Morocco/ 6. Financing of culture  

6.3. Trends and indicators for private cultural financing

Most private sector cultural activity involves preserving heritage, and creating and supporting arts and audio-visual work. We do not deal with private sector involvement with art and audio-visual work due to the difficulty of accessing funding data. In recent years, however, several organisations dealing with A-V affairs have emerged.

As stated in the second part of this study, there are social foundations within the banking and industrial sectors in Morocco that belong to private companies. The most important among these are:

  • Banking foundations, including Attijara Wafa Bank, SGMB foundation, and the Moroccan Commerce and Industry bank foundation (BMCI)
  • Industrial foundations like the Omnium Nord-African (ONA), a commercial-financial company dealing with all branches of the economy, and Maroc Telecom for the Deposit and Management Fund (Caisse de dépôt et de gestion - CDG)


The last is an example of the banking sector's participation in cultural life. The care institution for the CDG aims to embrace activities that support the promotion of culture and knowledge, as well as activities related to sustainable social solidarity and development. For this purpose, it handles all activities related to financing, preparing and implementing related projects and demonstrations whether public or private, and activities which contribute directly or indirectly to achieving its objectives. 

These foundations fund cultural projects and programs dealing with fine art, museums, and the restoration of ancient sites. They also contribute to financing artistic and literary activities and festivals (see Table 6.8).

The “Safe House” is a private sector initiative outside the parameters stated in the above initiative. Located 14 kilometres outside Marrakech, in Tusultanit, the Safe House supports innovation in the field of visual and literary arts and strengthens Moroccan and African cultural identity through cultural exchanges. It was recently launched with support from the UNESCO-Aschberg bursaries for literary, musical, and visual projects, for the organisation of concerts, the audio-visual sector, and publication in 2013. This program, which values the mobility of young artists, is designed with the goal of “enriching their creative projects and offering them the opportunity to participate in a dialogue about cultural diversity”.  Artists range from 25 to 35, hailing from all over the world, including Morocco.

In the area of book publishing, some concerned parties such as banks and institutions, as well as some other civil society associations and charitable individuals, fund literary prizes such as:


  • Atlas Grand Prize, established by the Embassy of France in Morocco in 1992. This prize is given each year to writers, artists and Moroccan intellectuals, and encourages various forms of literature such as novels, technical books, education books, youth books, or translations.

  • The Literary Creativity Prize is the second channel devoted to encouraging young talent in various areas of creativity within three major categories (poetry, the novel, the story) in Arabic, Amazigh, and French.

  • The Al-Mamouniah Prize in Morocco is specific to French-speaking Moroccan writers, awarded for the achievement of brightening literature at the national and international levels.

  • The Literary Award Biladi Biladuna is dedicated to Moroccan writers for works of prose using colloquial language and including themes relevant to Tangier. It is included in the framework of linguistic pluralism in Morocco.

  • The Literary Magazine Prize in Morocco, which aspires to encourage literary creativity and is dedicated to Moroccan female and male writers living in or outside Morocco, is available to both national languages; the Amazigh and the Arabic and also French.

  • The Literary Creativity Prize for  Amazigh is conferred by the Royal Institute of Amazigh Culture, which supports creators who work in the area of culture.

  • Arkaneh International Prize for Poetry is annually conferred by Beit al-Shar in Morocco and by the Institution of Deposit and Measure Fund.


Independent (Civil) Sector Expenditure

Many cultural achievements and projects have been sponsored by civil society groups. Sponsorships have come in several areas of cultural development, most importantly restoration and maintenance of historical sites (see Table 6.9). There are also many public service groups that sponsor scientific and intellectual seminars, and literary and artistic festivals around Morocco. Most important among these are:

  • Rabat International Festival for Culture & Arts
  • Fez Musical Festival of World Spiritual Music
  • Marrakech Popular Arts National Festival
  • Desert Music Festival
  • Assila International Cultural Season


Table 6.10: Distribution of MoC Support Allocations (2012)


Interests and Institutions

Budget Management

Performance Credits

Commitment Appropriations

Financial Affairs Directorate




Directorate of Arts




Heritage Directorate




Directorate of Books




Regional Directorates of Culture




Higher Institute of Dramatic Art and Cultural Activation




National Institute for Archaeological Sciences and Heritage




National Institute of Fine Arts in Tetouan




Mohammed V National Theatre




National Library of the Kingdom of Morocco




The Moroccan Archive




Al-Manahel Press









Among the active public service groups are:

  • Fez Sayes Society
  • Abu Riqraq Society in Rabat
  • Rabat Al-Fateh Society in Rabat
  • Al-Atlas Society in Marrakech

Among the independent civil associations are:

  • The Moroccan Writers Union, which has played a historical role in issues of culture since its foundation in 1961.
  • The Moroccan Poetry House, which had a UNESCO proposal to approve an International Poetry Day accepted in 2000.
  • The Moroccan Theatre Professionals Union.


Table 6.11: Finance of Sites and Archaeological Places by Independent Sector (Civil)



Geographic location

Type of intervention

Financing side

Al-Boananiya School


School restoration and rehabilitation

Meziyan Benjaloun Foundation:

MD 13,000,000

Couta Site


Maintenance, restoration and building of site operation unit and visitors' entrance gate

Cultural Sponsorship of H.H. Prince Ibn Abdul Aziz

Murabiteen Dome Ancient Sites



Bin Jelloun Foundation:
MD 50,000,000

Bin Yusuf School

Old Marrakech

Restoration and maintenance

Omar Bin Jelloun Foundation /partnership with the Ministry of Culture

Al-Najareen Hotel

Old Fez

Restoration and maintenance

Karim Al-Omrani Foundation: MD 25,000,000


Foreign Agencies Expenditures

There are several cultural projects and programs funded through international partnership with the MoC and local authorities. The funding supports cultural infrastructure development projects as well as cultural facilities, especially in rural and underprivileged areas. This includes the construction and operation of public libraries, cultural houses, musical institutes, theatres and cultural compounds. The provided funds are also used to rehabilitate and restore ancient sites. Four such partnerships are:

The media libraries project (médiathèque): This project supports literacy programs in urban, semi-urban and rural areas by building 11 media libraries and 60 literacy centres affiliated with these libraries. The project will be executed through partnership between the MoC and local authorities and the cultural arm of the French embassy. Local authorities will provide the needed premises, while the MoC and the French embassy will provide the equipment, documents, office furniture and A-V material. The cost of the project amounts to €10.7 million, €3.5 million of which will be provided by the French. The project was launched in 2003. In 2008 10 media libraries with associated literacy centres were completed.

The culture house network project: This project combats illiteracy and exclusion among underprivileged groups through direct educational and cultural activity programs as well as proper recreational activities. A network of 27 culture houses across Morocco will be constructed through cooperation with the EU (MEDA Project). The EU will contribute MD 50 million; the Moroccan government will contribute MD 27.5 million. Local communities will provide the land needed for building these premises. As of 2008, about 15 units were completed.

Various cultural projects: The projects provide needed funds for building and equipping several cultural facilities, including cultural centres and museums. The projects, which total MD 7.5 million, are funded in part by the government of Andalusia. Some of the projects have been completed, like the Modern Arts Museum in Tetouan and the Larache Theatre in Larache. Other projects are still under construction.

Rehabilitation of the cultural tradition in Oasis de Figuigue: This project is carried out through cooperation with the Italian government. It was inaugurated at the beginning of 2008. Italy contributes 50% of the project’s overall cost: €1.5 million (MD 16.9 million). The MoC, local communities in Figuigue and NGO Africa 70 are partners in the project.

Residency in Paris’ City of Art: The residency program is under the supervision of the MoC and the Cultural Authority from the Embassy of France in Rabat.  It targets Moroccan artists, writers, and screenwriters just beginning in their profession to benefit from a period of 3 to 9 months (the committee reserves the right to extend the residency period, according to the nature of the applicant’s project) where they will be provided residency, meetings, work, and study space. The outcome of the artist’s residency will be assessed by the MoC and the Cultural Authority from the Embassy of France at the end of the residency. The artist will present a detailed report to the Ministry of Culture and the Cultural Authority from the Embassy of France within a month of his or her return to Morocco. The committee will then receive the artist for a group evaluation of the residency’s outcomes.

Files are reviewed by a committee comprised of specific figures based on capability in the fields of art and literature. Members of the committee are appointed for a period of two years with the option of renewing their membership by approval from the MoC, including members chosen by the Cultural Authority of the Embassy of France to represent them in the committee (for further details, refer to previous projects and agreements in section 2.4.4 : “Dialogue and Cooperation Across Borders and Between Cultures”).

Chapter published: 05-05-2016