In the case of the Kingdom, this trend is the result of a national decision to overcome the French language and replace it with other languages, especially English

French is losing importance in Morocco and Algeria

PHOTO/ARCHIVO - La calidad de la educación marroquí es cada vez más notoria
PHOTO/ARCHIVO - Morocco and Algeria share measures to expand the use of English in the education sector

A new report to which Hiba Press has had access has once again highlighted the growing importance of the English language in Morocco to the detriment of French. This boost of English over French has been reinforced by a series of transformations that the world is witnessing, especially at the level of communication, according to the report.

It also notes that Morocco and Algeria, despite holding very different views on a number of issues, share the same measures to expand the use of English in the education sector, thus downgrading French. The Moroccan media also indicates that the Algerian decision is due to disagreements and tensions with Paris, as bilateral relations have been damaged in recent years, and the same is true between Morocco and France today.

In recent days, Algiers has announced a decision to expand English language teaching in primary schools, while Moroccan Industry Minister Riad Mazour refused to speak French during an African conference in Marrakech at the end of September.

According to Hiba Press, "the Moroccan minister's refusal to speak French, preferring to speak Arabic, Spanish or English, is a clear indication that there is a national decision at the highest level aimed at overcoming the French language, which for many decades was the second most used language in Morocco after Arabic, and replacing it with other languages, especially English". 

PHOTO/ARCHIVO - Ryad Mezzour, ministro de Industria de Marruecos
PHOTO/ARCHIVO - Moroccan Industry Minister Riad Mazour 

In addition to the Minister of Industry, other high-ranking Moroccan officials such as the Minister Delegate for Investment, Mohcine Jazouli, have opted to use English to reaffirm this new trend. Also at the educational level, Aziz Akhannouch's government presented last June an educational initiative that aims to implement English for 100% of students in the first, second and third years of secondary school by the 2025-2026 academic year.

In this sense, Rabat hopes that by 2027 English will be the main language in many subjects, just as French is today.

In addition to the authorities, young people themselves consider English to be important. According to a 2022 report by the British Council, 40% of young people in Morocco consider English to be the most important language, compared to 10% who think the same of French, the traditional language of the Kingdom's elites.

This trend coincides with a period of tension between Morocco and France. The rift between the two countries - close allies in the past - is due to issues such as the diplomatic rapprochement between France and Algeria, the French rejection of Moroccan demands regarding Western Sahara, and French attacks on the Kingdom, including from European institutions.

On the other hand, this diplomatic crisis has been particularly aggravated following the earthquake that shook the High Atlas last September. Following the devastating earthquake that caused thousands of deaths and injuries, several French media outlets began to question the measures taken by the Moroccan authorities and to wonder whether Rabat could manage without French assistance.