Western sahara Major events

Panama Frees Morocco Phosphate Shipment Held In Western Sahara Claim

Western Sahara Worldnews - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 11:56

Reuters
By Samia Errazzouki
0

Panama authorities have released a Moroccan phosphate shipment from the disputed Western Sahara territory after it was temporarily held by a legal challenge from the Polisario independence movement, officials said on Monday.

The vessel was held on May 18 and is the second tanker carrying phosphate cargo from Moroccan exporter OCP stopped this month by a Polisario challenge. Polisario claims the cargo was transported illegally, a new tactic in its dispute with Morocco.

Western Sahara has been disputed since 1975, when Morocco claimed it as part of the kingdom and the Polisario fought a guerrilla war for the Sahrawi people’s independence. A 1991 ceasefire split the region in two between what Morocco calls its southern provinces and an area controlled by Polisario.

A source in the OCP said the Danish charter vessel Ultra Innovation, carrying 55,000 tonnes of phosphate rock through Panama to the Port of Vancouver for agricultural products supplier Agrium, was released, but did not comment further.

In a statement, Agrium said the shipping company posted a bond for the release of the ship. The phosphate cargo’s estimated value was around $6 million, Polisario had said.

A Panamanian judicial source said the ship was released after the bond was placed.

Morocco’s OCP, or Office Cherifien de Phosphate (OCP), is the world’s leading phosphate exporter and operates in the Moroccan-held areas of the disputed territory.

Earlier in the month, the Marshall Island-flagged NM Cherry Blossom, also carrying phosphate from Laayoune in the Moroccan part of the disputed territory for OCP, was detained in South Africa’s Port Elizabeth under a civil maritime court order.

On Thursday, the South African court reserved a judgment on the case and extended the hold on the vessel to June 9.

In a statement on MAP state news agency, the OCP has called Polisario’s charges in the South African court a “misplaced and inappropriate attempt to circumvent the current international political process actively pursued by the United Nations Security Council.”

The United Nations Security Council has called for fresh negotiations between Morocco and the Polisario, which runs its self-declared Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic or SADR.

Talks have failed for years to end the dispute. Morocco wants the region to have autonomy within Moroccan sovereignty. Polisario wants to hold a referendum on self-determination, including on the question of independence.

(Editing by Patrick Markey and Mark Potter)

China, Morocco To Build Skyscraper In Rabat

Western Sahara Worldnews - Mon, 05/22/2017 - 05:18

Global Times
Source:Xinhua

Construction companies from China and Morocco will set up a joint venture to build Africa’s tallest skyscraper in Morocco’s capital Rabat, local media reported on Saturday.

The joint venture will be set up by China Railway Construction Corp and Morocco’s leading construction company Travaux Generaux de Construction de Casablanca, which won the bid for the project.

Moroccan news site Alyaoum24.com reported that the 250-meter skyscraper will cost $375 million.

The 45-story tower, which will adopt ecological and sustainable design concepts, will include offices, hotels and luxury apartments, the news site said.

The tower will be the highlight of a large project to develop the capital’s Bouregreg valley, a key component of the 2014-18 Integrated Development Program dubbed “Rabat, City of Light, Moroccan Cultural Capital.”

The project also involves building several innovative facilities, including the Grand Theater of Rabat, the Arts and Culture House, the National Archives of the Kingdom of Morocco and a business center.

UN-Sahara: Algerian official attacks physically a Moroccan diplomat

Sahara News - Sun, 05/21/2017 - 20:09
The Sahara issue continues to poison relations between Algeria and Morocco, to the extent that an Algerian official has physically assaulted a Moroccan diplomat during a meeting of a UN body held Thursday (May 18) in St. Lucia. Soufiane Mimouni, Director General of the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, assaulted the Deputy Chief of Morocco’s […]

France-Legislatives: Candidate Leila Aïchi’s support for the Polisario comes at a high price

Sahara News - Sun, 05/21/2017 - 16:39
The French-Algerian senator, Leïla Aïchi, has paid a high price for her support for the Polisario, as her name disappeared, on Wednesday, from the final list of candidates of “La République en marche!” (LREM) for the June legislative elections in France. The candidacy of Leila Aïchi, who has been listed by MoDem of François Bayrou […]

UN-Sahara: Algerian Official Attacks Physically A Moroccan Diplomat

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sun, 05/21/2017 - 07:09

Sahara News
by Ali Haidar

The Sahara issue continues to poison relations between Algeria and Morocco, to the extent that an Algerian official has physically assaulted a Moroccan diplomat during a meeting of a UN body held Thursday (May 18) in St. Lucia.

Soufiane Mimouni, Director General of the Algerian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, assaulted the Deputy Chief of Morocco’s Mission in Saint Lucia who was hospitalized for medical treatment. The incident dismayed the members of the UN Special Committee of 24 that was convening in this Caribbean island.

Reacting to this unprecedented aggression in a UN meeting, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita expressed indignation at the Algerian official’s behavior.

“The assault by a senior official, third in the hierarchical order of the Algerian Foreign Ministry, transgresses all diplomatic customs,” said Nasser Bourita, describing the incident as “very serious”. He pointed out that going as far as attacking physically a diplomat at an official meeting is certainly unique in the annals of diplomacy.

The Moroccan Foreign Minister expressed amazement that the physical assault was made by an Algerian official, at a time Algeria constantly claims it plays a mere observer role in the Sahara issue.

Actually, Algerian officials’ nervousness has been growing since Morocco reintegrated last January the African Union (AU), where a majority of member states no longer recognize the Polisario.

And the feverishness of Algerian diplomacy has redoubled since the end of April when the UN Security Council adopted resolution 2351.

This resolution enshrines negotiation as the only way to achieve a political and mutually acceptable solution to the Western Sahara conflict and definitively excludes, like the other resolutions adopted since 2001, any reference to the referendum, so fiercely defended by Algeria and the Polisario separatist movement.

Morocco, U.S. – AFRICOM Discuss Military Cooperation

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 05/19/2017 - 06:42

Xinhuanet
Source: Xinhua

Fathallah El Ouarrak, the Inspector General of Morocco’s army held here on Thursday talks with United States Marine Corps General Thomas D. Waldhauser, Commander of the United States Africa Command.

They two generals examined the various aspects of military cooperation between the two countries as well as the perspectives of its development, the Moroccan Royal Armed Forces (FAR) said in a statement.

The military cooperation between Morocco and U.S. concerns particularly the areas of training, joint exercises, exchange of visits and expertise aimed at improving the interoperability of the two armies, the statement noted.

The U.S. military command in Africa (U.S.-AFRICOM) is one of the U.S. Unified Combatant Commands under the U.S. Department of Defence. It is responsible for the U.S. military operations in and relations with 53 African countries.

Le Jardin Des Douars In Morocco’s Coastal Town Of Essaouira Is No Common Garden Hotel

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 05/19/2017 - 05:50

INews
Rob Hastings
Press Image via
peter@boutiquedasilva.com

Riad means garden. At least, it does in the original sense of the Arabic word. In general terminology, you probably know it as a traditional Moroccan home built around a courtyard – one of those beautiful zelige-tiled spaces filled with sunlight and the soft tinkle of water in a fountain, adorned by pot plants.

The fact Morocco’s houses came to be known by the word for garden probably encapsulates the importance of keeping the natural world central to life here. It’s fair to say: if an Englishman’s house is his castle, a Moroccan’s home is his oasis.

No matter what your nationality, anyone would surely feel at home at Le Jardin des Douars. This boutique hotel, a 15-minute drive from the port town of Essaouria, doesn’t surround a garden; here it’s the trees and flowers and bushes that do the surrounding. They envelop the self-contained lodgings, as do the sounds of the countryside: the rustle of leaves in the breeze, the singsong of swallows and wagatils swooping between the palm trees, and the occasional croak of a frog.

First impressions

Arrival might seem unprepossessing, especially at night; our cab turns off the main road and begins making its way around, and sometimes unavoidably over, some of the biggest potholes you’ve ever seen. After a minute or so we start wondering where we’re heading in the darkness on this bumpy route to who knows where. But then we see the lanterns illuminating the lane to the romantic hideaway.

With a warm welcome, we’re led on a pathway through the garden to our cosy abode. The door opens to a living room that’s rustic in the very best sense of the word: whitewashed walls decorated by Berber handbags, a carved wooden table sitting on a rug, a log fireplace.

One of the bedrooms at Le Jardin des Douars
Enjoying the grounds

With morning light comes the revelation of just how beautiful the garden is, high on the southern bank of the Ksob river. Paths lead between cacti, argan trees and vibrant purple blooms along with more than 100 different types of plants. The terraced grounds laid out in 2004 by Jean Secondi, a landscape designer who transformed it from a stony patch of land before opening the hotel, which is now run by a husband-and-wife team.

Before a breakfast of msemmen crepe, creamy French toast and scrambled eggs – I couldn’t make my mind up so I confess I had it all, with no regrets – I go for a swim in one of the two pools. Thankfully one is reserved for families where children can splash away and shout with glee as much as they like. This means I’m left in peace as I step down into the teal-tiled pool reserved for adults, happily wading into the warmest waters to ever host my breaststroke.

The family pool at Le Jardin des Douars (Photo: Rob Hastings)
Is the local area worth visiting?

Time for a taxi into town. We find Essaouira, the small port town that serves to provide Marrakech tourists with a day’s welcome break from the big city, has a similarly laid-back tone to our hotel. The backstreets of small shops and stalls have plenty of jewellery, spices and decorative plates, but not nearly as many overbearing salesmen desperate for your dirhams as Marrakech.

True, there’s not an awful lot of sights to visit, but it certainly makes for a relaxing day wandering through the medina and taking in the coastal views from the small citadel, watching waves crash against the sea wall.

Essaouira, Morocco (Photo: Rob Hastings)
Chill out time

Once you’ve spent an afternoon Essaouira, you need not leave the confines of Le Jardindes Douars. It’s perfectly feasible to spend your whole day, or several of them, simply relaxing.

You can even sample a traditional hammam session – Morocco’s equivalent to a Turkish bath – here at the spa. Ok, it’s perhaps not quite as traditional as getting bollock naked in a room full of strangers at an authentic public hammam, and the mythical black soap fails to appear. But I’m certainly far more comfortable having buckets of water thrown over me in the darkness here than I would be anywhere else.

Luckily we choose a Sunday to remain in the grounds for lunch, meaning we can enjoy the most extensive barbecue I’ve ever seen – with enough options of salads and sides for even vegetarians to feel spoilt for choice.

The Sunday barbecue at Le Jardin des Douars (Photo: Rob Hastings)
Good choice for foodies?

Food is also a reason to stay in the evening. With three dining rooms as well as patio tables, dinner feels different each night, and not purely because I alternate between the succulent lamb shank and the delectable beef wellington.

It really is hard to find any kind of fault with Le Jardins des Douars, and is perfect for a honeymoon or weekend retreat. The roadway that leads down to it may be broken and in need of repair, but once inside the tranquility means you’ll feel a long way from the metaphorical beaten track.

B&B at Le Jardin des Douars, Essaouira, Morocco, from £125 per room per night

Young Photographers Capture The Beauty And Wonder Of Morocco

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 15:52

The Washington Post
By Michael Robinson Chavez

Follow the light! Follow the light!” It sounded like a scene from the 1980s film “Poltergeist,” but it was, in fact, award-winning photojournalist Ron Haviv giving some high school students sound photographic advice. The light was falling on a corner in the Berber town of Tinjad at the base of the Atlas Mountains and was fading fast. Cameras at the ready, the students trained their lenses, composed and made photographs that captured the spirit of this astonishing country.

The students, from the Ross School, a private school in East Hampton on Long Island, embark every year on what is called “M Term,” an approximately three-week educational journey to countries across the globe. This year Haviv and I accompanied them to the heart of Morocco.

“Stories transcend experience,” said Alexis Martino, dean of the Field Academy and principal organizer of the trips. “They make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. I immerse my students in storytelling to challenge them, to engage them with the unfamiliar, to encounter people whose life experiences enlarge their world, and to provide the opportunity for them to narrate their own stories of possibility and the human condition.”

A line in the sand: Fighting 40 years of exile in the desert of Western Sahara

We traveled across the country from ancient Fez through the Middle and High Atlas Mountains into the dunes of the Sahara Desert and finally, Marrakesh. Our goal was to help the students improve their vision, photographically speaking, and learn to tell stories with their images. It is always very fulfilling to see them grow over the course of the week, especially with a muse as inspiring as Morocco. This is a small sampling of what they saw.

Photos by: Hannah Dayton, Yi Pan, Michael Robinson Chavez, Leif Wood, Chun-hui Liou, Luna Wang, Ella Gatfield, Elizabeth Budge, Milo Munshin, Miles Thorsen, Leila Murphy, Lucia Robinson, Amanda Mintz, Ron Haviv/VII, Sunny Guo
 

Nigeria, Morocco Seal Pact On Gas Project, Fertilizer Initiative

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 08:12

Guardian
By Melody Fidelis

Morocco have sealed pacts to drive the implementation of the gas regional pipeline and fertilizer initiative. According to the Foreign Minister of Morocco, Nasser Bourita who presented the broad guidelines of the projects at the signing of the agreements in Morocco, the shared vision of the two leaders, President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari and King Mohammed VI, the King of Morocco is in favour of a sustainable, active and solidarity based joint development for Africa.

He noted that both projects were initiated during the Royal visit of the king to Nigeria in December 2016. Tagged ‘The Wonder of Africa’, the Joint Initiative on the Morocco –Nigeria Gas Regional Pipeline has been described as one designed by ‘Africans for Africans’ with a direct impact on 300 million people through the speeding up of electrification projects in West Africa; thus serving a basis for the creation of a competitive electricity regional market.

The scope of the Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines (ONHYM), was to determine the modalities of undertaking a feasibility study and a Front-End Engineering and Design (FEED) study relating to a gas pipeline from Nigeria to Morocco.

The pact also specified equal partnership in governance, management and financing of the project, with a timeline for both studies pegged at two years from the date of signing.
The second bilatéral agreement borders on the second phase of the fertiliser initiative. ‘The first phase was the supply of a cargo of phosphate by Morocco to Nigeria after eight weeks of its signing.

This supply led to the resuscitation of 11 blending plants which produced about 1.3 million tonnes of fertiliser; creation of 50,000 (direct) and 150,000 (indirect) jobs while farmers have access to the quantity of fertiliser they need.

“The second phase will enable the maximisation of local fertiliser production through the creation of platform for basic chemical products, secure the Nigeria’s market’s fertiliser supply for competitive prices and reinforce local distribution channels.

“The ceremony, held at the palace of King Mohammed VI, had him in attendance as well as a high- powered delegation led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Godfrey Onyeama, the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Audu Ogbe, his counterpart in the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development, Kayode Fayemi, the Governor of Jigawa State and Chairman, Presidential Committee on Fertiliser. Alhaji Abubakar Badaru. Other African countries were also in attendance”, a statement on the pact explained.

Sound Ready To Drill In Western Morocco

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 05/18/2017 - 05:27

Natural Gas World
Mark Smedley

Sidi Moktar in the Essaouira basin, onshore central western Morocco (Photo credit: Sound Energy).

UK-based explorer Sound Energy said May 17 that its rig has now arrived at its Sidi Moktar licence, onshore central western Morocco.

It will re-enter and test two existing wells (Koba-1 and Kamar-1) on the Kechoula discovery and, should sufficient qualities of gas be proven, Sound says it will complete an extended well test that if successful could produce first commercial gas for the domestic market around end-2017.

The rig, owned by Saipem, was previously used earlier this year by Sound Energy at its third well (TE-8) on its Tendrara licence onshore eastern Morocco; the latter established that a ‘Tagi’ hydrocarbon system proven in Algeria extends into Morocco.

Sidi Moktar licences, covering 2,700 km², are close to a large gas consumer: Moroccan state-owned OCP’s phosphate plant. Sound says that Kechoula was drilled by previous operators and estimated to have 293bn ft³ (gross) of unrisked mid-case gas in place. Sound has a 75% interest in the licences.

Moroccan licences held by Sound Energy; the company also has Meridja exploration acreage northwest of Tendrara (Credit: Sound)

Sound Energy CEO James Parsons said that Sidi Moktar was “one of its many exciting opportunities” and is “estimated to have significant pre-Jurassic exploration potential from the Tagi and Paleozoic [levels], similar to our Tendrara licence in Eastern Morocco. We continue to believe that Morocco is an exciting hydrocarbon province with significant upside for Sound, and look forward to updating the market on progress in due course.”

 

Sound Energy Gearing Up For Start Of Next Morocco Gas Well Programme

Western Sahara Worldnews - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 13:43

Proactive Investors
Jamie Ashcroft

The Koba-1 and Kamar-1 wells, drilled by former operators, will be recompleted, perforated and tested.

Sound sees ‘first commercial gas’ potentially coming from Sidi Moktar by the end of 2017.

Sound Energy PLC (LON:SOU) revealed details of its preparations for work-over programmes at the Sidi Moktar gas project onshore Morocco, where a rig has now arrived.

The closely followed oil and gas company told investors that the newly arrived SAIPEM rig with be used for the re-entry of two existing wells on the Kechoula discovery.

The Koba-1 and Kamar-1 wells, drilled by former operators, will be recompleted, perforated and tested.

Operations on Koba-1 are expected to be complete by the end of May, whereas the Kamar-1 workover programme is due to complete by mid-June.

If the well work-overs result in commercial flow rates then it is planned that Sound will have an extended well test.

The company notes that past assessment of Sidi Moktar, by past operators, yielded estimates for the asset’s potential for up to 9 trillion cubic feet of gas. As well as the Koba-1 and Kamar-1 well operations, Sound also intends to reprocess existing 2D seismic data.

Sound highlighted that it intends to wait until it has well data and findings from the new seismic data analysis before it comes to its own conclusion about the project’s resource potential.

It also noted that if well operations and testing are successful it would anticipate its ‘first commercial gas’ from Sidi Moktar by the end of 2017, given that the project is close to existing infrastructure and potential gas customers (such as the large scale Moroccan state owned OCP Phosphate plant).

CEO James Parsons excited by Morocco upside

“Sidi Moktar represents one of many exciting opportunities for operational success to add material value to our business in the near future,” chief executive James Parsons said.

“The Sidi Moktar licences are estimated to have significant pre-Jurassic exploration potential from the TAGI and Paleozoic, similar to our Tendrara licence in Eastern Morocco, reinforcing our strategy of identifying opportunities that can bring near term benefit to Sound Energy and can be progressed quickly from an infrastructural perspective.

“We continue to believe that Morocco is an exciting hydrocarbon province with significant upside for Sound, and look forward to updating the market on progress in due course.”

Nigeria-Morocco Gas Pipeline Project Agreements Signed

Western Sahara Worldnews - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 07:52

Energy Global
Angharad Lock, Digital Assistant Editor

Agreements regarding the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project were signed at a ceremony chaired by King Mohammed VI in Rabat (Morocco) on Monday. The pipeline is planned to stretch from Nigeria to Morocco and, eventually, into Europe.

According to news sources, when presenting on the pipeline project, Nasser Bourita, the Moroccan Foreign Minister, claimed that the Nigeria-Morocco pipeline will have a positive impact on over 300 million inhabitants.

Bourita’s Nigerian counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama, has stressed that the conclusion of the pipeline agreements just a few months after discussions about the pipeline commenced at the UN Climate Summit COP22 in November last year, proves a successful partnership between the countries.

New US$350 Million Program Unleashes Opportunities For Financial Sector Growth In Morocco

Western Sahara Worldnews - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 05:43

World Bank org
Press Release

New World Bank program supports improved access to finance for small and young enterprises and the development of local capital markets.

The World Bank announced today a $350 million program to support wide-ranging reforms of financial intermediation in Morocco. The operation supports new sources of financing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) while improving the regulatory oversight of the banking sector.

The operation also supports capital market development by broadening the range of instruments and strengthening the protection of Moroccan investors. Finally, it addresses the financial sustainability of the civil service pension fund, thereby preserving its role as a major institutional investor. The program will eventually unleash new financing solutions for small enterprises and the real economy more broadly.

To improve access to finance and promote financial inclusion, the Second Capital Market Development and Small and Medium Enterprise Finance Development Policy Loan (DPL) supports the expansion of the state’s loan guarantee schemes into Morocco’s regions. It also supports the development of credit information on new borrowers to facilitate lending decisions, as well as the provision of alternative payment services outside the traditional banking system. This will over time improve the financial lives of households and small enterprises with hitherto limited or no access to the formal financial system. With the financial sector exposed to new risks as the economy develops and Moroccan companies diversify into Africa, the DPL also supports enhanced central bank supervision of banks particularly those belonging to large financial conglomerates that could pose a risk to the entire financial system.

Stabilizing the finances of the Caisse Marocaine des Retraites, the mandatory pension fund for civil and military services, is a key part of the program. The reform gradually increases both the retirement age and contributions, as the first stage of a comprehensive reform toward restoring financial soundness to the pension system. The reform raises immediately the minimum pension payments for those at the lower end of the salary scale to protect the least well-off retirees and women survivors. Taken together, the reform safeguards the pension promises made by the State to its civil servants.

“Morocco has made significant progress over the past two decades in modernizing its financial system and creating an environment conducive to private sector development,”” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Maghreb Country Director for the Maghreb and Malta. “Global experience shows that private initiative is the engine of job creation, and better access to finance for SMEs, along with other financial inclusion efforts while safeguarding financial stability, will help unlock the immense potential of Morocco’s youth and women.”

Low-income households in particular are expected to benefit from the reforms supported by the DPL. Increased access to finance for small and medium enterprises will create more opportunities and generate jobs. The rise in pensions for those at the bottom wage scale will prevent any sudden drop in take home pay and help maintain their levels of consumption. Apart from providing new sources of financing for women entrepreneurs, the reforms create new systems for electronic payments allowing women to by-pass many social and economic hurdles that have excluded them from the economy.

“Strengthening capital markets and creating a dynamic, private sector-led economy will also allow Morocco to capitalize on new investment opportunities,” said Gabriel Sensenbrenner, World Bank Lead Financial Sector Economist and Team Leader. “This program will equip the financial system with instruments that help it allocate resources to where they are most productive, while safeguarding financial stability. This is particularly important as Morocco becomes a hub for Africa’s economic development.”

This DPL complements an operation approved in March this year supporting equity financing for innovative young and fast-growing enterprises in Morocco. It is also aligned with the World Bank Group strategy to help develop capital market solutions to mobilize private financing for infrastructure projects in client countries.

MEDIA CONTACTS

In Morocco
Ibtissam Alaoui
Tel : + (212)-537-544-200
ialaoui@worldbank.org
In Washington
William Stebbins
Tel : +1 (202) 458-8783
wstebbins@worldbank.org
For Broadcast Requests
Mehreen Sheikh
Tel : +1 (202) 458-7336
msheikh1@worldbank.org

Nigeria, Morocco Sign Two Bilateral Agreements

Western Sahara Worldnews - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 05:17

The Punch Nigeria

Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Godfrey Onyeama, introduces Nigerian delegates to the King of Morocco, King Mohammed VI. Photo: Akinkugbe

Nigeria and Morocco on Monday strengthened their business relationship by signing two bilateral agreements in Rabat, the Moroccan capital.

According to a release signed by the Communication and Change Management Consultant, Mrs. Olubunmi Akinkugbe, the first bilateral agreement was the Joint Initiative on the Morocco-Nigeria Gas Regional Pipeline.

“Tagged ‘The Wonder of Africa’ the pipeline, the project has historical significance because it is designed by ‘Africans for Africans,’ with a direct impact on 300 million people through the speeding up of electrification projects in West Africa; thus serving a basis for the creation of a competitive electricity regional market,” Akinkugbe wrote.

She said the scope of the Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines, was to determine the modalities of undertaking a feasibility study and a Front-End Engineering and Design study relating to a gas pipeline from Nigeria to Morocco.

It also specified equal partnership in governance, management and financing of the project.

The timeline for both studies is two years from the date of signing.

Interested third party countries will be allowed to join, the release added.

The second bilateral agreement was on the Second Phase of the Fertiliser Initiative.

The first phase was the supply of a cargo of phosphate by Morocco to Nigeria after eight weeks of its signing.

“This supply led to the resuscitation of 11 blending plants which produced about 1.3 million tonnes of fertiliser; creation of 50,000 (direct) and 150,000 (indirect) jobs, while farmers have access to the quantity of fertiliser they need.

“The second phase will enable the maximisation of local fertiliser production through the creation of platform for basic chemical products, secure the Nigeria’s market’s fertiliser supply for competitive prices and reinforce local distribution channels,” the release stated.

According to the Foreign Minister of Morocco, Nasser Bourita, who presented the broad guidelines of the projects, the signing of the agreements reflects the shared vision of the two leaders: President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari; and

King Mohammed VI of Morocco, in favour of a sustainable, active and solidarity-based joint development for Africa.

Both projects were initiated during the Royal visit of the king to Nigeria in December 2016, the release said.

The ceremony, held at the palace of King Mohammed VI, had in attendance a delegation led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Godfrey Onyeama; the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Audu Ogbe; Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; and Governor of Jigawa State and Chairman, Presidential Committee on Fertiliser, Mr. Abubakar Badaru.

Representatives of other African countries were also in attendance.

Maxtech Forms Strategic Partnership To Expand Manganese Exploration Into Morocco

Western Sahara Worldnews - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 05:10

EINPRESSWIRE
Marketwired

Maxtech Ventures Inc. (CSE: MVT) (CSE: MVT.CN) (CNSX: MVT)(FRANKFURT: M1N) (OTC PINK: MTEHF), (“Maxtech” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a strategic development partnership with Morocco-based Green Energy Resources (“GER”) to evaluate established mineral and mining concessions in Morocco for potential acquisition or joint venture.

GER and Maxtech are actively evaluating several advanced stage manganese assets in Morocco with an emphasis on fully permitted mining concessions with established histories of manganese production. These existing permits have been targeted for either 100% purchase or joint venture. The Company expects to report on its negotiations shortly.

The mining industry of Morocco is important to the North Africa region and the national economy of Morocco. The country is the world’s third largest producer of phosphate, and contains about 75% of the world’s estimated reserves. Mining contributed for approximately 35% of exports and 5% of GDP in 2011. Foreign investors have found the investment climate, infrastructure, fiscal situation, and political stability very favourable to the mining business (http://data.worldbank.org/country/morocco).

Peter Wilson, CEO of Maxtech said “This partnership provides a unique opportunity for Maxtech to expand into Morocco with a goal to eventually supply manganese into the European marketplace. It is an excellent jurisdiction in which to operate and with the help of Green Energy’s in-country presence we will be able to evaluate new manganese claims efficiently.”

About Maxtech Ventures Inc.

Maxtech Ventures Inc. is a Canadian based diversified industries corporation with gold and manganese mineral properties. Its focus is on mining and the products that are derived therefrom.

For additional information see the Company’s web site at http://www.maxtech-ventures.com
Email to info@maxtech-ventures.com

Further information about the Company is available on www.SEDAR.com under the Company’s profile.

Neither the Canadian Securities Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the Canadian Securities Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Certain statements contained in this release may constitute “forward-looking statements” or “forward-looking information” (collectively “forward-looking information”) as those terms are used in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and similar Canadian laws. These statements relate to future events or future performance. The use of any of the words “could”, “intend”, “expect”, “believe”, “will”, “projected”, “estimated”, “anticipates” and similar expressions and statements relating to matters that are not historical facts are intended to identify forward-looking information and are based on the Company’s current belief or assumptions as to the outcome and timing of such future events. Actual future results may differ materially.

In particular, this release contains forward-looking information relating to the business of the Company, the Property, and financing and certain corporate changes. The forward-looking information contained in this release is made as of the date hereof and the Company is not obligated to update or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable securities laws. Because of the risks, uncertainties and assumptions contained herein, investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. The foregoing statements expressly qualify any forward-looking information contained herein.

Maxtech Ventures Inc.
Peter Wilson
Phone: 604-484-8989

Morocco: New Fishing Port Handed Over By Vinci

Western Sahara Worldnews - Wed, 05/17/2017 - 05:02

Sand and gravel

March 2017 saw Dumez Maroc (part of the Vinci Construction International Network) handover a new fishing port in Casablanca, a project forming part of a total redevelopment of the port area.

Undertaken on behalf of Morocco’s ports authority, this complex operation – the biggest project ever implemented by the company – took place in a particularly hostile environment where heavy swells are frequent.

The task involved transferring the city’s old fishing port, which was too small and in poor condition, to a new, larger and more modern site.

The work included the creation of a main breakwater (655m), a secondary breakwater (535m), two quays (323m and 145m) and 240m of floating jetties, as well as dredging in the inner basin and access channel.

Algeria-Polisario: CIA’s accusatory documents

Polisario-confidential - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 11:27
CIA declassified documents have confirmed what everyone already suspected: Algeria supplied the Polisario Front with sophisticated weapons and equipment at the height of the armed clashes with Morocco in the 1980s. Algeria supplied the separatist movement with, among other equipment, radars able to detect with great precision the trajectory of the Moroccan army’s combat aircraft. […]

More Inclusive Growth And Youth Employment Within Reach For Morocco

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 04:45

SatPrnews
by Karol Rutkowski

New report outlines path to faster, sustainable economic growth and more inclusive human and social development.

Morocco has an opportunity in the years ahead to boost economic growth and job creation, especially for young people, and to catch up even faster with developed economies by investing in its human capital, modernizing the economy and improving the performance of public institutions.

This is the conclusion of the most recent Morocco Economic Memorandum (CEM) released today, entitled “Morocco 2040 – Emerging by Investing in Intangible Capital”. The new report provides an analysis of past economic performance as well as development opportunities and constraints, and then offers a roadmap for reforms to achieve superior economic and social outcomes over the next generation.

“Today’s launch concludes two years of research and analysis conducted in close collaboration with the government and key Moroccan constituencies. This report is timely as the country engages in a new development phase and we are pleased to contribute to its efforts towards the sustainable development goals” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Maghreb and Malta Country Director. “We are also pleased to present the report’s main recommendations to a set of stakeholders, from government, civil society, academia, to private sector and youth. We hope that this document will trigger a rich debate among all segments of society and mobilize greater support and understanding for the reforms needed to build a future based on shared prosperity”.

The CEM underlines the country’s significant social and economic achievements over the past fifteen years. Morocco engaged in a set of economic and social reforms to boost productivity, improve living standards, create jobs and enhance institutions. This process was further enriched by the 2011 Constitution which called for greater rights and opportunities for Moroccan citizens and enhanced the Kingdom’s governance framework. Bringing Morocco’s improved development outcomes to the next level and achieving economic convergence with Southern European countries will require to further deepen and integrate sector and governance reforms, according to the CEM.

The report proposes a set of critical pathways to reach that goal. It recognizes that while youth employment continues to be a major challenge, the country has the potential to unleash job creation and bring about the needed reforms to improve productivity and people’s living conditions. Specifically, the report invites the authorities to rethink the country’s business model in order to spur competitiveness, boost productivity and promote fair market conditions for investors, be they small or large. This will in turn create a more level-playing field for the private sector to grow and will generate more jobs for youth and women in particular.

In order to achieve this strategic goal, greater investments in the country’s precious human capital will be needed. This long term agenda touches upon two key sectors: education and health. In order to achieve an “education miracle” and give Moroccan students the needed skills to integrate into a more competitive job market, the CEM calls for a comprehensive education reform geared toward enhanced education sector performance, governance and outcomes. The health sector will also require sustained and significant efforts to bridge the access gap between rich and poor and to ensure efficient and accountable public health care. Yet, based on international experience, no successful social inclusion can be attained without achieving gender equality. According to the CEM, Morocco’s ability to empower and mobilize greater economic opportunities for women will be instrumental to significantly enhance economic growth.

Finally, the CEM views the strengthening of institutions and the country’s governance model as a key precondition to reinforce the rule of law and place the Moroccan citizen at the heart of its development model. This ranges from more accountable and efficient public services to giving voice to citizens and enhancing respect, interpersonal trust and civic duty.

“This roadmap humbly presents the economic policy and political economy conditions capable of boosting Morocco’s growth potential. But the most important role is that of each and every citizen to feel entitled and responsible to act on the country’s development, to strive for inclusive institutions and equal economic opportunities, to promote gender equality and interpersonal trust, and to contribute with confidence to building Morocco’s future” said Jean-Pierre Chauffour, World Bank Lead Economist and CEM author. “It takes a consultative and inclusive process for the country’s constituencies to discuss and agree on how they would like to see their country by 2040. We hope that we have at least contributed to triggering this debate through the analysis and projections contained in the present report”.

US Warship Conducts Training Exercise With Moroccan Patrol Vessel – Navy

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 05/16/2017 - 02:04

Sputnik International
© Photo: YouTube/Youtupe Mania

US Navy Littoral Warship Coronado Departs Singapore for Patrol in Pacific.

The US guided missile cruiser Vella Gulf performed a maritime interdiction and small boat defense training session with the Royal Moroccan Navy’s (RMNS) patrol ship Commandant El Harti, the US Navy said in a press release on Tuesday.

“The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) participated in a cooperation exercise with the Royal Moroccan Navy [on] May 5, 2017 while on deployment in the US 6th Fleet area of operations,” the release stated. “Vella Gulf and the P306 RMNS Commandant El Harti conducted maritime interdiction operations (MIO) and small boat defense procedures during the exercise.”

The release explained that maritime interdiction operations are key to stopping piracy on the high seas and noted that small boat attacks on larger ships are increasing.

“Vella Gulf is deployed as an independent unit in support of maritime security and ballistic missile defense operations in international waters across the globe,” the release added.

The US 6th Fleet is headquartered in Naples, Italy and its area of operations covers approximately half of the Atlantic Ocean from the North Pole to Antarctica as well as the Adriatic, Baltic, Barents, Black, Caspian, Mediterranean and North seas.

FLSmidth Wins Operations Contract In Morocco

Western Sahara Worldnews - Mon, 05/15/2017 - 11:54

Globe Newswire
Source: FLSmidth A/S

FLSmidth has won a five-year contract from OCP S.A. (formerly known as Office Chérifien des Phosphates) to operate port equipment for handling phosphate, fertilizers, and sulphur. The port is located in Jorf Lasfar, El Jadida, 100 km south of Casablanca, Morocco.

The contract marks FLSmidth’s first Operation & Maintenance contract in Morocco.

FLSmidth was awarded this contract as part of OCP’s ‘ecosystem’ initiative to benefit the local economy by bringing external know-how and hiring local workforce. FLSmidth was selected as partner due to their extensive know-how and commitment to source locally.

“We are extremely proud to be awarded this contract. It marks the culmination of a long-standing partnership between OCP and FLSmidth and is an important step in materials handling equipment operations in Morocco. We will deliver productivity enhancement to OCP by operating and maintaining the equipment we have supplied ourselves,” said Claus Christian Torbøl, Senior Vice President, FLSmidth Operation & Maintenance.

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Kristoffer Bohr Grønbæk
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FLSmidth is the market-leading supplier of productivity to the global mining and cement industries. Headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, and with offices in more than 50 countries, FLSmidth delivers engineering, equipment and service solutions to customers worldwide.

Productivity, sustainability, and quality are focus areas for FLSmidth and its 12,000 employees. The company generated revenue of DKK 18 billion in 2016. Read more on www.flsmidth.com

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