Monday, August 29, 2016

One Moroccan in Two is Connected to the Internet

According to the annual report of the National Regulatory Agency for Telecommunications at the end of 2015, Morocco had 14.5 million internet subscribers, an increase of 45% in one year. About one Moroccan out of two is connected to the internet. In late June 2016, the number of Internet subscribers in Morocco was $ 14.89 million (32.2% up from the end of June 2015)

The number of Moroccans with web subscription to jumped 150% between 2013 and 2015 and 675% since the beginning of this decade. The proportion of the Moroccan population having internet access has reached 42.75% at end-2015, against just over 15% in 2013 and nearly 7% at the beginning of this decade. In late June 2016, penetration rate has reached 43.98%.

Mobile Internet dominates the internet in Morocco with more than 92% connectivity by 2015, about 13.34 million subscribers "up 48.5% compared to 9 million subscribers recorded at the end of 2014.

In late June 2016, the mobile internet customer base in Morocco has amounted to 13.69 million subscribers, an increase of 34.4% year on year, but only 2.62% compared to December 2015.

Mobile telephony in Morocco has reached 43.08 million subscriptions at the end of 2015, down -2.33% year on year. This is the first decline recorded since 2005.

Meanwhile, the average revenue per mobile minute (ARPM "Average Revenue Per Minute") declined by 16% in 2015 to 0.27 dirhams tax per minute, against 0.32 dirhams at the end of 2014, despite an increase of + 10 % of outgoing voice traffic of mobile telephony, which reached 52.87 billion minutes last year.

"Morocco is the country's cheapest Arab area for downloading a volume of 1 GB of data," says the ARNT in a statement - but that increases the pressure on the margins of telecom operators.

In late June, Morocco Telecom, the market leader, had 18.147 million subscribers to mobile telephony in the Kingdom (43.79%), ahead of Meditel (Orange Group) with 31.8% and Inwi (Wana Corporate), with 24.41%.

ANRT’s latest annual report shows that, for the fifth consecutive year, landline phone usage had experienced a steady decline.

According to the ANRT, Morocco’s National Telecommunications Agency, sales of landline phones had peaked in 2010, when an estimated 3.74 million people had landlines in their homes. Since then, this statistic has been on a significant decline.

ANRT’s annual report shows that in 2014, 2.49 million people had landline phones and in 2015, that number went down to 2.22 million.

“This shows a change in consumer habits, with a progressive shift from landline to mobile usage due to the many advantages of total mobility,” said the ANRT.

Just this last June, the number of landline users had dropped down to 2.13 million, with Maroc Telecom dominating 71.24% of the market (Wana controls 26.73% while Medi Telecom controls a mere 2.03%).

The number of mobile phone subscribers reached 43.08 million, a high number in comparison to the landline’s 2.13 million.

It is also important to note the role of the Internet in this equation. With an annual growth of 45% since 2015, the Internet boasts 14.5 millions of users in Morocco. Since many online services allow users to replicate the experience of a phone call, this also contributes to the decline of landline phone usage.

This decline is expected to continue, given the increasing mobile/wireless nature of technology.


Sunday, August 28, 2016

Heat Wave Alert for Morocco

The Directorate of National Meteorology (DMN) has issued a warning that he weather will be very hot from Sunday to Tuesday in several regions of the Kingdom

Maximum temperatures will vary between 42 and Sunday 44 degrees in Es-Smara, Boujdour, Aoussred, within Wad Eddahab, Guelmim and Tan Tan, Assa-Zag, Tata, Ait Melloul Agadir, Taroudant, Youssoufia, Settat, Rhamna, Kelaâ Seraghna, Fquih Ben Saleh, Khemisset, Sidi Slimane and Ouazzane.

During the same day, temperatures from 38 to 41 degrees are expected in Larache, Kenitra, Sidi Kacem, Meknes, Fez, Moulay Yaakoub, Taounate Guercif, Ben Slimane, Khouribga, Sidi Bennour, Chichester, Zagora, Sidi Ifni, Tarfaya and Laayoune.

On Monday, temperatures will vary from 43 to 47 degrees in Aoussred, Oued Ed-Dahab, Boujdour, Es-Smara, Laayoune, Tarfaya, Tan-Tan, Guelmim, Agadir Ait Melloul and Tata.

The national Weather Service also forecast temperatures of 38-42 degrees in Assa-Zag, Zagora, Chtouka Ait Baha Tiznit, Sidi Ifni Inzegane, Chichoua, Essaouira and Safi, Sidi Bennour, Rhamna, Marrakech, Kelaa Seraghna, Settat, Fquih Ben Saleh, Khouribga, Khemissat, Berchid, Sidi Slimane, Sidi Kacem, Ouazzane, Fez, Moulay Yaakoub, Larache, Taounate and Guercif.

Tuesday 30 August, temperatures will be between 41 and 45 degrees Aoussred, Oued Ed-Dahab, Es-Smara, Boujdour, Laayoune, Tarfaya, Tan-Tan, Guelmim, Agadir, Ait Melloul and Tata.

Temperatures will reach between 38 and 41 degrees in Marrakech, Kelaâ Seraghna, Fquih Ben Saleh and Zagora.


Moroccan Children Watching English Language TV

The push for wider English language usage in Morocco is getting a small but unexpected boost from parents. While many politicians, educators and business leaders are calling for English to be a bigger part of the education system, it appears some parents are taking matters into their own hands and using the internet to show their children programmes in English
Time for Teletubbies...

Among the most popular programmes are the British Teletubbies and two Australian favourites; Play School and Bananas in Pyjamas.  From the USA the standout favourite is Sesame Street. 

The Teletubbies characters, Tinky Winky, Dipsy, Laa-Laa and Po, may speak in their own peculiar way, but even if they are not fully understood by Moroccan kids, their names are becoming well known. The programme is aimed at pre-school children and is easily found on YouTube. Some YouTube sites are subscription, while many others are free.

"Play School encourages a child to think"

Play School has been on Australian TV for the last fifty years and is recognised as one of the highest quality children's programmes. It describes itself as "aiming to encourage a child to wonder, to think, to feel and to imagine. The program shows two warm, caring people taking the time to be with one child. They address the child directly and personally. Into this relationship are woven the stories, songs and activities that form the fabric of Australian children's culture. Play School is successful because it satisfies our basic human need to interact with other people and to be valued by them."

Play School uses clear language and repetition that young Moroccans quickly pick up and t's values are totally compatible with those of Morocco.

"Are you thinking what I'm thinking B1?"

Possibly the most popular, and certainly the most addictive, children's programme is Bananas in Pyjamas. The main characters are two anthropomorphic bananas named B1 and B2. Other characters include the three teddy bears Amy, Lulu and Morgan, and Rat in a Hat. The bananas, the teddies and Rat in a Hat all live in the same neighbourhood, a cul-de-sac called "Cuddles Town". The characters enjoy eating "munchy honeycakes" and "yellow jelly". Together they solve problems and care for their friends.

Until recently it was difficult to access many programmes in England and Australia, but now, thanks to simple and popular tech-solutions, access is possible for anyone with a wifi connection.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Consumption of Alcohol Down in Morocco

Since 2012 the legal sales of alcoholic beverages in Morocco has been decreasing. This trend has continued during the first half of 2016

Figures reported by the weekly La Vie Eco in its issue this week show that from January to June 2016, the legal sales of alcoholic beverages declined by 3.7% compared to the same period of 2015. Only 498,298 litres were consumed in Morocco.

Some part of the decline may reflect the decrease in tourist numbers, but the drop observed sine 2012 shows it is an ongoing issue as a result of the increase in domestic consumption tax (TIC) made in 2012 and 2013 which has significantly impacted legal sales of alcohol.

La Vie Eco explains that the strategy recently made by the Carrefour group to withdraw its cheaper offerings has contributed to the accentuation of lower legal alcohol sales.

Official figures from the Customs Administration show that spirits sales declined 7.1% to 32,070 litres. The sales of beer was 341 hectolitres, down 3.8% compared to June 2015. Wines sales dropped 2.6%.


Friday, August 26, 2016

Errachidia Defies the Tourism Slump

22,870 tourist arrivals were recorded in four months, generating 30,939 overnight stays. The figures from the Provincial Tourism Delegation are a clear indication that Errachidia is having a bumper summer season

The city of Errachidia (Arabic: الرشيدية‎‎, ar-Rachīdīya) is located in the province of Errachidia, in the region of Drâa-Tafilalet. Its name is derived from the tribe which inhabited the city. It was formerly known as "Ksar es-Souk".

The tourism potentials of the province of Errachidia are rich and varied with a high concentration of activity at of Erfoud-Merzouga axis with large numbers of tourists visiting while doing a circuit to or from Marrakech, the sand dunes in Merzouga and Fez.

Errachidia now has very good quality accommodation

Errachidia has seen a clear progress during the first four months of 2016, led by strong growth in overnight stays and tourist arrivals.

A total of 22,870 tourist arrivals were recorded in four months in the province, generating 30,939 overnight stays, an increase of respectively 48 and 46% compared to the same period in 2015.

According to a breakdown by nationality, statistics from the Provincial Delegation highlight that non-resident tourists have accumulated 20,563 overnight stays from January to April 2016, and of that total, the Spaniards topped the list with 4,096 nights, closely followed by German tourists (3.953 overnight stays).

For domestic tourists, the number of overnight stays amounted to 10,376.

While 2016 is looking good, it is also an improvement on 2015 when accommodation establishments in the province posted a 38% drop in arrivals and 36% in overnight stays compared to 2014.

Tourist arrivals were about 53,194 in 2015 (86,469 in 2014) and 75,718 overnight stays, against 117,654 in 2014.


Algerian Call for Air Route Between Oran and Oujda

"Zouj Beghal", literally translated means "the two mules." This is the name given to the northern border between Algeria and Morocco at the time of the French occupation. For local people with family connections on different sides of the border its closure has caused years of problems. Now there are calls for an airline service between Oran and Oujda

The Federation of Algerian consumers has sent a motion to the Algerian Prime Minister Abdelmalek Sellal, for consideration of the possibility of opening an air route linking Oran in Oujda. This significant demand is based on the difficulties citizens encounter two countries wishing to visit their respective families.

The closure of the land border between Morocco and Algeria, penalises residents of neighbouring regions and all those who have parents and relatives on both sides. Today, the only available flights connect the capital Algiers to Casablanca. And for those who have relatives in the border towns, they still have to travel hundreds of kilometres to reach their destination.

The president of the federation insists humanitarian considerations, particularly in the case of death when the relatives are unable to attend the funeral of one of their own, need to be addressed.

If the Algerian Prime Minister agreed to this request, the Moroccan government would have to agree. Opening the border would be a step in the right direction, given that the road distance between Oujda and Oran is less than 200 kilometres or, by plane around half an hour.

While Algeria has changed the name of the border since independence and renamed it "Akid Lotfi" after one of the leaders of the Algerian revolution, Morocco has retained the name given by the French. But, names aside, pending the reopening of the Zouj Beghal frontier post, an air route would please many on both sides of the border.


Moroccan Beaches - Burkinis and Bikinis

"Au Maroc, burkini et bikini coexistent sur les plages" The Moroccan Minister of Tourism, Lahcen Haddad, may have been speaking French, but his meaning was universally clear - Morocco is more tolerant than France, but, as he pointed out "This burkini story is a Franco-French affair and as a member of the Moroccan government, I am in no position to comment on the decisions of another country."

Diplomacy aside, Minister Haddad is correct. Visit a Moroccan beach and you will see a huge range of beachwear. However, some hotels and resorts have implemented bans in their pools. The Minister is quick to point out, that "... the ban on Burkini in Morocco emanates from some private institutions. We are in a Muslim country that also respects individual freedom and private initiative."
"The Moroccan state does not intervene there. On the beaches, people wear what they want provided you follow the rules of modesty. But for hygienic reasons of their own, some institutions and resorts do not tolerate the burkini. In Morocco we respect the values ​​of moderate Islam. bikini and burkini co-exist on our beaches." - Lahcen Haddad
The Minister also noted that in 2001, Morocco cracked down on Islamist association Al Adl Wa Al Ihssane’s members and supporters who attempted to Islamize Moroccan beaches.

“The Moroccan state takes control when citizens try to be vigilantes in public places,” he said, “the public beaches are available to everyone to access them, but no one has the right to tell others how to dress.”