Western sahara Major events
A Moroccan UN peacekeeper was killed on Saturday in an attack in the Central African Republic’s southeast, close to where five other peacekeepers also lost their lives in recent days, the United Nations said.
An overnight attack targeted civilians in the town of Bangassou as well as a UN mission field office and “in the firefight, one peacekeeper of the Moroccan contingent died from gunshot injuries”, the UN mission MINUSCA said in a statement.
It said the attackers were members of a wide coalition including the mainly Christian anti-Balaka group who “attacked civilian populations, targeting in particular Muslims”, another sign of the continuing sectarian violence that has ravaged the country.
MINUSCA also said there were reports of civilians killed.
“At this time it is difficult to ascertain the humanitarian situation in Bangassou. However credible sources have confirmed an undetermined number of civilian casualties,” the statement said.
Displaced people in the area have fled to the town’s mosque, Catholic Church and the Doctors without Borders (MSF) hospital, it added.
The head of MINUSCA Parfait Onanga-Anyanga warned the militias that the authorities would be “relentless” in finding and arresting those responsible for the killings.
“The blood of peacekeepers and the blood of innocent Central Africans will not fall in vain in this country,” he said.
On Monday, another Moroccan and four Cambodian soldiers were also killed in an attack on their convoy.
UN officials said the bodies of the four Cambodian peacekeepers were badly mutilated, to the point of making identification difficult.
MINUSCA deployed 10 000 troops and 2 000 police to the CAR following bloody sectarian fighting that erupted after the 2013 overthrow of leader Francois Bozize.
Among Africa’s poorest countries, the CAR descended into bloodshed pitting the anti-Balaka fighters against the mainly Muslim ex-Seleka rebels.
While calm has been restored to the capital Bangui, parts of the country remain under the sway of armed groups.
Asharq Al awsat
Wheat being harvested in China’s Shandong province. AFP photo
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has expected Morocco’s harvest of wheat to increase from 2.7 million tons in 2016 to 7 million this year.
It also expected the 600,000 tons of barley harvested last year to reach 2.8 million in 2017.
After “poor and erratic rains” last year, “prospects for the 2017 harvest look very promising,” FAO said in a report.
“While parts of Morocco suffered from autumn drought up to mid-November 2016, which delayed plantings in some areas, good precipitation later in the season replenished soil moisture, improving yield prospects,” it said.
Moroccan dams cover only 15 percent of its agricultural land, with rainfed agricultural production accounting for 85 percent of aggregate output, said the report.
Good precipitation later in the season replenished soil moisture, improving yield prospects. The total area planted with winter cereals in the current season is 5.11 million hectares, compared to 3.6 million hectares in the previous year, it said.
According to the report, Morocco’s cereal imports in 2016/17 (July/June) are forecast at 9.1 million tons. A larger increase in import requirements was limited by ample carryover stocks from the previous year’s above average harvest.
European Union and Black Sea countries supply most of the common “soft” wheat, while Canada is the traditional supplier of “durum” wheat.
As part of the expected increase in harvest this year, FAO said that the government has announced the increase of the import duty on “soft” wheat from 30 percent to 135 percent.
The report added that food inflation in Morocco is limited, recording a 1.8 percent decrease in March last year.
The government subsidizes more than 1 million tons of the “national flour”, a common wheat of standard quality used to make flour for the low income consumers but the “durum” wheat market is not regulated.
Ageela Saleh, accompanied by Libyan ambassador Abdulmajed Seif El Nasr (left), presented by Moroccan foreign minister Nasser Bourita with a trophy to mark his visit (Photo: Herald of Libya)
President of the Libyan House of Representatives Ageela Saleh Issa reaffirmed on Tuesday commitment towards Libya’s political agreement, signed on 17 December 2015 in Skhirat, however after the amendment of a few terms.
Saleh Issa said that after amendments are made the accord will be incorporated into the country’s constitution, recognizing the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) presidential council.
Speaking at a press conference held on Monday after Saleh Issa said that the Libyan parliament requested the amendment of the Skhirat agreement. The presser was held on the sidelines of bilateral discussions held between Saleh Issa and Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita in Rabat.
The presidential council must be composed of a single president and two deputies, Saleh Issa said. He also mentioned that the acting prime minister must have power over council assignment, in addition to other points.
For his part, Moroccan FM Bourita called on all Libyan parties to accept the principle of consensus. It was in the interests of the Libyan people, their peace, and the country’s unity, the minister said.
Morocco hosted the UN-brokered Libya Dialogue sessions in Skhirat which resulted in the Libyan Political Agreement. Saleh Issa, however, is not wholly in agreement with it.
Since March 2016, the conflict between the two rival governments, the Libyan House of Representatives and the GNA-affiliated General National Congress (GNC), has intensified. Despite previously supporting it, the Libyan House of Representatives withdrew its recognition of the GNA by voting against it in the summer of 2016 and becoming their rival for governing the country.
More so, Bourita said that his country’s interest lies in sustaining Libya’s stability and unity given the long-standing relations shared between the two countries.
He stressed that Rabat will continue its mediation efforts with all Libyan parties in hopes of bringing conflicting parties closer together.
Bourita pointed out that Saleh Issa’s visit to Rabat comes within the framework of many efforts made by Morocco under orders from King Mohammed VI concerning the Libyan file, aiming to establish a political consensus between the Libyans.
For his part, Saleh Issa said that talks with Bourita intensely reviewed the situation in Libya and directed help to Libyan people, as well as provided substantial aid for counterterrorism efforts.
The 23rd World Festival of Sacred Music opened late on Friday in Morocco’s old city of Fez, with China as guest of honor.
Held under the theme “Water and the Sacred,” the festival was opened by Morocco’s first lady Princess Lalla Salma.
Choosing water as its theme, this year’s festival aims to promote respect for the environment as the natural extension of a spiritual approach.
The festival in 2017 will be an opportunity to explore the symbolism of water and urge the world to reconcile with the environment and mobilize for the future generations and the planet.
The nine-day festival will feature a number of renowned traditional artists from all over the world.
Starting in 1994, the annual festival was designated in 2001 by the United Nations as one of the major events contributing in remarkable fashion to the dialogue between civilizations.
Leggy Ellie Goulding Puts On A Hair Raising Display As She Performs At A Moroccan Music Festival In A Strappy Camisole And Satin Blouse Ensemble
By MailOnline Reporter
She’s known for her energetic performances and catchy pop tunes.
And Ellie Goulding lived up to her reputation with a hair-raising performance at the Mawazine Music festival in Rabat, Morocco on Friday.
The petite pop princess wowed fans were her high-tempo routine and electric vocals while also showing off her amazing figure.
Lights: Ellie Goulding put on a hair-raising performance at the Mawazine Music festival in Rabat, Morocco on Friday. The Lights hitmaker wore a strappy camisole and black satin blouse.
Ellie Goulding excited about performing at festival in Morocco.
Ellie, 30, put her sun-kissed tanned legs on display in figure hugging strappy camisole and black satin blouse.
The Lights hitmaker styled her golden loose locks in a choppy layered cut while rocking out on the stage.
Plenty to smile about! Cat Deeley is in high spirits as she steps out in fitted leather jacket and tinted sunglasses for shopping spree with husband Patrick Kielty.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead looks chic in floral blouse as she joins Ewan McGregor and the cast of Fargo for special LA screening of new series.
The starlet put her anxiety battles about stepping into the spotlight behind her as she showed she stepped out with confidence.
In a recent interview, she told People: ‘I think part of what sparked my panic attacks was not feeling confident enough to believe in myself. I was scared I wasn’t as good of a singer as everyone thought I was.’
Leggy: The petite pop princess wowed fans were her high-tempo routine and electric vocals
The Starry Eyed hitmaker appeared to be flying solo at the event, amid her rumoured romance with Team GB rower Caspar Jopling.
They put on a cosy display in New York City in April reigniting rumours they had become an item in March of this year.
Their blossoming romance comes after Ellie’s recent split from the Beckham’s bodyguard Bobby Rich, who she was first linked to in November 2016.
She previously enjoyed a two-year on/off relationship with McFly’s Dougie Poynter.
Ex: Ellie previously enjoyed a two-year on/off relationship with McFly’s Dougie Poynter
While the former flames split for good in February 2016, they revealed they still ‘love each other very much’.
She told the MailOnline that she would always hold Dougie dear.
‘It’s like we’ve always been friends. He’s one of my really good friends,’ she said.
‘For me, when I’ve been in relationships with people, those are the people I will always hold dear to me.
New flame: Ellie is rumoured to be dating Team GB rower Caspar Jopling. Ellie Goulding fails at playing it cool in front of Puff Daddy
by Ali Haidar
Algeria and the Polisario are finding it difficult to conceal their resentment at the stance expressed lately by Donald Trump’s administration regarding the Moroccan Sahara conflict.
The separatists and their mentors were hoping to see the new US administration adopt a stand on this issue favorable to their theses, but they were bitterly disappointed.
While Algerian rulers and Polisario leaders have not yet assimilated the latest Security Council resolution on the Sahara, largely in favor of Morocco, they were dealt another blow, this time directly from Washington.
In the FY17 Appropriations Bill passed by the Congress and promulgated by President Donald Trump on Friday, May 5, the United States renewed unambiguously its support for Morocco, in the territorial conflict opposing it to its neighbor, Algeria.
The Bill stipulates in Title III of the Act that the funds made available for assistance for Morocco shall also be made available for any region or territory administered by Morocco, including the Western Sahara.
Better than this, the Congress calls on the Secretary of State to continue his efforts to “negotiate a settlement of this dispute, consistent with the policy of the United States to support a solution based on a formula of autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty”.
In the same document, the Trump Administration is invited “to support private sector investments in Western Sahara”.
Washington’s position seriously compromises the theses upheld by the Polisario and by Algeria, a stakeholder in the frantic and illegitimate battle waged against Morocco.
And they are not at the end of their sorrows. France’s President-elect Emmanuel Macron will surely drive yet another nail in the coffin of the separatist theses, although the ailing President of Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika tried to soften him in a congratulations message. He described him as a “great friend of Algeria” in a vain attempt to coax him to change France’s stand on the Sahara issue.
The Polisario and Algeria try to ignore that Macron’s diplomatic adviser Aurélien Lechevallier had said during the electoral campaign that regarding the Sahara issue, Macron will maintain France’s position in favour of UN-led efforts to find a political and mutually acceptable solution to the regional dispute, and that Morocco’s autonomy initiative represents a credible basis to reach a political settlement.
© REUTERS/ Adama Diarra
Attack on UN Mission’s Camp in Mali Kills One Peacekeeper.
A Moroccan peacekeeper that had been missing after the attack on a UN convoy in Central African Republic earlier this week was found dead, UN Secretary-General spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters on Thursday.
“The Moroccan peacekeeper who had been reported missing has now been found dead. We extend our condolences to the people and government of Morocco,” Dujarric said.
On Monday, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) convoy was attacked by Anti-Balaka militia near the village of Yogofongo, located 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) from the country’s south-eastern city of Bangassou.
The total number of the victims of the attack now amounts to five, four nationals from Cambodia and one Moroccan.
The Central African Republic has been suffering from sectarian clashes between Muslims and Christians since the 2013 coup, when Muslim Seleka rebels seized control in the majority-Christian nation, overthrowing then-President Francois Bozize, who had ruled the country since 2003.
Anti-Balaka militias, composed primarily of Christians, have been conducting violent activities and atrocities since 2013. In 2014, human rights watchdog Amnesty International reported several massacres committed by the group against Muslim civilians.
A delegation of Moroccan parliamentarians is currently in South Africa to take part in the fourth session of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), being held in Midrand, near Johannesburg, from May 8 to May 19.
Speaking in the wake of the Kingdom’s return to the African Union (AU), which took place at the organisation’s 28th summit held in Addis Ababa in January, this participation aims to prepare for Morocco’s official return to the legislative body of the AU, the report said on Thursday.
“Our participation is aimed at finalising the procedures for Morocco’s accession to the Pan-African Parliament,” Abdellatif Abdouh, a member of the House of Councillors (Istiqlal party), told MAP.
He said that the participation is part of the framework of the dynamisation of parliamentary diplomacy to accompany the return of the Kingdom within its African institutional family.
The return of Morocco to the PAP will be formalised on the occasion of the fifth session of this Parliament, which will be held next October, Abdouh added.
The members of the Moroccan delegation — three members of the House of Representatives and two of the House of Councillors — will hold meetings with several African delegations.
Mohamed Zakrani, deputy of the parliamentary group of the constitutional assembly in the House of Representatives, stressed the importance of Morocco’s return to the PAP, noting that this return will defend the interests of Morocco.
Another official said that Morocco’s return to the PAP will mark the beginning of a new chapter in Morocco’s relations with Africa.
“The presence of Morocco in the PAP will enable the Kingdom to defend its just and legitimate causes within a pan-African legislative institution whose influence is constantly strengthening,” the official said.
A Chinese higher education fair opened on Thursday in the Moroccan capital Rabat with the participation of some 22 universities.
Held at Mohammed V University in Rabat, the fair represents a precious opportunity for Moroccan students who are interested in pursuing their studies in China.
The participant universities are prestigious institutions specialized in the fields of transport, finance, industry, foreign languages and sciences.
Speaking at the opening of the fair, Chinese ambassador to Morocco Sun Shuzhong said that education cooperation is an important area at the Chinese-Moroccan partnership.
He hailed the significant increase in educational exchange between the two countries, adding that Morocco has become the first Arab country to have three Confucius institutes.
On Friday, the fair will move to Morocco’s largest city of Casablanca.
A Moroccan policeman stands guard at the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation office in Sale. [Reuters]
Rabat- Moroccan police have arrested six people on suspicion of belonging to the ISIS terrorist organization in the cities and towns of Casablanca, Tangier, Tetouan, Marrakesh and Safi.
The preliminary investigation found that the suspects have promoted for ISIS and vowed to carry out terrorist attacks in Morocco, the interior ministry announced on Wednesday.
Some of the detainees with ties to militants in Syria and Iraq have acquired bomb-making and booby-trapping skills for the purpose of carrying out attacks on vital installations, entertainment facilities and popular areas in several Moroccan cities, the German news agency said.
Bomb-making material, including electronic devices, electric cables, gloves and masks, were confiscated in the raids. Police also found knives and transcripts calling for the murder of non-ISIS members.
The arrest of the six suspects came days after the interior ministry announced that the authorities in Morocco and Spain had dismantled a “terrorist cell” of three ISIS supporters.
It said one of the jihadist suspects was arrested in Tangier, and the other two were detained in Spain.
The ministry said the three-man cell had been in “close contact” with ISIS in Iraq and Syria and was recruiting volunteers to join the jihadist ranks.
Last month, Moroccan security forces announced the dismantling of a seven-member terrorist cell active in the cities of Fes and Moulay Yacoub.
This is post 3 of 4 in the series “Africa Calling: The Most and Least Attractive Investment Destinations”
1. Here Are The New Top 10 Investment Destinations in Africa
2. Botswana Emerges as the Most Attractive Investment Destination of Africa
3. Why Are Morocco and Egypt Among the Top Three Investment Destinations of Africa?
4. The 10 Worst Investment Destinations of Africa
Morocco: A consistent performer
From 2013 until 2016, Morocco has been quite consistent, ranking among the top three destinations according to Quantum Global Research Lab’s Africa Investment Index (AII).
Morocco placed second in the 2016 index, released in April this year, due to superior showing on current account ratio, ease of doing business, and import cover. The country also ranks fairly high on real gross domestic product (GDP), and Facebook penetration rate. Its worst showing comes is in external debt as a percentage of gross national income (GNI), where it ranks 30th.
In 2015, Morocco had stood third overall in the rankings, and was the top investment destination in 2014.
Due to its consistent performance, Morocco emerges as the top ranked country in the AII in the three-year rolling rankings.
The political environment is the biggest challenge for the nation, apart from low per-capital GDP, which S&P Global Ratings holds is “one of the lowest in the category of countries rated BBB-/A-3.”
The country was without a government for over six months until recently when the parliament gave its vote of confidence to Prime Minister Saad Eddine El Othmani’s Islamist Justice and Development Party. This lacuna in administration has led to delays in public spending programs. However, overall, the country’s ranking remains strong across metrics, making it a viable investment option.
Egypt: Opportunity in the land of the Pyramids
Egypt has been in the top ten in the Africa Investment Index (AII) in all years from 2013 to 2016.
However, its third place as per the 2016 index was its best showing in these four years.
Related Article Botswana Emerges as the Most Attractive Investment Destination of Africa
The country has scored well on factors including size of GDP, real interest rate, total population, and external debt as a percentage of GNI. It ranks among top ten nations on Facebook penetration rate, credit rating, and current account ratio. Its worst ranking is on the factor of exchange rate risk, where it ranks 48th among 54 countries.
In both 2014 and 2015, Egypt stood at eighth overall in the rankings.
The country has been on a reform path after it qualified for a $12 billion loan program from the International Monetary Fund in November 2016. However, its action to improve its finances may have been detrimental to the people who had marched against rationing of bread in March. The government is under pressure to do more in order to qualify for future tranches of the aforementioned loan.
There have been some positive effects of the reform process though, as Egypt has got back on investors radars.
Until now, we have looked at the top 10 investment destinations of Africa and focused on the top three. In the next article, let’s look at the bottom 10 countries as per the AII.
This is post 3 of 4 in the series “Africa Calling: The Most and Least Attractive Investment Destinations”
By: Samaa Web DeskPublished in Economy, Pakistan
Pakistan and Morocco have signed a memorandum of understanding on establishment of a joint business council in Casablanca.
The MoU was signed by Vice President of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Ishtiaq Baig and President of Moroccan Federation of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Services, Mustapha Amhal in Islamabad.
The purpose of establishing the joint business council is to strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries in trade, investment, technology transfer, services and other industrial sectors.
The forum, comprising Pakistani and Moroccan businessmen, will not only discuss means of promotion of economic cooperation but will also make recommendations to the respective governments in this regard. –SAMAA/app
Story first published: 10th May 2017
Staff writer, Al Arabiya English
Saudi King Salman has sent messages to Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, King Mohammed VI of the Kingdom of Morocco, Iraqi President Dr. Fuad Masum and Tunisian President Beji Caid Essebsi, inviting them to attend Arab, Islamic and United States summit hosted by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubair and Saudi Chargé D’Affaires in the countries sent the messages to the nations’ leaders.
During the invitation handouts, bilateral relations were discussed between representatives of Saudi Arabia and the other countries.
Last Update: Tuesday, 9 May 2017 KSA 17:05 – GMT 14:05
by Deena Kamel
Air Arabia PJSC has renewed plans to expand its fleet, with the biggest discount carrier in the Persian Gulf and North Africa encouraged as pressure on fares eases, boosting prospects in Morocco and other bases.
The airline, an Airbus SE A320 operator, could reach a decision on new jets as early as this year or into 2018, Chief Executive Officer Adel Ali said in an interview in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, where it is based.
Air Arabia’s net income fell 10 percent to 103 million dirhams ($28 million) in the first quarter, extending declines from last year as the low oil price weighed on Gulf economies, the Egyptian pound fell and concerns about terrorism hurt demand. Bookings from Morocco, which last suffered a major attack in 2011 but remains subject to foreign advisories, suggest the situation is easing, Ali said.
“As we go into the second quarter and then summer I’m optimistic that things will be much brighter,” the CEO said. “We’ve been growing pretty fast in our hub in Morocco. It’s been doing very well for us. Morocco this year will probably be our key fast-growing market.”
Shares of the U.A.E.’s only listed airline have declined 23 percent this year, valuing it at 4.8 billion dirhams. They slumped 9.4 percent, the most since 2013, on Feb. 9 after the company reported its first quarterly loss on record for the final three months of 2016.
Air Arabia currently operates a fleet of 47 A320s, according to its website, with the planes distributed across bases in Sharjah, Jordan, Egypt and Morocco, where it serves six cities and plans to station eight aircraft this summer, up from five previously, Ali said.
Rates for leased aircraft are also looking attractive, he said, providing Air Arabia with an opportunity to source jets more quickly if required. The CEO had said in 2015 that he aimed to place an order for new aircraft by the end of 2016, while declining to specify how many and of what type.
Seat-occupancy levels declined only slightly to 81 percent in the first quarter as Air Arabia cut fares to defend its market share, it said Sunday. Ali said he’s now “more optimistic” about yields, or prices, as the Russian market also revives and Egypt shows signs of a recovery after the country’s currency float.
“We’re seeing people continue to travel,” Ali said. “That’s a positive signal for all of us. We’ll manage the yield and the cost as long as people are traveling.”
By Joseph Dumbula
Malawi no longer recognizes the Sahrawi Arabic Democratic Republic (SADR), Foreign Affairs Minister Francis Kasaila has said.
This places the nation as the 35th one to make such an announcement.
Malawi established diplomatic relations with the SADR in 2002.
The SADR is a disputed territory claimed by both the Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front.
It is listed by the United Nations (UN), as a non-decolonized territory and is thus included in the United Nations List of Non-Self-Governing Territories.
Kasaila (L) with Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita in Rabat. (Image credit- Morocco World News)
‘’Only a handful of the countries that proclaimed their backing to the Polisario and its pseudo republic at the height of the Cold War in the 1970s are still supporting the separatist movement. This waning support shows that African countries are increasingly aware of the reality of the Sahara issue and are making diplomatic decisions in accordance with international legality and the UN Charter, Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said at the end of his meeting with his Malawian counterpart Francis Kasaila, in Rabat on Friday,’’ a post on Saharanews.com reads.
The SADR which controls about 20–25% of the territory also looks after a thin strip of area in the Western Sahara region and claims sovereignty over the entire territory of Western Sahara, a former Spanish colony.
SADR was proclaimed by the Polisario Front on February 27, 1976, in Bir Lehlou, Western Sahara, a former communist liberation force (modelled after that of Cuba) which has since reformed its ideological and political views.
In making the withdrawal, Malawi has joined in drumming up support to the UN efforts seeking to reach a lasting and mutually acceptable political solution to this regional dispute.
Malawi had also announced the withdrawal before it re-established the diplomatic ties in 2008 until 2014 when it rescinded the decision.
The Polisario is first and foremost a nationalist organization, whose main goal is the independence of Western Sahara. It has stated that ideological disputes should be left for a future democratic Western Sahara to deal with. It views itself as a “front” encompassing all political trends in Sahrawi society, and not as a political party. As a consequence, there is no party programme.
However, the Sahrawi republic’s constitution gives a hint of the movement’s ideological context: in the early 1970s, Polisario adopted a vaguely socialist rhetoric, in line with most national liberation movements of the time, but this was eventually abandoned in favour of a non-politicized Sahrawi nationalism. By the late 1970s, references to socialism in the republic’s constitution were removed, and by 1991, the Polisario was explicitly pro-free-market.
The Polisario has stated that it will, when Sahrawi self-determination has been achieved, either function as a party within the context of a multi-party system, or be completely disbanded. This is to be decided by a Polisario Front congress upon the achievement of Western Sahara’s independence.
IANS | Madrid
A group of about 300 sub-Saharan migrants on Tuesday staged a mass attempt to breach the border fence between Spain and Morocco, authorities said.
The mass attempt to reach Melilla, a Spanish autonomous city on the North African mainland, early on Tuesday saw about 100 migrants succeed, while about 200 others were blocked by Spanish and Moroccan security forces, Efe news reported.
The 100 or so who managed to get over the fence were taken to a temporary immigrant processing centre.
The incident took place at the southern part of the border fence in Melilla, and saw migrants hurling rocks as efforts to reach Spanish territory turned violent, according to the authorities.
During the assault, three members of the Spanish Civil Guard were injured and several security vehicles were damaged.
The last successful mass attempt to reach Melilla was on February 6, when 18 of a group of 40 migrants made it over a fence in the same area.
By Agency Report
AFP PHOTO / SEYLLOU
Senegalese policemen stand guard outside the Attijariwafa Moroccan bank during its inauguration in Dakar, Senegal, 07 July 2006. Senegalese Prime Minister Macky Sall and his Morrocan counterpart Driss Jettou attended the event.
- Shares climb to snap three days of declines in Casablanca
- Lender sees floating of dirham boosting demand for derivatives
- halted its plans to enter Nigeria and Algeria as it prioritizes the consolidation of its purchase of 100 percent of Barclays Plc’s Egypt
Attijariwafa Bank, Morocco’s biggest lender, is planning to complete expansions in East and West Africa this year as it focuses on consolidating its new acquisitions to spur growth.
Meanwhile the lender has halted its plans to enter Nigeria and Algeria as it prioritizes the consolidation of its purchase of 100 percent of Barclays Plc’s Egypt, which was completed this month as part of plans to boost growth.
The Casablanca-based bank aims to finalize a deal to buy Rwanda’s Cie Generale de Banque, known as Cogebanque, start commercial banking operations in Chad and apply for a banking license in Ghana in 2017, General Manager Ismail Douiri said in an interview in Cairo on Sunday.
Attijariwafa started its first wave of acquisitions in 2005 as it was faced with fewer opportunities to expand in Morocco. It now operates in 26 countries including Tunisia, Niger, Gabon and Cameroon, as well as France, Germany and Italy.
The bank forecasts loans and deposits will increase 5 percent to 7 percent and profits to expand between 5 percent and 10 percent in 2017. It plans to sell as much as 1.5 billion Moroccan dirhams ($152 million) of perpetual bonds to meet Basel 3 requirements.
Attijariwafa expects the planned floating of the dirham in the second half of this year to boost revenues as the subsequent volatility in the currency will create higher demand for foreign-currency derivatives products, Douiri said.
“There are risks but also opportunities,” he said.
Attijariwafa’s shares climbed 1.5 percent to 419 dirhams per share by 1:15 p.m. in Casablanca, snapping three days of declines.
By Michel Cousins
Ageela Saleh, accompanied by Libyan ambassador Abdulmajed Seif El Nasr (left), presented by Moroccan foreign minister Nasser Bourita with a trophy to mark his visit (Photo: HoR)
The president of the House of Representatives has been warmly welcomed in the Moroccan capital Rabat which he is visiting at the invitation of the speaker of Morocco’s House of Representatives, Habib Al-Malki.
In talks with Malki, it was agreed to establish a joint parliamentary committee to strengthen relations and aid cooperation between the two countries.
Accompanied by Libyan ambassador to Rabat Abdulmajed Seif El Nasr and a small delegation, Saleh later went the Moroccan foreign ministry where he was presented a trophy to mark his visit.
According to the HoR media office, discussions with the Moroccan foreign minister, Nasser Bourita, focussed on efforts to resolve the Libyan crisis, but in accordance with the wishes of the Libyan HoR.
For its part, the Moroccan news agency, MAP, noted that Bourita called on all Libyan parties to accept the principle of consensus. It was in the interests of the Libyan people, their peace and the country’s unity, the minister said.
Also according to MAP, Ageela Saleh praised Morocco’s King Mohamed for his efforts to being about reconciliation in Libya.
Morocco hosted the UN-brokered Libya Dialogue sessions in Skhirat which resulted in the Libyan Political Agreement. Saleh, however, is not wholly in agreement with it.