Western sahara Major events
The North Africa Post
The stability and location of Morocco at the crossroads between Europe and Africa are luring Chinese businesses eager to diversify their economic partners in Africa, says an article published on the website of Global Risk Insights, a global publication for political risk news and analysis.
The article, signed by Jeremy Luedi, sheds light on the steady development of economic ties between Morocco and China, notably following the boost given by the visit of King Mohammed VI to Beijing in 2016.
Economic ties are also reflecting the excellent political ties between the two countries marked by a mutual non-interference in internal issues. Both Morocco and China have been refraining from commenting on each other’s thorny issues notably those relating to their respective territorial integrity.
“Morocco is also becoming the default investment destination in North Africa, as the region continues to be unstable, with Morocco reaping the benefits of stability,” says Luedi, adding that “Alongside traditional exports to China such as phosphates, Morocco is seeing a tidal wave of Chinese investment in a host of sectors. Between 2011 and 2015 Chinese FDI in Morocco increased 195%, with a 93% increase between 2014 and 2015 alone. Since then things have only continued to accelerate.”
In this respect, the author enumerates the growing interest of Chinese firms in Morocco citing the setting up of an office of the Bank of China in Casablanca in March 2016 as part of Morocco’s Casablanca Finance City initiative. He also mentions the announcement by Yangtse Automobile of a $100 million investment (expected to create 2,000 jobs) in Tangier to produce electric cars and buses for export to Europe.
The article highlights as well the significance of the recently inaugurated joint venture between Chinese HAITE group and Morocco to build a $10 billion industry and technology hub in Tangier, which will create 100,000 jobs in the long run.
Morocco also sees new opportunities for its farm exports to China in its bid to diversify partners. The article points out that “given Morocco’s existing integration into EU food supply chains, Rabat is already beholden to high quality standards, a fact that appeals to many Chinese consumers. Indeed Chinese importers have cited Morocco’s ability to pass the EU Proficiency Test for Pesticide Residues as a seal of confidence.”
Moroccan tourism sector and culture are also attracting the Chinese, a trend witnessed even before Rabat’s decision to drop visa requirements for Chinese visitors in July 2016, as the 2016 National Day Travel Prediction Report had predicted a 3500% increase in visa applications to Morocco.
“By November 2016, Morocco saw a six fold increase in Chinese arrivals – a fact all the more impressive given that no direct flights exist between the two countries. With 42,000 Chinese tourists in 2016 – a 300% year-on-year increase from 2015 – Morocco has announced a goal of 100,000 visitors from the Middle Kingdom in 2017,” notes the author of the article.
As a result of this interest in the sector, Chinese investors from Guangzhou met with the Moroccan Society of Tourist Engineering in late February to discuss investments in hotels, resorts, spas and amusement parks, the article notes.
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Upstream gas company Sound Energy has announced that TE-8, the third well at the Tendrara licence located in onshore Morocco, was drilled to the final target depth at a measured depth (MD) of 3,120m.
The final vertical depth of the TE-8 was 3,066m, nearly 359m into the Paleozoic formation.
The company previously confirmed the identity of the presence of a TAGI sand sequence, starting from an MD of 2,643m containing gas.
Sound Energy also stated to have identified further gas shows during subsequent drilling operations at the property.
However, these should be taken as a positive initial indication, which can be confirmed only after further wireline logging and analysis.
Sound Energy will now advance with a full data acquisition programme containing five wireline logging runs, including the pressure and fluids sampling acquisition.
“Sound Energy will now advance with a full data acquisition programme containing five wireline logging runs, including the pressure and fluids sampling acquisition.”
The company will announce the final results of the well after the completion.
Sound Energy holds 55% working interest in the Tendara licence along with the operatorship.
The remaining 25% stake lies with ONHYM and 20% with Oil & Gas Investment Fund.
The first well (TE-6) was drilled at the property during the first half of last year to a measured vertical depth of 2,665m and encountered nearly 28m of net gas pay in the TAGI reservoir.
The second Tendara well (TE-7) was drilled to a total measured depth of 3,459m, carrying a vertical depth of 2,611m.
TE-7 has a total contact length through the TAGI reservoir of approximately 837m, which achieved a gas flow rate of 32MMscf/d, post stimulation.
Global Risk Insights
by Senior Analyst Jeremy Luedi
From trade to tourism, Morocco is quickly becoming a media darling in China, as the country’s stability, location and culture entice Chinese investment.
Chinese involvement and investment in Africa is well documented, with Beijing a major trading partner for the continent’s resource exporters. One of the latest countries to benefit from China’s attentions is Morocco, which is witnessing an unprecedented boom in bilateral relations. Morocco is quickly becoming an important partner for China on a range of issues: one can even say that Morocco-fever is gripping the Middle Kingdom.
Despite being only the second African country to recognize the People’s Republic of China in 1958, Morocco has until recently been overshadowed by the likes of Angola, and closer to home, by Algeria. Lacking substantial oil reserves, Morocco took a backseat during China’s resource binge in the 2000s, but has since seen an outpouring of Chinese interest as Beijing seeks to diversify its investments in the region. Morocco’s rise in popularity can be traced to King Mohammed VI’s visit to China in 2016, a trip which is credited with jump-starting bilateral ties: Morocco now boasts three Confucius Institutes.
China and Morocco’s shared stances on non-intervention make them compatible partners, as does the fact that Morocco has not been overly critical of China, despite being a Major Non-NATO ally of the United States. China’s refusal to comment on the Western Sahara issue (a contested region claimed by Morocco) meshes nicely with Morocco’s silence on China’s actions towards its Muslim population in Xinjiang. While some Moroccans bemoan the plight of their co-religionists in China, Rabat has not openly voiced these concerns. Likewise, by refraining from commenting on the Western Sahara issue, China distinguishes itself from other external partners like the AU, EU and U.S which have all raised concerns about Moroccan actions in the region.
Alongside mutual non-interference, Morocco is also increasingly benefiting from Chinese efforts to diversify its foreign investment, especially regarding technology and tourism.Morocco is also becoming the default investment destination in North Africa, as the region continues to be unstable, with Morocco reaping the benefits of stability. Moreover, growing anti-Chinese sentiment in more established China-Africa relationships is also leading China to diversify its investment portfolio to hedge against anti-Chinese protests and backlashes that threaten existing investments. To this end Casablanca will be hosting the China-Morocco Trade Week in December 2017.
China on a spending spree in Morocco
Alongside traditional exports to China such as phosphates, Morocco is seeing a tidal wave of Chinese investment in a host of sectors. Between 2011 and 2015 Chinese FDI in Morocco increased 195%, with a 93% increase between 2014 and 2015 alone. Since then things have only continued to accelerate. The Chinese-built 952 metre King Mohammed VI bridge (itself part of the 42 km Rabat motorway bypass expansion) was opened in July and in November 2016, China’s Chint Group Corp was chosen to construct a 170MW solar plant. Furthermore, Moroccan authorities met with China Railway in December to discuss the construction of a multi-billion, high-speed rail link between Marrakesh and Agadir.
Sino-Moroccan fusion: Vogue China July 2014
The Bank of China opened an office in Casablanca in March 2016 as part of Morocco’s Casablanca Finance City initiative.Similarly, Yangtse Automobile has announced a $100 million investment (expected to create 2,000 jobs) in Tangier to produce electric cars and buses for export to Europe, citing Morocco’s location as an asset in boosting exports to Europe while also shortening supply chains. Tangier is also the location of Morocco’s ambitious $10 billion Tangier technology hub project. Aided by a $1 billion investment from China’s HAITE Group, the project aims to build a smart city with 300,000 residents and provide 100,000 jobs in order to create a new technology and manufacturing hub near Tangier. The project is expected to attract investment from some 200 foreign companies, many of them Chinese.
Another growth market are citrus exports to China. As the third largest citrus exporter, Morocco has needed to seek out new markets in the wake of Russia’s agriculture import ban, with China a perfect candidate. The first batch of high-end Moroccan citrus exports set out for Shanghai in November. Copag – Morocco’s largest citrus producer – has partnered with Chengdu’s Bideng Trade Co.to sell Moroccan fruit in China. The growing demand for foreign food in China – spurred by rising incomes and health concerns regarding Chinese produce – provides an excellent opportunity. Given Morocco’s existing integration into EU food supply chains, Rabat is already beholden to high quality standards, a fact that appeal to many Chinese consumers. Indeed Chinese importers have cited Morocco’s ability to pass the EU Proficiency Test for Pesticide Residues as a seal of confidence.
Indeed China’s interest in all things Moroccan has even seen the African country begin to export donkeys to meet the demand of China’s traditional medicine market. China is importing more than 80,000 donkeys (and growing) from across Africa to supply hide and gelatin for traditional medicines, as Beijing’s annual consumption of 1.8 million animals remains insufficient.
Moroccan tourism and culture take China by storm
Alongside manufacturing and other investments, the most explosive growth has been in the tourism sector. Even before Rabat’s decision to drop visa requirements for Chinese visitors in July 2016, Ctrip as part of the 2016 National Day Travel Prediction Report predicted a 3500% increase in visa applications to Morocco. As a result by November 2016, Morocco saw a sixfold increase in Chinese arrivals – a fact all the more impressive given that no direct flights exist between the two countries. With 42,000 Chinese tourists in 2016 – a 300% year-on-year increase from 2015 – Morocco has announced a goal of 100,000 visitors from the Middle Kingdom in 2017. As a result, Chinese investors from Guangzhou met with the Moroccan Society of Tourist Engineering in late February to discuss investments in hotels, resorts, spas and amusement parks.
All this comes as China’s government-run Global Times declared Morocco the best potential destination for 2017, based on visa procedures, tourist flows, and tourist satisfaction. This has resulted in Morocco becoming a trending topic on Weibo, with photos of the North African country especially popular. This trend has been fostered by a partnership between Morocco and Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi, whose team travelled to Morocco to snap promotional photos for its latest smartphone. Morocco has become the star model to showcase the 23 mega-pixel camera on Xiaomi’s M1 Note 2 smartphone. Photos of Morocco were prominently featured during Xiaomi’s November launch conference for the M1 Note 2. An added bonus for Morocco is that Xiaomi is providing the photos for free as pre-installed content on its phones, thus introducing Morocco to tens of millions of Chinese consumers.
Morocco was also a star attraction at the Beijing International Book Fair in August, marking Morocco’s second consecutive appearance at the event. On the other hand,The Donor by Chinese director Zang Qiwu won the top prize at the 2016 Marrakech Film Festival in December. The amount of hype surrounding China-Morocco relations and cultural exchanges has even led to the spread of fake news, with Chinese media incorrectly reporting that author Liu Zhenyun had won a popular Moroccan literary prize. This was no mere typo, as the alleged prize does not even exist, with Chinese officials having to debunk the story.
Whether this was an orchestrated effort to reinforce the trending China-Morocco narrative that backfired, or simply a viral rumour sparked by an excited netizen, it demonstrates that Morocco is clearly top of mind in China.
Under the Radar uncovers political risk events around the world overlooked by mainstream media. By detecting hidden risks, we keep you ahead of the pack and ready for new opportunities.
Under the Radar is written by Senior Analyst Jeremy Luedi.
by Tarek El-Tablawy
Morocco’s new prime minister-designate formed a governing coalition, ending a five-month impasse that has paralyzed decision-making and strained the economy.
After barely a week in office, Saaddine El-Otmani of the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party told reporters late Saturday that he will lead a coalition of six parties including partners his predecessor, Abdelilah Benkirane, had refused toinclude. High on the new government’s agenda will be “improving the quality of government services, education, health care, creating job opportunities, and fighting corruption,” El-Otmani said.
Benkirane’s inability to form a coalition after October elections produced no clear-cut winner forced King Mohamed VI to take the rare step of intervening to fire him this month. El-Otmani, a former foreign minister, was selected to replace Benkirane two days later.
At least 11 members of the outgoing 39-member cabinet resigned when they were elected to parliament in October. Over the last five months, their positions were mostly vacant, although some were filled on an interim basis by other sitting ministers. Many critical portfolios, including defense, interior and religious affairs, are currently headed by officials unaffiliated with political parties who were handpicked by the monarch.
The failure to seat a government has prevented the passage of a new budget and hampered government programs to counter religious radicalization of the country’s youth, a key challenge across North Africa.
The 23rd edition of the International Mediterranean Film Festival opened on Saturday in Morocco’s northern city of Tetouan, with China as the guest of honor.
The festival, which runs until April 2, will screen numerous Chinese movies reflecting various areas of China’s film industry.
Among the movies, which will be screened during the festival, there are Wu Ershan’s movie “Mojin: The Lost Legend,” Dante Lam’s “Operation Mekong”, Xu Haofeng’s “The Master” and Cao Baoping’s “The Dead End”.
“In the past few editions, the festival has opened up to countries outside of the Mediterranean region. We hosted the Iranian, Mexican and Chilean movies and today we chose China,” the Director of the festival Ahmed EL Housni told Xinhua.
He stressed that the Chinese film-making has distinguished itself in recent years as one of the leading industry the world, adding that the festival aims to present this experience to wider Moroccan public.
Honoring Chinese cinema in the festival is another facet of the friendly bilateral relationship, he said, adding that ties between China and Morocco have witnessed a significant progress both economically and culturally.
The official competition of the festival includes 24 films from 15 Mediterranean countries, including 12 feature films and 12 documentary films.
The feature films will be contesting for the Grand Prix Tamouda d’or, whereas the documentary films will be competing for the Tetouan Grand Prix for documentary films.
The jury of the feature films will be presided by the Egyptian director Yousry Nasrallah, while the documentary jury will be headed by French screen writer Thomas Bauer.
Established in 1985, the Tetouan International Film Festival focuses on the promotion of films from Mediterranean countries, and it is gaining influence as a major project in Morocco.
Sun News Nigeria
From Uche Usim, Magnus Eze, Abuja and Adewale Sanyaolu
Nigeria’s stride to achieve self-sufficiency in phosphate supply received the needed boost recently as about 50,000 jobs have been created in the country through the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Morocco.
Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Baru, disclosed this yesterday, while receiving the National Coordinator of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD-Nigeria), Princess Gloria Akobundu, at the NNPC Towers.
Baru, who noted that the MoU between the two countries was for the supply of phosphate to rejuvenate agriculture by making fertiliser available and affordable, confirmed the deal has started yielding positive results in the country.
“The Moroccans have already supplied a cargo of phosphate, which has been delivered to various blending plants across the country. Already, 11 blending plants have come into production because of the supply.
“I am happy to inform you that this development has translated to the creation of about 50,000 jobs and led to the production of about 1.3 million tonnes of fertiliser in the country,” Baru stated.
Following the arrival of the first consignment, the Moroccans have also given Nigeria a generous credit term of 90 days and are planning to bring in more cargoes that will fit the various blending plants in the country, Baru added.
According to the GMD, aside being a huge boost to the Nigerian agricultural sector and the economy, this partnership is expected to boost bilateral relationship between the two countries, in line with NEPAD’s objective of championing regional economic partnerships and integration.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of an interim Managing Director/CEO and four Executive Directors for the Bank of Agriculture (BOA ).
A statement by Deputy Director of Information, Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mrs. Blessing Lere-Adams, named Mr. Kabiru Mohammed (North West) as Managing Director/CEO, while Prince A. Akenzua (South South) and Dr. Okenwa Gabriel (South East) are executive directors of Corporate Finance, Partnerships and Strategy respectively.
Others are Mr. Ameh Owoicho (North Central) and Mr. Bode Abikoye (South West), both executive directors of Credit and Empowerment.
Lere-Adams said the appointment was as a result of the Federal Government’s resolve to reposition BOA to be a more efficient and result oriented institution.
According to the statement, “The strategic repositioning of BOA will enhance farmers easy accessibility to agricultural funds that will be profitable for large and local farmers hoping to expand their farms”, adding that availability of funds will no doubt increase food production which will eventually result in self sufficiency.
The GMD observed that NEPAD’s visit coincided with NNPC’s journey towards becoming a commercially-viable world-class oil and gas company hinged on the principle of transparency, openness and accountability.
He further noted that the corporation, under the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari, has taken some far-reaching measures to address some of its challenges, created largely due to low commodity prices.
Baru also assured the delegation that the Trans-Saharan Gas Pipeline Project (TSGP), on which NNPC has had engagement with NEPAD in the past, is still on track and the corporation would ensure continued collaboration towards the success of the project.
Earlier in her remarks, the National Coordinator, NEPAD-Nigeria, Princess Gloria Akobundu, stated that they were at the NNPC to seek for areas of collaboration with the corporation, especially in their quest to promote regional integration on the continent.
“As NEPAD, we are mandated to identify and work with strategic partners to facilitate, monitor and promote the implementation of developmental projects across the continent,” she stated.
Also on NEPAD’s entourage was the Director General of the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC), Alhaji Aminu Dikko, who explained that the TSGP is a very crucial project that will further boost regional integration of Africans.
By Daniel Adugbo
The first consignment of fertilizer from Morocco has arrived Nigeria, even as more cargoes that will fit the various blending plants are on the way, the Group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Dr. Maikanti Kacalla Baru has said.
Speaking yesterday while receiving the National Coordinator of the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD-Nigeria), Princess Gloria Akobundu, at the NNPC Towers, Baru said the Moroccan government has agreed to offer Nigeria 90 days grace period to pay.
These developments come following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the supply of phosphate between the Nigerian and Moroccan governments which has seen about 50, 000 jobs created.
A statement from the NNPC said that the MoU between the two countries was for the supply of phosphate to rejuvenate agriculture by making fertilizer available and affordable, confirmed that the deal has started yielding positive results in the country.
Baru said: “The Moroccans have already supplied a cargo of phosphate which has been delivered to various blending plants across the country. Already, eleven blending plants have come into production because of the supply.
According to the GMD, aside being a huge boost to the Nigerian agricultural sector and the economy, the partnership is expected to boost bilateral relationship between the two countries, in line with NEPAD’s objective of championing regional economic partnerships and integration.
Earlier in her remarks, the National Coordinator, NEPAD-Nigeria, Princess Gloria Akobundu stated that they were in the NNPC to seek for areas of collaboration with the Corporation especially in their quest to promote regional integration on the continent.
“As NEPAD, we are mandated to identify and work with strategic partners to facilitate, monitor and promote the implementation of developmental projects across the continent,” she stated.
The drill bit at Badile, near Milan, has reached the second casing point at 1,407 metres less than a month after work began.
Getting there – the well will be drilled to 4,445 metres.
Sound Energy PLC (LON:SOU) is making rapid progress on two fronts having completed drilling in Morocco and made significant headway in Italy.
The former first: Its TE-8 well has reached a vertical depth 3,066 metres, taking it 359 metres into the Paleozoic formation, which is a new horizon for Sound.
It has already identified gas in the TAGI formation above. “The company confirms that it has observed further gas shows during subsequent drilling operations, but cautions that logging has not yet occurred and that gas shows, although a positive initial indication, should not be considered conclusive without further wireline logging and analysis,” the company said.
At its Badile gas well, near Milan, has reached the second casing point at 1,407 metres less than a month after work began.
The next casing point is at 2,600 metres – more than halfway to the planned target depth of 4,445 metres. Drilling and logging are expected to take 100 days.
WATCH: Proactive correspondent on Sound drilling …
Assuming gas is found, it will take a further 25 days for completion and testing.
To date the company has scored significant success at Tendrara, in Morocco, where it has discovered significant accumulations of potentially commercial gas.
However, Sound’s Italian assets were the foundation stone on which the company was built and it has two producing wells – although their output is modest.
Badile could be a changer for this portion of the portfolio. An independent assessment suggests the target could be host to around 178bn standard cubic feet of gas with a net present value of £400mln.
That figure is what’s called a ‘best case’, unrisked estimate. It sits at in the middle of the range with the ‘high case’ forecast being 670bn cubic feet and the ‘low case’ 46bn cubic feet.
by Samia Errazzouki
Morocco’s state grains agency ONICL launched a tender on Thursday to buy 132,000 tonnes of soft wheat in the local market, it said in a statement.
ONICL will open the bidding on April 3. The soft wheat, which can be either imported or from the local harvest, will be used to make subsidised flour, ONICL said.
(Reporting by Samia Errazzouki; editing by David Clarke)
UNWTO Welcomes Morocco As A Partner Of The International Year Of Sustainable Tourism For Development 2017
World Tourism Organization (WTO)
Morocco has become the latest country to join UNWTO as partner of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017. The commitment was delivered at the Moroccan Day of Sustainable and Responsible Tourism held on 20 March in Rabat.
Morocco has become the latest partner of the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017.
On the occasion of the Moroccan Day of Sustainable and Responsible Tourism on 20 March, the government of Morocco committed to support the International Year and advance the promotion of the first African Charter on Sustainable and Responsible Tourism.
The African Charter on Sustainable and Responsible Tourism, signed last November in Marrakesh during the Ministerial Forum on Tourism and Climate in Africa, on the sidelines of the COP22, aims at becoming an instrumental tool for the continent to engage in sustainable tourism best practices by reconciling social and economic growth, the preservation of the environment and the respect for the cultural diversity of each country.
“The commitment of the Kingdom of Morocco with the tourism sector is remarkable, not only by joining now the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development, but also by other gestures done in the past such as partnering with the World Tourism Organization in promoting more responsible practices and leading the process of adoption of the African Charter” said UNWTO Secretary-General Taleb Rifai.
The United Nations 70th General Assembly has designated 2017 as the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development. In the context of the universal 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the International Year aims to support a change in policies, business practices and consumer behavior towards a more sustainable tourism sector than can contribute to the SDGs.
The IY2017 will promote tourism’s role in the following five key areas: (1) Inclusive and sustainable economic growth; (2) Social inclusiveness, employment and poverty reduction; (3) Resource efficiency, environmental protection and climate change; (4) Cultural values, diversity and heritage; and (5) Mutual understanding, peace and security.
Sound Energy, the African and European focused upstream gas company, has announced that TE-8, the third well at the Company’s Tendrara licence (onshore Morocco), has now been drilled to a final target depth, at a measured depth (MD) of 3,120 m, corresponding to a vertical depth of 3,066 m, some 359 m into the Paleozoic formation.
As previously announced by the Company on March 15, 2017, drilling operations had earlier confirmed the presence of a TAGI sand sequence commencing at an MD of 2,643 m and that gas shows had been observed.
The Company confirms that it has observed further gas shows during subsequent drilling operations, but cautions that logging has not yet occurred and that gas shows, although a positive initial indication, should not be considered conclusive without further wireline logging and analysis.
The Company will now progress with a full data acquisition program of five wireline logging runs, including the pressure and fluids sampling acquisition, after which the results of the well will be announced.
London South East
Upstream gas company Sound Energy PLC said Thursday it has completed drilling of a third well at its Tendrara project in Morocco, as well as reaching the second casing point of an exploratory well at its Badile prospect in Italy.
Sound Energy said it has completed the drilling of the TE-8 well at the Tendrara licence, to a target depth of 3,120 metres of measured depth. Further gas shows were observed during drilling operations, although Sound Energy noted this is only a “positive initial indication”.
The company will now begin a full data acquisition program of five wireline logging runs, including pressure and fluids sampling acquisition, before announcing the results of the well.
Sound Energy also said it has drilled its Badile exploration well to its second casing point at a measured depth of 1,407 metres, with the casing now being set and cemented. This will be followed by drilling to the third casing point at a measured depth of approximately 2,600 metres.
Shares in Sound Energy were down 1.0% at 83.90 pence Thursday.
By Adam Clark; firstname.lastname@example.org
Copyright 2017 Alliance News Limited. All Rights Reserved.
By GCR Staff
In a bid to hasten its industrialisation by attracting Chinese investment, Morocco has signed an agreement with Chinese aerospace company Haite to build a $10bn industrial and technology city near Tangier.
Called Mohammed VI Tanger-tech in honour of Morocco’s king, the city would be a 2,000ha development housing 300,000 people, with a target of industry creating 100,000 jobs.
It would be divided into zones that specialise in aerospace, automobiles, telecoms and other sectors. The aim is to attract as many as 200 transnational corporations, many of which will be Chinese attracted to Morocco’s proximity to European markets.
Finance will be accessed over the next 10 years, and will come from Haite, Moroccan private bank BMCE and the Moroccan government.
Moulay Hafid El Alamy, Morocco’s minister for industry, said the government’s strategy was to emulate China by first becoming an industrial power before developing its scientific, technological and financial sectors, reports French-language Moroccan news site, Lesiteinfo.com.
Ilyas Omari, the chairman of the Tangier-Tetouan region, pointed out that that the city would be only 15km from Europe, and would be supported by a number of infrastructure projects, including the modern port of Tanger Med, the motorway network, a high speed train line and industrial and logistics areas, reports Moroccan news site, L’Observateur.
Othman Benjelloun, president of BMCE, said that the project will contribute to “the revival of the Silk Road, so dear to our Chinese partners and friends. This road now [goes] through Tangier and, from this blessed land, to the rest of Africa, Europe and America.”
A YouTube video of the signing ceremony can be viewed here.
Image: Morocco’s King Mohammed VI with Haite chairman Li Biao (Government of Morocco)
by Samia Errazzouki
Morocco’s Office Cherifien de Phosphate (OCP), the world’s leading phosphate exporter, posted a 52.8 percent fall in full-year net profit, the company said on Thursday. State-run OCP, a major foreign currency earner for Morocco, has been hit by a slide in phosphate and fertiliser prices, prompting efforts to increase production and cut costs to counter falling revenue.
Net profit fell to 3.78 billion dirhams ($379 million) in 2016 from 8.01 billion dirhams a year earlier, the company said in a statement published in Le Matin newspaper.
Consolidated revenues fell last year to 42.47 billion dirhams from 47.74 billion dirhams, company data showed. OCP is also targeting an increase in fertiliser production to 12 million tonnes to become the world’s leading producer. It recently signed a 50-50 joint-venture agreement with India’s Kribhco for a new fertilizer plant in the Indian region of Andhra Pradesh with an annual production capacity of 1.2 million tonnes.
It has also signed a deal with the Ethiopian government to build a $3.7 billion plant to produce fertilizers in eastern Ethiopia. [nL8N1DK0BR] OCP Chief Executive Mostafa Terrab was quoted in Morocco’s L’Economiste newspaper on Thursday as saying the company’s mining capacity had “significantly progressed”. “International demand remains strong as a whole, with an increase in fertilizer consumption held up by a drop in prices,” the company said in a statement in the paper. Exports to Africa increased by 70 percent in 2016, reaching 1.7 million tonnes, OCP said.
(Reporting by Samia Errazzouki; Editing by David Goodman and David Evans) ((Aidan.Lewis@thomsonreuters.com ; +216-29850352;)) Keywords: MOROCCO OCP/RESULTS (UPDATE 2)
Automotive News Europe
Italian supplier Sogefi plans to open a new factory in Morocco to build engine filtration systems. It will be the company’s first industrial site in Africa.
Sogefi will invest up to 10 million euros in the plant, which will begin manufacturing a diesel filter and an oil filter for various automakers starting 2018.
The company says it has already received new orders for both the local market and the European market that will generate additional annual sales of 30 million euros from 2020.
The factory in Tangier will employ 120 people, but Sogefi says new business opportunities may lead to an expansion of the plant and a rise in the number of employees to 300. This could provide annual sales of 60 million euros in 2021, the supplier said.
“This investment further strengthens the competitiveness of Sogefi’s manufacturing base and provides support for profitable growth in Morocco and in Europe,” Sogefi’s CEO, Laurent Hebenstreit, said in a statement.
Moroccan car production has grown in recent years as foreign automakers invest in or are planning to invest in a market that Sogefi predicts will reach a production volume of about 1 million vehicles annually by 2025.
Renault operates two factories in Morocco: its factory in Tangier produces Dokker, Lodgy and Sandero models alongside body pressings for export. A plant in Casablanca builds Logan and Sandero models.
Renault recently announced plans to invest $1.04 billion in the country, along with a partner group of suppliers, to build an “industry ecosystem” to help boost local production of components.
French rival PSA Group has also unveiled plans to build a $630 million factory in Morocco to assemble subcompact and compact models for Africa and the Middle East starting in 2019.
You can reach David Jolley at email@example.com.
Morocco and China’s Haite Group signed an agreement on Monday to launch an industrial park near Tangiers for 200 Chinese companies that will create tens of thousands of jobs.
The agreement was signed in a ceremony at the royal palace in the port city attended by King Mohammed VI. With an initial investment of US$1 billion, “Mohammed VI Tangier Tech City” aims to generate 100,000 jobs, including 90,000 for employees from the Tangiers area.
“Chinese economic operators are looking for competitive platforms and they have chosen Morocco as one of those platforms,” Industry Minister Moulay Hafid Elalamy told AFP.
by Samia Errazzouki
Taqa Morocco, which supplies about 38 percent of the country’s electricity supply, said on Wednesday its 2016 net profit rose by 11.4 percent to 978 million Moroccan dirham ($98.07 million), citing improved operations and lower coal prices.
Owned by Abu Dhabi National Energy Co, Taqa Morocco operates the largest coal-fired power plant in the Middle East and North Africa. Its revenues fell 8.5 percent to 8.05 billion dirhams, the company said.
However, operations benefited from a 14 percent drop in coal prices, it said. Consolidated margins have improved by 32 percent in 2016, up from 28 percent last year, the company said.
Reporting by Samia Errazzouki ((firstname.lastname@example.org; +213-661-692993; Reuters Messaging: email@example.com))
The 24th Conference of the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union (AIPU) closed here on Tuesday by electing Speaker of Morocco’s House of Representatives Habib El Malki as a new president of the union.
The Moroccan speaker will replace Nabih Berri, speaker of the Lebanese parliament, whose mandate has ended.
In a speech on the occasion, El Malki thanked all Arab MPs for their trust and the spirit of consultation that rained during the conference.
The conference was held for two days under the theme “consolidation of Arab joint action.”
He also vowed the will of the AIPU to find solutions to the various challenges facing the Arab world.
Founded in 1974, AIPU is an Arab parliamentary organization composed of parliamentary groups representing Arab Parliaments with the aim of strengthening joint Arab action.
Chrissy Teigen And John Legend Ride Camels In Morocco As They Continue Picturesque Holiday With Baby Luna
By Dailymail.com Reporter
They have been making everyone green with envy thanks to their beautiful holiday pictures from Morocco.
And Chrissy Teigen and John Legend aren’t ready to stop if there Instagram profiles are anything to go by.
Chrissy took to Instagram on Tuesday to share a picture of herself all dolled up posing next to a camel.
Holiday vibes: Chrissy took to Instagram on Tuesday to share a picture of herself all dolled up posing next to a camel.
In the photo the Sports Illustrated model wore a full face of make-up, complete with purple lipstick, dark smokey eyes and a contoured face.
She added some dramatic hoop earrings as she swept her famous long locks away from her face.
The model wore a plunging black jumpsuit and a little gold belt to complete her look.
Living like a Queen: She shared another photo of her actually laying across the camel with her hand in the air.
She shared another photo of her actually laying across the camel with her hand in the air.
In another snap she is seen kissing her award-winning husband’s cheek as she lifts one leg in the air.
John made sure to match his fashionista wife as he wore a suave black ensemble.
John got in on the social media action also as he shared a pic of him and Chrissy sitting on their respective camels.
Love is in the air: In another snap she is seen kissing her award-winning husband’s cheek as she lifts one leg in the air.
The doting daddy also posted a picture of him and his little girl Luna, who is turning one on April 14.
His little girl is sitting sweetly next to him with a pink scarf draped around her head and body.
The model has been documenting her stay in Morocco all over Snapchat and Instagram.
The Lip Sync Battle co-host donned a pair of large designer sunglasses as she swept her locks back away from her face.