In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful, and blessings and peace be upon the Messenger of Allah, his family and all his companions.
Ladies and Gentlemen the Ministers.
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors, and representatives of the diplomatic corps.
Ladies and Gentlemen, representatives of international institutions.
Madam and Gentlemen, Presidents of the Chambers of Handicrafts.
Ladies and Gentlemen, representatives of professional associations and actors in the handicraft sector.
Ladies and gentlemen,
1. First of all, I am pleased to open the seventh edition of the National Handicraft Week, organized by the Ministry of Tourism, Handicrafts, and Social and Solidarity Economy. This edition, which is organized under the high patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, may God assist him, reflects the care given to this sector by His Majesty and his constant interest in craftsmen. Traditionalists.
2. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank the national and international participants, coming from more than 15 brotherly and friendly countries, for their presence at this forum, which is a landmark event in the Moroccan handicraft sector.
3. I congratulate the organizers for choosing "Handicrafts, a unique ingenuity rooted in history, in the service of comprehensive and sustainable development", as a slogan that carries many connotations for this session, which will inevitably serve as an encounter platform between national and international artisans, and an opportunity to exchange experiences and discuss topics of common interest.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
4. Since its appointment, the government has worked to implement a plan to revive the handicraft sector, which has been severely affected by the repercussions of the recent global health crisis, by supporting actors and valuing and upgrading Moroccan products, in coordination with all stakeholders in the sector.
5. The government has also mobilized important possibilities to create a dynamic aimed at accelerating the development of this important sector, in particular through the launch of several structural projects and programs, aimed at accompanying and supporting artisans in their efforts, to modernize production and modernize marketing. A new legal and regulatory base has also been developed that will improve the competitiveness of the sector and enhance Its attractiveness.
6. Artisans are at the heart of our concerns, and today they are registered in the National Register of Handicrafts, established by the Ministry of Trustees, since February of this year, where the number of registered to date has reached more than 325,000 artisans, representing about 172 professions and activities in the sector.
7. This register will help us to extend social protection to all artisans, in the implementation of the instructions of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, May God Assist Him. In this context, more than 500,000 artisans have so far registered with the National Social Security Fund to benefit from compulsory sickness insurance, out of 700,000. Note that the government has determined a symbolic contribution, to encourage artisans to register in this system, not exceeding 0.75% of the minimum wage (142 dirhams per month).
8. On this occasion, I would like to thank all the stakeholders, from central and regional administrations, local authorities, chambers of handicrafts, and artisans, for their efforts to ensure the success of the implementation of this structural project within the specified time limits.
9. I also take this opportunity to recall that within the framework of the implementation of the royal workshops on universal health coverage, the compulsory sickness insurance system for people who are unable to bear the duties of participation was launched last Thursday. Under this system, 4 million Moroccan families previously under the medical assistance system "RAMED" will benefit from the insurance system. Basic compulsory illness, with the state assuming their enrollment fees.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
10. The handicraft sector is an important lever for the social and economic development of our country, employing about 22% of the active population, contributing 7% to the GDP, and generating sales of approximately AED 140 billion. This is an important factor that pushes us to pay more attention to this sector, and to attract young people to training in order to revive our artisanal heritage through several measures, knowing that their number has begun to prepare an integrated system for training and rehabilitation.
11. The sector also contributes to the international publicity of Morocco and the transmission of our values of peace, tolerance, and openness, as the products of our artisans are exported to five continents. Our international customers also recognize the quality and richness of our products and attest to the ability of Moroccan artisans to adapt to new transformations and market demands, while preserving the identity and authenticity of our traditional industry.
12 . As a means of recognizing the handicraft skills handed down and the hard work of successive generations and the quality and excellence of their products, the national emblem of handicrafts "Morocco Handmade" has been adopted for the production units of the sector.
13. It should be noted that the handicraft sector exported about AED 820 million, until the end of last October, with a growth rate of 23% compared to 2019, and a growth of 16% compared to 2021. It is estimated that by the end of this year, the sector will export more than one billion dirhams. It is intricately linked to the tourism sector, with more than 10% of the total expenses of tourists during their stay in our country being collectibles of the products of our artisans.
14. In addition, handicrafts create a local economy that we cannot do without. In short, it is the life of our land and our ancestors. This is attested to by the encouragement of our experienced artisans by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), describing them as " human treasures".
15. In this sense, handicrafts are an important lever for preserving the richness of our deep-rooted tangible and intangible heritage. Our traditional craftsmen have inherited exceptional experiences passed down from generation to generation over centuries, designing different and multiple materials by hand and with extreme precision, which constitutes an exceptional richness of our authentic Moroccan heritage and culture.
16 . To value this legacy, the Government and all stakeholders in the sector will continue their efforts, under the enlightened leadership of His Majesty the King, to maintain and develop the leadership of our traditional industry.
Ladies and Gentlemen.
17 . At the end of this statement, I wish our distinguished guests a happy stay in their second country, Morocco, and I wish success in the seventh edition of the National Handicraft Week.
Peace, mercy, and blessings of God be upon you.