Western sahara Major events

Morocco PM Cancels 10 Ministers’ Vacations Over Delay In Development Projects

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sun, 08/06/2017 - 01:45

Xinhuanet
Source: Xinhua

Moroccan Prime Minister Saadeddine El Othmani cancelled vacations of 10 ministers over delay in development projects in the country’s restive northeastern region, local media reported on Saturday.

The ministers usually take their annual vacations in August.

According to the Moroccan daily Assabah, El Othmani has formally informed the 10 ministers, adding that the concerned ministers will also not be allowed to leave the country.

PM instructed the ministers to closely follow up the projects and make regular visits to ensure their proper implementation, the same source pointed out.

In 2015, Morocco launched Lighthouse of the Mediterranean, a large-scale development program in the north-eastern province of Al Hociema, but many of its projects have been marred by delays.

Disappointed by the delays, King Mohammed VI ordered in late June the cancelling of the vacations for the ministers concerned with the implementation of the development program, and set up an investigation committee to hold related officials responsible for the delays.

In a speech to the nation on the occasion of the 18th anniversary of ascension to the throne on July 29, the king blamed politicians and public officials for their low performance and for the delay witnessed in the implementation of a set of social projects in Morocco’s different regions, including Al Hociema.

The situation in Al Hoceima has been tense since October 2016, when fish vendor Mouhcine Fikri was crushed to death after climbing into a rubbish lorry to retrieve his swordfish confiscated by police.

The demand for justice for Fikri in the northeastern region has evolved into a major grassroots movement to protest the delay in the implementation of scheduled projects, requesting greater government investment to create more jobs.

Currently returning to calm, Morocco has not witnessed any protests of this size since the pro-democracy demonstrations during the Arab spring in 2011.

Travel To Tangier, Morocco, Delivers An Elderly Money-saving Device

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sat, 08/05/2017 - 18:00

The Australian
Nancy Telfer
Picture: Getty Images

We have travelled overseas with an older family member several times with great success but have restricted it to the comfort zone of the US, with no language issues or complex cultural challenges. This time we are going to Europe, untouched territory, and how excited we are.

As usual I have the task of organising the itinerary and accommodation. As I become more emboldened I select a tour of Spain that to my delight includes a day trip to Tangier, across the Strait of Gibraltar, in northwest Morocco. So many pieces of paper are printed with information of how and where we are travelling and these are distributed with anticipation that at least the important features will be read. How wrong I am.

Not only are the pages designated to the pile of unread brochures, but the itinerary remains a mystery to everyone but me. So there’s shock when it is discovered that the whole trip is to be done on public transport and not a dedicated bus or private car.

The day for our trip to Tangier arrives. We are to catch a ferry from Tarifa and my sense of foreboding increases. I suggest to the older family member that perhaps remaining at the hotel on Spanish soil might, after several weeks of travelling, be of some familiarity and that Morocco might push things too far. I don’t know whether or not it is fear of being alone for the day but there she is, next to us on the ferry getting her passport stamped.

I am heady with delight in anticipating somewhere completely different and am not disappointed. The markets, snake charmers and even the carpet salesmen running down the street after us match the Tangier of my imagination, but it becomes all too much for the older one. The aghast look on her face says it all.

When the next group of trinket sellers swarms all over her, one of our party leaps to her defence with the cry, “No! In Australia we have an evil leader who only lets old people out of the country once in 10 years and they are not allowed to carry any money!”

Once the laughter dies down, we cherish this memorable moment of a wonderful journey.

Talking Frontiers In North Africa: Why Borderland Matters

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 14:45

ChatamHouse.org
Written by @Eubulletin

In recent years, there have been four major sets of events that have brought back the discussion around borders in the Maghreb region. These are: the ongoing conflicts in Syria and Libya and their broader impact on the international community and order, the humanitarian disaster in the Mediterranean and its repercussions and media coverage in Europe; the temporary reintroduction of border checks within the Schengen area, and the renewed calls for deeper cooperation on border surveillance and patrolling with countries of origin and of transit in the Maghreb and in Africa.

Never before has reinforced cooperation on border controls attracted so much attention from policy makers in international forums. While the humanitarian needs of the individuals crossing borders as well as their fundamental rights to leave any country are recognized, the international consensus is such that it pushes countries to ‘take measures to prevent irregular border crossings’ to say whom to admit and whom to deport. Borders are indeed very symbolic and carry a range of functional attributes. Moreover, the borderland may interact with other dimensions of the border including control, identity and meaning.

However, at a state level, intensifying border controls implies redefining external relations. For example, Morocco’s deepened cooperation with Spain on border controls and deportation alienated this North African country from its traditional sub-Saharan African partners. Later, the toppling of Muammar Gaddafi and the declining influence of Libya in sub-Saharan Africa opened a new opportunity. Rabat is seen by some as having revamped its ‘African strategy’ based on soft power which turned out to be an agreement with its strategy to co-opt some sub-Saharan countries with an intention to narrow Algeria’s scope for action in Africa and to strengthen Moroccan territorial claims on Western Sahara.

Moreover, reinforced controls on external borders cause a reformulation of relations between the parties involved. Nowadays, unprecedented patterns of interconnectedness among countries in Western Mediterranean have become so consolidated that any unilateral form of conditionality must be scrutinized not to jeopardize cooperation. In broader terms, it is probably safe to say that cooperation on border and migration controls has actually become the number one priority in North African–EU relations but at the same time remained peripheral to other strategic issue areas.

The western vision currently assumes that regional integration processes should be characterized by clear-cut bordered areas. However, some analysts are now calling for the borderlands to be considered as grassroots integration processes capable of tackling the divide between border people’s day-to-day realities and the sovereign preserve of states. However, since borderlands span a few neighboring states, their intrinsic cross-border dynamics should be preserved.

‘Approaching Borders and Frontiers in North Africa’ – Analysis by Jean-Pierre Cassarino – Chatham House, The Royal Institute of International Affairs.

(The Analysis can be downloaded here)

Nigerian Pirates Kidnap Moroccan Crew

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 08/04/2017 - 01:21

Premium Times Nigeria
Agency Report

Nigerian pirates have kidnapped five crew members, three of them from Morocco, from a general cargo vessel identified as the Panama-flagged Oya 1 around 15 nautical miles south west of Bonny Island.

The kidnapping, according to World Maritime News, quoting Moroccan media, occurred on July 31.

The attack was confirmed by IMB Piracy Reporting Centre.

“The incident was reported to the Nigerian navy who responded and located the ship. It was reported that some crew members were missing,” the IMB said.

As informed, the Nigerian navy vessel towed the ship to a safe port for investigation.

Based on the latest report from the piracy watchdog, pirates in Nigeria continue to dominate when it comes to reports of kidnappings, and vessels being fired upon.

In recent time, 31 crew in five reported incidents have been taken by Nigerian pirates.

The numbers include 14 crew members taken from two separate vessels in the second quarter of the year.

Every Summer, Spain Hosts Annual Exodus To North Africa

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 16:02

The Citizen
by Alvaro Villalobos/AFP

It’s the largest annual human migration in Europe: millions of people from France, Belgium and Italy cross Spain every summer to spend their holidays with family in north Africa.

This year, close to three million are expected to make the trip there and back through 16 ports in Spain, Morocco and Algeria in an exodus that presents a huge logistical challenge.

In 2016, Spain’s civil protection agency registered 2.8 million passengers crossing the country, and it expects even more to make the trip this year.

As a result, some 13,000 police officers have been mobilised on the Spanish side, along with translators and Red Cross volunteers.

Said Arrhamani, who lives in France’s northeastern Ardennes region, knows the route off by heart, having done it since he was a kid when his family would spend their summer holidays in Rabat in Morocco.

It’s now his turn to drive his four young children more than 2,000 kilometres (1,200 miles) down to the port of Algeciras in Spain’s south, through which more than half of those crossing the country transit.

“Thirty years ago, this was pretty unhealthy,” says the 36-year-old in the port where a hectic atmosphere reigns, with cars, trucks and buses filling all available parking spaces, waiting to board ferries.

“We could wait two days before boarding, and there were traffic jams that reached the outskirts of Algeciras.

“Now there are agents who speak to us in French and guide us until the end.”

As drivers approach southern Spain, road signs also appear in Arabic giving directions to the ports.

– Longer but cheaper –

At the Algeciras port, most cars — some modest, others expensive — are filled with clothes, food, nappies and blankets.

While some holidaymakers eat and chat, others sleep inside their car or lie down on carpets in the shade, and still more smoke hookah pipes.

Children play football nearby.

“We left Nice (in southeastern France) yesterday at nine at night, and we arrived this afternoon,” says Karima Bel Hafout, travelling to Rabat via Tangier with her husband and two children.

“It’s close to 2,000 kilometres, but we save 2,700 euros ($3,200) compared to taking the plane.”

Others have taken the bus, and arrive even more tired.

“I’ve done my back in trying to sleep,” says Hamid Hafid, with a mix of resignation and humour, having come from Agen in southern France.

“It’s hard and long,” adds his friend Said Khadrouf, drinking from his water bottle.

– High security –

After spending time back home, they will all go back north again in August and the first half of September under the watchful eye of Spanish security agents.

To avoid illegal immigration and fearing extremist attacks, agents from 16 other European countries have been mobilised to work with officers in Spain.

Last year, they checked 1.6 million passengers, Spanish police said.

Manuel Alcazar, the port’s chief of protection, says all this activity takes its toll on the port, one of the biggest in Europe.

Sitting in front of a high-definition screen in his office, where he examines the footage of close to 700 security cameras, he explains that on peak days, authorities give priority to passengers.

This, however, means that the loading of trucks carrying merchandise goes slower.

And this is an important part of the activity of a port which deals with merchandise from Spanish textiles group Inditex, spare parts for car-maker Renault, which has a factory in Tangier, agricultural products and seafood.

But for shipping companies, the annual exodus is good for business, particularly for those who operate in the Strait of Gibraltar — they make 40 percent of their annual turnover between mid-June and mid-September.

The mass migration wave also creates temporary jobs in Algeciras, a city of 120,000, where 28,000 direct and indirect posts depend on the port.

Among these are more than 200 young people wearing fluorescent yellow shirts who help direct the traffic and count the vehicles with the help of smartphones.

Isabel Corrales, about to start her last year of studying administration and finance at university, is one such temporary worker.

She’s been doing this every summer for five years, and the money earned — close to 1,000 euros — helps her finance her studies.

“This money is very welcome,” she says with a large smile.

Nearly 70 People Cross Border Into Spanish Enclave

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 14:43

Reuters
US News & World Reports
by Raquel Castillo

Around 70 sub-Saharan African migrants crossed the razor-wire-topped fence separating northern Morocco from the Spanish enclave of Ceuta on Tuesday, leaving 14 people hospitalised, the Red Cross said.

Local police said 200 people rushed the border in a bid to reach Europe. Around 60 managed to enter the territory and were attended by the Red Cross.

Migrants frequently jump or cut through the fences of Spain’s two enclaves in northern Africa, Ceuta and Melilla, or attempt to reach them by swimming along the Moroccan coastlines.

The number of migrants entering Spain via Ceuta and Melilla more than doubled in the first six months of the year from the same period last year to 3,200 people, according to Spain’s Interior Ministry.

Once within the enclaves, migrants are either returned to their country of origin or moved to the Spanish mainland, which many use as a jumping-off point for the rest of Europe.

The migrants used wire cutters to breach a gate, according to a spokesman from the Ceuta government. Between 1,000 and 1,500 people are camping out in the scrub and woods around the enclave waiting for the opportunity to rush the border, he said.

The last major push in to one of the enclaves was in May when some 300 migrants attempted to jump the fence in Melilla. Around 100 successfully crossed the border.

(Corrects to show 70 people crossed border, not injured)

(Reporting by Raquel Castillo; Writing by Paul Day; Editing by Raissa Kasolowsky)

Sound Energy Gets Licence Rubber Stamp For New Morocco Exploration Area

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 13:23

Proactive Investors
Jamie Ashcroft

It comes after the group agreed a deal to acquire exploration acreage in the vicinity of the Tendrara field, in eastern Morocco.

Further approvals are expected in the coming weeks.

Sound Energy PLC (LON:SOU) told investors that it has had the award of a new Morocco project rubber stamped by the authorities.

In a stock market statement the gas explorer said that it has received formal final approval for the Matarka licence.

It comes after the group agreed a deal to acquire exploration acreage in the vicinity of the Tendrara field, in eastern Morocco, from Oil & Gas Investment Fund (OGIF) and as those assets are being restructured into new licence areas.

READ: Sound Energy makes pipeline progress for Morocco gas discoveries

The company also noted that it now expects to receive remaining approvals for the Anoual and Tendrara areas in the third quarter.

Tourist Arrivals To Morocco Up 9 pct In First Half Of 2017

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 02:00

Xinhuanet
Source: Xinhua

Tourist arrivals to Morocco increased 9 percent in the first half of 2017 compared to a year earlier, financial daily L’Economiste reported on Wednesday.

This strong performance results from a significant increase in the traditional European market, L’Economiste said, citing statistics from the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism.

Tourists from the United States grew 27 percent, followed by Germany (12 percent), the Netherlands (8 percent), Spain (7 percent) and France (5 percent), it reported.

The increase was also driven by the surge in the emerging tourist markets, especially China and Japan. Chinese arrivals jumped 565 percent, while Japanese visitors rose 46 percent.

A total of 10.3 million tourists visited Morocco in 2016, up 1.5 percent from 2015.  Morocco expects tourist arrivals to grow 6 percent in 2017.

Tourism is one of the main economic drivers in Morocco as it employs more than 500,000 people, nearly five percent of the country’s total jobs, and represents 6.7 percent of Morocco’s national economy.

Five Moroccan Cities That Can Up Your Exotic Travel Quotient

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 08/03/2017 - 01:27

ZeeNews India

With a rich history, cultural heritage and breath-taking seascape –Morocco has everything for the exotic traveller.

Planning an international trip that is far from the usual? These Maghrebi cities can certainly be the reason to plan your next trip. With a rich history, cultural heritage and breath-taking seascape –Morocco has everything for the exotic traveller.

Tangier

Located on the Maghreb coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar, where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel, Tangier can be a wonderful vacation spot for solo travellers, families and couples.

This picturesque town with a rich history has a lot to offer visitors. The tomb of Ibn Battuta, the serene beaches, Grand Socco, and the Tangier Museum are a few interesting places that are a must visit.

Fes

Fes, which was the capital city of Morocco till 1925 is a World Heritage Site.

A visit to the Royal Palace (Dar el Makhzen), Old Medina (UNESCO World Heritage Centre), Zaouia Moulay Idriss II, Zallige Artisans Factory, Tanners’ Quarter and the University of Al Quaraouiyine (founded in 859) is bound to take you back in time.

 

 

Rabat

Rabat, the capital city of Morocco, is located along the Atlantic Ocean.

Places like the D’r-al-Makhzen (the main royal residence), the Old Medina, Kasbah of the Udayas, Hassan Tower and Mausoleum of Mohammed V should be on your must visit list.

Marrakech

You must have known the city through Graham Nash’s famous Marrakesh Express song. True to the spirit, Marrakech is a party lover’s delight. The city has the largest souk (traditional market) in Morocco.

A visit to this city is incomplete without going to Jemaa el-Fnaa, Gueliz, Majorelle Garden, Bahia Palace and the El Badi Palace.

Casablanca

Hollywood classic Casablanca must have created a strong desire among many movie buffs to visit this beautiful city.

While you are there, go marvel at the Hassan II Mosque – the largest in Africa, and the third-largest in the world.

Other places to visit are the Old and New Medinas of Casablanca, and the Morocco Mall. Don’t forget to pamper yourself with a good Moroccan hammam.

CMA CGM Launches Direct Service To Link Morocco And Algeria To The Black Sea

Western Sahara Worldnews - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 14:58

Hellenic Shipping News
in International Shipping News

CMA CGM, a world leader in maritime transport, is launching the Black Sea Med Express service, which connects the major countries around the Black Sea (Turkey, Romania and Ukraine) to Algeria and Morocco.

The CMA CGM Group is innovating and growing in the Mediterranean by launching Black Sea Med Express, created specifically to respond to the increase in trade between the Black Sea countries, Turkey, Algeria and Morocco.

It is the first service of CMA CGM to offer a weekly connection between the main ports of the Black and Aegean seas with the North of Morocco (Tangier and Casablanca) and Algeria (Annaba) in order to develop the activity between The Mediterranean Sea and the Black Sea with short lines.

A global service offering multiple service possibilities to the countries of Southern Eastern Europe and transshipment to world markets.

CMA CGM offers some of the best transit times between: Constanta is connected to Casablanca (Morocco) in 16 days, Ambarli (Turkey) to Annaba (Algeria) in 6 days, Malta to Odessa (Ukraine) in 4 days and Izmir (Turkey) to Malta in 2 days.

The proposed stopover in Malta, the CMA CGM hub, affects all of the world’s markets and offers multiple opportunities for transshipment and intermodal transport thanks to efficient connections with other Group services.

The Black Sea Med Express service will begin on 21 August in Malta with a fleet of four vessels with a capacity of 1,700 TEU, which will operate in Casablanca, Tangier, Malta, Odessa, Constanta, Ambarli, Izmir, Malta and Annaba.

The implementation of the Black Sea Med Express service is directly in line with the CMA CGM Group’s strategy for the development of short lines in the Mediterranean and Black Sea.
Source: CMA CGM

Western Sahara: The Economist analyzes losses incurred by Algeria, Morocco

Polisario-confidential - Wed, 08/02/2017 - 11:51
Relations between Algeria and Morocco are tense and acrimonious because of the Western Sahara conflict. However, what is often overlooked is the huge economic and social loss caused by the closure of borders between the two countries, as has just been recalled by the eminent British weekly The Economist. Algeria and Morocco are paying the […]

IMF Executive Board Concludes The Second Review Under The Precautionary And Liquidity Line Arrangement For Morocco

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 08/01/2017 - 15:29

Imf.org

The Moroccan authorities have not drawn on the arrangement and continue to treat it as precautionary.

The new government’s economic program is in line with key reforms agreed under the IMF arrangement, such as reducing fiscal and external vulnerabilities while strengthening the foundations for higher and more inclusive growth.

On August 1, 2017, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) completed the second review under the Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL) Arrangement and reaffirmed Morocco’s continued qualification for the PLL.

The two-year PLL arrangement for Morocco in the amount of SDR 2.504 billion (about US$3.42 billion) was approved by the IMF’s Executive Board in July 2016 (see Press Release No. 16/355) and the first review of the arrangement was completed on May 15, 2017 (see Press Release No. 17/169).

The Moroccan authorities have not drawn on the arrangement and continue to treat it as precautionary. The arrangement will expire on July 21, 2018.

Following the Executive Board’s discussion, Mr. David Lipton, First Deputy Managing Director and Acting Chair, said:

“Morocco’s sound economic fundamentals and overall strong track record of policy implementation have contributed to a solid macroeconomic performance in recent years. External imbalances are projected to narrow in 2017 and international reserves to remain at a comfortable level. Fiscal developments are positive, with the budget deficit projected to narrow further in 2017 due to strong revenue performance and contained spending. Growth is expected to rebound in 2017 and accelerate gradually over the medium term, subject to improved external conditions and steadfast reform implementation. But this outlook remains subject to domestic and external downside risks.

In this context, Morocco’s Precautionary and Liquidity Line (PLL) arrangement with the Fund continues to serve as useful insurance against external risks and supports the authorities’ economic policies.

“The authorities are committed to sustaining sound policies. The new government’s economic program is in line with key reforms agreed under the PLL arrangement, such as reducing fiscal and external vulnerabilities while strengthening the foundations for higher and more inclusive growth.

“Building on progress made in recent years, further fiscal consolidation is needed and should be based on accelerated tax reforms, sound public financial management at the local level as part of fiscal decentralization, comprehensive civil service reform, enhanced financial oversight of state owned enterprises, and increased efficiency of social programs and public investment projects.

“Adopting the central bank law and continuing to implement the 2015 Financial Sector Assessment Program recommendations will help strengthen the financial sector policy framework. Moving toward a more flexible exchange rate regime, underpinned by a well communicated strategy, will help preserve external competitiveness and enhance the economy’s capacity to absorb shocks.

“Finally, raising potential growth and making growth more inclusive, by reducing persistently high unemployment levels, especially among the youth, and increasing female labor participation, will require further measures to improve the business climate, governance, competitiveness, access to finance, the labor market, and regional disparities.”

Morocco Will Add Value To Continent

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 08/01/2017 - 15:17

Graphic Online
Kate Baaba Hudson

The return of the Royal Kingdom of Morocco to its institutional family, the African Union (AU), and the country’s admission to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) are the results of Morocco’s constantly renewed concerns to work hand in hand with the continent’s countries to develop and preserve its dignity and ensure its prosperity.

This return is not an end in itself, as it aims at bringing substantial added value to the African continent, through the action of its multilateral institutions and bilateral relations initiated with a large number of countries.

The Moroccan Ambassador to Ghana, Mr Hamid Chabar, disclosed these in his address at a reception to mark the 18th anniversary of the ascension to the throne by His Majesty King Mohamed VI at the Movenpick Hotel in Accra last Sunday.

He said Africa occupied a central place in the foreign policy of the Kingdom of Morocco and recalled that since his accession to the throne in July 1999, “the King of the Kingdom of Morocco has paid 52 visits to the countries of sub-Saharan Africa, and 26 of these visits targeted West African countries.”

King Mohammed VI

In the past nine months, he said King Mohamed VI had for the first time visited eight countries in Eastern Africa, Southern Africa, as well as in West Africa; including Ethiopia, Tanzania, Rwanda, South Sudan, Madagascar, Zambia, Nigeria and Ghana.

“These various visits have enabled the launch of many concrete cooperation projects in various fields such as training, food security and infrastructural development,” he noted.

The Ambassador said the Moroccan diplomatic network in Africa had currently been increased to 30 embassies covering all countries of the continent.

Mr Chabar emphasized that as President of the 22nd Conference of the Parties (COP 22) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), held in Marrakech in November 2016, Morocco ensured an African summit on the impact of climate change on the continent. The summit brought together 30 African heads of state and governments.

Similarly, as co-Chair of the Global Forum for Migration and Development, he said Morocco placed Africa among its priorities regarding the issues of migration.

“Morocco has successfully initiated and led a courageous and innovative policy in the management of migration flows, which has led to the regularisation of the situation of more than 30,000 illegal migrants mainly from the continent. In its capacity as co-Chair of the Global Forum on the Fight against Terrorism, Morocco continues to draw attention on the importance of anticipating the evolution of terrorist threat on the African continent,” he added.

He said Morocco’s expertise in this field had been recognised today by all and consisted not only of sharing and exchanging information, but also in training and the provision of appropriate logistic means for the countries involved, adding that the country also contributes to the United Nations peacekeeping operations by sending military contingents to different areas on the continent.

Second largest African investor

Ambassador Chabar announced that “Morocco is the second largest African investor on the continent and the first largest investor of the ECOWAS region.”

Concretely, he said 63 per cent of Moroccan foreign investments were directed towards the continent, while the Moroccan private sector was very active in more than 25 countries.

He mentioned the Moroccan economic action in Africa, which combined regional structured projects with small ones, saying they have a strong socio-economic impact and citing the Atlantic pipeline project to connect Nigeria with Morocco which will cross 11 West African countries and the construction of large fertiliser plants in some countries of the continent to serve as green growth drivers in their respective sub-regions to contribute to food security on the continent.

The ambassador announced that a new Moroccan shipping line had recently been launched and it will be linking Morocco to all West African ports.

Mr Chabar noted that “2017 is, undoubtedly, an important step in the process of consolidating relations between Morocco and Ghana.”

He commended Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo for his full commitment towards enhancing bilateral ties.

Response

Responding to the speech by Ambassador Chabar, the Minister of Monitoring and Evaluation, Dr Anthony Akoto Osei, expressed appreciation to the Kingdom of Morocco for regularising the stay of Ghanaian migrants living illegally in Morocco and increasing the number of student scholarships granted to Ghanaians from 45 to 70.

He was confident that the readmission of Morocco to the AU would add value to the continent.

Dr Osei said the relations between Ghana and Morocco dated back to the liberation struggle in Africa, when the founding fathers of the two countries teamed up in the fight against colonial rule.

“Our bilateral relations reached a significant milestone in February 2017 with the State Visit of His Majesty King Mohamed VI and the signing of 24 bilateral Agreements/MoUs in both the private and public sectors. It is our hope that the terms of these agreements will be translated into reality for the mutual benefits of our two countries,” he added.

Sound Energy Makes Pipeline Progress For Morocco Gas Discoveries

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 08/01/2017 - 13:32

Proactive Investors
Jamie Ashcroft

Sound Energy said its proposed pipeline route has been cleared by the local authority, paving the way for engineering and commercial activities necessary to support final authorisation.

Engineering work will now follow-up the preliminary approval.

Sound Energy PLC has revealed progress towards the commercialisation of its gas discoveries in eastern Morocco, where proposed pipeline route has been cleared by the local authority.

In a statement, the company told investors that the Wilaya of the L’Oriental Region has approved the proposed pipeline route that will be needed to transport gas from Sound’s projects in the region into the existing Gazoduc Maghreb Europe (GME) pipeline.

READ: Sound Energy details Morocco exploration plans following Tendrara successes

Sound Energy said it would now follow up this preliminary approval with engineering and commercial activities necessary to support final authorisation.

“I am delighted to have received this confirmation, which supports the significant progress we have made in developing our Moroccan portfolio to date,” said James Parsons, Sound Energy chief executive.

“The approval is also further evidence of the relationships that Sound Energy has built in country since entering in 2015, and the mutual co-operation that exists with local, regional and governmental authorities.”

 

Sound Energy Gets Green Light For Morocco Pipeline

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 08/01/2017 - 11:00

Energy voice
Written by Energy Reporter

Sound Energy has been given the go-ahead for its gas export pipeline in Morocco.

The firm received written confirmation, from the Wilaya of the L’Oriental Region in Morocco, a local authority in Eastern Morocco, that preliminary approval has been provided for the proposed route of the gas export pipeline that will be necessary to transit gas from Sound Energy’s Eastern Moroccan interests to the Gazoduc Maghreb Europe (GME) pipeline.

Chief executive James Parsons said: “I am delighted to have received this confirmation, which supports the significant progress we have made in developing our Moroccan portfolio to date. The approval is also further evidence of the relationships that Sound Energy has built in country since entering in 2015, and the mutual co-operation that exists with local, regional and governmental authorities.”

This preliminary approval, which will now be followed up by engineering and commercial activities necessary to support final authorisation, is another step in the development of the infrastructure required to support the early monetization of gas from the TE-5 Horst discovery at Tendrara, according to the firm.

Sound Energy farmed in to the Tendrara licence in June 2015, taking a 55% working interest in the licence.

Following completion of a basin study, preliminary estimates from the Company indicate a range of volumes across the entire Tendrara and Meridja permit areas, with a 9 Tcf low case for unrisked original gas in place (gross) and, if all the key elements of the petroleum system’s model are present, an upside case of 31 Tcf of unrisked original gas in place (gross).

Further exploration activity, including the acquisition of additional 2D and 3D seismic and the requirement for further drilling, will be required to substantiate the estimated exploration potential of the Basin.

Morocco On Course To Produce 1 Million Cars Annually

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 08/01/2017 - 03:39

The North Africa Post

After attracting large-scale investments by automotive giants such as Renault and Peugeot, Morocco is on its way to launch two plants by two other car manufacturers in a bid to reach its production goal of 1 million cars annually, highlights Automotive News, a news website specializing in the car industry.

The website quotes an adviser with Invest Morocco, Khalid Qalam, who said that by the end of next year, Morocco will announce the name of a third global automaker to build an assembly plant there due to start operating in 2021. Yet he preferred to keep the name of the third manufacturer undisclosed.

Automotive news notes that Morocco is also planning to attract a fourth major automaker before the end of 2021. “A fourth project would help the country reach its stated goal of having the capacity to build 1 million vehicles a year by 2025,” Qalam told the website.

When Morocco reaches the production capacity of 1 million cars annually it will rank among the top 15 car makers in the world and probably enter the top 10, says the website.

Morocco is also attaching utmost importance to producing electrified vehicles along with conventional cars.

Enumerating Morocco’s investment incentives, Automotive news sheds light particularly on Morocco as a low-cost base to produce models for export to Europe.

To help make electric vehicle production more attractive, Morocco will be providing consumer incentives to get local buyers to consider switching to models that fully or partially run on battery power, it said.

By 2025, Morocco wants annual sales of electrified vehicles to rise to 100,000 from small numbers today, it noted, adding that the shift to electrified transportation coincides with Morocco’s aim to become a major producer of solar power and to cover half of the country’s energy needs from alternatives such as sun, wind and biomass.

Other investment incentives include the cheap labor cost in Morocco compared to Spain and the zero tax rate for companies in the first five years as well as a big break on value added tax.

In terms of infrastructure, Automotive news mentions the Tangier-Med port that has been equipped to offer a platform for exporting 1 million cars a year.

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.

UAE’s ADFD Funds 76 Morocco Projects Worth $2.5bn

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 08/01/2017 - 02:51

Construction week online
Fatima De La Cerna

The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) awarded Morocco $2.5bn (AED9bn) worth of grants and concessionary loans, it has been revealed.

The amount was used for the implementation of 76 development projects spanning a number of sectors, including housing, transport, education, and healthcare.

An ADFD report on Morocco noted that the projects have helped boost the country’s economic and social conditions.

Commenting on the organisation’s partnership with the North African nation, Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, director-general of ADFD, said: “At ADFD, we are truly proud of our cooperation with the Moroccan government.

“Together, we have supported many strategic and sustainable projects that have boosted economic growth and elevated living standards in Morocco.”

ADFD currently owns equity shares in several Morocco-based companies that are active in the telecommunications, holding, agriculture and livestock, tourism, and industry sectors, according to UAE state news agency, WAM.

ADFD Finances 76 Development Projects In Morocco Worth AED 9 Billion

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 08/01/2017 - 02:40

CPI FINANCIAL
by Georgina Enzer

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), Abu Dhabi’s leading national entity for development aid, and the Government of Morocco have enjoyed strong bilateral ties dating back to 1974.

The four-decade-long close relations continue to drive sustainable socio-economic development across key sectors that benefit the citizens of Morocco.

To date, the Fund has supported Morocco with grants and concessionary loans worth AED9 billion across 76 development projects spanning diverse sectors, most notably transport, housing, water and agriculture, education, and healthcare.

In addition, ADFD currently owns equity shares in several Morocco-based companies, active in the telecommunications, holding, agriculture and livestock, tourism, and industry sectors. These include Maroc Telecom, Rebab Company, Société Delma d’Investissements Touristiques (Delma Company), Société Palmeraie Maroc Emirats (Palmare), Ciments du Maroc (CIMAR), and Union Maroc Emirats Arabes Unis de Pêche (UMEP).

According to ADFD’s country report marking Morocco’s Throne Day on 30 July, the 76 development projects have significantly contributed to improving economic and social conditions in the country.

On this occasion, His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD, extended his sincerest congratulations to the Moroccan royal family, government, and people, and wished them continued prosperity. Furthermore, he stressed the importance of the unique historic ties between the UAE and Morocco, exemplified by the fraternal relations between the UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco.

“At ADFD, we are truly proud of our cooperation with the Moroccan government. Together, we have supported many strategic and sustainable projects that have boosted economic growth and elevated living standards in Morocco,” said His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi.

The following is a brief overview of notable projects funded by ADFD in Morocco:

High-speed train

ADFD funded a high-speed train project with a total amount of AED 514 million. The project includes the construction of a 200 km long, 320 km/hr train that will bridge the gap between the cities of Tangier and Kenitra and reduce the travel time to two hours.

Port of Tangier

In 2002, ADFD provided funds worth an estimated AED 1.1 billion to build a global sea port featuring docks for large ships, wharfs, and passenger terminals. Strategically located 35 km east of Tangier on the intersection of the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, on one of the most important trade routes, the port links Morocco with maritime destinations across Europe and beyond.

Today, the Port of Tangier has evolved into one of Morocco’ main trade and commerce hubs that bolsters exports and brings multiple economic benefits to the country.

Khroub Dam

In 2014, ADFD provided funds worth AED 501 million to develop the Khroub Dam. One of the most significant projects in the water and irrigation sector, the dam supplies water to the residents of Tangier and Asilah.

Housing project in six Moroccan cities

In line with the Moroccan government’s housing development goals, ADFD has spared no effort to elevate living standards across the country. Over the past four decades, the Fund financed multiple projects aiming to increase the supply of residential units for Moroccans. The most significant among them is the AED 830 million multi-city projects that comprised the construction of 398,700 housing units in major cities: Marrakesh, Casablanca, Fès-Boulemane,

Eastern Region, Tangier-Tetouan, and Meknes.

Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Rabat

ADFD’s extensive healthcare portfolio in Morocco has fundamentally improved medical services available to the country’s population. Among the most notable contributions is the Fund’s AED 158 million grant for the Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Rabat in 1989 – a 235-bed specialist hospital operating in line with international best practices. In 1996, ADFD provided another AED 4 million to finance the hospital’s operations.

Trans-Maghreb Motorway Axis

The AED 217 million motorway connects the city of Tangier on the Atlantic coast with multiple tourist attractions and commercial hubs on its way to the eastern regions of the country. The project has significantly improved transportation services and boosted trade between countries of the Greater Maghreb region and Mediterranean nations.

Railway Station in Casablanca

In 2014, ADFD injected AED 78 million in the refurbishment of the railway station in Casablanca with the aim of improving connectivity between cities. The station now boasts increased capacity and better services for travellers.

Port of Casablanca Development and Rehabilitation

Also in 2014, ADFD provided AED 290 million for the development and rehabilitation of the Port of Casablanca. The project helped increase traffic capacity and included a four-kilometre road to enable easy truck access into Ain Al-Sabaa industrial area and the logistical area in Zanatah.

Electricity generation projects in Moroccan cities

To ensure an adequate and reliable power supply, the AED 91 million venture rehabilitated power stations in seven Moroccan cities: Jerada, Mohammedia, Kenitra, Laayoune, Agadir, Tan-Tan, and Dakhla.

Mohammed VI University Hospital in Marrakesh

Abu Dhabi government’s grant worth AED 239 million helped purchase equipment for the 916-bed Mohammed VI University Hospital in Marrakesh. The specialist medical complex spans 8.8 hectares.

U.S. Remains Morocco’s Top Arms Supplier

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 08/01/2017 - 00:56

Xinhuanet
Source: Xinhua

The United States remains the major arms supplier for Morocco during the past five years, local media reported on Monday.

The Moroccan daily Al Massae said the north African kingdom bought from the United States ammunition, defense equipment, and heavy arms worth some 50 million U.S. dollars in 2016.

Citing an annual Congressional report, the daily said Morocco’s total purchases of arms reached 4.7 billion U.S. dollars between 2008 and 2015.

Morocco, along with Algeria, are considered the top two buyers of arms in Africa.

Orange Leads Growth In Moroccan Mobile Market In Q2

Western Sahara Worldnews - Mon, 07/31/2017 - 16:12

Telecompaper

The number of mobile users in Morocco rose by 0.64 percent in the second quarter and was up by 1.48 percent year-on-year to 42.05 million at the end of June, according to the latest figures from the regulator ANRT.

Postpaid continued its growth, up nearly 11 percent from a year ago to almost 3.2 million subscribers, thanks to new low-cost packages launched by all three operators.

Orange showed the strongest growth during the quarter, adding 212,000 new customers for a total 14.30 million. Market leader Maroc Telecom gained 38,000 new customers in the quarter for a total 18.38 million at the end of June, and Inwi finished the period with 9.37 million mobile customers, up by 17,000 from March.

Mobile internet users reached nearly 18 million at the end of June, up 5.7 percent from March or by nearly 1 million new users. Over 12 months, the total grew almost 31 percent of by 4.24 million. Nearly 4.7 million ysed 4G services, an increase of 37 percent from Q1.

Total internet users, including both fixed and mobile, numbered over 19.2 million at the end of Q2, with nearly 1 million added compared to March and an increase of 29 percent year-on-year. ADSL users were up 1 percent from Q1 and 8 percent year-on-year. Internet penetration passed 55 percent of the Moroccan population.

The number of fixed lines continued to fall, down 3.7 percent from a year ago to just over 2 million. Almost 245,000 used limited-mobility services. Average calling minutes fell 5 percent from a year to 118 minute per month in June.

Mobile minutes were also lower, at an average 109 per customer per month compared to 112 a year ago. The regulator said the decline was mainly due to less international traffic. Average revenue per minute was little changed at MAD 0.23 in June for mobile, while fixed revenue rose to MAD 0.98 from 0.95 a year ago.

Mobile data revenue increased 18 percent year-on-year to MAD 20 per customer per month.

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