The moroccan press

29th AU Summit: Morocco ‘Very Satisfied’ With Debate & Decisions Taken in Addis Ababa (FM)

The moroccan press - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 13:15

Morocco is “very satisfied with the debate and the decisions that have been taken” on the Moroccan Sahara issue at the 29th African Union Summit, which wrapped up Tuesday in Addis Ababa, Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said, stressing that the resolution adopted “is an evolution” because it “recognizes the leadership of the United Nations”.

Categories: The moroccan press

Morocco, Only African Country to Receive Over 10 Million Tourists in 2015 (UNCTAD)

The moroccan press - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 11:15

Morocco was the only African country to receive more than 10 million international tourists in 2015, according to the 2017 report of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) on the tourism sector in Africa, presented on Wednesday in Addis Ababa.

Categories: The moroccan press

Simone Veil was universal in her struggles and her choices: André Azoulay

The moroccan press - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 11:12

Simone Veil, a towering figure in French and European politics who died last Friday at the age of 89, "was universal in her struggles and in her choices", HM the King’s advisor André Azoulay said Wednesday in Paris.

She had a very special relationship with Morocco, he pointed out on the sidelines of a national tribute ceremony held in Paris and attended by HRH Princess Lalla Meryem, adding that Simone Veil and her husband Antoine had started their married life and their professional life in the Kingdom.

Categories: The moroccan press

Morocco Set To Implement Midelt Phase I CSP Project

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 09:42

ESI Africa

Morocco is set to construct the Midelt Phase I CSP Project, which will generate solar power through an innovative hybrid concentrated solar power (CSP) and photovoltaic (PV) solution.

This is after the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the World Bank each approved finance of $25 million for the project.

The funds will be channeled via the Climate Investment Funds’ Clean Technology Fund (CIF CTF), the AfDB explained.

The project consists of two separate CSP plants, each with 150-190MW CSP capacity and a minimum of five hours of thermal storage.

Midelt Phase I CSP Project

The project’s innovative hybrid solar design will be built on a unique Public-Private Partnership between the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) and private sector sponsors – with a build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) project structure and implementation approach.

The envisaged installed capacity of the PV component could reach approximately 150-210MW, making the total capacity of each of the proposed plants 300-400MW; and the total capacity of this first phase 600-800MW.

AfDB’s Director, Climate Change and Green Growth, Anthony Nyong, said: “In 2015, the world saw an important shift in CSP investment from the developed to the developing world, particularly in Morocco.”

Nyong added: “Morocco’s path-changing Noor CSP programme under CTF, for which we serve as implementing agency, has been a critical element of that shift.

“This new project, which will be modelled on the Noor operational and financial structure, will increase the development of solar energy and further help diversify the country’s energy mix and enhance its energy security.

“We believe that the project can serve as a model for other countries in the region and beyond.”

Morocco’s renewable energy plan

The Midelt Phase I CSP Project is expected will significantly contribute to Morocco’s achievement of its Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement, including its goal of achieving 52% of installed capacity from renewable energy (20% from solar) by 2030. Read more…

Morocco’s solar plan will also contribute to industrial development, competitiveness and could create about 30,000 jobs.

“Until now, CSP has been the dominant renewable energy technology assuring electricity during peak hours and by adding a PV component, we expect enhancing the reliability of the power plant,” AfDB’s CIF Programme Coordinator and Senior Climate Finance Officer, Leandro Azevedo, stated.

“The combination of these two technologies will allow Morocco to optimise the dispatch of generated power during the daytime by ensuring that the utilisation of the CSP component can be maximised during night-time through the use of thermal storage,” Azevedo said.

Royal Air Maroc Expects U.S. Laptop Ban To End By July 19

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 07:56

Reuters
By Aziz El Yaakoubi

Royal Air Maroc expects the U.S. ban on laptops and other large electronic devices in aircraft cabins on direct flights to the United States to be lifted by July 19, a senior official from the state-owned airline said on Thursday.

The U.S. banned laptops in cabins on flights originating at 10 airports in eight countries – Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey – in March to address fears that bombs could be concealed in them.

“Negotiations with the U.S. authorities are underway and we expect the ban to end by July 19 at the latest,” the official, who declined to be named, said.

U.S. Transportation Security Administration (TSA) spokesman Mike England said in an email that it was too early to confirm Royal Air Maroc’s compliance.

Royal Air Maroc operates flights to the United States from Casablanca’s Mohammed V International Airport.

Qatar Airways said on Thursday the ban had been lifted on its flights from Doha’s Hamad International Airport.

Emirates, Turkish Airlines and Etihad also announced a lifting of the ban on their flights this week.

Saudi Arabian Airlines (Saudia) has said it expects the ban to be lifted on flights from Jeddah and Riyadh by July 19.

Other airlines affected by the ban include Royal Jordanian , Kuwait Airways and EgyptAir.

The United States announced enhanced security measures for flights to the country on June 29. These require additional time to screen passengers and personal electronic devices for possible explosives.

Airlines that fail to meet the new security requirements could still face in-cabin electronics restrictions.

(Editing by Alexander Cornwell and Alexander Smith)

Morocco Secures $25m Loan From The Clean Technology Fund For Hybrid Solar Project

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 07/06/2017 - 03:59

WorldStage

Morocco received approval for a US $25 million loan from the Climate Investment Funds’ Clean Technology Fund (CIF CTF) for a project to generate solar power through an innovative hybrid Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and Photovoltaic (PV) solution.

The Midelt Phase I Concentrated Solar Power Project is being supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the World Bank with an additional allocation of US$ 25 million in CTF resources.

The project consists of two separate CSP plants, each with 150-190 MW CSP capacity and a minimum of 5 hours of thermal storage. The envisaged installed capacity of the PV component could reach approximately 150-210 MW, making the total capacity of each of the proposed plants 300-400 MW and the total capacity of this first phase 600-800 MW.

The project’s innovative hybrid solar design is also built on a unique Public-Private Partnership between the Moroccan Agency for Sustainable Energy (MASEN) and private sector sponsors – with a Build, Own, Operate and Transfer project structure and implementation approach. Selected sponsors are expected to form a Special Purpose Company to build and operate the plants and sell the generated electricity to MASEN under a 25-year Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs). The process will be designed to allow the award of the plants to different bidders. The support from the CTF and AfDB is critical in driving down the cost of the project’s capital and lowering the Levelized Cost of Electricity.

“In 2015, the world saw an important shift in CSP investment from the developed to the developing world, particularly in Morocco” stated Anthony Nyong, AfDB’s Director, Climate Change and Green Growth. “Morocco’s path-changing Noor CSP program under CTF, for which we serve as implementing agency, has been a critical element of that shift. This new project, which will be modelled on the Noor operational and financial structure, will increase the development of solar energy and further help diversify the country’s energy mix and enhance its energy security. We believe that the project can serve as a model for other countries in the region and beyond,” he added.

The project will significantly contribute to the Government of Morocco’s achievement of its Nationally Determined Contribution under the Paris Agreement, including its goal of achieving 52% of installed capacity from renewable energy (20% from solar) by 2030. Morocco’s Solar Plan will also contribute to industrial development, competitiveness and could create about 30,000 jobs.

“Until now, CSP has been the dominant renewable energy technology assuring electricity during peak hours and by adding a PV component, we expect enhancing the reliability of the power plant” stated Leandro Azevedo, AfDB’s CIF Program Coordinator and Senior Climate Finance Officer. “The combination of these two technologies will allow Morocco to optimize the dispatch of generated power during the daytime by ensuring that the utilization of the CSP component can be maximized during night-time through the use of thermal storage,” he said.

Estimated greenhouse gas savings for the Noor-Midelt Phase 1 project is about 1.2 million tCO2 equivalent per year and 36 million tCO2 equivalent over the project’s 25 year-lifetime.

Sound Energy Has Gas Success In Morocco

Western Sahara Worldnews - Wed, 07/05/2017 - 17:31

Energy Voice
Africa
Written by Stuart Monteith – 05/07/2017 11:31 am

UK player Sound Energy has successfully extracted gas from the its Kechoula Discovery in Morocco.

The company confirmed that a test drill at a measured depth of 4612 feet confirmed a “producible gas accumulation”.

The company’s chief executive James Parsons said: “We are delighted by this early success at the Kechoula discovery and look forward to both the extended well test and to unlocking the deeper, and much larger, pre-salt potential in the future.

“Our attention now turns back to our very significant position in Eastern Morocco where we are preparing for further near term drilling and seismic.”

The company added that it believes the Sidi Moktar licence contains gas – based on a quantitive assessment prepared by a previous operator in 1998.

The company will now be required to reprocess the existing 2D seismic, acquire new 2D seismic and drilling results before forming its own estimate on the exploration potential at the site.

Moroccan CEOs Bullish on Short Term Growth; Concerned about Access to Credit – Jean R. AbiNader

Morocco on the move - Wed, 07/05/2017 - 16:45
Jean R. AbiNader, MATIC
July 5, 2017

Jean R. AbiNader, Exec. Dir., Moroccan American Trade and Investment Center

While other countries in the region struggle to compound their annual growth rates, Morocco’s private sector leadership indicates, in a recent poll, that they believe prospects for continued growth are quite strong. It is common in developed countries to routinely poll purchasing managers, C-suite executives, financial officers, human capital recruiters, and others, to take the pulse of what is happening in their particular business activity.

So, it should come as no surprise that other countries, with evolving economies, are also hard at work taking the pulse of their public and private sector leaders when it comes to economic trends. The Oxford Business Group (OBG), which publishes an annual assessment of Morocco’s overall economy, recently conducted its first “Business Barometer: Morocco CEO Survey,” a self-described “study of almost 70 CEOS in the country that provides strong local insight into current C-suite business sentiment.”

In a frontier market economy like Morocco, it is sometimes challenging to identify leadership that is not either quasi-state run or dependent on the government for its revenues, which may influence the responses. In this survey, OBG sought out a broad spectrum of companies based on a number of criteria, including annual sales, size of workforce, customer base, and ownership. In this poll, 53% were international companies, 28% were local, and 83% were in the private sector.

The results released in a summary of the report show that in the near-term the business community is committed to operating in Morocco and expect that their business will grow over the next year. Data gathered shows that 86% said that they have positive or very positive expectations, while 62% said that they were likely or very likely “to make a significant capital investment in the next year.”

Given recent concerns with business conditions in Morocco captured in World Bank and World Economic Forum reports, it stood out that 77% of respondents said that relative to the region, the level of transparency for conducting business was high or very high. Two areas of the business environment were less satisfactory. Less than 45% expressed satisfaction with local suppliers and service providers, and only 40% labeled the tax environment competitive. Another area of concern to the CEOs surveyed was access to credit, which 53% indicated was difficult or very difficult.

The study echoes concerns raised by the World Bank report, in that the economy would benefit as a whole from more tax reforms and an upgraded and market-focused educational system. This comes at a time when the MCC-US is launching with its counterpart in Morocco a $120 million project to enhance secondary schools in all aspects, from physical plant to curriculum and staff development.

The OBG study is good news for Morocco’s business promotion efforts, emphasizing both the assets of the economy and the challenges the country faces if it is to meet the growth rates necessary to absorb its human capital, generate needed tax income, and continue the diversification of the economy that to date has achieved important progress.

In addition, the results can be used for regional comparisons to see how Morocco measures up across North Africa or with other countries. A detailed survey, infographics, and OBG analysis are available from OBG at https://www.oxfordbusinessgroup.com/blog/category/obg-business-barometer.

The post Moroccan CEOs Bullish on Short Term Growth; Concerned about Access to Credit – Jean R. AbiNader appeared first on Morocco On The Move.

Categories: The moroccan press

Casablanca Finance City Signs A Strategic Agreement With Busan International Financial City

Western Sahara Worldnews - Wed, 07/05/2017 - 14:30

Business wire

Casablanca Finance City (CFCA), the panafrican financial center based in Casablanca, Morocco, sealed today a strategic partnership with the Korean financial center Busan International Financial City (BIFC).

Under the terms of this signed agreement, in order to promote and develop their common interests, the BIFC Promotion Center and CFCA expressed their willingness to strengthen their cooperation in multiple areas.

Both parties have agreed to enable the sharing of expertise, and to work together in order to develop a financial hub specialized in maritime finance, derivatives market, back-up centers.

CFCA and BIFC’s Promotion Center will also cooperate in order to attract financial institutions, regional headquarters of multinationals, holding companies, and professional services operators.

They will also support companies from each jurisdiction to develop the business. CFCA will support South Korean companies willing to do business in Africa and aims at becoming the platform for regional headquarters planning to expand in the region. The BIFC Promotion Center will do the same for Moroccan companies (major companies and financial institutions) willing to develop their businesses in South Korea.

Furthermore, both financial centres will collaborate on other activities for the promotion of the areas of cooperation above, including assistance in welcoming business and financial delegations, joint organization of seminars, and mutual exchange of information subject to the prior written consent from the other Party.

Mr. Said Ibrahimi, CEO of CFCA said: “We have a lot in common. Not only a strategic geographical location-we both are at the crossroads of two major sea routes- but also our key positioning as regional financial Hub. This MoU will therefore aim at merging our channels of expertise and know how, while promoting investment opportunities in both directions”

Mr. Young Ho Park, Head of Busan International Financial City Promotion Center, Busan Economic Promotion Agency, said: “This MOU is significant in that it will help us to strengthen our cooperation with Casablanca Finance City across continents to share the experience and knowledge on policy schemes of these two promising financial cities.”

About Busan International Financial City’s Promotion Center

The Busan International Financial City Promotion Center was established by Busan Metropolitan City Government in 2008 and is under the umbrella of the Busan Economic Promotion Agency. The BIFC Promotion Center supports Busan City to grow into a global financial center specialized in maritime finance, derivatives market, and back-up centers. It aims at promoting Busan as an attractive Financial Hub for global financial institutions. BIFC Promotion Center’s missions include financial industry research, the establishment of a financial city base, the cultivation of financial manpower and financial city promotion.

About CFCA

CFCA is a public-private partnership dedicated to positioning Casablanca as an international economic and financial center and a premier gateway into African market for financial institutions, headquarters of multinational corporations and professional service firms. Casablanca Financial City Authority is empowered by law with the overall management and promotion of Casablanca Finance City.

Additional information about CFC can be found at www.casablancafinancecity.com |Twitter: @casafinancecity | LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/company/casablanca-finance-city

Contacts
Press
CFCA
Fatim-zahra SAADANI, Tél : +212 5 20 30 03 80
fatim-zahra.Saadani@cfca.ma

CASABLANCA FINANCE CITY

CNDH Chairman Calls for Integrating Foreign Children into Moroccan Education System

The moroccan press - Wed, 07/05/2017 - 14:04

Chairman of the National Human Rights Council (CNDH), Driss El Yazami, called, on Tuesday in Rabat, for the integration of foreign children into the Moroccan education system, as a fundamental right which allows them to enjoy the same treatment as Moroccan children.

Categories: The moroccan press

Morocco Secures US $25 mln Loan from Clean Technology Fund for Hybrid Solar Project

The moroccan press - Wed, 07/05/2017 - 14:00

Morocco received approval for a US $25 million loan from the Climate Investment Funds’ Clean Technology Fund (CIF CTF) for a project to generate solar power through an innovative hybrid Concentrated Solar Power (CSP) and Photovoltaic (PV) solution.

The Midelt Phase I Concentrated Solar Power Project is being supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB) and the World Bank with an additional allocation of US$ 25 million in CTF resources, the AfDB said in a statement.

Categories: The moroccan press

Morocco, Germany Discuss Means to Boost Cooperation on Justice

The moroccan press - Wed, 07/05/2017 - 13:43

Minister of Justice, Mohamed Aujjar, held talks on Tuesday in Berlin with German counterpart, Heiko Maas.

Talks focused on the means to strengthen bilateral cooperation on justice by laying the foundations for a comprehensive agreement in this area.

The meeting was also an opportunity to highlight the two countries’ respective experiences in the field of justice.

Categories: The moroccan press

Morocco, Under Visionary Leadership of HM the King, Bridge for Washington to Africa, Middle East and Muslim world (U.S Expert)

The moroccan press - Wed, 07/05/2017 - 13:30

Morocco, which is the oldest ally of the United States, is well positioned to be a bridge to the African continent, the Middle East and the Muslim world, under the visionary leadership of HM King Mohammed VI, wrote Van Hipp, chairman of American Defense International, Inc. and author of "The New Terrorism: How to Fight It and Defeat It."

Categories: The moroccan press

History : Sultan Mohammed III Endless Endeavors To Befriend The USA

Western Sahara Worldnews - Wed, 07/05/2017 - 04:00

Yabladi.com

Sultan Mohammed III issued a declaration to establish diplomatic relations with the USA./Ph. DR.

On December 1777, Sultan Sidi Mohammed Ben Abdullah, has been trying to seek diplomatic relations with the American Republic that has recently declared its independence in 1776.

As part of a very well studied step, the Sultan announced his desire to befriend the USA. His request, as indicated by the U.S Embassy and Consulate in Morocco website, was an endeavor to strengthen the country’s economy through maritime trade.

The Emperor, back in the time «wanted to establish state-controlled maritime trade as a new, more reliable, and regular source of income which would free him from dependency on the services of the standing army», the same source recalls.

Morocco as a first step opened its ports for American ships allowing them to freely navigate alongside the other vessels coming from countries that signed treaties with the kingdom, such as Russia, Malta, Sardinia, Germany and other European nations. The declaration issued by the Sultan made Morocco the first country to acknowledge the legitimacy of the USA as a republic with which trade and diplomatic relations should be maintained.

The Sultan’s Letters

However, American officials, led by Benjamin Franklin did not respond to the Moroccan request. One year later following the first declaration, Sultan Mohammed III, reissued another statement which was «belatedly learned». «The February 20 declaration was again sent to all consuls and merchants in the ports of Tangier, Sale, and Mogador informing them the Sultan had opened his ports to Americans and nine other European States», said the article.

The sultan’s will to put efforts into attracting the Americans did not stop right there. In 1778, Mohammed III named Etienne d’Audibert Caille, a French Merchant of Sale, a Consul for all the nations unrepresented in Morocco. Caille was occupied with the task of writing to the Americans and let them know formally that the Sultan is ready to sign a trade treaty to ensure their diplomatic ties. Unlike expectations, Caille’s attempts were met by negligence, as Benjamin Franklin did not trust him.

The Congress finally responding

The new consul wrote on the behalf of the Sultan to Franklin in 1779 and to the congress during the same year as well as to the American Representative in Madrid. All these letters fell on deaf ears, until 1780 when the American congress finally replied to the Moroccan request through a letter that said :

«We the Congress of the 13 United States of North America, have been informed of your Majesty’s favorable regard to the interests of the people we represent, which has been communicated by Monsieur Etienne d’Audibert Caille of Sale, Consul of Foreign nations unrepresented in your Majesty’s states. We assure you of our earnest desire to cultivate a sincere and firm peace and friendship with your Majesty and to make it lasting to all posterity. Should any of the subjects of our states come within the ports of your Majesty’s territories, we flatter ourselves they will receive the benefit of your protection and benevolence. You may assure yourself of every protection and assistance to your subjects from the people of these states whenever and wherever they may have it in their power. We pray your Majesty may enjoy long life and uninterrupted prosperity.»

After receiving the Congress letter the Sultan waited for two years while American ships were granted the same status given to the other European trade vessels entering the Kingdom’s ports. On May the 7th 1784, the «congress authorized its Ministers in Paris, Franklin, Jay, and Adams, to conclude treaties of amity and commerce with Russia, Austria, Prussia, Denmark, Saxony, Hamburg, great Britain, Spain, Portugal, Genoa, Tuscany, Rome, Naples, Venice, Sardinia, and the Ottoman Porte as well as the Barbary States of Morocco, Algiers, Tunis, and Tripoli».

The Treaty of Friendship and Amity

Despite the courageous step taken by the congress, delays kept annoying the Sultan who decided to act differently. On October the 11th 1784, Mohammed III detained an American merchant ship named Betsey in Tangier and ordered the American government to sign a treaty in exchange of the Men, ship and cargo. Indeed, in 1785, a treaty between the USA and Morocco was under negotiation and the Sultan released the Bestey crew and shipment.

Following that, «on October 11, 1785, the commissioners appointed Thomas Barclay, American Consul in Paris, to negotiate a treaty with Morocco on the basis of a draft treaty drawn up by the commissioners, the source stated. A Treaty of Friendship and Amity was signed in Marrakech by the Sultan by on June 23rd and was shipped to Barklay who signed it equally on June 28th.

A different treaty was signed later on July the 6th 1786 in Marrakech to identify American and Moroccan vessels. It was later in 1797, the USA established a Consulate in Morocco after realizing the satisfactory results of the treaty first requested by Sultan Mohammed III.

Morocco, Vietnam Eager to Boost Cooperation

The moroccan press - Tue, 07/04/2017 - 13:46

Head of government, Saad Eddine El Othmani, held talks here on Monday with Phung Quoc Hien, vice-chairman of Vietnam’s National Assembly and member of the central committee of the Vietnamese Communist Party.

This meeting was an opportunity for both sides to highlight the excellence of the secular relations between the two peoples and countries and to discuss the steps that strengthened the bonds of Moroccan-Vietnamese friendship within the framework of the defense of the common values of the two countries, the Head of Government's department said in a statement.

Categories: The moroccan press

International Seminar on Moroccan Sahara, Regionalization & Autonomy at UN Headquarters

The moroccan press - Tue, 07/04/2017 - 13:44

Morocco’s Permanent Mission organized, Monday at the UN headquarters in New York, an international research seminar on “Regionalization and Territorial Autonomy: Differences, Singularities and complementarities”.

   The seminar was moderated by leading experts, researchers and academics from Canada, the United Kingdom, Switzerland and Vietnam.

   It was attended by some fifty diplomats, including several ambassadors accredited in New York, in addition to media representatives in the United Nations.

Categories: The moroccan press

Climate Change Threatens Nomadic Life In Morocco

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 07/04/2017 - 12:05

USA TODAY
Perry DeMarche
photos: Mary Mathis

M’HAMID EL GHIZLANE, Morocco — For generations, they were known as “rain nomads,” herders who moved constantly along the western rim of the Sahara Desert in search of a patch of green where their goats and camels could graze.

Then the rain, never plentiful, became even more sporadic. Temperatures got hotter. A dam choked another source of precious water, the Draa River. Not even the camels could endure.

Families whose lives revolved around the seasons and the needs of their livestock, gave up and became villagers. Over the years, many settled in this oasis town whose one main street merges into the edge of the desert.

About two-thirds of Morocco’s roughly 25,000 remaining nomads live in this region about 200 miles south of Casablanca, according to a 2014 government survey. The number of nomads had fallen by 63% from the previous decade, the same survey by the Moroccan High Commission for Planning found. While there are a number of reasons for the decline, climate change is among the main causes.

Laghroumi Mohammed uses a dowsing stick to search for underground water on his family’s …more

Climate conditions created by global warming trap hot air around the Sahara, so the desert actually is expanding, said Meryem Tanarhte, a Moroccan professor who holds a doctorate in atmospheric chemistry.

Tanarhte said Morocco has seen a decrease in precipitation, increasing heat extremes and severe drought over the past 30 years. And it will worsen.

The Max Planck Institute for Chemistry predicts that temperatures in the Middle East and North Africa will increase twice as fast as the global average. Even if the overall rise in temperatures can be held below the Paris climate accord’s target of 2 degrees Celsius, the entire region is likely to become uninhabitable, the institute said in a 2016 statement.

““The river died, and it killed us with it.”” – Laghroumi Mohammed

The conditions already are too extreme for the camels and goats essential to the nomads’ lifestyle. The animals provide milk, meat and skins. They are sources of transportation and traditional medicine, and can also be sold for income.

El Gasni Hamadi, 43, said his family’s camels died because of drought, and one animal is etched in his memory when she couldn’t get up one morning. “There was no answer,” he recalled. “No one to help; nothing to do. And she just died in my arms.”

Hamadi’s family settled here decades ago, when he was 7. The family had around 100 camels in 1995. Now, they have only 10.

Mohammed Boulfrifi, 37, said his family settled in M’Hamid, a town of 7,500, when their goats became so malnourished that their ribs were visible.

The Draa River, an important source of water for M’Hamid El Ghizlane and other Moroccan desert …more

“It’s not just us,” Boulfrifi said. “Half the village came from the desert before — they were nomadic. Half. Or more than half.”

The village has not escaped the effects of climate change. Ali Daimin, a shopkeeper in M’Hamid who holds a master’s degree in history and geography, said there never were sand dunes in town.

“It was land for agriculture, for everything,” he said. “Now part is completely covered by sand. You can’t use it for anything.”

George Zittis, a post-doctoral fellow specializing in climate simulations at the Cyprus Institute’s Energy, Environment and Water Research Center, predicted temperatures on the hottest days here would exceed 120 degrees by the end of the century. That is more than 10 degrees warmer than now.

“What we consider extreme in a present climate will be normal in a likely future, unless greenhouse gases are substantially reduced,” he said.

But Tanarhte said scarcity of water will have the biggest impact because agriculture depends on precipitation. “So if it doesn’t rain, everything goes wrong,” she said.

El Gasni Hamadi, standing in back row, was born a nomad but now teaches French and Arabic at the …more

Hamadi said precipitation has always been so sporadic that there is a saying in town: If an antelope is standing in the desert when it rains, one horn gets wet while the other stays perfectly dry.

A study by German scientists estimated that by 2050 annual rainfall, which averages only a couple of inches across the region, is likely to decrease by between three-quarters of an inch and 1.6 inches.

The Draa River long served as another source of water until the Mansour Eddahbi dam was built upstream near the city of Ouarzazate in the 1970s to provide hydroelectric power and irrigation, and to control floods. The flow downriver to M’Hamid decreased, and the problem has gotten worse as the river’s sources of water in the Atlas Mountains receive less rain.

It used to be easy to find water close to the surface of the dried river, but people are now forced to dig 25 feet or more, said Boulfrifi and Laghroumi Mohammed, another former nomad. When they do find water, it is often unusable because of salinization.

Mohammed, 52, once followed the date harvest for three months each year, pitching a tent of palm leaves along the river and digging shallow wells to bring water to his family.

Now many of those date palms are stumps blanketed by sand dunes. “The river died, and it killed us with it,” Mohammed said.

Mohammed said the river used to bring water to M’Hamid if even a quarter-inch of rain fell upstream. Now, there is nothing, even if three or four times that amount falls.

Other reasons also encourage nomads to give up their lifestyle — access to education and health care, and restrictions on movement across the border between Morocco and Algeria.

Hamadi recalls the dramatic change from living with camels and goats as a nomad to sitting in a classroom. He eventually became a teacher in M’Hamid. But people like him are an exception.

Many former nomads have found work in tourism as camel trekking guides.

The Moroccan High Commission for Planning said 84% of nomads have received no formal schooling. Boulfrifi, who settled in the village when he was 20, said there are few job opportunities for people like him.

“I don’t know how to write. I don’t know how to read. I have never been to school,” he said. “What kind of work can you do?”

The answer for him and many others has been tourism. Some former nomads lead treks to campsites in the desert or to the Erg Chigaga dunes, about 30 miles west of M’Hamid. Boulfrifi helps manage a desert camp.

“There is the military or tourism. And people, they prefer to be in tourism,” he said. “The people here, they like open air and to be free.”

But they also question whether tourism is really the answer. Many think there is a lack of government attention to the issues facing M’Hamid. So some residents have started their own initiatives.

Hamadi’s family launched a cooperative making date jam to provide a steady income for former nomads. An association works with the Agriculture Ministry to provide nomads with subsidized camel food, and another group helps women sell handicrafts.

Mouloud Tanzint, 33, who was born a nomad but now holds a master’s degree in human rights issues, said governments must take a global approach to climate change. He cited examples of polar ice melting and changes in precipitation in South America.

In the meantime, many here find little reason for optimism. “With the climate, we cannot decide,” said Daimin, the shopkeeper. “It’s not in our power. But based on what’s happened, it can only get worse and worse.”

Perry DeMarche and photographer Mary Mathis attended the School of International Training (SIT) Study Abroad journalism program in Morocco, where they produced this report in association with Round Earth Media, a nonprofit organization that supports young journalists. Yassine Chaoui contributed to the story.

Morocco Urges Common African Vision On Migration Issue

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 07/04/2017 - 07:38

Xinhuanet
Source: Xinhua
Editor: yan

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI called Monday for common African vision on ways of dealing with migration issue.

Addressing migration issue requires an innovative approach by creating synergies between development plans and migration policies, the king said in a speech at the 29th Summit of Heads of State and Government of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian capital.

“Africa is losing its youths due to legal and illegal migration. There is no way such a loss can be justified. Should our young people’s fate be at the bottom of the Mediterranean? Should their mobility become a hemorrhage? Certainly not! I think it is up to us to deal with this issue properly,” the king said.

Morocco will submit a paper focusing on need to lay out a common African vision on migration, the king noted.

World’s Largest Seawater Desalination Plant To Be Built In Morocco

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 07/04/2017 - 02:21

Construction Week Online
Rajiv Ravindran Pillai

Morocco will build the world’s largest desalination plant for drinking water and irrigation, following the signing of phase one of the $352.9m project.

The project will be developed by an international company Abengoa in the Agadir region in partnership with the National Office of Electricity and Drinking Water (ONEE) and BMCE Bank.

Mohamed Boussaid, Minister of Economy and Finance, and Aziz Akhannouch, Minister of Agriculture, chaired the signing of the conventions in the Souss-Massa region on 29 July, in Rabat, according to Morocco World News.

Akhannouch said that the project “constitutes a lever for sustainable socio-economic growth for the entire region.”

The project involves the construction of a desalination plant with a 275,000m3 total production capacity of desalinated water per day that will be the largest plant designed for drinking water and irrigation. The contract also provides the flexibility for the possible capacity expansion to up to 450,000m3.

The desalination plant, which also provides for the option of being operated on wind power, meets the demand of water for domestic use in addition to irrigation water needs in the area of Agadir.

Abengoa will continue to undertake the engineering, construction and operation and maintenance for a period of 27 years, as per the contract. Abengoa and the Moroccan company InfraMaroc will be investment partners and responsible for the project financing.

Abengoa has been present in Morocco since 1977 and has offices in Rabat and Casablanca.

Environment Deterioration Cost Study Shows Positive Impact of Environment Action in Morocco, Official

The moroccan press - Mon, 07/03/2017 - 12:46

The results of a study on the evaluation of cost of environment deterioration testifies to the positive impact of measures taken by Morocco to reinforce environment action, said, on Friday in Rabat, secretary of state for sustainable development Nezha El Ouafi.

Categories: The moroccan press

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