Casablanca, a city that you do not want to compare with European ones (astonishment report)

Casablanca is the biggest city in Morocco with more than 3 400 000 citizens and considered as the business center.

To introduce it, here are some numbers and statistics that summarize her state:

– Largest artificial port in the world/second largest (artificial port) in North Africa (behind Tanger)
– Average daily climate all over the year is 18° (this is warm due to its position, but not "hot" due to wind and sea)
– 44% of the industrial productions, 33% of the national industrial exportations, 30% of the banking network of the kingdom come from the region of "Casa" (the usual nickname)
– Hosts the mosque Hassan-II which is one of the biggest in the world
– Minimum wage is around 2300 MAD/month (200-230€/month)


That being said, I can explain this weird title.
As everyone would do it when I arrive in a country for the first time, I used to compare a lot Casablanca and Morocco with Paris and France since, at the first look, this is not so different. However, the time goes on and I realized that it was not the case: they are different.

First, the traffic and the way to drive which is the first thing you see when you leave the airport. This is crazy for a European: there are rules but no one respects them. The only rule is: unless you do not hit someone/crash the car you are free to do everything you want. Going over a red light, overtaking from the right, two lines roads being three lines of road, no pedestrians priority…
Colleagues explained to me that it was very specific to this city. 

Second, work. Moroccans tend to work from 8 to 10 hours in average per day (could be more, but never less) which is quite more than France, but the thing is that either they do not have enough work to fulfill this schedule or they are not productive which is why they need such working time.
I saw so many times colleagues taking more than one hour the morning before really starting to work, and also saw many doing nothing because they had nothing to do.

Third, money and purchasing power parity. As I said, on one hand, the minimum wage is 2300 MAD and really represents a part of the citizens. But on the other hand, my colleagues earned four times this minimum wage as their first job. This shows a huge inequality in the city since an average rent in a medium city area is around 4000 DAM/month for the cheapest offer (single apartment, not shared). However, even though the rents are expensive, all the other daily costs are way cheaper (Nominal GDP per capita is 4 times smaller than PPP GDP per capita).
The last thing for this money part that is hard to explain, is the vehicle fleet. As a huge part of the Moroccans cannot afford a car, the one that does always have very expensive cars (generally more than 30 000€). Well, we could explain that by saying "If only well-living people can afford cars, when they can, they have enough money to buy an expensive one". Yes and… no. In a working-class district, you can find owners of these kinds of cars. 

Fourth, religion. Obviously, it was not a surprise but Islam is different than Catholicism. Moroccan are religious and do as much as possible for their faith; the country is also made for the good purpose of Islam. What I mean is that during Ramadan month, most of the shops are closed which mean some people do not work and the whole activity in Morocco is slower. In addition, once a week they have a longer lunch break (Friday) to go to the mosque to pray.

In a nutshell, by writing this, I realized what was different between the two and made it look similar even though it was not the case. The culture.
There is a huge gap between the theory (laws, stats, policy, and politic…) and the field (which is represented by the behavior itself influenced by the culture).
Overall, Morocco is a great developing country full of welcoming and kind people.


This, is my internship city.

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