to re-qualify handicrafts in the old medina. 40% of the commercial areas were reorganised as well as the creation of a Heritage Interpretation Center (CIP).

The second program focused on improving living and housing conditions, promoting commercial, craft and tourist activities. The Urban Agency of Casablanca (AUC) has just launched a call for tenders for the selection of a provider responsible for the social support of households occupying buildings threatening to fall into ruin. The operation, budgeted at 300 million dirhams, particularly targets the inhabitants of 3,000 buildings threatening to collapse. Aware of the need to accelerate the pace of upgrading and give a boost to this project, the Urban Agency of Casablanca is preparing to launch a call for tenders on February 12, 2019 carrying the social support of households occupying buildings threatening ruin at the Old Medina of Casablanca for an envelope of 4.45 MDH.

 The rehabilitation of the old medina of Casablanca is a priority in view of the challenges that it represents not only architectural but also in terms of protection of the inhabitants of the Medina. The collapse of homes threatening ruin is a real risk.


Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Morocco a Top Investor in Clean Energy

Morocco is one of only 22 countries that have invested more than $2 billion in clean energy. Morocco has invested $2.8 billion in renewable energy

Bloomberg NEF, a clean energy data provider, published the report and pointed out that Morocco’s Noor Midelt project was the largest major solar project financed worldwide last year. The cost of the project has been estimated at $2.4 billion.

Global investment in clean energy reached $332.1 billion last year, down 8 percent for 2017. The drop is due to an 24 percent decrease in commitments in favour of solar energy.

The investment scale allocated to solar energy fell by 24 percent in 2018 compared to 2017. Despite this decrease in investments, photovoltaic capacity reached a record high—over 100 gigawatts for the first time.

Wind energy investment jumped 3 percent to $128.6 billion, whereas solar energy investment fell to $128.6 billion. The contrast was due to a sharp drop in capital costs.

As a result, the global benchmark for the installation costs of a megawatt of photovoltaic capacity fell by 12 percent in 2018, as manufacturers reduced their selling prices in response to the oversupply of solar panels on the global market.

Morocco has a strong renewable energy potential given its varied geography. Morocco has installed 120 MW in wind energy in 2018, making it the 3rd country in terms of installed capacity in the Africa / Middle East (MEA) region, according to the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) ). The first place goes to Egypt with 380 MW installed, while Kenya is 2nd (310 MW).

In total, the new wind farms built in the region have a capacity of 962 MW in 2018, an increase of 300 MW compared to 2017. By 2013, some 6.5 GW will strengthen the current capacity, according to the experts. GWEC.

In Ouarzazate, central Morocco, the annual averages of daily global horizontal irradiation vary from 3.86 to 7.85 kilowatt hours per square meter per day, or 7.9 to 11.2 hours of sunshine per day on average.

In terms of wind power potential, the annual average wind speed at 10 meters in the Tangier area, north eastern Morocco, is 10 meters per second. For the Dakhla area, in the Laayoune-Sakia El Hamra region, it varies between 7 and 8.5 meters per second.


Wednesday, February 06, 2019

Fez pays 400 million DH to build 8 "smart" car parks

With funds of 400 million DH, the car park program of the medina envisages the development of 8 car parks, the rehabilitation of the public spaces and the installation of an information devices. 

This project is financed by the State, the Ministry of the Interior, the Fund Hassan II and the Commune (Commune of Fez)

 Initiated as part of the project to promote the Medina and its access, these parking areas will be developed Bab Boujloud, Sidi Bounafaa, Ain Azliten, Oued Zhoun, Bab El Guissa, Bab El Hamra, Bab Jdid, and Bin Lamdoun.

With a total capacity of nearly 4,000 places, the construction of the car parks will cost some 300 million DH. "At least two of them will be underground. "They will all be equipped with signs, information screens, and green spaces," said Driss El Azami El Idrissi, mayor of Fez.

The authorities evacuated the old car parks, including that of Bab El Guissa, adjoining the Palais Jamai hotel. In Bab Boujloud, the operation will be much more complex since it will be necessary to clean up a property of 11,45ha, before launching the building site.

The initiators of the project have already prepared the architectural plans and the financial arrangement of the various actions. Thus, a budget of 100 million DH is reserved for the acquisition of land. It will be supported by the Domains of the State and the Municipality of Fez.

In addition, the development of car parks, the rehabilitation of the streets of the medina, the rehabilitation of public spaces and the installation of an information devices will require an investment of 300 million DH. This amount is financed equally by the Ministry of the Interior and the Hassan II Fund.

The general planning of execution will extend until 2022. The objective is to preserve "the academic and spiritual identity" of the millenarian city. It is in this spirit that in 2013, a first program of safeguarding the monuments of the old medina had been put in place and today has enabled the rehabilitation of 27 sites with high historic value.

The new project should revitalise the economic activity of the medina and its main markets. "Because, with the improvement of accessibility and development of car parks, including those of the municipalities of Mechouar Fez-Jdid and Jnane El Ouard, visitors will be more and more numerous, Moroccan and foreign", says the mayor.

The program will finance the development and repair of roads and cobblestones of 23 km of lanes. This will embellish the urban landscape of the ancient fabric of the medina.

In addition to the restoration of historic monuments, the development of car parks and the improvement of accessibility to historical sites, it will be necessary to create a cultural activity to boost tourism. This is the idea defended by Said Zniber, wali of the Fez-Meknes region. The latter associates with its project university and tourism professionals to create a bank of cultural projects in the image of Fez. To begin, a reflection is led on the culinary and artistic animation of the place Boujloud. It is the same for the animation of the garden Jnane Sbill as well as the "sound and light" of Fez. For these last two sites, the mission is entrusted to Abderrafih Zouitene, president of the Spirit Foundation of Fez.


Clio and Maurice in Concert in Fez

Clio and Maurice in Concert! Thursday, February 7 at 7 PM ALIF Riad, 6 Derb Drissi, Batha Fes Medina

Clio and Maurice is the name of an impossible duo. A voice and a violin are merging and colliding, in search of a common dimension. It is composed of the soul singer Clio Colombo and the violinist Martin Nicastro (Pashmak). The duo was born in August of 2017 and since then the two played in some of the most popular venues in Milan. In 2018 they toured Germany and France, and they will be soon in England and Netherlands. They are currently recording their first EP.

This concert, organized by the ALC-ALIF Music Club, is free and open to the general public.


Monday, February 04, 2019

Morocco is preparing to celebrate the Fes International Film Festival, from February 12 to 16, 2019.

The king of Morocco, Mohamed VI on the occasion of the 1200th anniversary of the Foundation of the city of Fes, sent a message to his community.

In this message, Mohamed VI stresses that the Moroccan people are determined to establish their identity as a source of arts and crafts, personal initiative, mobility of production, trade and a rich tourist destination. his qualifications and his spiritual appeal.

This requires, according to the sovereign, "the reinforcement of all its modern infrastructures, the introduction of new technologies of knowledge and communication, and the consolidation of the developmental thinking of its young people so that the permanent capital of the city ​​remains its qualified resources.

It also requires, according to the king, the realisation of integrated development projects offering a decent life for all inhabitants in order to perpetuate the solidarity and patriotic values ​​of the city. These values ​​according to Mohamed VI, have made Fez a precursor city in the defence of the principles of Morocco and its sanctuaries, sovereignty and unity.

The Fez International Film Festival aims to realize the orientations of the royal letter announced on the occasion of the 1200 years of the foundation of the city of Fez; the creation of a space for dialogue and exchange of experiences and cultural inking between cinematographers, actors and enthusiasts in the cultural and artistic field. It also aims to promote the region as a human and architectural heritage as well as a location for filming.

This festival will also contribute to the influence of the city of Fez on the national and international level. The festival wants to make cinema a lever for economic investment in the region and participate in the development and qualification of the artistic taste of the inhabitants and youth of the region.

The organisation of an international film festival of this magnitude and of this kind in the city of Fes will undoubtedly be a qualitative contribution in the list of events and activities held in the region. It will also play an important role in creating cultural, economic, tourism, social and artistic dynamism.

This first edition of the festival is considered as a space for exchange between different cultural centres through film screenings, meetings and conferences that will bring together different actors, enthusiasts and fans of the cinema.

It is also an opportunity for training, guidance and direction through special workshops for students and film lovers.

The festival will also be an opportunity to celebrate and promote the cultures of the various invited countries, their properties and their achievements in the cinematographic field.