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Morocco rakes in $9.5bn in tourism in October

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Despite a devastating earthquake that struck parts of the country in September, the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism said the country had ranked in $9.5 billion by the month of October.

In a published statement on Saturday, the ministry said the flow of remittances from Moroccans abroad had continued to break records every year, reaching MAD 96.4 billion ($9.5 billion) in the first 10 months of 2023, a 6.1% year-on-year increase, according to data from Morocco’s Exchange Office (OE).

The statement noted that data compiled by the OE indicated that the flow of remittances maintained an upward trajectory for the past five years, going from $5.4 billion in the first months of 2019 to $8.9 billion in 2022.

The report also noted that an earlier report from the OE revealed that France, Spain, and Italy were the largest sources of remittances flowing to Morocco.

“The three European countries accounted for a staggering 57% of the overall volume of remittances sent to Morocco in 2022,” the report said.

“At the end of 2022, the volume of remittances reached record-high levels, settling at MAD 110.7 billion ($11.1 billion), a 16% increase from last year’s MAD 95.5 billion ($9.5 billion). The average annual growth rate for remittances between 2019 and 2022 is now at 19.4%.

“In terms of the share of each country, France remains the top source country with 32% of remittances, followed by Spain with 13%, Italy with 11.5%, and Saudi Arabia with 7.6%. Over the past five years, remittances from Canada to Morocco recorded the highest growth rate at 28%, followed by Spain with 27.6% and Italy with 20%.

“Remittances are of strategic importance to Morocco, as they provide a stable source of foreign exchange”, it said.

Along with tourism, remittances are the North African country’s main source of foreign exchange and a source of income for thousands of families.

“Remittances are of vital importance as they provide a source of the livelihood of many families,” Morocco’s central bank governor, Abdellatif Jouahri said in January 2023.

He added that in Morocco, the 37% historic increase in the volume of remittances in 2021 catalyzed the country’s post-pandemic economic rebound.

Culture

Owners of South Africa bar where teenagers died in 2022 to pay fine or go to jail

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The owners of a South African bar where 21 teenagers died after drinking contaminated alcohol during a party in 2022 have each been ordered to pay a fine or be sent to jail for 100 days.

The couple, who owned the Enyobeni Tavern in the Eastern Cape province, were found guilty of selling alcohol to under-18-year-olds.

The children had attended a party to celebrate the end of mid-year exams at the Tavern where they met their untimely deaths.

Their deaths of the teenagers who were all under the age of 18 with the youngest only 13 years old girl, had caused outrage in the country with many calling for the legal drinking age to be increased.

A toxicology report had, however, revealed that the victims died from suffocation due to overcrowding but further investigations and test later emerged that traces of the poisonous chemical, methanol, were found in their bodies.

The toxicology report is yet to be concluded, but forensic pathologists have suggested their deaths were caused by something they inhaled or ingested.

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Ugandan TikToker remanded in prison for insulting President Museveni, traditional ruler

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Popular Ugandan TikToker, Ibrahim Musana, also known as “Pressure 247”, has been remanded in prison for allegedly insulting President Yoweri Museveni as well as “using abusive and demeaning remarks he made against the Kingdom of Buganda and the Kabaka” deemed to be hate speech.

According to media reports, “Pressure 247” was sent to the Luzira Prison where he will be cooling his feet till March 7, where his bail application will be heard.

The remand order was given when he appeared before the Buganda Road Court on eight counts under the Computer Misuse Act (2021), following complaints from the Buganda Kingdom.

The 27-year-old entertainer was charged with allegedly promoting hate speech and spreading malicious information via his TikTok videos following complaints filed by the Buganda Kingdom.

According to prosecutors, Musana allegedly shared content on his TikTok account between August 2023 and February 2024 that disparaged and incited hostility towards four Ugandan leaders, Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II, President Yoweri Museveni, Speaker of Parliament Anita Among, and State Minister for ICT Joyce Naboosa Ssebugwawo.

Musana who pleaded not guilty to the charges, asserted that he was unaware that his actions constituted an offense. He also told the court that he was suffering from psychological challenges and had been receiving treatment at the Butabika Mental Hospital.

He further explained that he felt a spiritual obligation inspired by past Buganda Kings to restore their tombs but lacked the necessary financial resources, and pleaded for forgiveness and leniency.

Despite Musana’s plea for forgiveness and promise to refrain from attacking leaders and removing the contentious content from his TikTok account, the Magistrate rejected his plea and ruled that he should remanded in prison pending his bail application.

His oral bail request was also denied due to insufficient documentation from his sureties.

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