Name of municipality: Oujda
Population: 494,252 inhabitants (2014)
Area: 82,820 km2
The municipality of Oujda is located in the North-Eastern part of Morocco, 60 km south of the Mediterranean and 13 km west of the Algerian border. It spans over an area of nearly 9,000 ha, in the vicinity of the mountainous region of Beni Snassen.
President: Mr. Omar Hejira
Contact: Mr. Adnane El Ghazi—Planning and Sustainable Development Department (SPEDD): firstname.lastname@example.org
The city of Oujda was founded in 994 by Ziri Ben Attia, chief of the Maghrawa tribe. Its geographical position in the North-Easternmost part of Morocco grants is an important position. As a main destination and border town close to the Algerian territory, about 13 km away, the city of Oujda has become a crossroads between the Arab Maghreb countries and Africa. Its proximity to the Mediterranean Basin, just 60 km away, has allowed it to be a passageway to European countries, but throughout history, the city has been characterized mainly by its border position.
Main economic activities:
The industrial sector in Oujda consists of 3 industrial units: The COLAIMO dairy cooperative; grain mills; olive crushing units.
Oujda also features a technopole (a high-technology cluster) including:
—An SME/SMI zone, serving the regional industries;
—A “Retail Park,” a commercial platform with a regional focus;
—A tertiary hub focused on offshoring and services;
—A center of excellence (Camus du Savoir) in the fields of knowledge and Research and Development (R&D);
—A Free Trade Zone, Cleantech, for RE/EE equipment and green industries.
Oujda’s commercial area is dominated by a “traditional style” which is characterized by the commercial alleys of the old medina, local small shops and weekly markets. This makes up 75% of the commercial area through 99 points of sale.
However, this sector is going to experience deep changes that have been characterized by the appearance of new business models such as commercial agencies and mass distribution spaces that occupy 25% of the commercial surface.
The city of Oujda has tremendous potential for cultural, religious, spa and mountain tourism. Several tourist sites characterize the city, namely the old medina, Bab Al Gharbi (West Gate), Bab Sidi Abdelwahab, the great mosque, Dar Sabti, Sidi Ziane Square, Lalla Meryem Museum, Lalla Aicha Park, Sidi Yahya mausoleum, Benkachour Spa, Sidi Maafa Forest and La Collange Forest recreational parks. As for the commercial activity in Oujda, it is mainly based on the sale of handicrafts such as pottery, wrought iron, mats, spices, orange blossoms, etc.
Conditions and environmental challenges:
Located in a territory marked by a strong rural exodus and characterized by “weak” social indicators (the unemployment rate stands at about 20%, high proportion of the informal economy, etc.), the first urban center of the Oriental region is experiencing strong
demographic pressure accompanied by a significant and unrestricted horizontal urban development. The significant consumption of space and its consequence: the growing need for infrastructure and energy, are the main challenges facing the institutions responsible for territorial planning.
From a climatic point of view, although the city of Oujda is endowed with two water tables (Angad, superficial, and Jbel Hamra, deep), the inhabitants of the region are exposed to episodes of drought coupled with a phenomenon of desertification. The main risk of natural disaster to which Oujda is subject is flooding, which is why projects aiming to strengthen the rainwater management network (over several kilometers) have been integrated into its Communal Development Plan (PCD in French), thus reinforcing the Blue Green (Bleu-Vert) Master Plan of the Moulouya Hydraulic Basin Agency (ABHM).