Monday, October 31, 2011

Morocco in the News, Oct 31st

Check PC/Morocco Volunteers project videos on this new interactive 50th website.
New Interactive Website Launched to Honor Peace Corps’ 50th Anniversary:
Award winning journalist, author and former Peace Corps volunteer Maureen Orth launches an interactive website,, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Peace Corps. This new website highlights many volunteer projects from around the world in videos directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Susan Koch.
Washington, DC (PRWEB) October 26, 2011
Award winning journalist, author and former Peace Corps volunteer Maureen Orth has launched an interactive website that both highlights unusual and successful work of Peace Corps volunteers worldwide and also allows the wider Peace Corps community to contribute their own stories, pictures and “Video postcards” with the aid of a Google map.
To celebrate the fifty years of the Peace Corps’s work in 139 countries, Orth and award winning filmmaker Susan Koch traveled from Morocco to Colombia, Mongolia to Costa Rica and Mexico, to film volunteers in action. They plan to continue filming up to fifty videos and will go next to China. Prominent volunteer alumni such as former Senator Chris Dodd and MSNBC's Hardball host Chris Matthews also share how their Peace Corps experience forever shaped their lives.
A volunteer herself in the sixties, Orth helped build a school in a mountain village in Colombia. Nearly four decades later she formed the Marina Orth Foundation to support the school becoming the first in Colombia to use One Laptop per Child computers while the village itself became the first in the country to be connected to WiFi. It now has nearly 300 families on Facebook and the foundation supports 1200 children in three schools.
The first videos posted include the story of maternal health volunteer Moses, who in a remote village in Morocco, introduced baseball to shepherd boys devoid of recreation. The boys have yet to see a real baseball game but now they have a way to have fun while learning team work and cooperation, using rocks as bases and an axe handle as a bat.
Another postcard shares the story of a young woman named Stephanie helping an orphanage in Mongolia become more self-sustaining by building a greenhouse and growing produce to sell for profit, enabling the orphanage to start a bakery business. These are just two of the inspiring stories of men and women of all ages and backgrounds who share the call to serve that can be seen on
“What we have seen in our exotic travels so far is that the Peace Corps is about the best use of soft power the US has ever made,” says Orth. The entire budget of the Peace Corps costs 5 hours in Iraq. Plus these Americans speak the language and are accepted and loved.”
These video postcards are made possible by the generous support of Bank of America and American Express
Posted 9/22/11 By Xavier Rathlev, special to MTV Act
On September 22, 1961, President John F. Kennedy signed into law the act mandating a national service corps "to promote world peace and friendship." Fifty years later, more than 200,000 American Peace Corps volunteers have served in 139 countries around the globe. I’m one of those volunteers.
Having grown up in a post 9/11 world, I really do believe that if you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem. This mindset lead me to where I am now: living in Goulmima, Morocco, as a Peace Corps volunteer. Goulmima is small oasis town on the edge of the Sahara Desert. Of Goulmima's 30,000 residents, three are white, and one is American -- me.
The religion is different. The food is different. The clothes are different. The pace of life is different.
But the people are the same. Goulmima people are hospitable in the same way they are in small town America. They want the same things Americans do: education, jobs, and to support their families. And in some cases, they're inspired by the same music: hip-hop.
I met Louk Omar, Mnilik Irm Mohammed, and Klay (aka Joundi Smail Hafidi) here two years ago. They walked into my English class wearing flat brimmed Yankee caps, Kanye West sunglasses (yup, the ones with the venetian blinds), baggy jeans and hooded sweatshirts. Their cell phones were constantly blasting Jay, Yeezy and Em. They called themselves S7rawa Boys (pronounced "SaHArawa"), and told me they wanted to be hip-hop stars.
I was skeptical at first. I was afraid that these guys had embraced a simplified, possibly distorted picture of American culture. I expected them to spew lyrics about drugs, making money, and getting with girls. I was wrong.
In "Full Stop," the chorus lists a series of drugs in French ("Cigarettes, nicotine, heroin, ecstasy, cocaine") and then in English says "Stop smoking and lets do it!" "We rap about putting an end to smoking and drug use, stopping corruption, ending the racism between Berbers and Arabs, and discrimination between rich and poor," the trio explained.
S7rawa Boys asked me to assist them with their hip-hop dream. They'd written songs, mixed beats, and recorded music before I met them. So I've tried to provide them with drive and direction to achieve their vision. I encouraged them. I helped them set deadlines, and record and distribute their first, self-titled album. We worked together to utilize the web to distribute their songs by creating Facebook and Soundcloud pages.
It took some time, but the community has responded. "At first some people in Goulmima responded negatively to our music," Mnilik explained. "They didn't understand rap or hip hop. They did not know our music could be positive. But we've explained our songs. We have a catchy hook, good beat, and a positive message. People like our music. The key is that they understand the message.” Adds Joundi, “We want to travel the world and have a positive influence on how people treat each other.” I think Yeezy, Jay and Em would approve.
The religion is different. The food is different. The clothes are different. The pace of life is different.
But the people are the same. Goulmima people are hospitable in the same way they are in small town America. They want the same things Americans do: education, jobs, and to support their families. And in some cases, they're inspired by the same music: hip-hop.
I met Louk Omar, Mnilik Irm Mohammed, and Klay (aka Joundi Smail Hafidi) here two years ago. They walked into my English class wearing flat brimmed Yankee caps, Kanye West sunglasses (yup, the ones with the venetian blinds), baggy jeans and hooded sweatshirts. Their cell phones were constantly blasting Jay, Yeezy and Em. They called themselves S7rawa Boys (pronounced "SaHArawa"), and told me they wanted to be hip-hop stars.
I was skeptical at first. I was afraid that these guys had embraced a simplified, possibly distorted picture of American culture. I expected them to spew lyrics about drugs, making money, and getting with girls. I was wrong.
In "Full Stop," the chorus lists a series of drugs in French ("Cigarettes, nicotine, heroin, ecstasy, cocaine") and then in English says "Stop smoking and lets do it!" "We rap about putting an end to smoking and drug use, stopping corruption, ending the racism between Berbers and Arabs, and discrimination between rich and poor," the trio explained.
S7rawa Boys asked me to assist them with their hip-hop dream. They'd written songs, mixed beats, and recorded music before I met them. So I've tried to provide them with drive and direction to achieve their vision. I encouraged them. I helped them set deadlines, and record and distribute their first, self-titled album. We worked together to utilize the web to distribute their songs by creating Facebook and Soundcloud pages.
It took some time, but the community has responded. "At first some people in Goulmima responded negatively to our music," Mnilik explained. "They didn't understand rap or hip hop. They did not know our music could be positive. But we've explained our songs. We have a catchy hook, good beat, and a positive message. People like our music. The key is that they understand the message.” Adds Joundi, “We want to travel the world and have a positive influence on how people treat each other.” I think Yeezy, Jay and Em would approve.
The Moroccan Film Festival in New York: Second Edition
The High Atlas Foundation is proud to announce the Moroccan Film Festival: Second Edition on November 18-19th, 2011 at New York’s Tribeca Cinemas. Join us for this incredible opportunity to enjoy Moroccan film, art, food and wine. Your purchase of a ticket will enable rural Moroccan communities to plant fruit tree nurseries, and advances HAF’s 1 Million Tree Campaign.
The Film Festival has set the stage to showcase on an international screen Morocco’s voices, multiculturalism and filmmakers. The two-day Festival event will show the complexity and beauty of life in Morocco through ten feature films, preceded by Moroccan student films from the Ecole Supérieure des Arts Visuels de Marrakech.
The generous sponsorships of the Festival by the Moroccan National Tourist Office and Exotic Imports enable ALL ticket sales to support community fruit tree nurseries of varieties that do not require pesticides and that profoundly benefit rural families. The High Atlas Foundation was founded in 2000 by former Peace Corps Volunteers, and planted with many partners 329,800 fruit trees benefiting approximately 2,500 Moroccan families.
Come and enjoy Moroccan films and meet wonderful people – where participating creates Moroccan sustainable development!
The first 50 purchasers will receive a complimentary autographed copy of the 1st Edition Moroccan Film Festival poster autographed by Director Izza Genini valued at $75. Posters will be available for pick-up at the guest list sign-in area on the day of the event.
Please note that individual film tickets are on sale only through the Tribeca Cinemas website. Tickets will be available for pick up at the cinema’s will call the day of the festival.
*Students & seniors (age 62 and older) must present valid IDs at the festival.

Learn about film festival sponsorship opportunities Learn more about the High Atlas Foundation
Morocco is not party to the Hague Convention on Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption ( Hague Adoption Convention). Therefore, when the Hague Adoption Convention entered into force for the United States on April 1, 2008, intercountry adoption processing for Morocco did not change.
on the term "adoption" : Persons considering adopting a Moroccan child should think of the Moroccan process more as custody in advance of adoption. In Morocco, this guardianship is referred to as "kefala". Americans considering adoption of Moroccan children must obtain kefala custody from a Moroccan court and subsequently adopt the child in the United States.
 To bring an adopted child to the United States from Morocco, you must first be found eligible to adopt by the U.S. Government. The U.S. Government agency responsible for making this determination is the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). 
A visit to the U.S. Consulate to obtain the Immigrant Visa is the last step in the process.
In addition to these U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, Morocco also has the following requirements for adoptive parents:
·       MARRIAGE REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents must either be a single female or a married couple. Morocco does not recognize same sex marriages or domestic partnerships.
·       INCOME REQUIREMENTS: The Government of Morocco requires that people seeking legal guardianship of Moroccan children be employed.
·       OTHER REQUIREMENTS: Prospective adoptive parents of Moroccan children must be Muslim. Prospective adoptive parents must have a letter from a doctor practicing in Morocco indicating that they are in good mental and physical heath and capable of caring for an adopted child.
Who Can Be Adopted
In order to qualify for immigration to the U.S., the child must meet the definition of orphan under both Moroccan and U.S. law.

Children living in Moroccan orphanages are more likely to meet the definition of orphan under U.S. law and therefore are more likely to qualify for immigration to the United States than children who do not live in orphanages.
The process for adopting a child from Morocco generally includes the following steps:
Apply to be found eligible to adopt in the United States(I-600A petition submitted to USCIS).
2.     Be matched with a child that meets the U.S. definition of an orphan
3.     Obtain certificate of abandonment from issuing authority
4.     Obtain "kefala" custody of the child in a Moroccan court
5.     Obtain permission from Moroccan court to travel/immigrate and obtain a passport
6.     Apply for an Immigrant Visa for the child at the U.S. Consulate in Casablanca.
7.     Bring the child home to the U.S. and adopt the child in your home state.
1.     Apply to be Found Eligible to Adopt

To bring an adopted child from Morocco to the United States, you must apply to be found eligible to adopt (Form I-600A) by the U.S. Government, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). Learn how.

In addition to meeting the U.S. requirements for adoptive parents, you need to meet the requirements of Morocco as described above in the Who Can Adopt section.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED: The orphanage where the child resides should be able to provide you with an exact list of the documents required to adopt in Morocco. The documents required may vary and prospective adoptive parents should expect delays and the probability of supplementary requirements. They will most likely require that any English language documents, to include your home study, be accompanied by a sworn Arabic translation by a Moroccan translator. A list of sworn translators located throughout Morocco can be obtained by contacting the Immigrant Visa Unit at the U.S. Consulate in Casablanca, Morocco at The following is a list of basic documents required for the kefala procedure:
o   Islam Conversion Document for the prospective adoptive parents
o   Birth Certificate for each prospective parent
o   Marriage certificate for the prospective parents (if applicable)
o   Health statement from a doctor practicing in Morocco
o   Work and salary statements for each prospective adoptive parent (if applicable)
o   Home study completed by a licensed U.S. home study provider
o   Photographs (the exact number and size required varies)
o   copy of passports of each prospective adoptive parent
NOTE: Additional documents may be requested. If you are asked to provide proof that a document from the United States is authentic, we can help. Learn how.
2.     Be Matched with a Child
Once your I-600A has been approved by USCIS, you will need to locate a Moroccan orphanage to be matched with a child that meets the suitability criteria noted in your approval notice or form I-600A (age, gender, special needs, number of children, etc.) Each family must decide for itself whether or not it will be able to meet the needs of a particular child and provide a permanent family placement for the referred child. Most children residing in Moroccan orphanages will have a judgment of abandonment issued in their name. In most orphanages, this judgment of abandonment will be given to the prospective adoptive parents along with the kefala custody documentation. However, procedures may vary depending on the region. Be prepared to contact regional authorities.
The US federal agency responsible for determining whether a child is eligible to immigrate to the United States in accordance with the INA is U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). children in non-Convention countries (Morocco) must meet the INA definition of an orphan.
Orphan Status (Morocco is included in Non-Convention Countries)
Children being adopted from non-Convention countries must meet the definition of an orphan as defined in the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) before they can immigrate to the United States. USCIS determines whether a particular child meets the definition of an orphan. To apply to USCIS for this determination, you use the following form:
Form I-600, along with its supporting documents, are required for USCIS to determine that a child is eligible for classification as an orphan. In order to file Form I-600 with USCIS, you should submit Form I-600A (Application for Advance Processing of Orphan Petition) first. You may submit both forms at the same time, or you may already have an approved, valid Form I-600A when you file Form I-600. See our eligibility requirements for prospective adoptive parents for more information about filing Form I-600A.
According to the INA, a child must meet the following two conditions in order to be considered an orphan:
  1. The child must have no parents; or
  2. The child has a sole or surviving parent who is unable to care for the child and has, in writing, irrevocably released the child for emigration and adoption.
In some countries it is possible to adopt a child who is not an "orphan" as defined by U.S. immigration law. Whether a child qualifies as an orphan for the U.S. is determined by reference to U.S. laws and regulations, and not by foreign law that may identify a child as orphaned. In general, a child would be considered to have no parents if both are determined to have died, disappeared, deserted, abandoned or have been lost or separated from the child. Abandonment requires that the birth parents give up all parental rights, obligations and claims to the child, as well as all control over and possession of the child (without transferring these rights to any specific person). Under U.S. law, children may not be abandoned, relinquished, or released to a specific prospective adoptive parent for adoption.
There are three primary elements to the orphan classification. In addition to other applicable requirements, all of the following must be true for a child to be eligible for the orphan classification:
  • The child must be under the age of 16 at the time an I-600 petition is filed on his or her behalf with USCIS or a consular officer (a child adopted at age 16 or 17 will also qualify, provided he or she is a birth sibling of a child adopted, or who will be adopted, under the age of 16 by the same adopting parents).
  • The adopting parents must have completed a full and final adoption of the child or must have legal custody of the child for purposes of emigration and adoption in the U.S.; and
  • The child has been or will be adopted by a married U.S. citizen and spouse jointly, or by an unmarried U.S. citizen at least 25 years of age, with the intent of forming a bona fide parent/child relationship.
  • If an I-600A has already been approved, the adopting parent may file an I-600 for one child without any additional fee. However, if parents are adopting two or more biologically unrelated children, there will be a $670.00 fee for the second child (this fee is waived for siblings).
The following documentation must be presented in order for an I-600 petition to be approved:
  • Form I-600, Petition to Classify Orphan as an Immediate Relative;
  • The child's birth certificate;
  • A final decree of adoption, if the orphan has been adopted abroad, or proof of legal custody for purposes of emigration and adoption;
  • Proof of "orphan" status per definition above (e.g., evidence of abandonment, written relinquishment, death certificates, etc. depending on the circumstances);
  • Proof that the pre-adoption requirements, if any, of the state of the orphan's proposed residence have been met, if the orphan is to be adopted in the United States;
  • Proof that the adopting parents have seen the child prior to or during adoption proceedings.
IMPORTANT: Parents are urged to seek advice about the possibility that an adopted child might not be considered an orphan and therefore would not be able to accompany his or her adopting parents to the United States. Immigration attorneys, reputable adoption agencies involved in international adoption, USCIS, and Department of State officials all have information that will assist you in addressing this serious concern.

In order to obtain kefala custody of the child they have chosen, both prospective adoptive parents will need to appear in person in a Moroccan court. Their documents will be reviewed and the custody documents will be issued and executed. This process can take anywhere from 2 days to several weeks, depending on the local court procedures.
ATTORNEYS/AGENCIES: Many orphanages in Morocco have their own legal staff that can assist you in the kefala custody process, thus alleviating the need to hire a private attorney in Morocco. Many American prospective adoptive parents who have adopted from Morocco in the last year have used orphanages that provide this service. It is always possible, however, for prospective adoptive parents to hire a private attorney to assist them in the process.
o   TIME FRAME: The time required to complete the kefala custody of a Moroccan child can vary from 3 weeks to 6 months, perhaps longer depending on the particular details of the case. o   ADOPTION FEES: Although orphanages do not officially charge fees in Morocco, many of them may request a donation from adoptive parents. Orphanages that provide legal assistance in obtaining kefala custody usually have fees associated with this service. Anyone using an attorney can expect to pay attorneys fees for services rendered, o   DOCUMENTING A CHILD'S ELIGIBILITY FOR KEFALA: If the child's biological parents are known, their names will usually appear on the child's birth certificate. In cases where the child was born out of wedlock to an unknown father, the father's name on the birth certificate will contain a fictitious name starting with "Abd" (Abdellah, Abdelhamid, etc) and no last name. This is a place holder name to avoid the father's portion of the birth certificate being left blank, and has no relation to the actual name of the biologic father.
5.     Obtain permission from Moroccan court to travel/immigrate and obtain child's passportThe prospective adoptive parents should receive a document from the Moroccan courts giving them permission to obtain a Moroccan passport and immigrate to the U.S. with the child. Prospective adoptive parents will need the child's birth certificate, kefala custody document, and permission from the court to obtain a passport. These documents are submitted to the municipality in the region where the kefala was obtained. The passport is normally ready within one week, although expedited processing can be requested. Most prospective adoptive parents who receive assistance from the orphanage in obtaining custody of the child also receive assistance in obtaining the child's Moroccan passport.
After you have obtained the certificate of abandonment, the kefala custody of the child, the permission for the child to immigrate to the United States, and the child's Moroccan passport, you may make an appointment with the U.S. Consulate in Casablanca for an Immigrant Visa interview. Please note that you must have an I-600A or I-600 approved by USCIS on file at the Consulate in order to make an Immigrant Visa interview. Please contact the Immigration Visa Unit at for more details regarding the documents required to obtain an Immigrant Visa for the child.
The U.S. Embassy in Rabat does not perform consular services.
 7.     Bring Your Child Home Once you have obtained the IR-4 Immigrant Visa for your child, you may travel to the United States where you will need to start the procedure to adopt the child in your home state. Once you enter the U.S. on the IR-4 visa, the child will automatically become a lawful permanent resident of the U.S. and a legal permanent resident card (green card) will be mailed to you. Once you have adopted the child in the United States, you will need to petition USCIS for a Certificate of Citizenship. It may be advisable to engage the services of an adoption attorney before you travel to Morocco to ensure that you have all required documents to adopt once you return to the United States.
Child Citizenship Act
The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows your new child to acquire American citizenship automatically when the court in the United States issues the final adoption decree.
* Please be aware that if your child did not qualify to become a citizen upon entry to the United States (as is the for all orphans issued IR-4 visas), it is very important that you take the steps necessary so that your child does qualify as soon as possible. Failure to obtain citizenship for your child can impact many areas of his/her life including family travel, eligibility for education and education grants, and voting.
Traveling Abroad
Applying for Your U.S. Passport
A valid U.S. passport with a minimum of six-months validity is required for prospective adoptive parents to enter and leave Morocco. No visa is required. Only the U.S. Department of State has the authority to grant, issue, or verify U.S. passports.
After Adoption
What does Morocco require of the adoptive parents after the adoption?
Morocco has no post-adoption requirements.
What resources are available to assist families after the adoption?
Many adoptive parents find it important to find support after the adoption. Take advantage of all the resources available to your family -- whether it's another adoptive family, a support group, an advocacy organization, or your religious or community services.
Note: Inclusion of non-U.S. Government links does not imply endorsement of contents.
Contact Information
U.S. Consulate General in Casablanca, Morocco Address: 8, Boulevard Moulay Youssef
Tel: 212-522-26-45-50
Embassy of Morocco in the United States of America Address: 1601 21 st Street, NW Washington, DC 20009
Tel: 202-462-7979
Fax: 202-265-0161
*Morocco also has a consulate located in New York City at the following address:
10 East 40th Street,
New York, NY 10016
(212) 758-2625
Office of Children's Issues
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Tel: 1-888-407-4747
E-mail: or Adoption
Derek Workman
Marrakech / Morocco Board News --The idea was that Education For All, a Moroccan ONG, would provide for the needs of a number of young girls from the poorest families from some of the remotest villages in the High Atlas for the three years it would take them to complete their secondary education. An apparently modest undertaking, but one that would affect the lives of an initial group of twelve girls, increasing by the same number each year, in ways that quite possibly no one had even considered.
Dar Asni, and the houses that were to follow, are all within a couple of minutes’ walk of schools, and take into account an anomaly of the Moroccan way of educational life for girls. Many boys will cycle to school and take their lunch with them. Sometimes a single class will be held in the morning and then another in the afternoon. Boys will simply stay at the school, but it’s considered unsafe for girls to do that, so they are expected to return home, impossible if they live far away. Often they’ve walked considerable distances, and on occasions when time-tabling is particularly erratic they’ll miss a day’s schooling completely. For the girls at the EFA houses they can simply walk across the road.
It’s very simple to make a fleeting comment about someone starting school in a new town, but behind that simple statement is a world of cultural and emotional complexity.
Think of yourself as the father of a young girl not yet even into her teens, and a group of foreigners come along to tell you that you should send her to a private boarding-house miles from home. “It’s for her benefit,” they say, but you possibly aren’t too well educated yourself, and the idea of putting your daughter into the hands of foreigners who aren’t part of your culture or religious beliefs might be something you are very wary of. Wouldn’t you rather take the counsel of someone of your own faith, a father himself and, even if not a direct friend, someone who has earned the respect of those who know him well?
Hajj Maurice, a small man with a large moustache and a winning smile, is well known and highly respected throughout the villages of the High Atlas Mountains, not just because he has made the pilgrimage to Mecca, which entitles him to the honorific ‘Hajj’, but for the work he has done as a mainstay of the Association Bassins d’Imlil. As the father of two daughters, he was aware of the importance of education for young women, especially following the sad loss of his eldest, who died of leukaemia while in her early twenties. For weeks Hajj Maurice walked the mountains, talking to fathers and families, trying to convince them that allowing these young girls to live at Dar Asni while continuing their education was not only the best thing for them as individuals, but also for their families, their future children and their communities. Some families accepted with alacrity; the only thing that had stopped them doing it in the first place was that they simply had no money. But others were less convinced, and despite all his wiles and arguments, Hajj Maurice sometimes had to leave without even the concession of “we’ll think about it.”
Now put yourself in the place of an eleven year-old girl, eager for new sights, friends and experiences, despite never having been outside the confines of your village. You speak only Berber, a language so different from the national language of Arabic in both its spoken and written form that you may as well be going to another country to study, not a village thirty kilometres away, because Arabic is the language all your classes will be in. And then imagine that for the first time in your life you will have your own bed to sleep in, your own cupboard to put your clothes in and a washing machine to wash them – no more going down to the river to pound them on rocks. The boarding house might seem like a palace, but your new life still takes some getting used to!
Karima Targaoui is Education For All’s longest serving volunteer, spending over a year with the girls before returning to her home in Vienne, near Lyon in France. She still works with EFA as the coordinator of volunteers.
“I began volunteering with EFA on November 2009. (It seems like it was yesterday!) When I arrived in Dar Asni I was surprised; the house is so pretty and the organisation directed by Latifa (the house mother) is really good. Everyone was so nice. A week later is was hard to leave them and go to Talat N’Yacoub.
The first days were really hard. I was in the middle of nowhere, the girls didn’t know each other yet, EFA wasn’t well-known by the locals so they were suspicious, and the house wasn’t started. I really felt like I couldn’t do it. But I began to build a relationship with the girls and I realized how much they needed somebody to help them. That motivates me to succeed. Then Khadija, the gorgeous house-mother arrived, and I felt immediately comfortable with her. Together we did a lot of work; first with the girls, who
now feel like sisters and have changed in many ways; secondly in the house, which became really nice and warm; and finally with the community around Talat N’Yacoub, who know us, respect us, encourage us and help us with our project. And all this with the help of the committee, of course, who is always present and helpful despite the distance. And I thank them for this and for the trust they gave me.
I’m really proud to be a part of this project when I see how the girls have evolved. They didn’t only improve their marks at school, they became more open-minded, independent and have a better understanding of life. They are conscious that education is the key to their individual and collective future. They are becoming real women, the women who will change Morocco.”
A carpet auction is a vivid and theatrical experience to onlookers and an economic necessity to those who produce the carpets. Suzanna Clarke visits the one held in the Middle Atlas town of Khenifra.
Red is the colour primarily associated with the Middle Atlas town of Khenifra, 165 kilometers from Fez and 300 kilometers from Marrakesh. Not only is it the vibrant hue of the hills and escarpments of the surrounding Meknes-Tafilalet region, but it is also the color of the blood spilt during the many battles fought by the proud Berber tribe of Zayane, who are the main inhabitants.
The name Khenifra comes from the Amazigh (Berber) word Khanfar which means "attack ". A vital staging post on the trade routes, during the twentieth century the region was fiercely resistant to French colonization. It wasn’t until 1920, after numerous bloody battles, that the Zayane and neighboring Berber tribes with whom they had united, were forced into submission. However, they were never
Nowadays, the palm tree-lined streets of the city, with their pink toned buildings, are clean and relatively affluent. The main street features a sculpture of a Berber clasp, or fibula
A short walk away is the central carpet souk. Here, the color red also predominates in the hand woven rugs on sale in the small shops around the fringe, and there are also other vivid colors along with white and black.
In the center of the souk is an open area, with benches on the side, which is regularly used for carpet auctions. It is here the women from the villages in the region come to sell their wares. These carpets represent months of work by groups of women, who make styles and designs distinctive to their area. Usually, the two senior women of the village go to the souk, carrying their bundles, to do the deals. Naturally, the price they can achieve will have an impact on the kind of winter they and the rest of their village will endure. 
The women gather at the souk hours beforehand, to await the other players in the process – the dallal , or auctioneers, and the carpet dealers, who have small shops around the fringe.
When the auction starts, it is like the opening of a play. From the wings come a line of wiry, weather-beaten men – the dallal, lugging carpets that look almost as heavy as themselves. The carpets are unfurled with a flourish, for the appreciation of the attentive audience. An opening price is called and the auction is on. The dallals are in constant motion: as well as displaying the carpet to the crowd, they ferry it around the carpet dealers in the shops, who may also bid. The bidding begins when the first bidder shouts “ Oukha ” or “okay”. It’s done in the colonial currency of reals, in jumps of 100 reals at a time. (The equivalent of five Moroccan dirhams, or 63 US cents.)
The women from the villages watch with a mixture of patience, wry amusement, and delighted smiles as their carpet reaches the hoped for price; or anxiety if it fails to sell despite making the rounds repeatedly. When there is only one bidder remaining, then he - and it is usually a man - is declared the winner, and the money is handed over directly to the seller. Both parties then give a small commission to the dallal.
Some women choose to sell their carpets straight to the dealers. They may achieve a higher price at auction, but they run a risk if it fails to sell, as a dealer may see it as an indication that the carpet will be difficult to move.
Interested buyers also flock to the auction, to get the pick of the carpets. The dealers pass the carpets on to the big carpet shops in Fez and Marrakesh. So a carpet for which a group of women may have received less than a thousand dirhams (US $125) can end up selling for many times that by the time it reaches its final destination for more info on auctions and transport arrangement.
All Photographs: Suzanna Clarke or Sandy McCutcheon, Please ask permission before reproducing.Article Previously published by View From Fez
World Piece Series: MoroccoOctober 27, 2011
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. –The Illinois Wesleyan University International Office will host Morocco and the AUI/IWU Exchange as part of the on-going “World Piece” series of student-led discussions on current global issues.  The event, free and open to the public, will be held from 12:05 – 1:10 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 1 in the Davidson Room of Memorial Center (104 University St., Bloomington). 
The presenters will include Brahim Senhaji, a junior computer science major from Fes, Morocco, and Tianxiao Anthony Yang, a sophomore Mathematics and Economics double major from Wuhan, China. Senhaji is IWU’s first exchange student from Akhawayn University (AUI), and Yang is IWU’s first exchange student to AUI.  Yang will host a pictorial tour of Morocco and Senhaji will answer questions about AUI and life in Morocco.
Attendees are invited to bring their lunch, and a traditional Moroccan drink and dessert will be served. 
For more information contact International Student Advisor Reenie Bradley, at the IWU International Office at 309-556-3190 or at
Reform process without regime change in Morocco?
October 27, 2011 By Moha Ennaji
The Daily Star
Influenced by the events in Egypt and Tunisia, Moroccans have been demanding political and constitutional rights that would give citizens greater influence in government affairs. But unlike their neighbors, Moroccans have not made large-scale calls for regime change.
This difference should not be seen as complacence. Instead, it stems from a desire to hold on to the monarchy while simultaneously applying pressure for democratic reform.
The monarchy is deeply rooted in Moroccan culture and enjoys a great deal of legitimacy. In fact, since taking power in 1999, King Mohammad VI has effectively implemented several reforms, most notably guaranteeing women greater rights and equality with men, and establishing the Equity and Reconciliation Council in 2004 to document cases of forced disappearances and arbitrary detention during the former king’s brutal reign.
In a speech earlier this year, King Mohammad responded to the demands of protesters by starting a reform process that will lead to a separation of executive, legislative and judiciary powers.
Within the executive branch, the government is comprised of the prime minister and ministers and is accountable to the legislative power represented by the parliament. The judiciary will become independent from the legislative and the executive branches. These reforms will empower the Cabinet, parliament and judiciary – and ultimately the people.
The king also announced the implementation of a series of reforms that would enhance individual liberties, human rights and gender equality. He recognized Amazigh, the mother tongue of Moroccan Berbers, as an official language alongside Arabic.
Instead of resorting to force to quell the movement, as was the case in other Arab countries, the Moroccan government relied predominantly on peaceful talks and negotiations. And after several months of dialogue between various activists and political parties, on July 1 a new constitution was voted in by the vast majority of the population.
New amendments ensure that the kingdom will, in a year’s time, be transformed into a parliamentary monarchy with free and fair elections. Further decentralization will shift more power and resources from the political center to the regions. This means that the constitutional revisions will empower regional councils that are directly elected by voters.
The most-heralded reform is that the prime minister will be appointed from the party that wins parliamentary elections and be given authority over the Cabinet. The constitution specifies the shift of executive power from the king to the prime minister in that the latter will serve as the head of the executive branch and be fully responsible for the government, the civil service, as well as the implementation of the government’s agenda.
The reform process will begin with the creation of electoral laws that regulate free and fair legislative elections.
The main challenges for the reform process are slow economic growth, soaring poverty and corruption in many sectors, contrasted with the urgent need for jobs, better education and adequate healthcare. But so far the Finance, Employment, Health, Education and Communications ministries have been slow to respond.
For the protesters these reforms are insufficient because the king would retain significant executive powers, such as the authority to select the prime minister from the party that wins the most seats in parliament. He would still lead the army and appoint the government ministers and ambassadors, as well as preside over the cabinet when issues of security or strategic policies are at stake. He would also continue to have the power to dissolve parliament and maintain his position as the kingdom’s Islamic spiritual leader.
Those unsatisfied with the proposed reforms include the February20 protest movement, which boycotted the vote and are calling for the boycott of the upcoming Nov. 25 elections. They claim that the constitutional review won’t help the Berbers’ political marginalization in what they believe is an Arab-dominated government and that the official recognition of this language is merely a symbolic gesture. And the opposition believes that the changes will not transform Morocco into a European-style constitutional monarchy, which is their ultimate goal.
Morocco’s various political parties, civil society organizations and media believe that the new constitution will have far-reaching results, but will take much work to ensure constitutional changes be implemented effectively and widely. They have faith that the king will embrace this challenge in consonance with the February 20 movement’s call for the rule of law, the values of citizenship, freedom, social justice and democracy.
Moha Ennaji is an author, international consultant, professor of Cultural and Gender Studies at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University and president of the International Institute for Languages and Cultures in Fez, Morocco. THE DAILY STAR publishes this commentary in collaboration with the Common Ground News Service (
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 27, 2011, on page 7.

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Doing Business in Morocco Getting Easier.
By IBTimes Staff Reporter | October 27, 2011
Doing business in Morocco is getting easier, according to a new study.
The paper "Doing Business 2012: Doing Business in a More Transparent World" assessed regulations affecting firms in 183 economies, ranking them in 10 areas of business regulation including starting a business, resolving insolvency and trading across borders.The data, provided, covers regulations measured from June 2010 through May 2011 in the attempt to determine the ease of doing business in different countries.
Among the countries that stood out in the study was Morocco, located in the northwest of the African continent, and bound on the north by the Strait of Gilbraltar and the Mediterranean Sea, to the south by Algeria, and to the west by the Atlantic Ocean.
With a population of roughly 35 million, major ports include the city of Tangier and the city of Casablanca.
In the study, Morocco improved its business regulation the most compared to other global economies, climbing 21 places in the 183-country ranking to 94. Reasons cited for Morocco's ranking leap including simplifying the "construction permitting process, easing the administrative burden of tax compliance, and providing greater protections to minority shareholders." Morocco has implemented 15 business regulatory reforms since 2005. 
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The main business structures used in Morocco include:
--Joint ventures
--Foreign branches
--Sole proprietorships
The most common is the limited liability company, and under Moroccan law these types of corporate structure are available: limited liability companies, private limited companies, limited partnerships with shares, general and limited partnerships, and joint-ventures -- all of which conform to Western company forms of the same composition.
In terms of taxation, the Moroccan taxation system is comprised of direct and indirect taxes -- and indirect taxes provide the greatest source of revenue for the country. Individuals who live and work in Morocco, regardless of nationality, are subject to personal income tax on their global income on a progressive scale of between 12 and 40 percent.
However, individuals who do business in Morocco but don't make the country their habitual residence are only subject to tax on Moroccan-derived income.
The country has incentives for those doing agriculture business in the country, in that certain types of corporate income is tax exempt until the year 2013 if it comes from agriculture.
Migration to Morocco for work is said to be very complex, and specific advice from a qualified professional is advised before making business plans that involve the transfer of employees or principals to the country.
However, Morocco wants to attract people with businesses or trade and professional skills that will contribute to the country's economic growth, so getting around these regulations is easily done as long as one is properly advised and prepared. Morocco has temporary residence guidelines for that allows companies to sponsor highly-skilled works for migration if such skills can't be found in the country's labor market.
Literacy on the rise in MoroccoBy Siham Ali 2011-10-26
Efforts to stamp out illiteracy in Morocco have not met expectations.
Literacy classes have changed the lives of many Moroccans. Omari Zohra, a 45 year-old mother of four, said she found it hard to imagine how she could have lived for forty years without being able to read or write. Once her children grew up, a gulf opened up between them because of her illiteracy. That was until her husband suggested she go to literacy classes. Initially, she thought it a strange idea.
"Sitting there at a school desk when I was going on forty seemed impossible to me. All the same, I decided to take up the challenge. Five years on, I can read and write well. My children have given me a lot of support at home and have helped me practice," she said. "Now I've decided to take on French."
There are five million people just like Zohra who have learned to read and write over the past eight years. The number of people receiving tuition aid for literacy classes has risen substantially over recent years, from 286,000 in the 2002-2003 season to nearly 700,000 during the 2010-11 season. As a result, the illiteracy level in Morocco has dropped from 43% in 2004 to around 30% in 2010, according to the government. Women make up 83% of those benefiting from literacy programmes. The majority of them come from rural areas.
The director of the anti-illiteracy campaign, Habib Nadir, said that authorities have been able to meet the challenge in terms of numbers over recent years. The state's target is to bring the level down to 20% in 2015 before completely eradicating the problem by 2020, according to Nadir.
The government's aim is to tie in anti-corruption programmes with increased involvement in the jobs market, according to Nadir. As part of those efforts, 13,000 instructors have received training on various literacy-related topics, and 1,200 NGO managers have benefited from training sessions on how to set up and manage literacy projects.
Work has also been done on the quality of programmes, particularly the design of course books to meet the needs of those enrolled on the programmes, along with the introduction of national schemes to evaluate and certify literacy programmes.
Some observers consider the literacy budget to be modest. It stands at 200 million dirhams per annum. Two-thirds of the funding for the programme comes from the state and the remainder is in the form of foreign contributions, such as the European Union literacy aid package. The project has contributed more than 60 million dirhams a year to Morocco since 2008.
But the European Union seems to be unhappy with the rate at which illiteracy is being stamped out in the kingdom.
European Union ambassador Enedo Landaburu said at an October 13th meeting in Rabat that despite the efforts made to stamp out illiteracy, progress still falls short of the EU's expectations.
He called for the pace of the programme to be stepped up, because "illiteracy is an unwelcome stain on the way in which Morocco is viewed, and it really holds back its economic and social development."
In Morocco, high hopes for next parliament.
By Siham Ali for Magharebia 2011-10-24
Members of Morocco's next parliament will need to come to grips with the economic and political situation currently facing the country, experts say.
Moroccans are hopeful that the next parliament, set to be elected November 25th, will be able to change the face of politics and enable their voices to be heard.
The demands of the February 20th Movement included a call to dissolve the current parliament to make room for another that will meet the public's expectations.
The Morocco constitutional reforms give significant privileges to the legislature, and the Chamber of Representatives in particular – privileges that must be exercised properly by competent, reliable MPs, experts say.
Political analyst Thami Chaoui said that it was time to change the public's bleak perception of parliament and forge links of faith with this institution in order to reconcile people with politics.
"This cannot be done without committed MPs with a physical and intellectual presence who can successfully carry out the task of oversight and legislating that has been assigned to them," he argued.
The opposition will have a number of privileges guaranteed by law, including freedom of opinion, expression and assembly and the right to play a part in monitoring the government's work by way of censure motions and questions addressed to the government. Experts say this will help to breathe new life into parliament and improve its performance.
The future parliament must engage in real debates of use to the public as a whole instead of asking questions about local issues that should be resolved at commune level, said Nabil Benabdellah, secretary-general of the Party of Progress and Socialism.
The task of strengthening the role played by the Moroccan parliament will require high-calibre MPs, according to MP Fatima Moustaghfir.
"The next parliament needs a real élite so that it can pass the plethora of organic laws referred to in the Constitution. It's parliament that will have to draft its own laws and get them adopted by the government, not the other way around. We need competent, experienced people", she said.
People are hoping for a parliament of renewal in light of the current situation and the Arab Spring, said Lahcen Daoudi, deputy secretary-general of the Justice and Development Party. For these hopes to be fulfilled, he said, MPs must be capable of exercising the new privileges given to parliament.
Thami Chaoui said that it will take time to change parliament's image in the eyes of the Moroccan public. One of its first orders of business must be to tackle absenteeism, which has long been a thorn in its side. "MPs must address the real issues and try to keep up with government business. Involvement is the key word," he asserted.
Moroccans are widely voicing their hopes for change.
Abdelmalk Cherradi, a teacher, said that the quality of debates, monitoring of the government's work and legislation must improve so that people can have faith in the power of parliament and not regard it as a rubber stamp for the government's plans, as they do now.
"People need to feel that this institution is strong in terms of its performance and influence," Cherradi said.
The spice of life in MoroccoTea, Tagines and other dining adventures
One of the signature photos travelers always take in Morocco is of heaping piles of spices in a variety of enticing colorful displays. These setups aspire to overwhelm visitors with the enchantment of a new and undiscovered place — and to encourage wide-eyed tourists to part with their dollars.
Spice shops are located all over Morocco and invite visitors to try a sniff. Ras el hanout, or "top of the shop," is the country's signature spice blend. There may be dozens of ingredients involved, including nutmeg, pepper, cinnamon and cardamom, and everyone has his own variation.
"I've traveled extensively in Europe but nowhere that can match this experience," said Diana Rice, of Milwaukee.
Spices are just the beginning of the flavors travelers encounter in Morocco.
Two popular meals are the tagine and the pastilla. Tagine is a style of slow-cooked stew often filled with meat and vegetables, and is named for the special pot in which it is cooked. Pastilla is a Moroccan meat pie often made with pigeon or chicken.
You'll also find tea steeped into the culture. Swishing a paper tea bag in a steaming coffee mug can be heavenly on a cold day, but it's a far cry from Morocco's elaborate rituals. Residents drink a special green tea several times a day. It's a part of daily life and a component of hospitality shown to guests.
"The ubiquitous mint tea was ever-present," Rice said. "Every shop, hotel, restaurant and home."
The tea is prepared with mint added to it, then sweetened to varying degrees by regional preference.
Visual presentation is a big part of the ritual, and the preparer typically uses a tray with glasses and pots. There may be an elaborate preparation technique designed to affect the taste and consistency of the drink. Pouring is done from a distance to ensure a certain foaminess, a practice that can be found in many other countries.
Vivienne Chapleo and Jill Hoelting, who run, visited Morocco and participated in a tea ceremony with a Berber family just outside Marrakech in the Ourika Valley. The travel bloggers said the tea ceremony was a treasured experience that also featured homemade bread, honey, butter and olive oil, and plenty of attention from their hosts.
Jessie Faller-Parrett, of Carlisle, Pa., said she enjoyed the tea with meals or just to relax wherever she went.
"Mint tea is such a huge part of Moroccan culture, and I enjoyed taking a moment after meals to drink it and talk about all of the delicious foods we ate or to take a break from a day of exploring to sit for a moment at a cafe, soak in my surrounds and drink tea."
She also tried a sheep's head and brain from a stall in Marrakech's Jamaa el Fna, the country's famous market.
"Meals are a wonderful experience, with many different courses and new tastes," Faller-Parrett said. "Be adventurous and try everything."
The Malibu of Morocco: Making merry in Essaouira, the little port that packs a punch.
By Glenys Roberts28th October 2011
Spangled seas, hot sun, freshly-squeezed orange juice. There are few early morning pleasures quite so seductive, especially when it's miserable back in England.
It is easy enough to find such joys in California, but that is an 11-hour flight and an eight-hour time change away. The beautiful little Moroccan port of Essaouira, with temperatures that do not drop much below 22c even in January, is California practically on our doorstep.
The huge hotel rooms, the dazzling light, delicious food and the year-round sporty lifestyle catering for windsurfers, golfers, horse riding enthusiasts - everything smacks of Malibu this side of the Atlantic.
But the town also has a fascinating history and such beautiful medieval architecture that it was used in Orson Welles's award-winning film of Othello. There is even an Orson Welles square.
I have been going to Morocco ever since the early Sixties. The combination of lingering French sophistication from the days of the protectorate, the flavours of the hot African south, the geometric Arab designs coupled with the romance of the nomadic Berber tribes make it irresistible.
I know this beautiful country from the writers' city of Tangiers, in the North, to Goulimine, the gateway to the Sahara, but I have come late to Essaouira, midway down on the Atlantic coast between Casablanca and Agadir.
What a wonderful place to have saved till last. It was discovered in modern times by rich European hippies. Musicians from Mick Jagger and Jimi Hendrix to Maria Callas, came here in the Sixties to immerse themselves in the local beat.
Many still stay in atmospheric riads in the old town. But now there are also modern hotels which could hold their heads high in Paris or New York.
From the fabulous breakfasts to the haute cuisine dinners,the food is  superb. You can have oysters and local wine by the waterside at Chez Jeannot or a sinful lemon meringue tart at Ocean Vagabond, right on the sand.
The plates are piled high - another parallel with California. And since there is only so much John Dory one human being can eat, the leftovers make their way straight to the town strays.
I've never seen such well-fed animals. At Essaouria's sardine port, little has changed since the Carthaginians five centuries before Christ.
The fishermen go out in blue wooden boats at dawn and fat herring gulls swoop overhead as the catch is unloaded on to the quays.
The souk is exceptionally charming and, for those who have lost  themselves in the labyrinthine alleyways of Fez and Tangier, reassuringly easy to navigate. It is laid out on the grid system by a French architect. Hence the name Es-Saouira - it means the beautifully designed.
Here tourist trinkets jostle for space with unrepeatable Berber carpets, exotic spices and fresh mint. It is the most peaceful of towns these days, but the square Portuguese forts dominating the skyline testify to a violent history from seaborne invaders who knew the treasures to be had inside its crenelated walls.
The landmark watchtowers are lined with bronze canon from all over Europe, traded in exchange for gold, spices, and goods from the African interior via Timbuktu. Once the town had the largest Jewish population in Morocco, attracted by the trading opportunities.
Most have now dispersed, but they come on a pilgrimage every year to the burial palace of the 19th-century rabbi Chaim Pinto. He is still said to be capable of performing miracles, and one of his sons founded a famous synagogue in Los Angeles.
The trading tradition goes back even further to the days when the royal purple dye from murex shellfish, found on the so-called Purple Islands close to the port, was used to embellish Roman togas.
The shellfish are still there and so are the rare birds who nest on the most prominent offshore island Mogador - the name the Portuguese gave it in the 16th century.
But people are not allowed there; today it is a wildlife sanctuary, its landmark fort abandoned. It used to be a prison - a Moroccan Alcatraz. 
There is even the famous morning sea mist, which burns off to reveal the clearest blue skies. Most of all there is the year-round outdoor lifestyle.
The new vogue is riding quad bikes on the endless sandy beaches. The sea is shallow, making it relatively unintimidating for the beginner surfer.
You can play a round of golf on the new Gary Player course like the well-heeled French. The aviation-rich Dassault family apparently recently flew in on one of their private jets, having sent a plane full of their favourite wines on ahead of them, or simply just chill out.
Seasoned Morocco hands will still like to put up in the magical medina with its colourful shopping, cafes and sea-view rooftop restaurants such as the Taros-meaning the North wind that powers the wind surfers.
Run by a retired French doctor, it has one of the world's deftest magic acts, by local talent Yussef. You won't have a clue how he does his tricks.
For a family holiday, stay at the Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf and Spa. An on-the-hour shuttle service takes you to the town just ten minutes away.
An on-campus, fully-staffed kindergarten liberates the grownups. With an indoor heated pool kept at more than 30c, even the elderly will be happy, too.
It is hard to think of a more perfect short break at this time of year. The most convenient flights go into Marrakesh, which is well and truly hopping these days, so to make the trip really memorable, consider stopping there for a night before embarking by air-conditioned bus across the desert to magical Essaouira.
Travel Facts
Rooms at the Sofitel Essaouira Mogador Golf & Spa start from £117 B&B,
BMI flies from Heathrow to Marrakech from £138 return,
Karin Kloosterman | October 31st, 2011
Morocco is wild, yet for the average business or tourist traveler tame and safe. You can walk out of your riad in Marakesh and get lost in another time. Meander around the market in Fez and feel forever connected to Arabian Nights, or wind around the modern city of Casablanca for good food and pleasant chats with locals. You won’t find Clarke Gable in Morocco, but business investors interested in new financing opportunities might be advised to head to the EneR event in Casablanca later this month, November 22 to 26.
The EneR event has already signed up nearly 200 exhibitors, and is expecting 4,000 visitors interested in financing projects and developing renewable energy business in Morocco. Want to create a sustainable future for the North Africa region? Consider investing in Morocco.
Here’s why I think Morocco is a good bet:
Unlike Syria, or Egypt, Morocco has been stable politically during the Arab Spring uprisings. Its airports, like the one in Marrakesh boast solar panels, and its resort owners, locally and international ones like those from the Kasbah du Toubkal are developing sustainable eco-tourism. Out of all the Arabian-Middle Eastern countries I have visited, Morocco felt the closest to the west –– and it could be because of the proximity to Spain a short plane ride away and the French and Swiss influence which is strong. Compared to Europe, its renewable energy goals are startling: Morocco aims to be 42 percent fueled by solar energy by 2020 with a $9 billion USD investment.
Who’s investing in Morocco?

Bloomberg is reporting that the Sahara solar initiative backed by the German turbine maker Siemens AG and Deutsche Bank AG will sketch out plans in 2012 for its first power plant, a 600 million-euro ($800 million) station in Morocco.
Morocco’s link in the proposed Medgrid renewable energy projectMorocco’s key role in the Desertec initiative (Dii)
More on EneR
The EneR event will be a place to network among this massive investment opportunity in the Moroccan and African energy economies. Among stakeholders to meet and network with is FENELEC – the Moroccan Federation of Electricity, Electronics and Renewable Energies – and organizer of the conference. The organization represents more than 300 renewable energy companies in Morocco.
Morocco is moving fast towards the clean energy mix as the Moroccan government aims to produce a considerable amount of the country’s energy from renewable sources. By 2015, more than 2000 megawatts of power from solar energy alone shall be generated through various projects in Morocco.
A combination of its rising population, ambitious housing programs, projects such as metros and railway electrification, and the growth of desalination and energy-intensive industries means that demand for electricity is expected to continue growing rapidly in Morocco. Dramatic capacity increases are therefore needed.
Morocco is the first Arab country to put forth a bill to promote renewable energy and energy efficiency to its council of ministers. Morocco hopes to be the trendsetter of renewable energy dreams and goals in the Middle East and North African regions.
For those interested entrance to the EneR event is free.
Desertec to start work on first solar plant in 2012
FRANKFURT | Sat Oct 29, 2011
(Reuters) - Desertec, the world's most ambitious solar power project, is to start building its first power plant next year, a 500 megawatt (MW) facility in Morocco costing up to 2 billion euros ($2.8 billion), the project lead told a German newspaper.
"Construction is to start in 2012," Ernst Rauch of Munich Re, initiator of the Desertec Industrial Initiative (DII), told Sueddeutsche Zeitung in an interview published on Saturday.
Founded by mostly German companies in 2009, the 400 billion euro Desertec project will use mirrors to harness the sun's rays to produce steam and drive turbines for electricity generation in the Sahara region within the next decade.
The first phase of the 12-square-kilometre Moroccan complex will be a 150 MW facility costing up to 600 million euros that will take two to four years to build, the newspaper said.
"Depending on the technology, electricity production can start in 2014, or no later than 2016," Rauch said, adding details of the project in Morocco -- such as location, technology, and financing -- should be agreed by early 2012.
DII's goal is to analyze how to develop clean energy in the North Africa deserts that could supply up to 15 percent of Europe's power demand by 2050. Deserts get more energy in six hours than the world's population consumes in a year, DII says.
Fields of mirrors in the desert would gather solar rays from concentrated solar power (CSP) to boil water, turning turbines to electrify a new carbon-free network linking Europe, the Middle East and North Africa.
DII is a product of the Desertec Foundation, a global network of governments, companies and think tanks that is exploring how to harness solar power in deserts.
The DII project has a range of corporate backers from the energy, technology and construction sectors as well as banks and a reinsurer. Shareholders include ABB, Munich Re, Abengoa, Deutsche Bank, RWE, Enel, Saint-Gobain, E.ON, HSH Nordbank, Siemens and Red Electrica.
(Reporting by Maria Sheahan)

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