King Mohammed VI chaired, Monday at “Riad El Aarous” square in Marrakech, a ceremony to present the measures taken to carry out projects under the upgrading program of the old medina of Marrakech, as well as the rehabilitation programs of Sale, Meknes, Tetouan and Essaouira.
On this occasion, the Sovereign launched the rehabilitation and restoration project of the “Sidi Abdelaziz” school, to enable it to house a Center for women artisans capacity-building, an initiative that shows the Sovereign’s particular interest in the handicraft sector and his desire to make it a lever for economic and social development.
At the beginning of the ceremony, Interior Minister Abdelouafi Laftit gave a speech before HM the King in which he underlined that the upgrading program of the old medina of Marrakech (2018-2022), whose partnership and financing agreement was signed under the chairmanship of the King on May 14, 2018 in Rabat, is worth 484 million dirhams, out of which 150 millions is a contribution from the Hassan II Fund for economic and social development.
The minister said that the projects undertaken in the old medinas of Sale and Meknes did not achieve the set objectives expected due, with regard to the old medina of Sale, to the substantial changes that affected the urban fabric and the deterioration of many of its historical monuments because of natural and human factors.
As for the medina of Meknes, the matter was the importance of the surface area of the old medina (275 ha) and the architectural and urban jewels it boasts, Laftit said, noting that the continuation of the rehabilitation of the two cities’ old medinas requires the mobilization of important funding.
Contrary to this situation and thanks to the positive results of the rehabilitation projects, undertaken or under way, in the old medinas of Tetouan and Essaouira, two complementary programs will be developed for the upgrading of these medinas, their integration into their economic and social area, and the strengthening of their tourist attractiveness.
Laftit noted that, pursuant to Royal Instructions, two programs were developed for the rehabilitation and upgrading of the old medinas of Sale (900 Mln MAD) and Meknes (800 Mln MAD), and two other complementary programs for the old medinas of Tetouan (350 Mln MAD) and Essaouira (300 Mln MAD).
Afterwards, the Sovereign chaired the signing ceremony of four agreements relating to the rehabilitation and upgrading programs of the old medinas of Sale, Meknes, Tetouan and Essaouira.
Then, HM the King launched the rehabilitation and restoration project of the “Sidi Abdelaziz” school to house a Center for women artisans capacity-building
This Center, worth 10.9 Mln MAD, will offer young girls and women a professional training adapted to the socio-economic state of the handicraft sector, mainly through apprenticeship training.
This project, which reinforces the handicraft sector as a source of job creation and value added, will promote the integration of the beneficiary women in the labor market, the preservation of some declining trades, the promotion of local handicraft products and the strengthening of the sector’s organization and structuring.
It will also reinforce the network of the Marrakech handicraft training center – Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity, inaugurated by the Sovereign on Nov. 7, 2012.
This project is the result of a partnership between the Mohammed V Foundation for Solidarity, the National Initiative for Human Development, the Housing Ministry, the Tourism Ministry, the State Secretariat for Vocational Training, the Marrakech Communal Council, the Marrakech Urban Agency and the Al-Omrane Holding.
The Marrakech old medina upgrading program, which aims to improve the living conditions of the population, develop buildings and preserve the city’s historical and architectural heritage, provides notably for the rehabilitation of 18 tourist circuits (21.5 km), paving lanes, developing public areas and 6 car parks.
It also consists of the restoration of six inns and historical monuments and gardens, the redevelopment of the Jamaa El Fna Square, the strengthening of the signaling system and the lighting network and the setting up of interactive platforms for tourist information.