Skip to Main Content


  • Johnny Garces posted an article

    This is the content for the week in review march 25, 2020

  • Johnny Garces posted an article
    Week in review for March 7, 2020 see more

    Morocco’s Neighborhood Stores Resisting Modernization


    Neighborhood stores selling everything from perfume to potatoes are withstanding rapid urbanization and the growth of modern supermarkets in Morocco thanks to a core belief of allowing people without funds to pay later. Known as moul hanout, these modest but densely packed outlets are a cornerstone of many communities and play a variety of roles in the socio-economic fabric of Moroccan society. At times it acts as a banker offering interest-free loans, a tobacconist flogging single cigarettes, a deli serving sandwiches or an energy provider selling gas canisters. What is more, the local moul hanout can deliver everything to your door. But most of all, the neighborhood store is a place of trust, where you only need to know to the owner to get the products you need and pay when you can – something impossible in a supermarket. There is more. The shopkeeper is someone you can leave your keys with if you have guests coming to town, someone who can look after the children if they finish school early, they know the best plumbers and carpenters and are often the first port of call for the police if something suspicious occurs in the neighborhood.

    The negative aspects of Morocco’s New Development Model process

    By Abderrahim Azara -  February 27, 2020

    No one would reasonably disagree that the ongoing meetings organized by the special committee in charge of elaborating Morocco’s New Development Model (MNDM) are being widely commented on by the general public. As various figures among its 35 members expressed during their first self-introduction meeting, the Moroccan population expects a high quality product to be delivered by the end of the committee’s term fixed for June 2020. It is needless to go through the positive aspects related to the aforementioned committee, as mainstream narrative hashing out its virtues is already abundant. In this article, my objective is to shed light on the negative aspects of the whole process and to analyze how this affects the shifting balance of power to sustain the political status-quo and put off our common dream of a Moroccan democracy.

    Reinforcing the King’s role as the sole decision maker:
    To comfort someone who lost a close person we often say “We’re to God and unto Him we shall return”. I believe there is no offense of blasphemy if I say that Moroccans could adapt this phrase to express political decision making in Morocco. In fact, it takes just following the cycle of finance law, the most important law voted each year, to understand that everything in our beloved country is/starts from the king and unto him it shall return.

    Apart from the party of Left Democratic Federation (FGD), represented only by two parliamentary members in the first legislative chamber, whose key political figures called on various occasions for fundamental constitutional amendments to establish a new social contract, none among the other political parties represented in the parliament dared to bring such a discussion forward. Most politicians had to wait till the monarch took the initiative himself and talked for the first time about the need for a new development model (2019 Throne speech) to follow up and start debating this subject. This sad reality reminds us of what happened in the wake of the 2011 constitutional reform when the content of memorandums presented by political parties was very light even compared with announcements made by the king during his remarkable speech (March 09, 2011), let alone if compared to youth expectations.

    What could we learn from the suffering of Ahmad Marzouki and Viktor Frankl?

    By Abdellatif Labkadri -  February 28, 2020

    Nietzsche once said,  “he who has a why to live for can bear almost any how”. It is the motto that summarizes my thorough analysis of two memoirs written by Ahmed Marzouki and Viktor Frankl. Both suffered the repercussions of living in the direst conditions as prisoners in two hellish jails, Tazmamart and Auschwitz. Their biographies, ‘Tazmamart Cell 10’ and ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ are considered in the prison literature field as testimonies on behalf of all missing people and survivors. I shall endeavor in this essay to make readers grasp the conclusions which both authors came to after going through long years of inhuman detention and utmost suffering.

    Tazmamart Cell 10
    In 1971, Marzouki was a student officer at the military school of Ahermoumou in the midst of the Meknes- Fez region. He was taken, along with hundreds of other classmates, to the town of Skhirat, located a few kilometers away from the capital Rabat for what he believed were military exercises, but later on, found out that he was in the mid of a coup d’Etat, one plotted by General Mohamed Medbouh and the director of the school, Lieutenant-Colonel Mhamed Ababou. After the coup failure, participants who were spared a death sentence, were condemned to remain in solitary confinement for a couple of years. Marzouki was sentenced to five years, but spent unjustly eighteen years in an inhuman detention center called Tazmamart.

    For a very long period of time, the Moroccan authorities have denied the existence of the Tazmamart penal colony located in the middle of the desert, in the south of the country. However, fifty-eight officers and non-commissioned officers, infantrymen and airmen, were locked up there for taking part, for them most part of them without their knowledge, of two coup d’etat attempts, the first took place in July 1971 (Skhirat) and the second occurred in August 1972 (plot against the ‘King’s plane). After eighteen years of infernal jail time, when the doors to Tazmamart were unlocked, only twenty-eight of them had survived.

    The women who make argan oil want better pay

    By Izabella Rosengren Reporter, Essaouira, Morocco 6 February 2020

    Whether it is being drizzled on salads or turned into face creams, Morocco's argan oil is the latest culinary and cosmetic must-have. But with sales soaring around the world, concerns remain about the pay and conditions of the mainly female workforce that produces the oil. I watch as a group of women each use two rocks, one large, one small, to smash open the fruit to get to the seeds inside a very hard central nutshell.They sit on cushions on the floor of a cool stone house, beside big piles of the fruit. "I want a better job, with a better salary," says one of the workers, 37-year-old Samira Chari. "But there is nothing else. This is my only option." We are in the Moroccan countryside, some 25km (15.5 miles) inland from the port city of Essaouira, halfway down the country's Atlantic coast. It is warm and sunny, and lush green argan trees pepper the arid landscape.
    The women are employed by a business called Marjana, one of around 300 small firms, mostly co-operatives, that now produce argan oil by extracting it from the seeds. The trees themselves, which are up to 10m (33 ft) tall, are found all over Morocco.
    More here:

    Rewarding the Workface behind Morocco’s Liquid Gold

    Whether it is being drizzled on salads or turned into face creams, Morocco’s argan oil is the latest culinary and cosmetic must-have. But with sales soaring around the world, concerns remain about the pay and conditions of the mainly female workforce that produces the oil. Often called the country’s “liquid gold”, global sales of argan oil are soaring, helped by studies that suggest it has health benefits. Production, which is almost all from Morocco, is expected to reach 19,623 US tons or $1.79bn by 2022 up from 4,836 US tons in 2014. In Morocco argan is traditionally used as a foodstuff – a dip for bread or drizzled on couscous – and as a medicine. But the big growth in demand is being led by the worldwide cosmetics industry. In addition to face creams, it is now being added products like lip gloss, shampoo, moisturisers and soaps. As the industry becomes more lucrative, the issue of the women’s wages has become an increasingly hot topic. The situation has become such an issue in the county that Morocco’s minister of agriculture asked Prof Charrouf for help in forcing firms to join industry trade bodies, and commit to paying staff the minimum wage.

    International Atomic Energy Agency

    28 Feb 2020

    A year ago, Moroccan veterinary authorities identified a new strain of the Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) virus, a highly contagious animal disease, by using nuclear derived technologies. The use of this technology led to successful vaccination campaigns in the country, and Morocco is now celebrating a year without any case of FMD. This was achieved with the support of the IAEA, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). FMD affects cattle and ruminants, both domesticated and wild. It is highly contagious and often fatal to the animal, and it can severely impact food security and the economy. Morocco has 29 million heads of cattle, sheep, goats and camels, and its livestock sector contributes nearly 13% of agricultural GDP. In January 2019, Morocco experienced FMD outbreaks in several provinces. Herds were rapidly infected in five localities. For each case confirmed, all livestock within a three-kilometre radius was slaughtered, and a surveillance zone with a radius of ten kilometres was established, blocking the sales of animals and animal food products.

    Morocco to Build New Higher Education Facilities Near Rabat

    The new projects aim to reduce the strain on existing higher education establishments.

    By Yahia Hatim - Mar 3, 2020 Rabat

    The Council of the Rabat-Sale-Kenitra region has approved two projects for the construction of a new university campus in Khemisset, around 90 kilometers east of Rabat, and a multidisciplinary faculty in Sidi Kacem, about 120 kilometers northeast of the capital.  The council approved the projects on Monday, March 2. The projects have a total budget of MAD 180 million (nearly €17 million). The regional council will contribute to the projects with MAD 70 million (around €6.6 million), while the Ministry of Education will cover the rest of the budget.

    Morocco, USA Explore New Opportunities for Cooperation in Water and Electricity

    The meeting is part of the strengthening of cooperation relations between Morocco and the USA, according to a statement by ONEE.

    By Morocco World News - Feb 29, 2020 Rabat

    Director general of the National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE), Abderrahim El Hafidi held, on Friday in Rabat, a working meeting with a US delegation, devoted to the exploration of collaboration and investment opportunities in the field of water and electricity in Morocco.
    The meeting is part of the strengthening of cooperation relations between Morocco and the USA, according to a statement by ONEE.
    The US delegation, chaired by Assistant Secretary for Global Markets and Director General of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service, Ian Steff, included Minister Counselor for Commercial Affairs and Senior Regional Trade Officer, Rick Ortiz, and Sales specialist for Water, Halima Berrami.

    The rituals of Moroccan Jews

    By Abdellatif Labkadri -  February 4, 2020

    No one can deny the salient role of North Africa, especially Morocco, as a region that embraced Jews while they were witch-hunted and tortured in Europe. The general belief among European mainstream media, including the continent’s popular culture, is that the Arab world is populated by Muslims only. Very rare are those who realize that the Arabian territory, including North Africa, was until recently a religiously diverse place with far more confessional pluralism than Europe itself. Historically speaking, the Jewish community of Morocco has ancient ties to the Maghreb region, ones dating back to more than two thousand years. Morocco has a significant Jewish past, which even predates Arab immigration to the region. The last wave of Jewish exodus took place during the 15th century when Isabella and Ferdinand decided to put an end to the Islamic Arab emirates in Andalusia. The Spanish crown with the assistance of the inquisitors placed both Jews and Muslims between the devil and the deep sea; in other words, between forced conversion to christianism or exile. North Africa was back-then a tolerant, safe and a welcoming shelter for all those who were forced to leave their homes. This fostered Morocco to become a melting pot in which both communities have lived together. As a matter of fact, both cultures and traditions interwove to make an authentic culture in Morocco.

    How can visionary leadership contribute to organizational effectiveness within Moroccan companies?

    By Ilias El Ouagari -  January 9, 2020

    How could Moroccan firms implement an effective business organization structure, functions and governance based on a visionary leadership model? 
    The development of human capital is a core component of achieving organizational  effectiveness. The main problem in some Moroccan companies is that the centralization of procedures is dominant, which can influence the overall performance, innovation and  employees’ career development. According to Hofstede’s dimensions, Moroccan companies tend to have a high power distance, which means that centralization is popular and that there is a high gap between managers and their subordinates. A corporate culture that is based on Visionary leadership and a flexible management style could be very interesting for Moroccan firms. 

    To illustrate this, we can say that leaders with high levels of a visionary leadership were predicted to be reported as having more effective organizations. Many Management experts have stated that this kind of leaders with high leadership skills facilitated the greatest perceived organizational effectiveness in their respective organizations through inspiring their colleagues to perform better and obtain the desired results. For example, a visionary leader is considered as a strategic planner who inspires other people, who plans his decisions through a smart plan that involves good communication, risk taking and active listening to what other people in the company have to say regarding those decisions. Regarding the cultural dimensions that are common among Moroccan companies, the Power Distance cultural dimension as discussed by Dutch Social Psychologist Geert Hofstede, is very high within Moroccan firms. For instance, employees feel very limited in terms of innovation and the fact that they could discuss their ideas with their Managers. The solution to face this centralization is to build a strong corporate culture that is based on good communication across departments, weekly meetings to discuss the current problems and suggest realistic solutions, monthly reward the best performing and creative individuals with a reward that we can call “The visionary leader of the month”. â€¦â€¦â€¦â€¦..
    More here:

    These postings are provided without permission of the copyright owner for purposes of criticism, comment, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and may not be distributed further without permission of the identified copyright owner.  The poster does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the message, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.