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Nabila Rmili On Her Vision and Ambitions For Casablanca (Interview)

Written by FDM

Security, green spaces, public transport, anarchic housing … Casablanca can be a handful when it comes to running a city, however, Nabila Rmili tackles the challenge with spirit and rigor. The first woman Mayor of the metropolis, Dr. Rmili sees big for Morocco’s most populated city.  

You are the first woman elected to run the town hall of Casablanca, a gigantic metropolis with several problems. What does this responsibility mean to you?
Thanks to His Majesty, his vision, and the place he has given to women, equality has been established. The women have proven their skills and great abilities in all areas. It is therefore no longer a subject of debate… And I must say that after having managed the Covid pandemic at the level of the region, the figures no longer scare me.
It is certainly an honor for a woman to be at the head of a large metropolis such as Casablanca, but it is also a great responsibility that encourages us to work even harder.

How did this reconversion from medicine to politics come about for you?
My function as a doctor can only be beneficial to my function as mayor because the two missions are part of the social field, an area in which I have worked all my life, to serve and come to the aid of vulnerable people. One of the doctor’s qualities is empathy, and here, I am in empathy of another scale… While working in the social sector, more than twenty years ago, I realized that one had to do politics to better serve the citizen. Today I have the opportunity to serve citizens even more, by doing everything possible to make their daily lives easier.

What have you been most proud of since your debut in politics and the challenges that come with that?
My greatest pride has been to serve the citizens of Casablanca and to share their everyday life worries. My biggest fear is not to live up to the expectations of people, to disappoint all those who believed in me and voted for me. Getting to the polls first is a burden and a responsibility. We have the heavy task of satisfying the citizen. It’s a real challenge, and we’ll have to work very hard to not disappoint anyone.

Are there projects initiated by the former team that you are going to approach differently or that you are going to abandon altogether?
Absolutely. If projects prove to be relevant for the city, we will of course bring them to fruition. But if projects are exceeded, we will leave them aside. But we are on continuity with new projects. We would also like to congratulate the old council because the management of the city is not easy.

What is the project that is particularly close to your heart and that you would like to see completed during your mandate?
The closest to my heart is to make Casablanca a green city, to shed away the “cement metropolis”, and to have living spaces in each district, to have attractive parks in each district also, libraries, artistic spaces for young people… My wish is to make the city attractive and loving for its citizens.
There is also the major transport project, the upgrading of the city, the renovation of the facades by conforming to the white color inscribed in the city charter…

Travel, feeling of insecurity, street harassment… On these issues, what urban policy is planned, taking into account the expectations of women?
Security in the city is not part of the prerogatives of the city council. Nevertheless, when the management of the city will be done via a Smart City and an intelligent computer system, this will drastically reduce the problem. We can also work on public lighting and improve safety in public transport…

Is there a city in the world that inspires you and that you dream of a similar outcome for Casablanca?
There are several (laughs)… Personally, I’m proud of my city, and if you do a little poll, you’ll see that the majority of ‘Casablancais’ can’t live anywhere else than in Casablanca. That’s why we should all work to preserve this miraculous city that gives us so much pleasure.