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                                                                                                      Weekly highlights

           Post-earthquake reconstruction

            Are we on the wrong track?

          T    HE large-scale reconstruction                                                                          rials from the destroyed buildings,
                                                                                                                      which are of inestimable sustainable
               project in the Al Haouz region,
                                                                                                                      and resilient value, and which will be
               devastated by the devastating
          earthquake of September 08, seems                                                                           cleared away to who knows where”,
          to be in a “critical”  situation. The Na-                                                                   said Benabdellah.
          tional Council of the Order of Archi-                                                                       For Chakib Benabdellah, “rehabili-
          tects has come out of its silence and                                                                       tation would make more sense, as it
          launched a paving stone in the pond.                                                                        is cheaper, allows families to be re-
          “Today, given what we are seeing,                                                                           housed in the community, and protects
          we must neither hide it nor keep quiet                                                                      the architectural heritage”. Current
          about it. The approach taken by the                                                                         weather conditions and accessibility
          authorities does not seem to corres-                                                                        problems in many hamlets mean that
          pond at all to the objectives set out in                                                                    the reconstruction work cannot get off
          the royal cabinet’s communiqué, nor                                                                         to a good start, said Benabdellah s in
          to the expectations of architects with                                                                      a statement to L’Economistee, who
          regard to safe-guarding architectural                                                                       added, saying: “The Ministry wants
          heritage”, said its president, Chakib                                                                       to move quickly to rebuild. There’s talk
          Benabdellah, at a meeting on sustai-                                                                        of wiping out villages to the ground
          nable construction held in Casablanca   (Ph. Bziouat)                                                       to rebuild new ones. They’re going to
          on Thursday November 23.            Majesty King Mohammed VI reitera-   of Housing is quite different. Today,  give people money to rebuild, while
          Benabdellah is not hiding his anger,   ted his High Instructions for a strong,   construction lots are being distributed  asking them to comply with seismic re-
          and takes aim at the Ministry of Hou-  rapid, and proactive response, while   by the hundreds to volunteer archi- gulations. This is just not possible. We
          sing. “The September 14 press release   respecting the dignity of the people,   tects, without any prior study by these  fear the result will be catastrophic”.
          stresses that the reconstruction opera-  their customs, and heritage. These are   architects of the intervention sites, wit- As far as Ministry of Housing is
          tion must be carried out on the basis of   clearly defined ambitions for sustai-  hout any training of the latter in buil- concerning, silence prevails. Contac-
          specifications and under technical and   nable and resilient construction”, said   ding with local materials, without any  ted repeatedly by L’Economiste, Fa-
          architectural supervision in harmony   Benabdellah.                     training of the beneficiaries since this  tima-Ezzahra Al Mansouri’s depart-
          with the region’s heritage, respecting   However, according to Benabdellah,   will be self-construction. And without  ment did not respond to our request. o
          its unique architectural features. His   “the approach taken by the Ministry   taking any steps to recover the mate-            Khadija SKALLI

          Tourism: In the shoes of foreign investors

          T     HE clock has already started                                                                          procedures, onerous formalities, and
                ticking in the tourism sector,
                                                                                                                      inconsistent regulations can deter po-
                and this is hardly the time for
          the squabbles that are currently sha-                                                                       tential investors.
          king up a large section of the industry.
          Morocco is resolutely engaged in a                                                                          n Economic performance and
          race against time, even before 2030,                                                                        political commitment
          the date of the World Cup.                                                                                  Once these key issues have been
          Since this extraordinary announce-                                                                          addressed, investors will be keen to
          ment, projects have come thick and                                                                          scrutinize the country’s economic
          fast, programs for the 2030 horizon                                                                         indicators. Figures on the economic
          have followed one another, and one                                                                          environment, political issues, levels
          conference after another has unveiled                                                                       of education and training, societal and
          Morocco’s ambitions. But the voices                                                                         civic behavior, territories, and lands-
          of investors have yet to be heard. Yet                                                                      capes... will speak louder than words.
          they are the spearhead of this movida.
          To capture their attention, and quickly,                                                                    n Watch out for the brand!
          a number of proposals have been put  The goal now is to mobilize funds to support tourism growth. This funding can come from   Negative media portrayals, often
          forward by professionals from Dubai,  the country’s own funds, from the Mohammed VI Foundation for the Tourism Industry,   focusing on conflicts and health pro-
          a tourist destination par excellence.   as well as from Foreign Direct Investment (FDIs) in search of assets suitable for the   blems, affect the perception of Africa
                                               creation of new hotel units. (Photo by Bziouat)                        as a tourist destination. This poses a
          n Everything you need to            which are perceptions that could cause   investors would be frequent changes   serious challenge for Brand Africa.
          know about the country              tourists and investors to lose confi-  in tax and land ownership policies.   Some of the continent’s countries also
          “First of all, they would like to know   dence in a destination.        They would be just as reluctant to in-  often struggle to adopt effective bran-
          all about the country”, i.e. everything                                 vest if there were a legal risk hanging   ding strategies to position themselves
          about the country’s geopolitics, espe-  n Discouraging justice and      over their investment, especially if the   competitively in the global tourism
          cially in terms of national or regional   administration                quality of the administrative service   market.o
          security, or the risk of terrorist attack,   Another surefire deterrent for foreign   was not up to scratch. Cumbersome          Radia LAHLOU

                                                                     Friday 1st December 2023
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