Western sahara Major events

Travel Advice: Is It Safe To Holiday In Morocco?

Western Sahara Worldnews - Wed, 04/05/2017 - 07:51

Irish Times
Joan Scales

There is a high threat of terrorism but Irish authorities have not advised against going there.

Agadir: the main resort for tourism due to its pleasant climate

Now that the Canaries are so busy, people have been looking to Morocco as an alternative destination for sun holidays. The one question everyone wants to know is: is it safe?

The advice from both the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs and the British foreign and commonwealth office is that there is a high threat of terrorism but have not advised against travelling there. Both recommend purchasing fully comprehensive travel insurance.

Like many countries now, including France, Spain and Germany, security services are on high alert. Security personnel may be visible particularly at sites of interest and gatherings of tourists.

Security services

In recent years Morocco substantially increased personnel in the security services and antiterrorism operations regularly flush out suspected terrorists. The country works hard to keep you safe, but it is hard to be definitive.

The main resort for tourism is Agadir on the west coast. The climate is very pleasant over the winter and spring and it attracts a lot of European tourists.

There is a very good range of hotels and prices are more competitive than the Canaries. Most people will stay on the resort and enjoy the facilities provided. There are some interesting places to visit but roads are bad and begging is a constant. Always go with a registered guide.

Five-star hotels

The city of Marrakech is a very interesting place to visit and has a great selection of accommodation to choose from. From Riads, traditional Moroccan houses built around courtyards to luxurious palace-style five-star hotels.

South of Agadir the port town of Essaouira is a popular destination for its great beaches and Moorish history. It is also a place favoured by water sports enthusiasts, because it is windy.

Sunway.ie operates package holidays to Morocco all year and Ryanair fly to Marrakech twice weekly over the winter.

French Paper Highlights Morocco’s Tolerant Islam As Bulwark Against Extremism

Western Sahara Worldnews - Mon, 04/03/2017 - 14:03

The North Africa Post

French paper, L’Express, highlighted the role played by Mohammed VI Institute for the Training of Imams in boosting Morocco’s clout in the continent and championing a moderate and tolerant Islam against the threat of extremism.

Promoting the lofty values of tolerance inherent to Islam is a praiseworthy endeavor pursued by the Institute in a bid to counter calls for extremism at the local and international level, underscores the French newspaper.

The Institute, located in Rabat, has been offering training to Imams and preachers from different African countries such as Mali, Cote d’Ivoire, Nigeria, Chad as well as European countries, including France, adds the same source, noting that 50 Frenchman out of a total of 1195 students are currently receiving training on the genuine precepts of Islam.

The reform of the religious sphere is a key part in Morocco’s counter terrorism strategy. The Institute, which trains Imams, Murshideen and Murshidat (male and female preachers), is a vector of religious diplomacy aiming to counter the terrorist threat that feeds on extremist interpretations of religions with a view to destabilize the region.

The paper also highlights that Morocco is becoming a hub for spreading tolerant Islam, noting that French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Minister for Endowments and Islamic Affairs Ahmed Toufiq signed an agreement in 2015 to offer training within the institute to Imams of French mosques.

Morocco also launched the Mohammed VI Foundation for African Ulemas, an academic institution based in Fez that aims at uniting the efforts of Muslim scholars to promote tolerant Islam and counter extremism and radicalization on the continent.

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.

Morocco Is Reminding Us That The North Is Also Part Of Africa

Western Sahara Worldnews - Mon, 04/03/2017 - 13:43

Africa Business Magazine

Talk of Africa’s economic potential and successes tends to be dominated by sub-Saharan Africa’s leading economies.

While the likes of Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa grab the headlines, North Africa’s economic role on the continent is routinely omitted. The lack of attention paid to the region reflects a traditional disconnect, symbolised geographically by the Sahara desert.

Political and economic ties between the North’s leading economies and their sub-Saharan peers have historically been, at best, limited. While there has been some activity from Egypt in recent years, notably hosting a major investment summit in Sharm El Sheikh last February, Morocco is redefining the continent’s North–South relations.

Fresh off readmission to the African Union (AU) during its 28th summit in Ethiopia last month, the country’s leader King Mohammed VI has just returned from Ghana, meeting the country’s new president Nana Akufo-Addo, rounded off by the signing of 20 memorandums of understanding on deepening economic ties. It has become a familiar routine for the monarch, who has toured much of the continent in the past year promoting the merits of partnership with the kingdom. Other countries visited include Rwanda, Nigeria, Zambia and Ethiopia.

While rejoining the AU was a major driver of the charm offensive – a break from a historical focus on Europe – its continental strategy goes much further. Moroccan companies, especially banks, have been investing south of the Sahara for years. Today, an estimated 85% of the country’s foreign direct investment is in the region.

The country is also driving Africa’s sustainability agenda, positioning itself as arguably the leader in promoting green investment and development. It is building the world’s largest solar power plant, the Ouarzazate Solar Power Station, or Noor.

Phase one is already active, and when complete, the project will have a total generating capacity of 580MW. This is backed up by a growing global profile. In December Morocco hosted Cop 22, the UN’s annual, global climate change summit, the first in Africa.

All of this is good news for the continent. The disconnect between North and sub-Saharan Africa is nonsensical, undermining regional integration efforts and costing Africa in lost investment and trading opportunities. Not to mention its corrosive effect on any claims to pan-Africanism.

Long-term vision

Everything about Morocco’s Africa push suggests it is part of a long-term vision. With some luck the kingdom’s lead on bridging the divide will encourage its northern peers to step up their efforts as well. There is much to gain.

Aside from the obvious need for more trade between North and South, Morocco is arguably also well positioned as a regional and continental hub for trade and investment to and from Europe. The potential for North African commercial centres like Casablanca and Cairo to perform such a role is virtually unexplored, for no good reason

Italian Movie Wins Top Prize At Mediterranean Film Festival In Morocco

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sun, 04/02/2017 - 15:05

China.org.cn

The Italian movie “Indivisibili” by Edoardo De Angelis won late on Saturday the Grand Prix Tamouda d’or, the top prize at the 23rd International Mediterranean Film Festival in Morocco.

The French director Benedicte Pagnot claimed the top prize in documentary competition with her work “Islam pour memoire.”

China, as the guest of honor for this festival, also took numerous Chinese movies to the screen, which 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.”

The official competition of the festival, held in Morocco’s northern city of Tetouan, includes 24 films from 15 Mediterranean countries, including 12 feature films and 12 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.

Morocco Launches Final Stage of World Largest Solar Plant

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sun, 04/02/2017 - 12:25

Solar Plant
Xinhuanet China

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI launched Saturday in the southern province of Ouarzazate the fourth and final stage of Noor Ouarzazate, the world’s largest solar plant.

The Noor Ouarzazate IV power station, spanned over an area of 137 hectares (1.37 square km), will be set up with over 75 million U.S. dollars with photovoltaic (PV) technology.

The power station, scheduled to start operating in the first quarter of 2018, will be built as part of a partnership involving the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (Masen), and a consortium of private operators led by the Saudi Arabian Acwa Power group and German development bank KfW.

While the first station has started operating in 2016, the second and third power stations of Noor solar complex have reached a completion rate of 76 and 74 percent respectively.
The mega project will generate 582 megawatts and provide electricity to over a million homes when completed by 2020.

The plant represents a critical step in the Moroccan Solar Energy Program, which aims to generate 42 percent of its electricity needs through renewable energy by 2020 and 52 percent by 2030.

Source: Xinhua
Editor: yan

Morocco Starts Final Stage Of Huge Solar Power Complex

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sat, 04/01/2017 - 15:00

KUNA kuweit news agency

Moroccan King Mohammad VI gave the green light on Saturday to the launching of the final stage of Noor Ouarzazate complex – a colossal solar power farm in the Moroccan desert.

The project, one of the world’s biggest projects in this field, is expected to meet the country’s domestic needs and help export energy to Europe, said Ali Al Fassi Fihri, the general manager of the National Office of Hydrocarbons and Mines (ONHYM).

“The project will boost the country’s confidence in its ability to realize the targets of the national strategy for renewable energy,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the launching ceremony.

“With a designed capacity of 582 megawatts, this complex aims to increase the share of solar power in the total domestic energy consumption to 42 percent by 2020; it is part of an ambitious strategy to produce 2,000 megawatts of solar power,” Fihri pointed out.

Noor Ouarzazate covers a total area of 3,000 hectares and consists of four plants employing the latest technologies and meeting the international technical and environmental standards; it costs up to EUR two billion (nearly USD 2.13 billion).
(end) mry.gb

Polisario’s Volte Face In Guerguarat

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sat, 04/01/2017 - 13:34

The North Africa Post

The Algerian-backed Polisario militias have surprisingly announced their intention to withdraw from the Guerguarat buffer strip area in the southernmost tip of the Moroccan southern provinces in a move to polish its image ahead of the UN Secretary General report on the Sahara.

The Algerian news agency reported that the Polisario separatist militias have announced their “willingness to cooperate with the UN in order to find the means to put the peace process on track and overcome tensions created in the Guerguarat area.”

The Polisario’s softening its stance on the Guerguarat where it has violated the 1991 ceasefire agreement by maintaining troops and hindering commercial traffic comes only a month before the UN Security Council meeting on the Sahara and the first report of the new UN Secretary General on the region.

Therefore, by announcing willingness to cooperate with the UN, the Polisario is attempting to polish its image ahead of the UN meeting. It had earlier turned a deaf ear to the calls of the UN Secretary General regarding an immediate withdrawal of troops and the need to maintain the flow of commercial traffic unobstructed.

Even after Morocco’s unilateral withdrawal in response to the UN Secretary General’s call, the Polisario moved into the Buffer strip upon directives from its mentors in Algiers and set up checkpoints in an act aimed at galvanizing support amid the disenchanted population held against their will in Tindouf camps.

The Tindouf-based militias are also attempting to divert attention from Morocco’s recent diplomatic breakthrough in Africa, notably after it gained support of countries that were until recently aligning with the Algerian-sponsored separatist thesis.

The withdrawal of Moroccan troops took the Polisario militias and their Algerian sponsors by surprise at a moment they were waiting for the Moroccan army to fall in the trap of provocation.

Now that it has withdrawn its troops beyond its security walls, Morocco has scored a major point and evidenced its sincere willingness to safeguard the region’s peace and security.

Meanwhile, the Polisario’s hostile acts and its obstinacy to maintain its armed men within the buffer zone in an utter disregard for the ceasefire agreement are threatening with a casus belli the whole region.

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.

LafargeHolcim Inaugurates New Research Laboratory In Morocco

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 03/31/2017 - 14:42

Global Cement News
Written by Global Cement staff

LafargeHolcim has inaugurated a new Construction Development Lab (CDL) in Casablanca. The CDL will be dedicated to the Moroccan and African construction markets and it will help the group develop construction solutions for the markets it serves. The laboratory is LafargeHolcim’s eighth laboratory in the world after those in Algeria, Argentina, China, France, India, Malaysia and Mexico. The 4000m² facility will house 50 engineers, architects and technicians and marketers. LafargeHolcim’s central research and development site is based in Lyon, France.

The new CDL will also aim to develop partnerships with start-ups, universities and other higher education institutions to promote research and development, test new ideas and reinforce relationships with building and infrastructure construction experts. It will organise specialised training for clients, influencers, product applicators and builders to enable them to use innovative solutions in their projects.

Published in Global Cement News

Polisario Front Announce Willingness To Cooperate With UN

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 03/31/2017 - 10:05

Middle East Monitor

The separatist Polisario Front is willing to cooperate with the United Nations to restart the peace process in the Sahara and overcome the tensions in the Guergarat buffer zone, according to the Algerian news agency APS.

The change of position is mainly motivated by the will of the Polisario Front and its sponsors to show their action plan before the publication of the first report of Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, scheduled for 7 April.

Read: Algerian president reiterates support for Polisario Front

The document will expose the manoeuvres of the group in the buffer zone in which truck drivers importing goods are usually hindered. Acts like this by the separatist entity continue despite an alert issued by the UN secretary-general in a telephone interview with King Mohammed VI in February where Guterres insisted that the commercial activities should not be blocked in the region.

Morocco announced the next day its “unilateral withdrawal of the zone”. The Polisario Front has so far defied the criticisms of international organisations such as the European Union denouncing the diversion of humanitarian aid.

The separatist group is fighting for the self-determination of the Sahrawi people in the contested Western Sahara which Morocco believes to be part of its kingdom. The Polisario Front is backed by Algeria which supports the independence of Western Sahara from Morocco.

A Quick Guide To Backing Up Your Critical Data

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 03/31/2017 - 07:41

NYT
By J. D. Biersdorfer and Kelly Couterier

It’s World Backup Day, which is another way of saying it’s a good time to safeguard your digital photos, videos, documents and emails by creating second copies, or backups, of them and storing them somewhere secure.

As headlines about hacking and cyber theft remind us daily, our personal devices are vulnerable. The good news is that setting up a system to keep your files backed up automatically is easy. Spending a little time today could save you a lot of trouble in the future.

Here’s a quick guide to the basics, with tips from our partners at The Wirecutter, the product review website, and J. D. Biersdorfer, who writes the Tech Tip features for The New York Times.

Backing Up Your Computer

An automated backup system can preserve all the essential files, even your iTunes library, that are stored on your computer.

Microsoft includes File Recovery software with Windows 10 (or Backup and Restore if the computer is running Windows 7), while Apple’s Mac operating system has had the Time Machine program for backup since 2007.

For those who want more than the basic built-in backup software, third-party programs like Acronis True Image (for Windows and Mac, as well as Android and iOS) or Carbon Copy Cloner (for Mac) can grab a backup of the entire computer.

Next, you will need a place to put those backed-up files, typically an external hard drive or network server. The Wirecutter product review site (owned by The Times) has several suggestions for external hard drives.

Some programs (like Acronis True Image) also back up your files to a cloud-storage server. If you have a Mac and you want a cloud-based storage option, you can back up your files in iCloud. You can also use an online backup service — The Wirecutter recommends CrashPlan.

Many of today’s lightweight, travel-friendly “ultrabook” laptops come with internal solid-state drives that store data in a type of flash memory. Solid-state drives are more expensive to make and typically come in smaller capacities compared with hard disk drives.

If you have files you can store elsewhere, either in the cloud or on an external hard drive connected to the new laptop, you can offload them from the main drive if you get a laptop with a smaller capacity. Many laptop makers advertise devices in basic configurations, so even if a new computer’s drive looks like it tops out at 512 gigabytes, you may be able to pay extra for a custom configuration with a one-terabyte solid-state drive.

Backing Up Your Phone

If you have an iPhone, you have the choice of backing up your data in iCloud or in iTunes.

If you choose the iCloud option, you will get up to two terabytes of storage, with the first five gigabytes free. Your backup files are always encrypted, and you can create and use backups from anywhere with Wi-Fi.

If you choose the iTunes option, your backup files are stored on your Mac or PC, and the amount of storage you get depends on your Mac’s or PC’s available space. You have the option of encrypted backups. You can only create and use backups from your Mac or PC.

You can also skip iTunes and iCloud and have more control over backing up an iPhone to a PC or Mac with a third-party backup program, like iMazing or iExplorer.

If you have a phone that uses the Android operating system, you can automatically back up your data and settings to Google Drive and your photos and videos to Google Photos. Unlimited automatic backups are available for Google Calendar and Google Contacts data and your photos and videos. For app data, call history and text messages, limited automatic backup is available — as much as 25 megabytes of data per app.

If you want to move photos from your Android to a Mac, Google Photos may be a simple solution. You can install the app on the Android phone and have it automatically back up your images online to your Google Photos account, where you can also see and download them to the Mac from a web browser. And iPhone users can install the Google Photos app for iOS to see their photos there and add any new pictures taken with iOS devices to a Google Photos library.

Flash drives designed especially for smartphones are becoming popular options for quick photo backup — SanDisk and Leef Mobile Memory are two of the major players.

Backing Up Your Social Media Feed

The horror of a hacked, crashed or deleted social media account can mean losing years of personal memories. Even if you are not worried about being hacked, you may want to save a copy of your account’s contents if you decide to quit the service, the company goes out of business or changes to its terms of service agreement are not to your liking.

If you want a simple way to download a backup of the pictures, friends, followers, tags and comments from your Instagram account, a social media backup service like digi.me can be a hassle-free solution. Digi.me has free software for Windows, Mac, Android and iOS systems that automatically backs up and syncs your posts from Instagram, Facebook, Twitterand several other social media networks to your local drive. Frostbox is another service that works with Instagram, among other social media sites.

Backup Tips for Music Lovers

If you have backed up your iTunes audio library onto an external hard drive, you can use it to listen to your music on another computer.

If you don’t have room on your laptop’s hard drive to store the MP3 audio files you finally converted from your compact discs, you can store the collection on an external hard drive or upload the converted files to a cloud server, like Amazon Music, Google Play Musicor iTunes Match, which makes your music accessible on any mobile gadgets you may also have. For those who want a richer sound than the MP3 format, here are some tips for converting CDs into high-fidelity tracks.

Moroccan Property Firm Alliances Developpement Makes 2016 Profit

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 03/31/2017 - 07:23

Reuters
by Samia Errazzouki

Moroccan property developer Alliances Developpement posted a net profit of 144 million dirhams ($14 million) in 2016, recovering from a record loss of 1.8 billion dirhams in 2015 after a debt restructuring.

Alliances’ debt dropped by 50 percent to 1.78 billion dirhams in 2016, from 3.43 billion dirhams in 2015, the company said in a statement published in L’Economiste newspaper on Friday.

(Reporting by Samia Errazzouki; editing by Alexander Smith)

Morocco’s BMCE Bank Posts 4 Pct Rise In Net Profit For 2016

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 03/30/2017 - 18:52

Reuters
by Samia Errazzouki

Moroccan lender BMCE Bank of Africa said on Thursday its net profit rose 4 percent in 2016, reaching a record 2 billion dirhams ($204 million).

BMCE cited growth in banking activities as the reason for the profit boost, in a statement carried by L’Economiste newspaper.

(Reporting by Samia Errazzouki, editing by David Evans)

Morocco’s BMCE Bank Reports Record Net Profit For 2016

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 03/30/2017 - 14:57

Reuters
by Samia Errazzouki

Moroccan lender BMCE Bank of Africa said on Thursday its 2016 net profit rose 4 percent to a record 2 billion dirhams ($204 million) thanks to rising margins and commission income.

Consolidated net income rose 10 percent to 12.99 billion dirhams last year, the bank said in a statement published by L’Economiste newspaper.

Income from interest and commissions made up 87 percent of the bank’s income, BMCE said, while costs to cover risks rose 12 percent to 1.6 billion dirhams. It did not give details.

BMCE, like other big lenders in Morocco, has faced higher risks in sub-Saharan Africa where it has been expanding aggressively, as well as bad loans in its home market after years of economic turmoil following the financial crisis and Arab spring.

Total bad loans rose to 8.8 billion dirhams from 7.3 billion dirhams at the end of 2015, data from the bank showed.

BMCE’s return on equity (ROE) was 12.6 percent in 2016, down from 13 percent in 2015. Total assets jumped 9.5 percent to 305.92 billion dirhams, the bank said.

Sub-Saharan subsidiaries Bank of Africa, La Congolaise de Banque and Banque de Developpement du Mali contributed 32 percent to BMCE’s profit, the bank said.

Last month, Moody’s changed BMCE’s outlook to stable from negative.

Along with other Moroccan banks, BMCE is preparing to launch an Islamic subsidiary after the authorities gave the go-ahead to establish Islamic banks and issue sukuk, or Islamic bonds.

BMCE Bank has picked Bahrain-based Al Baraka Banking Group as its Islamic banking partner.⁠⁠⁠⁠

(Reporting by Samia Errazzouki, editing by David Evans and Susan Fenton)

Moroccan Builder Addoha Reports 18 Pct Rise In 2016 Net Profit

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 03/30/2017 - 10:27

Reuters
by Aidan Lewis

Addoha, Morocco’s biggest property developer by market value, reported an 18 percent jump in net profit for 2016 to 1 billion dirhams ($100 million).

Gross margin rose to 34 percent last year from 28 percent in 2015 in the high-income segment, the company said in a statement published in L’Economiste newspaper on Thursday. Its operating margin rose slightly to 15.8 percent from 14.6 percent.

The company has been working to reduce debt in the past three years and bolster cashflow, it said. Operating cashflow increased slightly to 2.72 billion dirhams in 2016 from 2.48 billion dirhams a year earlier.

Sales revenue edged up 0.2 percent to 7.116 billion dirhams.

Addoha said it had sold 12,070 units in 2016, down from 17,510 in the same period of 2015. These included 5,742 housing units for high-end customers, up from 1,790 the year before. (Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Susan Fenton and Edmund Blair)

Moroccan Builder Addoha Reports 18% Rise In 2016 Profit

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 03/30/2017 - 07:32

Reuters
Real Estate

Addoha , Morocco’s biggest property developer by market value, reported an 18 percent jump in net profit for 2016 to 1 billion dirhams ($100 million).

Gross margin rose to 34 percent last year from 28 percent in 2015 in the high-income segment, the company said in a statement published in L’Economiste newspaper on Thursday. Its operating margin rose slightly to 15.8 percent from 14.6 percent.

The company has been working to reduce debt in the past three years and bolster cashflow, it said. Operating cashflow increased slightly to 2.72 billion dirhams in 2016 from 2.48 billion dirhams a year earlier.

Sales revenue edged up 0.2 percent to 7.116 billion dirhams.

Addoha said it had sold 12,070 units in 2016, down from 17,510 in the same period of 2015. These included 5,742 housing units for high-end customers, up from 1,790 the year before.

Pope Francis Surprises Muslim Moroccan Family In Milan

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 03/30/2017 - 07:13

Al Arabiya
The Associated Press

Pope Francis focused his one-day visit last week to the wealthy northern Italian city of Milan on those marginalized by society, visiting families in a housing project and exhorting clergy and nuns gathered in a cathedral to minister to the peripheries.

During his visit to the housing project, the pope made private visits to three families: one couple in their 50s struggling with infirmity, members of a family in their 80s dealing with illness and a third family originally from Morocco that is engaged in teaching Arabic.

Mihoual Abdel Karim and his family warmly welcome the Pope into their home, offering him traditional sweets, taking a selfie with him and giving him gifts.

On 28-29 April, the Pope will be visiting Egypt, and he has also received an invitation to visit Lebanon.

http://www.moroccotomorrow.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Pope.mp4

The housing project on the edge of Italy’s wealthy finance and fashion capital is home to more than 1,000 people, including many elderly and foreigners living on the margins of society.

The papal itinerary, which also included a stop at the city’s main prison, underscored Francis’ view that the peripheries offer a better view of reality than the well-tended and prosperous city centres.

The visit to the world’s largest diocese, with more than five million faithful, and the home of his main competition in 2013 for the papacy, Cardinal Angelo Scola, marked a resumption of the pope’s regular pastoral visits after a yearlong hiatus because of the Jubilee Year of Mercy commitments in Rome.

Last Update: Thursday, 30 March 2017 KSA 16:56 – GMT 13:56

Morocco Looking To Diversify Cooperation With India: Envoy

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 03/30/2017 - 05:21

Canindia

Morocco, fast emerging as north Africa’s economic leader and a major source of phosphates for India, is keen to diversify its cooperation with New Delhi and is looking forward to a key bilateral meeting in May to boost its partnership, the country’s envoy has said.

“The Morocco-India Joint Commission will convene on May 25-26 in Rabat. Both countries are also celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic relations this year. The two countries have gone far in their cooperation which is being reinforced and diversified,” Morocco’s Ambassador to India Mohamed Maliki told IANS in an interview.

Referring to the “very warm and lengthy” meeting between Moroccan King Mohammed VI and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Third India-Africa Forum Summit in New Delhi in October 2015, the envoy said the two leaders decided to elevate bilateral ties to a Strategic Partnership and “instructed their governments to work to materialise the important decision”.

Both sides are now working to include new areas of cooperation to the partnership, besides the traditional ones of fertiliser, chemicals, automobiles, renewable energy and construction, among others, Maliki said.

“The two sides are exploring new areas in order to diversify their cooperation, especially in the economic sector,” he added.

“Relations between India and Morocco include not only trade but investment as well. India is the largest Asian recipient of Moroccan governmental investment. Indeed, thanks to the several joint ventures between OCP (Office Cherifien Phosphates Group) and India, investment is an important part of relations between the two sides,” Maliki said.

Maliki termed the India-Africa Forum Summit in October 2015 in New Delhi as not only a “remarkable milestone” in African-Indian relations but also a “significant milestone” due to the participation of the Moroccan King in the Summit. “The Indian government rightly decided that the Summit should not be convened without the participation of an important African country, which is Morocco.”

He said the return of Morocco to the African Union earlier this year after three decades would add momentum to Africa-India relations.

He said both sides are working on promoting tourism and cultural relations “while enabling more cooperation between the cultural institutions of the two countries and holding cultural events in India and Morocco”, leveraging particularly on the huge craze for Indian movies in Morocco.

“The commemoration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations is yet another occasion to stress on the excellent relations between the two countries in all sectors, and an opportunity not only to celebrate but also to double the efforts in bringing together the two governments and peoples, that could lay the ground to further economic cooperation.”

Over the past few months, Moroccan King Mohammed VI has been touring the African continent, accompanied by business delegations, that has resulted in initiatives in the fertilser sector, infrastructure, and in energy.

The kingdom is keen to position itself as the gateway to Africa.

“Rich with their cumulative experiences, India and Morocco can join their efforts and launch initiatives towards the African countries and thereby contribute to South-South cooperation,” the envoy added.

(Ranjana Narayan can be reached at ranjana.n@ians.in)

–IANS

Morocco Tops Africa Capacity Index 2016 For STI

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 03/30/2017 - 05:08

Ghana Business News
By Pamela Ofori-Boateng

Morocco is the leader in Capacity Building in Africa in the area of Science,Technology and Innovation (STI), for the year 2016, according to the latest Africa Capacity Report (ACR), 2017.

The report released by the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), surveyed 44 African countries, measured and empirically assessed capacity against the development agenda in African countries.

The results for the African Capacity Building Index (ACI), were generally satisfactory as the ACI value ranged from 71.6 (Morocco) to 33.1 (Central African Republic), it said.

The ACR, noted that more efforts will be required for countries to move into the Very High Bracket in the index since no country reached the Very High extremes of capacity for the year under review.

Majority of the countries, the report pointed out have a medium capacity as out of the 44 countries surveyed, most (74 per cent) fell within the medium bracket, 20.5 per cent were in the High bracket, and 4.5 per cent were in the low bracket, it noted.

The report further says the best performance was in gender equality and social inclusion, for which there were no countries in the Low or Very Low brackets.

The indicators according to the report, depicts that Africa is making gradual process in developing its capacity for STI, despite the numerous challenges confronting it.

Adding to that, African countries have a long way to go in improving the outcome of capacity development, given that capacity-needs assessments are not the priority for most of them.

The report identified brain drain or mass migration of African skilled scientists and other experts as one of the factors impeding the development of STI in Africa.

ACBF plays a highly relevant role as it is well positioned to make an important difference through funding, interventions and technical assistance for capacity building projects and programmes to meet the needs of African member countries and non-state actors.

The ACR 2017 focuses on building capacity for STI in Africa. It also focuses on the capacity building imperatives for STI to accelerate Africa’s transformation

By Pamela Ofori-Boateng

Polisario, Algeria’s failure in Dakar

Polisario-confidential - Wed, 03/29/2017 - 11:50
The postponement sine die of the meeting of the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), initially scheduled for March 23-25 in Dakar, illustrates the new diplomatic showdown between Morocco and Algeria through the Polisario proxy. Above all, it reflects Rabat’s determination to forfend systematically all the blows of Algiers. Two months after its return to […]

Sahara: Polisario’s presence foils AU/ECA meeting in Dakar

Sahara News - Wed, 03/29/2017 - 11:46
A meeting of experts’ committees, jointly convened by the UN Economic  Commission for Africa (ECA) and the African Union (AU), was scheduled in Dakar on March 23-25, but it was postponed sine die last Saturday. The 10th Annual Conference of African Ministers of Finance and Planning, co-sponsored by the AU and the ECA, that was […]

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