The moroccan press

SDX Makes Exploration Well Commitment In Morocco

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 14:30

Energy Voice
by Mark Lammey

The locations of two of SDX’s assets in Morocco

Morocco has handed SDX Energy an eight-year exploration permit covering more than 1,000 square kilometres.

London- and Toronto-listed SDX has made a firm to acquire 200sq kilometres of 3D seismic and drill two explorations wells in the first four years.

SDX said the Gharb Centre permit came with a large amount of previously-gathered seismic data.

The London-headquartered firm also said exploration wells were planned for its Sebou and Lalla Mimouna prospects, both in Morocco, in the second half of 2017.

The tendering process for drilling rigs is under way and SDX has also received partner approval for seven drilling locations in these permits.

SDX Energy chief executive Paul Welch said: “We are very pleased to have expanded our footprint in Morocco with the award of the Gharb Centre exploration permit.

“Given the amount of 2D and 3D seismic acquisition that has been undertaken in the past, we believe there is clear potential for material upside in this concession that can be easily tied into our existing infrastructure.”

Morocco Adopts International Standard ISO 37001 on Anti-bribery Management Systems

The moroccan press - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 13:30

The national standardization commission for management systems has adopted the international standard ISO 37001 on the anti-bribery management systems.

Categories: The moroccan press

Morocco, Model Country in Transit, Reception for Migrants (UN Official)

The moroccan press - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 13:26

Morocco is a model country in terms of transit and reception for migrants, said, on Tuesday in Rabat, visiting UN Special Representative for International Migration, Louise Arbour.

"Being both a country of departure, transit and reception for migrants, Morocco is the kind of country that enables the examination of all aspects related to migration issues," Arbour said at the end of talks with Moroccan Deputy Minister in charge of Moroccans Living abroad and Migration Affairs, Abdelkrim Benatiq.

Categories: The moroccan press

Moroccan Drinking Water Expertise at Centre of Morocco-Burkina Faso Talks

The moroccan press - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 13:13

The Moroccan drinking water expertise was at the centre of the meeting, held on Tuesday in Rabat, between the head of the infrastructure, energy, mining, and environment committee Said Tadlaoui, and a delegation of Burkina Faso's parliamentarians network for drinking water, hygiene, and purification.

During this meeting, the two parties addressed the issues of water use rationalization and water optimal and equal distribution, said a statement by the House of Representatives.

Categories: The moroccan press

Polisario’s Triumphalist Communiqués Betrayed By Internal Document

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 01:47

The North Africa Post

The Polisario used to relay triumphalist communiqués since the signing of the ceasefire agreement in 1991, boasting victories and listing successes, even if they are more imaginary than real.

However, the language of an official internal document distributed recently to members of the front’s leadership betrays this triumphalism and concedes “fatal errors” made in the handling of the Western Sahara issue.

The document, whose contents were unveiled by a website close to the Polisario leadership, mentions with bitterness the humiliation of the Polisario when it was forced to withdraw its armed elements from the Guerguarat buffer zone, at the Moroccan-Mauritanian borders, last April 28, 2017, reported the Moroccan portal le360.

The withdrawal, just a few hours before the Security Council held a meeting and adopted a Resolution on the Sahara, left the separatists with a terrible feeling of failure, even more so since the Polisario had sworn, a few days earlier, that it would never leave the buffer strip and that it had entered there to stay there for ever.

The Polisario had undoubtedly misjudged the situation, as it was overwhelmed by Algeria’s incitements. The awakening was rough. After their forced withdrawal, the Security Council adopted Resolution 2351, which renewed the mandate of the MINURSO for a year without bringing any change to its prerogatives. The Resolution did not mention the obsolete idea of a self-determination referendum and reiterated that the Morocco-proposed autonomy initiative is serious and credible, dealing thus another blow to the separatists.

The website, described as the unofficial portal of the Polisario, said the official document, of which it has an exclusive copy, “confirms what has been said by analysts about the withdrawal from the Guerguarat region.” The Polisario leadership used the term redeployment to make up for its defeat and the humiliating exit of its armed elements from the region, the website said.

According to the document, “the non-use of the term withdrawal was dictated by considerations of military discourse and tactics.” The Polisario’s presence in Guerguarat had an opposite effect to what the separatists had expected. The Polisario would have committed political suicide if it had not pulled out from Guerguarat, the document argues.

But the swaggering, which preceded this humiliating withdrawal was unnecessary.

Morocco withdrew from the buffer strip on February 26, 2017, just a day after the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, called for restraint. The Polisario could have simply followed suit instead of persisting in their error.

In the same internal document, the Polisario acknowledged that “fatal errors” were committed during the negotiation of the September 1991 ceasefire agreement. The internal document accuses the negotiators of having failed to “insist on the creation, at the level of the strip separating the region of Guerguarat from the town of Lagouira, of a MINURSO-monitored check post.”

It is clear that there is no access to this strip near the Moroccan defense wall. In the document, the Polisario concedes it needs to go through northern Mauritania to gain access to Lagouira. Therefore, the Polisario chief had to cross the Mauritanian territory to make his Atlantic coast trip.

“It was impossible for the leader of the Polisario to access Lagouira via Guerguerat”, stated le360, quoting a reliable security source.

“If Mauritania, God forbid, prevents our troops from crossing its territory, it would be impossible for us to go through the strip alongside the defense wall leading from Guerguerat to the Atlantic coast,” the document said, as reported by le360, which explained that no armed element can venture into the buffer zone of Guerguarat. This would be seen as a violation of the ceasefire agreement with what this implies in terms of retaliation against the party responsible for the offense.

Since the signing of the ceasefire agreement in September 1991 until the Guerguarat lost battle, going through the setback suffered in the UN-sponsored 1995 negotiation of the amendments to the “buffer zone”, it is the first time that the Polisario has made such a bitter but realistic assessment of its failures to handle the Sahara issue, comments le360.

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.

Business Brief: Morocco Moves Ahead in Private Aviation Market while Renewable Energy Sector Gets Plaudits – Jean R. AbiNader

Morocco on the move - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 20:56

Jean R. AbiNader, MATIC
May 31, 2017

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

Keen to build on its reputation as a center for aeronautics, Morocco will host a major regional meeting bringing together a number of local and international aviation companies. The country also continues to build on its reputation as a global leader across a number of renewable energy sectors. On the human development side of the ledger, African migrants are finding opportunities in Morocco, thanks to its pioneering migrant policy.

Morocco continues to garner aeronautics credentials. The Middle East Business Aviation Association (MEBAA) will hold its annual conference this year in Marrakesh. MEBAA is based in Dubai and alternates its annual conferences in different cities in the region. MEBAA’s founder and executive chairman, Ali Alnaqbi, believes that having Marrakesh as the host city will attract high-net-worth buyers who want to combine business with an ideal vacation in a great location.

More than 250 companies, including Boeing, Gulfstream, Jet Aviation, and Jetex have already signed up for the show. Alnaqbi touts Morocco as an ideal location, as its business aviation sector is rapidly growing. He says, “It has also become much easier to obtain a license to operate business aircraft there.” MEBAA is affiliated with the National Business Aviation Association that meets annually in the US. Together they work on issues worldwide that affect their industry, from regulations and taxation, to leasing and ownership opportunities, as well as highlighting the latest available private aviation equipment and services.

The Financial Times looks at Morocco’s renewable energy leadership. That Morocco is an African and global leader in renewable energy projects is well known. Less attention has been paid to both the supply chain and collateral companies that are making important contributions to the energy sector. The Financial Times took a look and came up with some great examples of how initiatives from the top can lead to opportunities for entrepreneurs and enterprises to create products and services that broaden the impact of the initial capital investments.

From innovative software programs that harness artificial intelligence to control energy costs by monitoring and adjusting for use on a timely basis (think NEST), to innovations in energy storage that make renewable energy devices more efficient, entrepreneurs are coming up with products to take advantage of Morocco’s commitment to greatly reducing its use of fossil fuels. And the government is helping through incentives and support for entrepreneurs and new enterprises, and opening new markets in Africa where less than half the population has sufficient access to power.

Given the many bilateral initiatives resulting from King Mohammed VI’s economic diplomacy, Moroccan companies are well placed to extend their expertise throughout the region, creating even more opportunities for Moroccan companies. The article, cited in Morocco World News, mentions projects in Ivory Coast, Senegal, Ghana, and Cameroon as examples of Morocco’s capability to export its expertise.

The article quoted Mohamed Bernannou, chief executive of the Moroccan Climate Innovation Centre (MCIC), created in 2014 to develop green technology industry and entrepreneurship. “We have a big chance in Morocco right now. Conditions in Morocco can replicate those found in many sub-Saharan African countries, giving local companies a competitive edge over those from other parts of the world.”

Opportunities growing for African migrants. A recent story on highlighted several African migrants who have decided not to attempt to enter Europe but instead put down roots in Morocco. This would not have been possible, legally, even five years ago, but due to an innovative program promoted by King Mohammed VI, migrants can register to live and work in the country.

The article looks at several cases in Casablanca, where many from West Africa have begun new lives, from working in the central market to using their technical and vocational skills to start businesses. For example, “Richard Wenong is a Cameroonian electrician who works around the market, where his wife has a beauty parlor. He was one of the sub-Saharans who initially saw Morocco only as a transit country on his way to Europe. But then he changed his mind: ‘I saw it was not important for me because I got some jobs I can do since I’m a technician. I finally integrated myself here, so things are moving well with me, no need to go to Europe.’”

More than 40,000 migrants have either acquired or are in the queue for residency papers in Morocco, which allow them to work legally and avoid the uncertainty of attempting entry into Europe. It helps that many of them speak French, the business language of Morocco, enabling them to take advantage of support from NGOs that offer advice, financing, and training for small business start-ups.

Online business matchmaking firm opens in Morocco. Opportunity Network (ON) announced the opening of its offices in Casablanca, where it will offer networking, business development, and international business matching opportunities. Founded in 2014, Opportunity Network is a business matchmaking platform that partners with financial institutions to allow their corporate and private clients to find their next business partner for deals above USD 1 million around the world. It operates in more than 40 countries.

This is the third office in Africa for the company, and it will be headed by veteran business development specialist Najwa el Iraki, formerly at Casablanca Finance City Authority (CFCA) and founder of Africa Dev Consulting, which offers investor support for the African continent. ON founder and CEO Brian Pallas said on the firm’s website that “In the time of digitization and financial technology, we intend to work closely with the United Nations to contribute to African development. It is natural that we have chosen Morocco to develop our activities in the region and thus to support the growth of industrial and commercial activities of companies in Africa.”

The post Business Brief: Morocco Moves Ahead in Private Aviation Market while Renewable Energy Sector Gets Plaudits – Jean R. AbiNader appeared first on Morocco On The Move.

Categories: The moroccan press

Morocco Bolsters Its Position as FDIs Receiver, Ecofin Agency

The moroccan press - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 13:21

Morocco bolstered in 2016 its double position as major receiver of foreign direct investment (FDIs) and top African investor in the continent, said an analysis by the Ecofin Agency.

Morocco drew last year investment for 80 new projects, that is a rise of 13%, it said, adding that the country ranks second after south Africa where FDIs fell by 19%.

Categories: The moroccan press

Burkina Faso Supports Morocco's Adherence Request to ECOWAS, Burkina Faso's FM

The moroccan press - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 13:17

Burkina Faso Supports the request of Morocco to adhere to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and welcomes the Kingdom, said, Monday in Rabat, Burkina Faso's foreign minister Alpha Barry.

"We welcome the Kingdom. We belong to the same area and Burkina Faso is ready to examine the issue of Morocco's adherence to ECOWAS," Barry said at a press briefing following his meeting with Moroccan foreign minister Nasser Bourita.

Burkina Faso has always had the same stand concerning Morocco which is continuous support on international and regional issues, he added.

Categories: The moroccan press

Bourita Receives Kazakhstan's Deputy FM Carrying Message from President Nazarbayev to HM the King

The moroccan press - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 13:11

Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita received, here Monday, Kazakh Deputy Foreign Minister Akylbek Kamaldinov, carrying a message from President Nursultan Nazarbayev to HM King Mohammed VI.

   “I am on an official visit to Morocco, carrying a message from President Nazarbayev to HM King Mohammed VI”, Kamaldinov told the press following the meeting, underlining that he tackled with Bourita the means to develop cooperation relations between the two brotherly countries in all fields.

Categories: The moroccan press

Morocco Capitalises On Early Lead In Renewables

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 09:09

Financial Times
Siona Jenkins

Nation’s expertise in local solar and wind technology counts in sub-Saharan market.

Big ambitions: Morocco is home to one of the largest solar power plants © Youssef Boudlal/Reuters.

Karim el-Alami thinks big. Since finishing university two years ago, the young Moroccan engineer and a friend have developed software that uses artificial intelligence to manage renewable energy costs. Their company, Elum Energy, will start deploying the software in telecoms towers around Morocco this summer. They are considering exports and are in talks with operators in a number of countries of sub-Saharan Africa.

“My hope is to deploy our software in every solar storage [unit] that is launched in Africa in the next five years,” says Mr Alami.

He and his business partner, Cyril Colin, are well placed to succeed. They are part of a small band of entrepreneurs that has spotted an opportunity in a new but growing field of energy storage for renewables.

Big Green Bang for renewables

Morocco’s government is keen to support them. The country is fossil-fuel poor and has won attention for its success in developing renewable energy. In 2009, 1.7 per cent of its electricity came from renewable sources. By 2012, this had risen to 32 per cent and is projected to be 42 per cent by 2020 and 52 per cent by 2030. Last year Morocco opened the world’s biggest concentrated solar power plant, Noor 1, and hosted the UN’s COP22 climate change summit.

Mustapha Bakkoury, head of the Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy (Masen), which is responsible for renewables development in the country, told the FT in 2015 that the state was looking to do more than just reduce reliance on fossil fuels and reduce emissions: “We are working to create the conditions for future exports,” he said.

To do this, the Moroccan government is looking south. According to 2014 figures, two-thirds of the population in Sub-Saharan Africa have no access to electricity and some energy experts are hoping that the region could leapfrog traditional electricity generation infrastructure with renewables.

The innovation is in tailoring the product so that it is suited for local needs

Morocco appears well placed to help. It has more than 20 trade agreements with African countries. Casablanca, the country’s commercial capital, is establishing itself as a hub for investment in Africa. Moroccan banks and insurance companies and the national airline, Royal Air Maroc, have a strong presence across the continent. Rabat, the seat of national government, hopes that the nascent renewables sector can build on these ties.

Targeting African markets “makes sense within the Moroccan economy”, says Dana Younger, chief renewable energy specialist at the International Finance Corporation, the private sector lending arm of the World Bank. The Moroccans “have a comparative advantage in terms of sharing expertise and experience with other parts of Africa”, he adds.

A subsidiary of Morocco’s national utility, the Office National de l’Electricité, with funding from IFC, won a concession to bring power to rural Senegal back in 2010.

Moroccan companies have begun to expand south with European partners. French energy giant Engie, which built Morocco’s Tarfaya wind farm — Africa’s largest — with local company Nareva Holding, last year announced a partnership agreement to jointly develop 5GW-6GW of power generation and energy services projects in countries including Ivory Coast, Senegal, Ghana, and Cameroon.

Bruno Bensasson, chief executive of Engie Africa, says that Morocco has “specific strengths” thanks to its strong institutional and diplomatic relations with countries such as Senegal or Ivory Coast. So it made sense, he says, to work with Nareva.

Moroccan experts hope that partnerships with companies like Engie, coupled with a requirement for domestic content in Moroccan energy projects, will help local businesses compete for contracts in the renewables market.

“We have a big chance in Morocco right now,” says Mohamed Bernannou, chief executive of the Moroccan Climate Innovation Centre (MCIC), created in 2014 to develop green technology industry and entrepreneurship. He says conditions in Morocco can replicate those found in many sub-Saharan African countries, giving local companies a competitive edge over those from other parts of the world. “You have extreme heat, you have dust. You are working with a local population that may not be able to look after the maintenance.

“The innovation is not in, for example, a photovoltaic panel,” he adds. “It’s in small technical adaptations that can tailor the product so that it is suited for local needs.”

Mr Alami’s company received MCIC support. In his talks with companies in Nigeria, Ghana and Congo, he has found that Morocco’s experience in building up its own renewables capacity is a big advantage.

“Morocco is not exactly the same as Ivory Coast or Senegal, but its issues are similar. You cannot imagine these problems and issues if you are in Europe or in America.”

Attorney General of the King at Al Hoceima Court of Appeal Announces Two Further Arrests

The moroccan press - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 13:44

The attorney general at the Al Hoceima Court of Appeal announced the arrest, on Saturday, of two individuals by the judiciary police squad (BNPJ), bringing to 22 the number of arrests following the latest incidents in Al Hoceima.

The two defendants were held in custody, said attorney general of the King at the Al Hoceima Court of Appeal, Mohamed Aqwir.

Categories: The moroccan press

HM King Mohammed VI Shows Unwavering Commitment to Cooperation with Neighbours, La Razon

The moroccan press - Mon, 05/29/2017 - 13:42

HM King Mohammed VI showed an unwavering commitment to a deep cooperation with neighbouring countries mainly African ones, wrote on Friday Spanish daily "La Razon".

The sovereign proved his commitment to a deeper cooperation with neighbouring countries, especially in Africa, by conducting several visits and presiding over the signature of a huge number of economic cooperation agreements, the paper said in an article authored by Ahmed Charai.

Categories: The moroccan press

5,000 Social Housing Units Project Launched in Al Hoceima

The moroccan press - Fri, 05/26/2017 - 13:49

Minister of National Planning, Urban Planning, Housing and Urban Policy, Mohamed Nabil Benabdellah, launched on Thursday in Al Hoceima a project to build 5,000 social housing units in the province.

"We are in Al Hoceima upon high instructions of HM King Mohammed VI to launch a project aimed at building 5,000 social housing units," Benabdellah told reporters during a visit to the site of Sidi El Abed which will host a part of this project.

Categories: The moroccan press

Moroccan, Rwandan Parliaments Called to Consolidate Bilateral Ties

The moroccan press - Fri, 05/26/2017 - 13:41

Moroccan and Rwandan Parliaments are called to contribute to strengthening bilateral ties, Speaker of Rwandan Senate, Bernard Mazuka, said Thursday in Rabat.

   Moroccan and Rwandan parliaments should fulfil their roles to reinforce ties between Rabat and Kigali through enacting laws that allow governments and ministries of both countries to have a legal framework to strengthen bilateral ties, Mazuka told MAP following a meeting with Noureddine Boutayeb, Delegate Minister to the Interior Ministry.

Categories: The moroccan press

Morocco, India Discuss Means to Boost Trade

The moroccan press - Fri, 05/26/2017 - 13:37

Head of government, Saad-Eddine El Othmani, held talks here on Thursday with Indian Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Nirmala Sitharaman.

Talks focused on the means to increase trade between the two countries and to develop partnerships in several fields, including technology and renewable energies, a statement by the head of government's department said.

The two sides also examined the means to support investment initiatives between Moroccan and Indian economic actors, the source added.

Categories: The moroccan press

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Received in Abidjan by President of Côte d'Ivoire

The moroccan press - Fri, 05/26/2017 - 13:36

Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nasser Bourita, bearer of a message of HM King Mohammed VI, was received, on Thursday in Abidjan, by President of Côte d'Ivoire, Alassane Ouattara.

The audience took place in the presence of Director general of DGED (Direction Générale des Etudes et de la Documentation), Mohamed Yassine Mansouri.

Categories: The moroccan press

Closing the Development Gap – What Morocco Can Do – Jean R. AbiNader

Morocco on the move - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 21:48

Jean R. AbiNader, MATIC
May 25, 2017

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

We have written recently on IMF and World Bank reports assessing Morocco’s progress on economic and fiscal policies and human and social development indicators. A new analysis from the North Africa Report reinforces the positive aspects of Morocco’s development while noting continuing challenges identified in the earlier reports as well as other concerns that impede the country’s growth.

Morocco is justifiably proud of its rapid expansion in serving its people, as witnessed in the early achievement of its Millennium Development Goals, bringing power, water, and primary education to most of the country. Its human resources are often mentioned as a key factor in attracting external investment, which requires qualified workers for such industries as call centers, automobile and aeronautical manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, and logistics and supply management. Its national planning vision provides guidance for managing a broad diversification of its economy beyond agriculture and phosphates. And King Mohammed VI’s economic diplomacy in Africa has strengthened its commercial ties through growing market penetration on the continent.

As the article points out, Morocco has avoided the trap of other African (and Middle Eastern) countries of excessive economic dependence on commodity exports (in Morocco’s case, phosphates and agriculture) by building a world-class infrastructure in locations such as Tanger-Med port, and opening new opportunities for products manufactured in the country. And the article cautions, “Now it must build on this foundation, investing in education and sharing the wealth.”

The author takes the reader on a tour along the highway from Marrakech to Casablanca, pointing out the widespread development that can be seen and communities that have benefited from the highway, which is constantly being extended to points southward along the Atlantic and eastward along the Mediterranean.

While marveling about the rapid and beneficial growth in less than 15 years, he notes, “But Morocco remains an outlier. Many other African countries are struggling to meet the levels of growth recorded earlier in the decade. As their commodity dependence has been laid bare, Morocco has continued to build a liberal economy underpinned by strong state structures… So what is the secret sauce? Where Morocco has played to its strengths, it has outperformed its neighbours – often with ‘champion’ corporations directed by the state. The country has success stories, from its leadership in developing renewable energy to the expansion of its banks and major industrial companies into ever more markets.”

Now Morocco faces a period of transition, a point raised by the World Bank report as well. How does the country move from a top-down driven model of development to one that is more inclusive, enables small and medium sized enterprises to thrive, and provide the types of education that continually produce market-ready labor?

This is a critical challenge for Morocco as it has benefited greatly by having, in many ways, its development driven by the King’s overarching vision and state-owned entities that have the assets and expertise to implement broad-scale projects that are beyond the financial capabilities of the private sector. Now that this infrastructure and economic framework are in place, from high-speed rail service coming on line in 2018, to the tramways growing in Rabat and Casablanca, to well-performing financial institutions, air and sea transportation networks, and a world-class corporation overseeing the phosphates industry and moving it downstream in Morocco and elsewhere, what comes next – what does Morocco need to do to continue and even expand its growth?

Allied with this is the thorny challenge of how to realize social and human development goals within the context of an evolving parliamentary democracy that is still formulating its identity atop myriad political parties and traditions. The article notes the recent difficulty in forming a new government as an example.

The Hard Truths

Progress does not come without challenges, and Morocco is no exception. The article says it this way: “Back home, another Morocco ­exists, peopled by poor farmers and an ­increasingly urbanised underclass whose development indicators fall well short of international norms. The education system has created some impressive talents for the banks and corporations driving the ‘modern’ economy, but public education is seen by many to have failed the majority. In turn, this is undermining economic progress and building up a well of social discontent.”

Similar to the World Bank report, the article emphasizes the need to build a high-performing education sector as a critical priority moving forward. Many initiatives have been tried over the past decade but too often education is caught up in political debates from languages of instruction to STEM content for school and university curricula. A recent study found that teachers were on average absent for a third of their working hours. It is no wonder that parents have opted for private education, if they can afford it. In disadvantaged areas, illiteracy levels remain shockingly high – pointing to severe urban-rural and gender divides,” says the report.

Morocco is working hard to change the overall environment for education. One strategy is exemplified by the public-private partnerships that feed skilled workers into the manufacturing sector, as the article points out, “A strong and focused state can play a critical role in driving policy, supported by a profitable and job-creating private sector.” As Morocco continues to engage companies in specific sectors, it must also raise the overall quality of its educational system, reduce the drop-out rates among middle school students in rural and marginalized urban areas, encourage a higher rate of acquisition of vocational and technical skills, and enable small and medium size enterprises to create jobs that attract young men and women to look for opportunities to prosper in the new Morocco.

Morocco is committed to meeting these challenges, through the second National Initiative for Human Development, focusing on raising employment and education among rural and marginalized communities; its pursuit of the Sustainable Development Goals to benefit the quality of life for Moroccans; and upgrading its services and agricultural sectors to keep up with technology advances that will generate more employment and prosperity. While it may not have all the answers, the King has make it clear that Morocco will continue to place its citizens at the nexus of its economic and social development.

The post Closing the Development Gap – What Morocco Can Do – Jean R. AbiNader appeared first on Morocco On The Move.

Categories: The moroccan press

Biz Brief: New Partnerships, from China to Detroit, Form Win-Win Projects – Jean R. AbiNader

Morocco on the move - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 15:30

Jean R. AbiNader, MATIC
May 25, 2017

Morocco’s largest skyscraper will be built with a Chinese company. The African Development Bank extends its efforts in the water sector. A US company starts testing solar power cooling systems while another draws inspiration from Moroccan architecture in a Detroit redevelopment effort. And a Canadian company sets up a joint venture for mineral exploitation. Also, Casablanca does well in poll of African urban centers

Reaching Up. Several sources report that Morocco’s leading construction company, Travaux Generaux de Construction de Casablanca, has entered into a joint venture with the China Railway Construction Corporation (CRCC)  to build what will be Africa’s largest skyscraper in Rabat. Tagged at some $375 million, the 45-story tower, built to ecological and sustainable design concepts, will include offices, hotels, and luxury apartments and be a key element in the country’s development of the Bouregreg Valley captured in the 2014-2018 development program dubbed “Rabat, City of Light, Moroccan Cultural Capital.” The project also involves building several innovative facilities, including the Grand Theater of Rabat, the Arts and Culture House, the National Archives of the Kingdom of Morocco and a business center. According to the CRCC’s headquarters in Beijing, the total designed floor space is 86,000 square meters. “The project, CRCC’s first skyscraper in Morocco, will accelerate the development of infrastructure and engineering projects not only in North Africa, but also in other markets related to the Belt and Road Initiative,” said the CRCC, which will own 60% of the tower.Casablanca Does Well in Measures of Urban Business Environment. The Fraym Urban Markets Index ranks Africa’s 169 largest urban clusters in 35 countries in terms of business environment, accessibility, and connectedness to markets. Casablanca placed 6th, which was cited as a “highly connected” gateway to its sub-regions and beyond. Given the diversity of the top 20 cities, Fraym CEO Ben Leo said that well-connected hubs have an “outsized influence despite having a smaller GDP that many other African cities.”

African Development Bank Zeroes in on Water Sector. As the leading donor in Morocco’s water sector, the African Development Bank (AfDB) has acquired extensive experience in the country. It has funded water treatment installations and distribution systems in 30 cities, providing supplies of sustainable drinking water to more than two thirds of the population, reaching as high as 100% in many urban areas. In a recent report it noted that “In rural areas, the access to drinking water has improved from 14 per cent in 1990 to 94 per cent now.” At a cost of some $350 million, projects include improving the quantity and quality of drinking water on the Rabat-Casablanca access for some five million residents, and a further 2 million people in the Marrakech, Al Haouz, and Al Kelaa areas. The Moroccan partner for these projects is ONEE, the National Office for Electricity and Potable Water. In the upcoming planning period of 2017-2021, AfDB will continue its work in the water sector.

Morocco-US Projects Worth Noting. A Boston start-up is now field testing its “evaptainer” in Morocco to assess its ability to provide cooling for foods, medicines, and other perishables using only the sun and science to power the unit. Resembling a large ice chest, the patented technology is called PhaseTek and is activated when users fill the reservoir “with any source of water (e.g. tap, well, river, lake). The walls of the device then begin to draw out heat from the interior of the device through evaporative cooling. The EV-8 can cool its internal storage space by 15-20 degrees Celsius from ambient conditions.” The first results, from the 300 Moroccan households using the evaptainer, are expected in fall 2017.

In Detroit, where sections of the city have yet to experience any significant re-development, a company has turned to Morocco for inspiration on how to repurpose buildings that broadly benefit the community. In the city’s North End, the group Ghana ThinkTank, a coalition of artists from Ghana, Morocco, Indonesia, and more, is working on a concept called American Riad. “A typical home style in Morocco, a riad has a courtyard where family and friends gather. There may be beautiful tiles, a small pool or fountain, and lush foliage. In the North End, where unemployment is about 23 percent and an estimated 43 percent of residents live in poverty, this concept will be adapted to be the centerpiece of an inclusive arts colony that organizers hope will also be an economic engine.”

A section of the city that has long been marginalized, despite once being home to many Motown artists, the North End is benefiting from a new streetcar line that promises to enable greater economic activity for residents. The first step was securing an underused 12-unit, mixed-use building and the grassy lot that will one day be the American Riad courtyard. “Beyond a community arts center, the renovation plans include six affordable housing rentals and commercial space for businesses that serve the needs of the North End.”

Canadian Company Inks Manganese Partnership. Vancouver-based Maxtech has formed a joint venture with Green Energy Resources (GER) of Morocco “to evaluate established mineral and mining concessions in Morocco for potential acquisition or joint ventures,” according to the company’s press release. Several manganese assets are in advanced stages of development, and the firm would seek to garner fully permitted mining concessions from the government.

Peter Wilson, CEO of Maxtech, said, “This partnership provides a unique opportunity for Maxtech to expand into Morocco with a goal to eventually supply manganese into the European marketplace. It is an excellent jurisdiction in which to operate and with the help of Green Energy’s in-country presence we will be able to evaluate new manganese claims efficiently.”

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Categories: The moroccan press

Deer Jet Unveils The Universe Of Moroccan Craftsmanship

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 09:00

Canada Newswire

Deer Jet, first private jet company of China, flies the 787 Dream Jet to Marrakech, to uncover and display the history, culture and arts of this faraway lands. Deer Jet used the same “Majorelle blue” and “Marrakech red” to decorate the 787 Dream Jet.

The exhibition on board the 787 Dream Jet included 100% Moroccan handcrafted objects using 16th century Islamic art patterns and motives from the Jardin Majorelle. Textiles, precious tableware, exotic leathers and other objects of design decorated the splendid 220 sq metres of the Dream Jet’s cabin.

The display is part of a series of showcases across the globe in Deer Jet’s “Dreams Encounter the World” tour of emblematic destinations. On its mission to serve premium business travellers worldwide, Deer Jet had already displayed the 787 Dream Jet at Hong Kong, Shanghai, London, Dublin and Seattle; showcasing its brand philosophy of “Making Travel an Art”.

Deer Jet has a history of serving a clientele of premium business travellers, including Middle East royal families. The company is now set to serve the market across the globe.

Frank Fang, Vice President of Deer Jet said: “Marrakech is one of the world’s most fascinating destinations, from its ancient walled Medina and bustling markets, it is a cultural fest. With the 787 Dream Jet, we want our customers to discover a stylish and culture-rich travel experience.”

The 787 Dream Jet can fly continuously for 18.5 hours, or 16,000 kilometres, reaching any major city in the world non-stop from Casablanca, Marrakech or Rabat. Additionally, it comes with the comforts of unlimited luxury amenities on board.

After the global success of the first 787 “Dream Jet”, HNA group, Deer Jet’s parent company has announced the acquisition of the second B787 VVIP for Deer Jet to build up the largest 787 Dream Jet fleet in the world. “We will dedicate ourselves to serve the global premium travellers the ultimate travel experience through this fantastic fleet.” added Fang.

“The Dream Jet is a tremendous feast of aeronautics and represents everything that is luxurious and impressive about our industry, as I’m convinced anyone who experiences it will agree. We are delighted to support Deer Jet on its “Dreams Encounter the World” exhibitions across the globe, and proud to be the exclusive charter sales partner for the Dream Jet in the MENA region.” said Mr. Mohammed Husary, Co-Owner/Founder and Executive President of UAS.

Deer Jet is also launching exclusive, bespoke travel packages aboard the 787 Dream Jet starting with the “Hong Kong to Tahiti Dream Journey”. It plans to add more itineraries in the future as part of its goal to create seamless travel to fulfill its vision of “Making travel an art”, through best-in-class service inspired by Deer Jet’s values of “elegance”, “performance” and “distinction”.


For further information: Dan Feng, 18610131198,; Cui Qi,;;

Morocco Reopens Centuries-old Religious Schools To Enrich Cultural Heritage

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 05/25/2017 - 06:18

Source: Xinhua

Morocco has recently reopened a number of centuries-old religious schools after rehabilitation with the aim to enrich the tangible and intangible heritage of the North African kingdom.

Most of these schools, or Madrasas, were founded in the 13th century to teach Islamic studies, Arabic literature, logic and mathematics in a number of Moroccan old cities, particularly Fez, Marrakesh and Sale.

Funded by charitable endowments, Madrasas offered students from different parts of Morocco and neighbouring countries free tuition and dormitories.

For centuries, these Madrasas had been the kingdom’s prestigious educational institutions, but with the establishment of modern universities, they have gradually lost their place and many of them were closed.

In recent years, Morocco has launched several programs to reopen a number of these educational institutions, especially in the city of Fez, Morocco’s spiritual capital.

On Tuesday, three Madrasas in Fez, the Mohammedia, the Seffarine and the Bouaanania, were reopened after a year of restoration.

The three schools will be used to accommodate students of al-Qarawiyyin University, which is considered by UNESCO the oldest continuously operating degree-granting university in the world.

As part of the Madrasas rehabilitation program in Fez, three other schools, the Mesbahiya, the Sbaiyyine and the Sahrij Madrasa, are scheduled to be restored. They will provide dormitories to al-Qarawiyyin students. In addition, the Sahrij Madrasa will also be reserved for students enrolled in the Moroccan Calligraphy Department of Al Qarawiyyin.

The rehabilitation of Madrasas is an integral part of a large-scale rehabilitation program of the ancient medina of Fez founded in the 7th century.

Launched in 2013, the program involves restoring monuments and historical sites dating back to the period between the 10th and 13th century.

Among the monuments renovated are the al-Qarawiyyin library, which was opened last year and is considered one of the oldest libraries in the world, and Dar al Mouaqquit tower, which was recently reopened and is used to monitor the astronomical map.

Founded in 859 by a devout and wealthy Muslim woman called Fatima al-Fihri, and nestled in the old medina of Fez, the al-Qarawiyyin library is home to unique Islamic manuscripts treasured by historians.

Serving as an observatory for astronomers observing the lunar crescent and the establishment of prayer times, the Dar al Mouaqquit tower features a museum housing ancient Moroccan and Arab astronomical instruments, which offers Moroccans and foreign visitors great opportunities to discover the kingdom’s scientific heritage.