The Akhanoush family…a success story that began with “Laysan’s Shop”
Sousian families: The Akhanoush family…a success story that began with “Laysan’s Shop” and brought Aziz to the pyramid of the wealthy. No two disagree that the Sousian families were complex families, including grandparents, children, and grandchildren. The values of respect prevailed among them, and the eldest among them was keen to teach… He taught his youngest the principles of religion and science, and urged him to adhere to the values within a conservative society whose features are still present to this day.
The Soussian families were known for their ambition for their children to become major merchants, following in the footsteps of their townspeople who traveled early to the city of Casablanca to work, where they were taught the principles of trade inside the shops, until commercial families were formed there since the 1940s, and the large Soussian families were formed, bringing together commercial and economic interests driven by them. To arrange marriages for her children, not only to ensure the financial balance, but also to strengthen the social balance.
From this logic, the story of the Akhannouch family began. Its first nucleus was formed inside a quiet village in Tafraout, exactly in the village of “Akrad Awdad,” adjacent to the center. Grandfather Ibrahim Akhannouch was famous for his knowledge and resistance… He was known in his surroundings as a scholar who loved reading, and was also keen on raising and educating his family members. Especially his grandson, Ahmed bin Ahmed bin Ibrahim Akhannouch, who was known for his curiosity and ambition, who was hostile to the colonizers, and led the resistance movement in Amalen, in the Tafraout suburb, and was able, thanks to his struggle, hard work, and intelligence, to become a businessman.
As was the custom of the sons of Souss, Ahmed Oulhaj Akhannouch joined Casablanca in 1919, to learn the principles of commerce, after studying arithmetic, jurisprudence, and memorizing the Qur’an. He would watch the people of his town when they returned during the holidays and hear about them as they were drawing their future in the economic capital. He, in turn, dreamed of practicing the “craft.” He joined. With some acquaintances from his family and relatives, and in order to be able to communicate with all customers, he learned the Moroccan dialect, and became familiar with the principles of trade, neighborhoods, and commercial places. He also learned to bear responsibility at an early age.
The dream of the young man, Ahmed, was to become a businessman. He worked hard to achieve this, in a large city that provided an opportunity for those who worked hard. He saved enough money to open the first shop selling “heavy petroleum,” which he bought from foreign companies and sold in installments. He was ambitious and passionate. In the field. Years passed, and he opened other shops, assigning people from his town to manage each one of them. The principle of trust was in effect among the Soussians, who received the newcomer and gave him the opportunity to create a project. He started from scratch and struggled and struggled to accumulate capital, penny by penny, and during that journey full of adversity, he absorbed the profession, its fluctuations, and the relationship that… He likes to interact with customers…
The Olhaj family’s business began to expand, and the enthusiasm for work increased day after day. Ahmed Olhaj was ambitious, business was proceeding normally, until he collided with fierce commercial competition from a French company, which constituted a turning point in his professional life, with which he was forced, thanks to his intelligence, to change the ship of his commercial life and drag He encouraged the Soussian merchants to embark on an adventure by improving their way of working and developing their shops, to repel attempts to push them into bankruptcy.
He faced the colonizer’s plan to condemn the “countrymen” to bankruptcy with a counter-plan, and the Soussian merchants, thanks to their cleverness, were able to attract not only Moroccan customers, but also foreigners, so they competed with the “modern” French stores in the upscale neighborhoods. And, of course, Akhannouch was working in secret with the resistance. He made some of his real estate, including “gas stations” in the city, a place for its members’ meetings. In addition to the commercial collision with the intruding other, there was another collision seeking liberation and emancipation.
The Akhannouch family was keen to establish kinship and intermarriage relations with families from the region, especially the Wakrim family, which later became a partner of Ahmed Oulhaj. The large Soussian families have always preferred to combine familial and financial intermarriage in order to maintain their well-being among themselves, in application of the proverb “Our oil is in our flour.”
Labor and Resistance in Casablanca did not forget the Akhannouch family in Tamzirt, where they practiced the grain trade in Agadir. Ahmed Olhaj occupied the position of Secretary of Merchants in this city, before he became involved in political work in the Istiqlal Party in the region.
In 1949, the Akhannouch family acquired the first gasoline station in Casablanca. The intermarriage relationship with Wakrim enabled the realization of a dream that Ahmed Oulhaj had always had. The relationship with Wakrim can be considered the first nucleus of what will come of economic glory. The project expanded to two stations, and in the midst of combining money and resistance, Olhaj Akhannouch was arrested for hosting patriots and resistance fighters at one of the two stations after secretly making it a headquarters for the patriots. This arrest was one of the forms of resistance for which “Sawasa” was known in Casablanca.
After independence, Ahmed Olhaj Akhannouch and his son-in-law Ahmed Wakrim founded the first fuel distribution company in Morocco, “Africa”, and then they founded the “Maghreb Oxygen” factory for the manufacture of medical and industrial gases. The projects turned into a holding company, which they called “AKWA”, which is an abbreviated name from the first letters of Akhannouch and Wakrim. .
The Agadir earthquake was considered a fundamental turning point that changed the course of Ahmed Oulhaj Akhannouch. The family’s home collapsed and turned into ruins, killing his father Ibrahim. Ahmed Oulhaj also lost two children in this earthquake, and his wife was able to resist the rubble until she was pulled out alive. A group of Ahmed Oulhaj’s possessions collapsed, but Its impact was not as great as the death of his father and his two sons, so he suffered a great shock. The tragedy was like a deep psychological rift that shook his being, and in order to heal his wounds, he returned to Casablanca, to raise the son he had after the earthquake. He gave him attention, hoping to compensate him for the injury. He made sure that he received an education. Well in Casablanca until he completes his journey and follows his example of running “Holding” this child, and given his position in his heart and conscience after losing his loved one, he named him Aziz, who was characterized by goodness, and he was not disappointed because Aziz of the family would go far on the financial and political level to become the leader of a political party, the head of the Moroccan government, and one of the senior leaders. We enriched the world.
In addition to politics, Ahmed Olhaj Akhannouch was a lover of art, sports, and journalism, which led him to found the first party, the “Free Progressive Party,” and publish the newspaper, “Adala.” He left the matter of its management to “Ibrahim Sharaf al-Din,” according to what was stated in Dr. Omar Amrir’s book on “The Self-Made Soussians.” “.
Because “Ibn al-Bat is a commoner,” Aziz Akhannouch benefited from his father’s experience. He imbibed the secrets of the “craft” at an early age, before heading to Canada in the early eighties to complete his graduate studies, obtaining a Master’s in Business Administration and a diploma in management and administrative management, and returning to In his country, to take over the management and leadership of his father’s projects, he married Salwa Al-Idrissi, a businesswoman and daughter of businessman Hassan Abu Al-Hajoul Al-Idrissi, and the granddaughter of Hajj Hassan Belfaqih, and her mother is close in terms of lineage to the Akhannouch family. In turn, Aziz Akhannouch married money and lineage and was blessed with two daughters and a son with Salwa.
The “dear” of the family, he was able to fulfill the wish of the wounded father who was bereaved of his father and his children. He had great importance and today he manages the affairs of Moroccans at the governmental level. He also contributes to the national economy in a large way through his personal projects within the holding, which was started by a small fuel shop in a remote area. Inside Casablanca.