Morocco’s Starbucks franchise denies closing

Starbucks Morocco

The franchise responsible for Starbucks stores in Morocco refuted allegations that the brand was departing from the country, reports The New Arab and agencies.

There are currently 18 of the chain’s coffee shops in Morocco and 130 in Africa as a whole as Al-Shaya, the franchise in charge of the American brand, said that there would just be business reorganisations. 

A spokesperson for the franchise also noted that, “We are committed to our activities in Morocco”. 

Weekly magazine Maroc Hebdo reported that the franchise’s stores in the kingdom have been struggling since the Covid-19 pandemic, which has led the group to decrease its capital in Morocco from 142 million dirhams ($15 million) to 65 million dirhams ($ 7 million) in December of last year. 

Including Starbucks, Al Shaya is responsible for 66 brands many of which are either British or American. 

READ: Pro-Palestinian protesters call on Morocco to condemn Gaza massacre

Over recent times, the multi-billion dollar coffee empire has been targeted by the BDS movement, a global activist group that calls for the boycott, divestment and sanctions of Israeli goods and services as well as companies that are pro-Israel and/or are complicit in war crimes committed by the state against Palestinians. 

Despite the criticism of Starbucks by pro-Palestinian activists, the brand is not on the “BDS list”. 

American brands such as Starbucks and McDonalds have been the target of activists for their perceived support for Israel as well as their lack of condemnation of the Gaza bloodshed since October 7. 

It is no surprise that Starbucks is facing boycotts by angry Moroccans given the country’s strong Palestine-supporting population. 

The head of BDS Morocco, Sion Asidon, said, “As a civil society, we can apply pressure by boycotting companies that support the occupation’s crimes. It’s a power that we have and should use”. 

Numerous anti-Israel protests have taken place in the kingdom’s major cities since the beginning of October.

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