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Affirmed Royal Will to Uphold Status of Essaouira as a City of History, Art and Heritage

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PERSISMA, Essaouira, Morocco – The firm will of HM King Mohammed VI to uphold the status of Essaouira as a city of history, art and heritage was illustrated, Friday, through the launch by the Sovereign of the setting up of a City of arts and culture and the inauguration of an integrated Complex of crafts.

These two projects reflect the special interest that HM the King gives to the craft sector, his determination to make it a lever for economic and social development, and his strong willingness to preserve and enhance the craft and artistic heritage of the Cité des Alizées, rich in its plural identity and its authentic culture of living together.

Worth 350 million dirhams, the City of arts and culture project will be carried out on a 3.6 ha plot of land and should provide the city with a large training and rehearsal space for music and theatre groups, commensurate with the international reputation and stature of Mogador.

The future City of arts and culture will include, among others, a large theatre with a capacity of 1,000 seats, a music conservatory, a book house, a museum of traditional arts, an esplanade (outdoor stage) with a capacity of up to 30,000 people and an underground car park.

This project will be achieved within 48 months, under a partnership between the Interior ministry (MAD 130 mln), the ministry of Economy, Finance and Administration Reform (MAD 50 mln), the ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Rural Development, Water and Forests (land), the ministry of National Planning, Urbanism, Housing and Urban Policy (MAD 50 mln), the ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports (MAD 60 mln) and the regional Council of Marrakech-Safi (MAD 60 mln).

HM the King chaired, on this occasion, the signing ceremony of the financing agreement relating to this project. It was inked by Abdelouafi Laftit, minister of the Interior, Mohamed Benchaaboun, minister of Economy, Finance and Administration Reform, Aziz Akhannouch, minister of Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development, Water and Forests, Nouzha Bouchareb, minister of National Planning, Urbanism, Housing and Urban Policy, and El Hassan Abyaba, minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, government spokesman.

It was also signed by Karim Kassi Lahlou, wali of the Marrakech-Safi region, governor of the prefecture of Marrakech, Ahmed Akhchichine, president of the regional Council of Marrakech-Safi, and Adil El Malki, governor of the province of Essaouira.

Afterwards, the Sovereign inaugurated the integrated Complex of crafts of Essaouira, with a total cost of 18.5 million dirhams. This facility will provide young people in the region with a professional qualification adapted to the socio-economic reality of the handicraft sector, mainly through apprenticeship training, as well as integration into the labor market.

This craft Complex will also contribute to the preservation of certain endangered trades, the promotion of local handicrafts and the enhancement of the gender approach since 50 pc of the beneficiaries are women.

This project testifies to the importance that HM the King attaches to vocational training and the qualification of young people, particularly in the handicraft sector.

The Sovereign had said in His speech addressed to the Nation on the occasion of the 66th anniversary of the Revolution of the King and the People that: “I will continue to emphasize the role of vocational training and manual labor in achieving the integration of young people,” adding that handicrafts, which provide practitioners with a decent income and a dignified life, are the first to be concerned.

Built on a 2,355 m2 plot of land, the new Complex also aims to organize and support the province’s craftsmen in order to enable them to improve and diversify their income and promote their products.

The integrated Complex of crafts of Essaouira houses, for this purpose, a Center for professional qualification in traditional arts including professional workshops, three training rooms, a computer room, 20 workshops and 7 exhibition spaces (wood thuja, jewelry, weaving, leather goods, musical instruments, local products…).

Resulting from a partnership between the INDH, the ministry of Tourism, Handicraft, Air Transport and Social Economy, the regional Council of Marrakech-Safi and the provincial council of Essaouira, this project also includes a multipurpose hall, the headquarters of the provincial directorate of Handicraft and that of the Chamber of Handicraft, an office of the beneficiaries’ association and other administrative and technical buildings.

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