The celebration of Rabat as the capital of African culture was officially launched at a press conference held Wednesday at the headquarters of the Maghreb Arab Press Agency (MAP), in the presence of the Minister of Youth, Culture and Communication, Mohamed Mehdi Bensaid.
Initiated under the High Patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, the launch of the program of this event, which takes place from June 2022 to May 2023, was given in the presence of the Secretary General of United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG Africa), Jean Pierre Elong Mbassi, and the Mayor of Rabat, Asmaa Rhlalou.
Speaking on this occasion, Bensaid said that the granting of Royal Patronage to this cultural event reflects the particular interest of His Majesty King Mohammed VI about the cultural issue, recalling that in His speech to the sixth European Union-African Union Summit, HM the King said that education, culture, vocational training, mobility and migration “are the priorities of my action, whether it is in Morocco, in Africa or in the framework of our partnership with the European Union.”
The Minister added that the Sovereign had kindly named Rabat in 2014, City of Lights and Cultural Capital of Morocco, a city rich in cultural facilities and infrastructure thanks to the enlightened Royal Vision and royal projects aimed at achieving the urban, cultural and tourist development of the capital of the Kingdom.
Rabat lives to the rhythm of important cultural events that carry the African dimension, reflecting the commitment of the Kingdom to work for the African continent, he noted, adding that the 27th edition of the International Book and Publishing Fair (SIEL) will be inaugurated Thursday with African literature as guest of honor.
Several activities are on the event’s agenda (literature, poetry, visual arts, music, theater, film, street arts, dance, digital arts, fashion shows, photography, popular arts …), he stressed, noting that these activities will be organized in all historical spaces, public squares and all neighborhoods of the city of Rabat, with the participation of cultural actors of civil society and various national public institutions concerned with culture.
In addition, Bensaid underlined that this cultural event, which strengthens the positioning of the Kingdom at the continental level, receives significant and continuous support from several partners including UCLG Africa and the Wilaya of the Region of Rabat-Salé-Kénitra.
For her part, Asmaa Rhlalou, the mayor of Rabat, said that the holding of this continental event is in line with the Royal High Orientations to integrate culture within development projects, noting that a set of cultural projects that has emerged in Rabat, will inevitably contribute to its cultural influence, which is in line with the Royal desire to make the capital a civilizational and cultural pole worldwide.
According to the regional official, this event will make Rabat the embodiment of the richness of the Moroccan cultural heritage in addition to making it a global platform for promoting the values of coexistence and dialogue between cultures.
For his part, Mbassi said that the program of celebrations in Rabat, capital of African culture, will help to enhance the African culture as a pillar of development of the continent, considering these celebrations of African culture as great importance for Morocco, Africa and the world.
The Committee of African Capitals of Culture officially announced in February 2020 the selection of Rabat as the Capital of African Culture for 2022-2023.