The 2019 ranking praises humanitarian Lamia Bazir and singer Salma Rachid for their impact on development in Africa.
Rabat – Africa Youth Awards announced, on October 2, its 2019 ranking of the 100 Most Influential Young Africans.
Among the diverse crowd of 52 women and 48 men, from 32 countries, the ranking recognizes two Moroccan women for their achievements.
Lamia Bazir, 27, is a government officer, humanitarian, and advocate for youth and women.
Born in El Jadida, on Morocco’s west coast, Bazir has dedicated her life to making a positive impact on her community’s most disadvantaged people.
Bazir earned her Baccalaureate in economic and social sciences with the highest honors from the Lycee Jean Charcot in El Jadida. She went on to specialize in political science and women’s studies at Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane. Bazir graduated summa cum laude as the student valedictorian and class speaker in 2014.
Bazir also earned a Master’s degree in International Development from Sciences Po in Paris, and she worked for a second Master’s degree in International Affairs at Columbia University in New York.
During her studies in 2012, Bazir met the women of an impoverished rural village. She was inspired to establish the social venture “Empowering Women in the Atlas.”
“These women often depicted as poor, needy, and marginalized had it all! The solutions were in them,” reads a statement on Bazir’s official website. “They just needed connections, expertise, and true commitment.”
Her mission is to support rural women in gaining local leadership positions in order to promote community development in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains. The non-profit has three ongoing projects: a community center in Adghagh, an exchange program with Norway, and an entrepreneurship program.
Although Bazir’s commitments are multidimensional, she dedicates much of her energy and work towards education, gender equality and women’s empowerment.
“She is rising as a promising figure in the Moroccan civil society,” Africa Youth Awards stated.
Salma Rachid, 25, is a Moroccan singer from the oasis of Tafilalt in south east Morocco. From an early age, Rachid was passionate about music, drawing, and fashion. She grew up in Casablanca and began studying economics after graduating from high school in 2012.
Rachid rose to fame at just 18 years old when she auditioned for the second season of Arab Idol in 2013. She performed the popular Yemeni song “Ya Moniyati” in her audition and was accepted by the judges into casting.
Rachid made it through several rounds of the talent competition until she was voted off in the seventh prime. She earned fifth place in the competition and was the youngest contestant. Upon leaving the show, she signed a ten-year contract with MBC-affiliated Platinum Records.
Rachid considers Umm Kulthum to be her main inspiration. She was nicknamed El Sultana by her fans and is known for her ability to master various music styles, her charisma, and the strength of her voice.
The global impact of Moroccan women
Lamir Bazir and Salma Rachid are certainly not the first Moroccan women to be recognized for their personal achievements and global contributions.
In late September, Moroccan athlete Rabab Arafi qualified for the 800 meter race at the IAAF World Championship.
Moroccan activist Karima Rhanem has won more than 22 awards for her engagement in civil society and development. On September 28, she was named among the 30 most influential young leaders in Africa and Europe by the Governing Council of the Pan African Youth Leadership Foundation.
Meanwhile, Moroccan TV host Leila Ghandi won the “Who is Who” International Women Leaders Award on October 2.
These women are among the dozens of Moroccans who have won praise for their achievements in arts, sciences, civil society, development, and sports in 2019.