Western sahara Major events
Gulf Digital News
Morocco-based Masen, a leading renewable energy company, said its president Mustapha Bakkoury recently visited Sweden to meet the country’s governmental energy agencies and Cleanergy AB to discuss collaboration opportunities.
Cleanergy AB is a privately held high-tech small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) specialised in the supply of Stirling engine-based renewable energy solutions.
Morocco and Sweden have the attributes for good business relations within the energy sector, said a statement from the company.
With Morocco’s avant-gardist strategy for renewable energy development, its optimal weather conditions and Sweden’s innovative technology solutions, focus is on how to continue developing the collaboration between the two countries, it said.
Bakkoury undertook this visit upon an official invitation by the state secretary Oscar Stenström, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He also met Pär Nuder, board member of Cleanergy AB, and other high-level representatives of the Swedish Government and officials of the Stockholm region.
During the meeting, the officials discussed topics such as: Sweden’s energy strategy and goals for renewables; collaborative efforts between the two countries; and Morocco’s roadmap to being global leader within renewable energy
Prior to this visit Cleanergy AB had signed an agreement with Masen to deliver concentrated solar power (CSP) technology to Morocco, said a statement.
The agreement foresees Cleanergy and Masen collaborating to set up demonstration units of its Stirling CSP technology in the Noor Ouarzazate complex and to launch collaborative innovation activities on thermal energy storage systems.
Bakkoury said: “We are positioning ourselves as a major player in the renewables sector on a global level. Morocco has set an ambitious objective of 52 per cent renewables within its energy mix by 2030.”
“Relations with Sweden are part of the strategy to accomplish this, as well as our interest for innovative, state-of-the-art solar power generation technologies,” he added.
Jonas Eklind, president of Cleanergy AB, said: “They have the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant since 2016 – 580 MW Noor Ouarzazate complex and will in 2018 supply power to nearly two million people all over Morocco.”
“We see this aggressive plan and expansion as an opportunity. To enter the African solar power market and collaborate with Masen on development of the CSP technology with storage, is a solution where everyone can benefit,” he added. – TradeArabia News Service
Travel Trade weekly
In a bid to strengthen Morocco’s cargo transport sector, Royal Air Maroc has signed an agreement with Boeing to convert of a passenger aircraft into freighters.
The Boeing 767-300 set to undergo the transformation will be utilized exclusively for cargo transport, bringing the total to two and adding to the carrier’s inventory currently comprising 54 mixed-used jets.
Along with bolstering the airline’s cargo capacity from 25,600 tonnes to 77,000 tonnes, the extra aircraft will also enable the transport of animals, pharmaceuticals and oversized items.
Amine El Farissi, director, Royal Air Maroc Cargo, explained that Boeing’s conversion programme is a convenient solution during a period of urgent need for freight aircraft, therefore the company is likely to implement a similar strategy in the future.
Energy Live News
A new green bond in Morocco aims to promote and support investments in a range of renewable energy projects.
The issuance by Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP), one of Morocco’s largest banking groups, has already received investments of €100 million (£87.9m) and €35 million (£30.8m) from World Bank Group member IFC and private sector financing group Proparco respectively.
The 10-year maturity bond will enable banks to support long term investments in green assets by channeling private funding into climate finance.
This financing is expected to help save 938,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
IFC has identified $68 million (£53.5m) of green investment opportunities in Morocco alone.
Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “Addressing climate change is a priority for IFC in the region and Morocco is an active player in this area.
“By building on our long term partnership with BCP, we aim to encourage more private sector investment in long term renewable energy projects, paving the way for more sustainable economic development and growth.”
by M Sehimi, Maghress
Princess Lalla Joumala Alaoui, a cousin of Morocco’s king, who most recently served as her country’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, was appointed in February 2016 to take over the embassy in Washington and was sworn in on October 13, 2016. She presented her credentials to President Donald Trump on April 24, 2017.
Morocco was one of the first countries to recognize the United States as an independent nation.
Lalla Joumala was born in 1962 in Rabat, Morocco, daughter of Princess Lalla Fatim Zahra and Prince Moulay Ali. Lalla Fatima Zohra was the eldest daughter of King Mohammad V and half-sister to the then-king, Hassan II, making her a cousin of current ruler Mohammad VI. Lalla Joumala’s aunt, Princess Lalla Aicha, was the world’s first female Arab ambassador, serving in the United Kingdom from 1965 to 1969. Lalla Joumala was the goddaughter of Marcia Israel, the founder of the Judy’s clothing chain.
Lalla Joumala attended Lycée Descartes in Rabat, then studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies, part of the University of London, where she earned a degree in politics and history. She married an Iranian, Muhammad Reza Nouri Esfandiari, in October 1986.
Lalla Joumala served for a time as an executive at Bank Al Maghrib, but turned her focus to diplomacy in the late 1990s. She served briefly as an attaché at Morocco’s mission to the United Nations in New York from 1999 to 2000. In 2001, Lalla Joumala led her country’s delegation to the UN session on HIV/AIDS.
Lalla Joumala founded the Moroccan-British Society, promoting improved relations between the two countries, in 2003. Then, in January 2009, she followed in her aunt’s footsteps when she took over as ambassador to the United Kingdom. She served there until being tapped for the U.S. post.
Lalla Joumala and her husband have an adult daughter, Lalla Nezha, who was born in 1989.
-Steve Straehley, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
Lalla Joumala, une Princesse Dans le Vent (by M Sehimi, Maghress)
Air Lease Corporation
Source: Air Lease Corporation
Today Air Lease Corporation (NYSE:AL) announced the placement and recent delivery of one 737-800 aircraft (MSN 33982) on long-term lease to Royal Air Maroc (Morocco).
“We are pleased to announce this lease placement with Royal Air Maroc, a new customer for ALC. We look forward to a successful long term relationship with Royal Air Maroc as it continues to modernize its fleet,” said Alex Khatibi, Executive Vice President of Air Lease Corporation.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including expected delivery dates. Such statements are based on current expectations and projections about our future results, prospects and opportunities and are not guarantees of future performance. Such statements will not be updated unless required by law. Actual results and performance may differ materially from those expressed or forecasted in forward-looking statements due to a number of factors, including those discussed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
About Air Lease Corporation (NYSE:AL)
ALC is an aircraft leasing company based in Los Angeles, California that has airline customers throughout the world. ALC and its team of dedicated and experienced professionals are principally engaged in purchasing commercial aircraft and leasing them to its airline customers worldwide through customized aircraft leasing and financing solutions. For more information, visit ALC’s website at www.airleasecorp.com.
About Royal Air Maroc
Royal Air Maroc, otherwise known as RAM, is the Moroccan national carrier as well as the country’s largest airline. RAM is fully owned by the government of Morocco, and has its headquarters on the grounds of Casablanca-Anfa Airport. From its base hub at Mohammed V International Airport, the carrier operates a domestic network in Morocco as well as scheduled international flights to 90 destinations in Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Maghreb, and the Middle East.
Investors: Mary Liz DePalma Director of Investor Relations Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Media: Laura St. John Manager, Media and Investor Relations Email: email@example.com
The North Africa Post
Representative of the UN refugee Agency (UNHCR) Jean Paul Cavaliéri commended Morocco for the humanism underlying its immigration and asylum policy in line with the 1951 Geneva Convention.
Speaking on the occasion of the World Refugee Day, celebrated on June 20, the UNHCR official told Morocco’s news agency MAP that the Kingdom has succeeded in developing an adequate legal framework guaranteeing the right to asylum.
Morocco updated legal texts to enable refugees to enjoy their rights to international protection, he said, adding that the UNHCR works closely with the Moroccan government and the civil society to bring help to asylum seekers in terms of registration for obtaining refugee status in addition to offering them medical and legal aid, and education to their children.
The UNHCR together with the civil society in Morocco are also organizing this June 18-23 artistic, sports and cultural activities benefiting refugees and asylum seekers in order to shed light on the living conditions of individuals and families who had to leave their countries to escape persecution and wars, he said.
The UNHCR estimates that forced displacements has worsened in recent years as 33.9 million people had to leave their homes in 1997 compared to 65.6 million in 2016.
By last March, 18,228 migrants submitted to Moroccan authorities their requests to gain residency cards as part of the second phase of a regularization campaign that was launched last December upon directives from King Mohammed VI after the success of the first phase that saw 25,000 migrants gain residency status.
Morocco was one of the first countries of the South to adopt a genuine solidarity-based policy regarding sub-Saharan migrants…This integrated policy, which is rooted in humanitarian values, is designed to make sure migrants’ rights and dignity are safeguarded.
Posted by North Africa Post
North Africa Post’s news desk is composed of journalists and editors, who are constantly working to provide new and accurate stories to NAP readers.
University world News
Morocco is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for African students seeking to study abroad, and is now their second most popular destination on the continent after South Africa, a trend attributed largely to proactive government policy.
According to the latest statistics published by Morocco’s ministry of higher education, scientific research and training, more than 18,000 African foreign students are currently enrolled in higher education institutions in Morocco. These African students come from 42 countries, especially francophone countries such as Mauritania, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Guinea and Gabon, but also including significant regional economies Kenya and Nigeria, said Mohammed Aboussaleh, secretary general of the ministry.
Speaking at a meeting at the faculty of medicine and pharmacy at Mohamed I University, Oujda, Aboussaleh emphasized the support and social assistance that these students receive during their university studies in Morocco.
An official at Moroccan International Cooperation Agency, the body that regulates educational and cultural co-operation between Morocco and the rest of the world, said the growth of the country’s international student body has followed proactive government policy. The Moroccan government has struck agreements with its counterparts in other African countries that provide a quota for African students interested in continuing their higher education in this north African country.
About 6,500 of these students currently benefit from scholarships provided by the agency. The remainder are self-financing and make private applications for places on courses in Moroccan universities and colleges, said the official. These students generally attend private higher education institutions studying languages, business, engineering and other disciplines.
The number of these foreign African students, predominantly from Sub-Saharan Africa, has been increasing annually: in 1994, this number was around 1,040 students, rising to around 5,000 in 2004 and up to 18,000 today, according to the statistics provided by the agency.
Four main reasons have encouraged these students to study in Morocco: quality and diversity of training opportunities; geographical proximity; administrative and political plus reliable social support services; and the opportunities returning students have in their home countries.
“I obtained a scholarship to study in Morocco. The same opportunities do not readily exist in other countries,” said Lake Nyos, a Cameroonian student studying marketing at the Higher Institute of Management and Technology in Casablanca.
Morocco is the second choice for Senegalese students seeking overseas study, after France. Speaking to University World News, Leon Nicolas Gomez, a Senegalese teacher who secured a BA and MA in English language at Ibn Zohr University, in Agadir, and at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, Fez, respectively, said he chose Morocco because there were many Senegalese students there for support, who had reported that Moroccans welcomed Senegalese students to their country.
“I got my baccalaureate with distinction. Then I was chosen to study in Morocco. I received quality education. The English departments in Morocco offer more varied subjects compared with those of Senegal. My level of English was higher than that of the students who studied in Senegal,” said Gomez, who, with his Moroccan higher education, has taught English professionally since returning home to Senegal where, he said, Moroccan diplomas are recognized.
The growth in visiting students has also been encouraged by growing commercial links between Morocco and other Africa countries. Total bilateral trade between the Maghreb country and other African states generated MAD16 billion (US$1.6 billion) in receipts last year against MAD6 billion in 2004.
These commercial links have highlighted the quality of Moroccan vocational training, which has been promoted by the Moroccan Office for Professional Training and Promotion of Work, or OFPPT, which has been trying to make the kingdom a regional hub for development, including vocational training and higher education.
Since 2002, OFPPT has signed 25 framework agreements promoting training cooperation with other African countries. This has had a direct impact regarding the office’s own work: it employs foreign Africans from 28 countries, according to data shared by the OFPPT.
The institution has developed a broad strategy to develop partnerships with African countries, welcoming their experts to Morocco to provide a diverse range of training, and helping supply trained personnel to the country’s labour market.
In 2014 alone, three agreements were signed with Gabon, Mali and Guinea. These concerned exchanges of students as well as trainers, managers and school directors. Moroccan office managers regularly conduct visits to other African countries to assess how Moroccan trainers can help develop these partner countries’ labour supplies.
The challenge is significant, especially in countries that have lower levels of economic development than Morocco, whose human resources are often weak. So far, more than 1,500 African trainees have been trained by the OFPPT.
Such projects and links have encouraged African students to seek private training in Morocco.
“Private vocational training attracts more and more African students since Morocco has a developed infrastructure related to this field,” said Adamou Nadja, a Nigerian trainee at the Private Institute for Nursing and Health Services in the capital Rabat.
Sali Elie, a former student at the faculty of medicine and pharmacy at Mohammed V University, in Rabat, and now a doctor in Mali, stressed the importance of the cooperation and good relations between Mali and Morocco in providing her the opportunity to study medicine in Morocco: “It is a very welcoming country to African students and Malians in particular, and that has been true for years.”
Elie said she intends to return to Morocco to follow specialist follow-up medical training in future.
Unsurprisingly, Moroccan university professors are happy with these developments. Dr Souad Slaoui, an English teacher at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, in Fez, said her experience of working with foreign African students was positive as they were serious, eager to learn and well disciplined.
“As to why they choose Moroccan universities, I think that they look at Morocco as a more open country for sharing knowledge and using new strategies of teaching,” said Slaoui.
Variety of courses
Jalal Zine El Abidine, a Moroccan teacher of history and civilization at the University of Hassan II Casablanca, said Moroccan universities in general – and private institutions in particular – are a preferred destination for African students thanks to easier access into the country, including immigration controls – which is not the case in some other countries, especially in Europe.
He stressed that students were also attracted by the wide variety of courses, especially in technical, trade and business majors, and modern facilities.
“Indeed, Morocco is able to provide quality education and training for these students, especially in private institutes where programmes are similar to some international institutes. There are even European and American institutes that have settled in Morocco and direct their services to this category of student,” said Zine El Abidine. Examples include SIST British University in Casablanca, and the French School of Technical Education, also in Casablanca.
Four persons with suspected links to the Islamic State (IS) militant group have been arrested in Morocco, the country’s Interior Ministry said.
According to the ministry’s statement on Thursday, the suspects, arrested in Essaouira city, had pledged allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and were planning attacks on the key and tourist sites in Essaouira, Xinhua news agency reported.
Police have seized weapons and documents inciting violence, the statement said. Morocco has seen a growing threat from terror groups, especially IS. According to official figures, Morocco busted 19 terrorist cells and arrested 273 suspects in 2016, most of them linked to the IS group.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Proparco, a subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement (AFD) devoted to private sector financing, are investing €100 million and €35 million, respectively, in the first green bond issuance by Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP), to promote sustainable, environment friendly projects in the country.
This is the first green bond issuance in foreign currency in Morocco, as well as IFC and Proparco’s first green bond investment in the region. The 10-year maturity bond will be used to provide long-term funding for BCP, one of Morocco’s largest banking groups, to refinance investments in selected renewable energy projects in the Kingdom.
A key objective is to help create a sustainable financing mechanism for banks to support long-term investments in green assets, by channeling private institutional money to climate finance through capital markets.
“This strategic operation cements our position as a pioneer in the financing of renewable energy projects,” said Abdeslam Bennani, Deputy CEO in charge of Corporate and Investment Banking at BCP. “It also recognizes the confidence and trust placed in the BCP Group by the largest international financial institutions.”
IFC’s investment is part of its strategy to create markets by unlocking investment for private sector projects, and meet the increasing demand for renewable energy and energy-efficient projects.
“Addressing climate change is a priority for IFC in the region and Morocco is an active player in this area,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “By building on our long-term partnership with BCP, we aim to encourage more private sector investment in long-term renewable energy projects, paving the way for more sustainable economic development and growth.”
“This historic investment is in line with commitments made by Morocco during COP22 in Marrakech, last year,” said Yazid Safir, Proparco Regional Representative in North Africa. “This pioneering operation for Proparco will allow us to stimulate the Moroccan capital market and develop new subscriptions for green bonds in other regions, while further strengthening our long-term partnership with the BCP group.”
The financing is expected to help save 938,000 tons on average of CO2 emissions equivalent per year, as well as the equivalent of 17.36 million tons of CO2 in greenhouse gas savings over the remaining lifetimes of the projects being financed.
IFC’s Climate Investment Opportunities Report, released in November 2016, identified $23 trillion in investment opportunities in 21 emerging market countries by 2030, and $68 million in Morocco alone in select sectors. Climate is also central to Proparco’s priorities, with the institution earmarking €2 billion by 2020 for green projects.
IFC’s green bond program helps funnel private investment into low-carbon projects. As of June 2017, IFC had issued $5.8 billion in green bonds in 12 currencies.
Hotel, retail and real estate investors will gather in Morocco this October to discuss investment and development opportunities in the African continent at the 2017 Hotelier Summit North Africa.
Hosted by leading real estate solutions provider IDE Consulting Service from October 4-6, the prime emphasis of this conclave will be to facilitate consultations between shareholder, owners and investors as well as build a platform for African Governments and African Investors to learn how to make projects bankable.
The hospitality sector in Africa is set to grow by approximately four per cent each year for the next three years. The summit aims to underscore Africa’s rapidly growing hospitality and real estate market, which is attracting increased interest from international investors, developers and occupiers
Keynote speakers will also address the floor to explain about the scale of projects they are expecting from Morocco and other African countries for them to invest in.
Morocco will be presented as the initiator and a prime destination in the continent, hosting the event as a hub for investors and African countries to promote business relations and learn from each other’s experiences.
“Africa, particularly the Northern region, has seen several developments in the past few years. However, it has been observed that areas as financial planning, project execution and more importantly the implementation of sustainable measures need better policies to be effective.
“At IDE, we seek to radically change this through engaging in actionable conversations with people who walk the talk. The Hotelier Summit Africa (North) this year has been directed towards regrouping the investors, property owners, developers and other stakeholders of the real estate landscape to gather on one platform to discuss project feasibilities from conceptualization to completion.
Our objective is for Africa to be looked up to as one of the most progressive regions of growth on the global real estate map.” said Ravi Kumar Chandran, director at IDE.
The 13th edition of Hotelier Summit–Africa will witness the gathering of hundreds of thoughtful leaders from around the continent that include C-suite investors, Government officials, high net worth individuals, hotel owners and developers, hotel operators, architects, interior designers, project management consultants, design consultants, procurement professionals, advisory specialists and sustainability experts. These parties will be engaged in face-to-face meetings with the investors and suppliers from all over the globe.
“In the 13th Edition Hotelier Summit, Africa we intend to host the Honorarium Grand on a larger scale, recognising the key contributors to the hospitality industry in Northern and Western Africa and in turn revealing the Hospitality Power List for the year 2017.” said Chandran.
Positioned as the ideal gateway to figuring a company’s growth and development trajectory in the African hospitality sector, Hotelier Summit Africa (North) is wholly dedicated to easing market accessibility, providing insights on market nuances, finalising contractual work and speeding up procurement activities.
The summit will accommodate leading companies and emerging business entities from North Africa and around the region. – TradeArabia News Service
by Ali Haidar
The two countries, which severed relations 20 years ago, have resumed contact in high gear, with the signing on Monday (June 19th) in Rabat, of two agreements. The first deals with the exemption of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic, service and special passports. Under the second accord, the two countries’ foreign affairs departments commit tohold regular consultations on bilateral relations and issues of common interest.
The two agreements were signed during the visit to Morocco by Angolan Foreign Minister Georges Rebelo Chikoti.
A press conference that was held following the one hour long meeting between Georges Rebelo Chikoti and his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita focused on the Moroccan Sahara issue.
Angola has adopted for a long time a downright hostile position to Morocco and its territorial integrity. Lately, however, some change in its positions has been sensed.
On Thursday, June 15, in Luanda, Georges Rebelo Chikoti received the Polisario’s so-called Minister of Foreign Affairs, who tried in vain to dissuade him from visiting Rabat or at least to postpone his trip to after the AU summit of July 4 in Addis Ababa. But Chikoti flatly rejected both suggestions.
During the news conference, Nasser Bourita did not conceal Morocco’s wish to see Angola adopt a position of neutrality in the Western Sahara conflict
For Bourita, this “first visit of an Angolan Minister in nearly 20 years”, translates “a shared resolve to open a new page of our bilateral relations.” Today, Angola “is in a more constructive disposition (…) We hope that this attitude will evolve towards a genuine neutrality on the Sahara issue,” he said.
Recently, Angola undertook, through its Foreign Minister, to make the best possible contribution to help find a political solution to the territorial dispute over the Moroccan Sahara.
Chikoti, while showing some diplomatic reservations, reiterated his country’s desire to promote any kind of dialogue and settlement of the conflict in line with the UN resolutions.
“We can no longer ignore the fact that Morocco has returned to the African family,” he said. “So far, we had a perspective that did not allow us to meet and discuss peacefully.”
After he recalled that the Sahara issue is dealt with at the level of the United Nations, Chikoti said that the primary stakeholders are Morocco, the Sahrawis and the UN.
The remarks made by the two countries’ Foreign Ministers augur well for the opening of a new chapter of friendship between Morocco and Angola.
The Japan News
Morocco will begin the process of moving toward a flexible exchange rate system gradually in the second half of this year, the governor of the country’s central bank said Tuesday.
The North African country has had a fixed exchange rate regime for the dirham since the 1970s.
“There will be no devaluation. We are not in a situation of currency crisis,” central bank chief Abdellatif Jouahri told reporters.
“The International Monetary Fund [which has helped the Moroccan authorities in the process]did not impose anything on us. It is a voluntary decision,” Jouahri said.
Moroccan media have reported that the full liberalization of the dirham will take up to 15 years.
To strengthen the existing relationship between China and Morocco, the Chinese Ambassador to Morocco, Sun Shuzhong recently announced a plan to encourage more Moroccan students to study at Chinese universities.
At the China Higher Education Exhibition in May, the ambassador and staff from Chinese universities highlighted 22 well-known universities in the country, and explained the benefits of studying abroad in China. They discussed specialty fields in transportation, foreign languages, finance, industry, geology, science, aerospace, and other fields.
The ambassador hopes to see more educational cooperation between the two countries, in addition to the already-strong economic ties.
Last March, Morocco became the first Arab country to launch a Chinese state-affiliated institution, the Confucious Institute.
China aims high with its goals of increasing its number of international students. With over 2,800 institutions of higher education, 36 million students, and $563 billion of its budget to the educational sector, China has the resources—and the capital—to encourage growth in Morocco.
Learn more about studying in China and Morocco.
Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.
by Samia Errazzouki
Morocco has pushed back its planned local sukuk issue to September so it can be in coordination with other Islamic finance measures, Finance Minister Mohammed Boussaid told Reuters on Wednesday.
Boussaid did not comment further on the amount of the sukuk. Islamic banks and insurers are setting up in the North African kingdom after it adopted legislation allowing them into the domestic market.
(Reporting by Samia Errazzouki; writing by Patrick Markey)
Breaking Israel News
By Abra Forman
“And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in darkness, and thy gloom be as the noon-day.” Isaiah 58:10 (The Israel Bible™)
Christian and Jewish volunteers with the IFCJ-Chabad initiative distributed Ramadan food packages to needy Muslims in Morocco. (Kobi Yifrach)
In an unprecedented partnership to build bridges between the three Abrahamic religions, on Monday the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) began delivering food packages to 1,500 needy local Moroccan Muslim families in Marrakech. The special Ramadan initiative will continue in Casablanca and Rabat through the end of the holiday on June 21.
The IFCJ, supported by tens of millions of Christians worldwide, officially launched the food aid initiative in partnership with Jeunesse Chabad Maroc and the Mimouna Association, a Muslim student organization dedicated to preserving Moroccan Jewish heritage. The food aid kickoff also included an interfaith dinner at the Slat al Azama Synagogue in the Jewish Quarter (Mellah), in Marrakech, with the IFCJ’s senior vice president, Yael Eckstein.
The interfaith food initiative is aimed at helping poor Moroccans celebrate the feast of Eid al-Fitr, which culminates Ramadan from June 25 to 28.
“Now more than ever, it is so important that the great faiths of our forefather Abraham come together to try to make the world a better place,” said Eckstein. “Since World War II, Morocco has set an example in this part of the world for its treatment of Jewish citizens. And today, it is our honor to stand with the people of Morocco, and show that we can overcome divisions and intolerance everywhere by building bridges of empathy and understanding and truly making a difference.”
Each box the IFCJ, Chabad and Mimouna deliver will contain traditional Ramadan foods, including dates, tea, lentils, chickpeas and other staples.
The interfaith partnership in Morocco began last year and delivered a similar amount of food parcels, expanding a local effort by Chabad from the previous year. The Morocco initiative comes amid a recent interfaith effort by the IFCJ to provide food and clothing to low-income Arab citizens of Israel for Ramadan.
The Fellowship distributed 9,500 food and clothing vouchers to 9,000 Muslim families before the holiday this year, which itself is part of the organization’s $5.6 million social aid to needy Arab Israelis throughout the year.
By Tom Kenning
The Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (MASEN) has shortlisted five consortia to take part in the bidding for the first phase of the Noor Midelt solar power complex, which includes hybrid solar PV and concentrated solar power (CSP) plants. Flickr: Philippe Roos
The first phase includes separate plants, each with 150-190MW CSP capacity and a minimum of five hours of thermal storage, alongside a PV component.
The capacity of the PV component, which is expected to provide daytime generation, is left to the bidders’ discretion, but cannot exceed night-time net capacity from CSP by more than 20%.
The complex will be located on 3,150 hectares of land, expandable to 4,106 hectares, 20 kilometres north of Midelt in northern Morocco.
The selected firms were:
- ACWA Power Consortium: International Company for Water and Power Projects, General Electric Company
- EDF Energies Nouvelles Consortium: EDF Energies Nouvelles, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co. PJSC – Masdar, Green of Africa, Sener Ingeneria Y Sistemas
- ENGIE Consortium: International Power S.A (Engie), Nareva Holding, SolarReserve, Solaire Direct
- Innogy SE Consortium: Innogy SE, Belectric, Ferrostaal Industrial Projects
- JGC Consortium: JGC Corporation, Abener Energia
On 10 November 2016, seven applicants submitted their proposals to be pre-qualified. Masen will soon issue Request of Proposals (RFP) to the consortia.
680MW of solar, out of Masen’s 2GW by 2020 Noor Solar Plan, have already been launched by Masen in Ouarzazate, Laayoune and Boujdour.
In April, ACWA Power broke ground on the 72MW Noor Ouarzazate IV plant – the first phase of the Noor Solar Plan.
Asharq Al Awsat
Morocco and Tunisia have announced their support to a political solution to the crisis in Libya, namely the Skhirat Agreement, which was signed in late 2015 under the auspices of the United Nations.
In a joint statement issued at the end of the 19th session of the Tunisian-Moroccan High Joint Commission in Rabat, the two countries praised efforts that are aimed at “supporting our Libyan brothers and accompanying them in the path towards a comprehensive political settlement.”
The meeting, which was co-chaired by Moroccan Prime Minister Saadeddine al-Othmani and his Tunisian counterpart, Youssef Chahed, stressed the two countries’ rejection of the military options.
The statement underlined the importance of reaching a political solution as the only means to overcome the current situation by preserving the country’s territorial unity.
The two sides expressed their condemnation of all forms of terrorism, highlighting the need to unify efforts to fight terrorist groups in the Maghreb region and the world.
In this regard, the two countries urged the five Maghreb states to “promote cooperation, consolidate dialogue and increase security cooperation in order to face terrorism according to an organized mechanism that aims at prioritizing common interests and rejecting all forms of introversion.
Tunisia and Morocco also called for the need to overcome all deadlocks within the Maghreb Union, as well as activating the work of institutions.
“This requires a strong political will and serious work by the five Maghreb countries in line with the noble goals which were set in the Marrakesh agreement,” the statement said.
It also called for fulfilling the aspirations of the Maghreb population with regards to growth, stability and decent living.
The two sides also condemned the violations committed by Israel and the attacks against Al-Aqsa Mosque, urging the international community to force the Jewish state to abide by the international legitimacy.
The commission discussed means to boost bilateral cooperation and signed 10 agreements in various sectors, including agriculture, investment, civil aviation, vocational training, higher education, and employment.