The moroccan press

Key WTO Members Set To Discuss Agenda At Morocco Meet

Western Sahara Worldnews - Thu, 10/05/2017 - 01:06

The Indian Express

Procurement and public stock-holding for food security are invaluable tools used in developing countries where agriculture is mostly rain-fed and markets are imperfect and not integrated.

Key WTO members, including India, will converge in Morocco on October 8-9 to discuss the agenda to be formally taken up at the forthcoming ministerial conference in Argentina, a senior government official said. “This is a mini-ministerial kind of meeting of WTO members in Marrakesh in Morocco.

The ministers will talk about the agenda which will go to the ministerial conference in Argentina,” the commerce ministry official said.

The ministerial conference is the highest decision-making body of the Geneva-based World Trade Organisation (WTO).

India is pitching hard to complete the pending agenda, which includes finding a permanent solution to the issue of food stockpiling.

The country also wants the WTO members to deliberate on its proposal on trade facilitation in services.

However, developed countries, including the US, are pushing for inclusion of newer issues like investment facilitation and e-commerce in the agenda.

India’s position is discussions on new issues could be a red herring and divert attention from priority areas.

Procurement and public stock-holding for food security are invaluable tools used in developing countries where agriculture is mostly rain-fed and markets are imperfect and not integrated.

The food security issue concerns several developing nations that provide subsidised foodgrain to their poor.

A peace clause exists till a permanent solution is found for the food stockpiling issue.

This clause has enabled India to continue procurement and stocking of foodgrain for distribution to the poor under its food security programme without attracting any kind of action from WTO members even if it breaches the 10 per cent subsidy cap as prescribed by the multilateral trade body.

The Challenges of Migration in North Africa – Jean R. AbiNader

Morocco on the move - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 14:45

Jean R. AbiNader, MATIC
October 4, 2017

A recent event at CSIS and several lengthy articles focused on challenges resulting from migration from sub-Saharan Africa to North Africa and beyond. It is a complex issue involving definitions and concepts that stretch across human conditions and political events, and has regional and international implications related to economic development, terrorism, border control, and prejudice, for a start.

At CSIS, Kirsten Schuettler, a senior program officer in the Social Protection and Jobs Global Practice at the World Bank, and Anaïs Elbassil, director of the multi-country migration program for West, Central, and North Africa for Mercy Corps, shared experiences on the topic “The Maghreb as a Migration Source, Transit Point, and Destination.” 

Most of Ms. Schuettler’s remarks reflected her research and data from Morocco, with some input about conditions in Algeria. Ms. Elbassil presented information on Mercy Corps programs in Tunisia and her previous work in the region. The key takeaways began with sorting out distinctions, often muddled, between refugees, migrants, and “irregular” migrants, those who migrate outside the legal criteria.

As defined in most dictionaries, a migrant is one who moves to a new area or country in order to find work or better living conditions, while a refugee is a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster. There have always been migrant flows from sub-Saharan to North Africa and then irregular migration to Europe, but over the last 20 years, the numbers have increased due to political conditions, climatic changes, and lack of opportunities The composition has also changed, as more skilled and trained migrants are leaving home to find jobs and support their families either in Morocco or in the EU.

The article from the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) posted on ReliefWeb, “Refugees or Migrants? Difficulties of West Africans in Morocco,” makes the case that “The migration landscape in Morocco is complicated, and ultimately constrained by the 1951 Convention, which, with its narrow definition of a refugee, fails to adequately address today’s forced migration phenomenon.” Article 1 of the Convention defines a refugee as “someone who is unable or unwilling to return to their country of origin owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, ofr political opinion.” The problem is that this does not include what today is called “forced” migration, resulting from economic, political, climatic, social, religious, or other factors The CSIS speakers stressed that faced with the world’s largest refugee population, the international community must develop new norms to address the needs of people who fall outside of that definition.

Morocco is both an “emigrating country” whose citizens move abroad and a “transit country” that is a bridge for other migrants to reach Europe. After a number of disasters with irregular migrants attempting to reach Spain via vessels, and the uprisings associated with the Arab Spring, King Mohammed VI addressed the situation of these transit migrants, pushing for reforms that were promulgated in 2013 with implementation starting in 2015. According to the MERIP article, Morocco’s “regularization program” made “Morocco the only country in the North Africa and Middle East region to attempt to address the issue of irregular migration through a regularization program. Subsequently, some even began to refer to Morocco as a  ‘destination’ country for migrants. ” However, there is still legislation pending regarding other related legal issues: human trafficking, asylum, and non-transit migration.

As the article pointed out, “The distinction between a refugee and a migrant is an important one—much of the international legal framework that has been put in place since 1951 and continues to this day centers on making this distinction. Refugees may be registered with the UNHCR and then obtain residency and work authorization in Morocco…Migrants, on the other hand, are not owed these protections.” Morocco has registered more than 42,000 migrants to date, which makes them eligible for work permits, but they are not entitled to benefits that are assigned to refugees by international guidelines.

Progress that is being made was the subject of a study from the Institute for Security Studies in South Africa. Citing mounting pressures on Morocco and Algeria from sub-Saharan migrants hoping to transit to Europe, both countries are working with the EU on two fronts: legalization of migrants to access economic opportunities, and repatriation schemes for returning irregular migrants to their home countries. Both options are a means of incorporating labor into the local economy and reducing the attraction of terrorism and crime.

Although Morocco has been active since 2013 in legislative efforts on these fronts, it was only in July of this year that Algeria announced plans to grant residency rights and work permits to irregular sub-Saharan African migrants, with the benefit of addressing the country’s labor shortage in agriculture and construction. The article notes “The Algerian Ministry of Interior has yet to decide how many of the estimated 25,000–100,000 irregular migrants, mainly from Mali, Niger, and Burkina Faso, will benefit from this arrangement.”

A major challenge, as in other host countries, is that “high unemployment in Algeria (30%) and Morocco (25.5%) and limited livelihood prospects have prompted tensions aimed at irregular migrants in these countries.” On the other hand, Morocco’s effort to regularize the status of migrants is especially germane to its position as a regional leader. The country took significant steps following its announcement that Africa is the ”top priority” of its foreign policy in 2014. After being absent for 33 years, Morocco was readmitted to the African Union in January; and its request to join the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) as the first North African member has been accepted in principle.

The article concludes that the challenge of integrating migrants, either through regularization or as emigrants to Europe, requires all segments of society to “work on enhancing societal awareness on accepting migrants. However, if their regularization move is only motivated by political considerations, it may not be sustainable.”

With the proposed legislation pending in Morocco’s Parliament this session, the country has the opportunity to make tremendous strides not only in addressing migrant issues but also in clarifying asylum criteria and creating the needed instruments to combat human trafficking.

The post The Challenges of Migration in North Africa – Jean R. AbiNader appeared first on Morocco On The Move.

Categories: The moroccan press

Morocco Condemns “Despicable” Las Vegas Shooting

Western Sahara Worldnews - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 12:26

Source: Xinhua

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI voiced on Tuesday strong condemnation after shooting in the U.S. Las Vegas city.

In a message of condolences and compassion to U.S. President Donald Trump, the king deemed the act as “despicable,” extending his heartfelt condolences to the president and the victims’ families.

The king also wished the injured swift recovery.

A lone gunman unleashed a rapid-fire barrage of bullets from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel late Sunday, killing at least 59 people and injuring more than 500 others attending a country music festival.

CELAC Reaffirms Before UN 4th Committee Support for Mutually acceptable Political Solution to Sahara Issue

The moroccan press - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 11:39

The Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) reaffirmed, Monday before the UN 4th Committee, its firm support for efforts meant to achieve a mutually acceptable political solution to the issue of the Moroccan Sahara.

Categories: The moroccan press

FM Meets with UNIDO DG on Cooperation Prospects

The moroccan press - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 11:25

Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita met, on Tuesday in Rabat, with director general of the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) Sem li Yong on prospects for bilateral cooperation.

Categories: The moroccan press

Morocco, Hub Towards Africa for Spanish Businesses, Spanish Official

The moroccan press - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 11:19

Morocco is a hub towards Africa for Spanish enterprises, said, on Tuesday in Rabat, Spanish secretary of state for trade María Luisa Poncela García, for whom Spain and Morocco are not only two markets but also two strategic partners.

Categories: The moroccan press

Morocco Seizes Record 2.59 Tons Of Cocaine

Western Sahara Worldnews - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 02:13

Source: Xinhua

The Moroccan national police said it seized a record 2.59 tons of cocaine on Tuesday.

The seizure took place in several locations between the capital Rabat and Morocco’s largest city of Casablanca, as well as in the northeastern city of Nador, it said in a statement.

As many as 10 were arrested over suspected links with an international drug trafficking network, the police noted.

During the operations, the police seized 105 kg of cannabis and six vehicles used for smuggling.
The police said the network has links in many Moroccan cities.

Cologne Bonn Airport Boosts Moroccan Connections

Western Sahara Worldnews - Wed, 10/04/2017 - 01:49

By Chief Assignment Editor

Continuing to develop its solid route network, Cologne Bonn Airport has welcomed its fifth connection to Morocco, its latest link operated by Air Arabia Maroc. Celebrating the inaugural flight of the low-cost carrier’s (LCC) twice-weekly service to Agadir on 2 October, the German gateway now offers over 600 weekly seats to Morocco.

Commenting at the launch, Michael Garvens, Chairman of the Management Board stated: “This is the sixth year we have worked with Air Arabia Maroc here at Cologne Bonn. We are very pleased that our airline partner has expanded its route network and is now offering our passenger an additional service to an exciting Moroccan city.”

Utilising its fleet of A320s, Air Arabia Maroc connects Cologne Bonn to Agadir for the first time, the new service to the southern coast of Morocco complementing the LCC’s existing link to Nador. While joining the airport’s Moroccan operations, the additional service considerably boosts Cologne Bonn’s links to North Africa, becoming the gateway’s ninth direct route to the region.

Highlights from Morocco’s Participation in the 72nd UN General Assembly – Kristen Kouttab

Morocco on the move - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 17:30

Kristen Kouttab, MAC
October 3, 2017

As always, Morocco was an active participant during the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York from September 12-25. Here is more detail into the highlights from Morocco’s participation. The country remains focused on four key issues:

Security and Counterterrorism

  • Morocco was re-elected for another two-year term as a Co-Chair (with the Netherlands) of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), which serves as a mechanism to implement the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and to “complement and reinforce” existing multilateral counterterrorism efforts.
  • GCTF announced that the US and Morocco would launch a new initiative, “The Initiative to Address Homegrown Violent Extremists,” with the aim of developing a new set of “Good Practices” that will help guide a more effective response to these threats.
  • At a meeting of the Global Coalition against Daesh, chaired by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Morocco was recognized for its international security assistance, and noted that a key to the success of its multidimensional approach is a program launched in 2015 that trains imams to preach, practice, and teach moderate Islam. The program has trained hundreds of imams from Morocco as well as from across Africa and Europe.

Africa and South-South Cooperation

  • In his speech to the General Assembly, Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Nasser Bourita reaffirmed Morocco’s commitment to Africa and described the country’s return to the African Union as a crowning achievement.

Sustainable Development and the Environment

  • Morocco presided over a debate, “Placing the human being at the heart of efforts for peace and a decent life for all on a sustainable planet,” that examined the link between peace, development, and the environment. Morocco’s Ambassador to the UN Omar Hilale said the choice of Morocco to preside was “a great honor and a great moment for our country.”
  • Morocco and the UN Office for South-South Cooperation organized a meeting on climate change, “South-South Cooperation for Climate Action,” to discuss collaboration among developing countries on implementation of NDCs under the Paris Agreement.

Western Sahara

  • In his speech to the UN General Assembly, Minister Bourita reiterated that Morocco seeks a realistic resolution to the Western Sahara conflict and will continue to engage in cooperative discussions within the African Union and more broadly to advance a resolution within this framework.
  • The framework is based on Morocco’s compromise formula of autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty, and has earned the support of multiple US administrations and the US Congress. The 2017 UN Secretary General report and Security Council resolution also called for talks based on this formula as a framework for discussion.

The post Highlights from Morocco’s Participation in the 72nd UN General Assembly – Kristen Kouttab appeared first on Morocco On The Move.

Categories: The moroccan press

Morocco, Poland Hold Political Consultations in Warsaw

The moroccan press - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 12:41

Secretary of state for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mounia Boucetta, and Polish counterpart Joanna Wronecka held a meeting on Monday in Warsaw as part of the regular political consultations between the two countries.

The meeting focused on the different aspects of political, economic and cultural relations between the two countries, as well as the prospects for the development of bilateral cooperation.

Categories: The moroccan press

Morocco Seeks to Develop Cooperation with OECD (Tourism Minister)

The moroccan press - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 12:19

Morocco seeks to be more active in its cooperation with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), particularly in the field of tourism, minister of Tourism, Air Transport, Handicraft and Social Economy, Mohamed Sajid, said Monday in Paris.

The Kingdom wants to benefit from OECD’s expertise to better implement various sectoral policies, in particular in the field of tourism, he told MAP on the sidelines of his participation in a high-level meeting on tourism and growth, held at the OECD’s headquarters.

Categories: The moroccan press

Morocco-Spain Energy Cooperation Has promising Future, Official

The moroccan press - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 09:58

Cooperation relations between Morocco and Spain in terms of energy have a promising future, said, on Monday in Rabat, minister of energy, mining and sustainable development Aziz Rebbah.

Categories: The moroccan press

Morocco-Spain Energy Cooperation Has Promising Future

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 01:34

All Africa
Maghreb Arabe Presse (Rabat)

Cooperation relations between Morocco and Spain in terms of energy have a promising future, said, on Monday in Rabat, minister of energy, mining and sustainable development Aziz Rebbah.

Morocco and Spain are linked by friendship relations in all areas, which is mirrored also in the energy sector, Rebbah told MAP after a meeting with Spanish trade minister María Luisa Poncela García, noting that the Moroccan-Spanish electric interconnectivity has led to good results for the two countries’ markets.

He added that the meeting touched also on human resources training, research and development, as well as cooperation between Moroccan and Spanish businesses.

The Spanish official said the meeting’s goal was to examine all aspects of partnership between the two parties, explaining that Spain shares Morocco’s 2030 vision, under the leadership of HM King Mohammed VI.

The Spanish state minister also lauded the excellent energy cooperation ties between the two countries.

Renewable Energy, Increasingly Important for Africa

The moroccan press - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 11:43

Renewable energy exploited from resources previously considered a constraint (sun, wind, floods ...) is becoming increasingly important for the African continent, said, Friday in Bamako, minister of Energy, Mining and Sustainable Development, Aziz Rabbah.

Categories: The moroccan press

Speaker of Lower House Meets with Hungarian FM

The moroccan press - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 11:00

peaker of the house of representatives (lower house) Habib El Malki met, on Thursday in Budapest, with foreign minister Péter Szijjártó as part of the working and friendship visit he is paying to Hungary at the invitation of the president of the national assembly.

Categories: The moroccan press

Headquarters of International Commission of Solidarity with Palestinian People Opened in Rabat

The moroccan press - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 10:57

The headquarters of the International Commission of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, set up last October at the 10th Congress of the Afro-Asian Peoples' Solidarity Organization (AAPSO), was opened Friday in Rabat.

On this occasion, chairman of the Commission, Talea Saoud El Atlassi, said the choice of Morocco to host the headquarters of this body reflects AAPSO esteem for the Kingdom's commitment and ongoing support for the Palestinian cause and for the struggle of the Palestinian people for their legitimate rights.

Categories: The moroccan press

Morocco's Sustainable Development, Matter of Ecology, Growth, Official

The moroccan press - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 10:55

At the heart of government policies and public debate, the issue of sustainable development in Morocco includes many ecological, economic, institutional and cultural issues, said secretary of state for sustainable development El Ouafi.

The green economy, a large-scale project in which Morocco is making headway, is the best example of a laudable alliance between economic growth and ecological responsibility, El Ouafi told MAP, adding that the transition towards this model tops the priorities set by her department.

Categories: The moroccan press

The Next Arab Spring? Women’s Rights

Western Sahara Worldnews - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 00:39

New York Times
Lire en français
by Kamel Daoud

Who is still waging revolution in the Arab world? Not the Islamists, who have trapped themselves in violence or extremism. Not the left-wing elites, now aging, disarmed and discredited after the debacle of their nationalist movements. Not the young bloggers who were at the forefront of various uprisings of the Arab Spring: They are held back, sometimes frozen, by intimidation or censorship (throughout the region), police surveillance (in Algeria, Morocco and Saudi Arabia), prison (in Egypt) or death (in Syria).

The only person who seems exempt from this harsh assessment is an elderly North African, a lawyer by training and a former militant in the anticolonialist movement: Béji Caïd Essebsi, the president of Tunisia. The good Arab revolutionary of the moment is a 90-year-old head of state.

If this statement sounds surprising, it’s because people in the West have yet to take the true measure of this man’s political finesse, including his ability to slowly consolidate a difficult consensus between democrats and Islamists. Tunisia admittedly is experiencing some problems, especially economic ones, as well as an intense controversy about a law — supported by Mr. Essebsi — that grants amnesty to former officials accused of corruption. But the president of Tunisia has also become the leading figure of reformism in the Arab world by advocating equal inheritance rights for Muslim women and their right to marry non-Muslim foreigners.

According to Islamic jurisprudence, barring exceptional circumstances, women heirs have a right to only half the inheritance of men. In Tunisia, and elsewhere in the Arab world, statelegal systems have not dared take on this taboo. Add to these rules a patriarchal structure that systematically dispossesses widows in favor of their brothers-in-law and parents-in-law. Together these practices undermine the independence of women, often reducing them to being dependents for life.

The constitutions of Tunisia, Algeria and other countries in the region may exalt freedom of conscience and of religious choice, but in Algeria, to take one example, a woman’s decision to marry a non-Muslim is still subject to ferociously dissuasive constraints. Her foreign husband must convert to Islam, in front of witnesses, and produce a certificate. Yet in the opposite case — when a Muslim Tunisian man wishes to marry a non-Muslim woman — nothing is required of the lucky lady.

These two sets of limitations have been in place in one form or another for centuries and constitute part of the ideological basis of Muslim society, which remains very rural overall. Virtually no political leader has dared challenge them for fear of losing popular support. (The reform project of Habib Bourguiba, the father of modern Tunisia and its first president, ran aground over fierce opposition from conservatives and zealots.)

Yet in August Mr. Essebsi delivered a speech before the Tunisian government that caused a storm. Even as he stated that he didn’t want to shock the Tunisian people, which is predominantly Muslim, he pointed out that under the Constitution, the Tunisian state was “civil,” and turning to the rights of men and women, added: “We must state that we are moving toward equality between them in every sphere. And the whole issue hinges on the matter of inheritance.”

In mid-September, another bombshell: At Mr. Essebsi’s urging, the government rescinded a 1973 administrative order forbidding Muslim women from marrying non-Muslims. Monia Ben Jémia, the president of l’Association tunisienne des femmes démocrates (The Tunisian Association of Women Democrats), underlined the measure’s significance for the entire Arab world. “Tunisia is becoming a kind of endogenous model of progress,” she said. “This calls out our neighbors in the Maghreb; it’s a very positive thing.”

Islamists of all stripes, well aware of the tremendous implications of Mr. Essebsi’s initiatives, were quick to react. An Egyptian preacher living in Turkey called the old Tunisian, “a criminal, miscreant, apostate and secularist.” In Cairo, the deputy of the Grand Imam of Al Azhar, the leading Sunni religious authority, declared on his Facebook page that equal inheritance rights “were harmful to women, unjust to them and contrary to Shariah law.” In Algeria, where I live, Islamist newspapers attacked Mr. Essebsi indirectly, echoing critical voices from elsewhere.

For its part, Tunisia’s main Islamist party, Ennahda, adopted an official position of reserve and silence — perhaps reasoning that open resistance would cast it in a bad light even as the country prepares for local elections in a few months. One could call the posture political, or politicking, but that doesn’t make it any less extraordinary: in fact, the reverse, because it privileges politics over ideology.

Mr. Essebsi’s declarations also have the virtue of highlighting what remains to be done in the Muslim world to complete the Arab Spring. It wasn’t enough to bring down dictatorships; now the patriarchy must be toppled. In addition to revising constitutions or imposing term limits for leaders, fundamental rights must be secured, and in practice, particularly those that ensure gender equality.

For the time being, laws throughout the Arab world tend to ratify inequality, especially when it comes to inheritance. In Algeria, despite the struggles of democrats and feminist groups since the country’s independence in 1962, the family code still largely tracks Shariah law: A woman’s choice of husband must be validated by a male guardian. So-called honor crimes — as punishment for adultery, among other things — remain widespread, even in countries deemed to be moderate, like Jordan.

The old Tunisian revolutionary has thus exposed one of the mechanisms that continues to handicap the Arab world: collusion between civil laws and religious laws. The latter overlap with the former and modify them, transforming their spirit, covertly or overtly. At the same time, Mr. Essebsi’s positions also suggest some means of resistance and possibilities for deep reform.

Is this the eve of another Arab Spring? Perhaps. Morocco, Jordan and Lebanon have finally abolished laws that allowed a woman’s rapist to escape prosecution by marrying her. Last week, the king of Saudi Arabia authorized Saudi women to drive cars.

But Saudi women, for example, are still not free to travel or dress as they please. And so it is Mr. Essebsi who has opened an enormous crack in the foundation of Muslim conservatism and set a unique precedent by validating various feminist and intellectual movements.

His stand has yet to be fully appreciated: It is revolutionary — Copernican, even. The president of Tunisia has proclaimed the equality of women in the Arab world, a social universe in which the Earth is still flat.

Kamel Daoud is the author of the novel “The Meursault Investigation.” This essay was translated by John Cullen from the French.

Green Climate Fund Makes Largest Investment Yet

Western Sahara Worldnews - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 00:32
Abby L. Harvey

In its largest investment to date, the Green Climate Fund (GCF) is teaming up with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to contribute $1 billion to the Egyptian Government’s Sustainable Energy Strategy.

Under the sustainable energy strategy, Egypt has set a goal to get 20% of its energy from low emissions renewable by 2022 and 37% by 2035. Currently, only 3% of the nation’s energy is supplied by renewable sources. “Utilising renewable energy is part of a national plan to diversify electricity generation sources to meet growing demand and secure the continuity of the electricity supply. … Egypt has a great, untapped potential to turn into an international renewable energy hub,” Ayman Hamza, a spokesman for Egypt’s Ministry of Electricity, told the United Nations’ Climate Action publication in May 2017.

The GCF funding, called the Egypt Renewable Energy Financing Framework, will “launch the first wave of private renewable energy projects in Egypt, overcoming financial barriers due to uncertainty and high transaction costs, as well as the macroeconomic situation which has resulted in increased cost of capital and limited availability of debt,” according to a GCF fact sheet.

The GCF was developed under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in 2010 to act as the financial mechanism through which UNFCCC member nations help developing nations fund climate mitigation and adaptation projects. It is the largest global fund aimed at leveraging the private sector in tackling climate change, according to the release.

Under the UNFCCC, developed nations agreed to jointly mobilize $100 billion per year through the GCF by 2020. As of August 2017, the GCF has raised $10.3 billion in pledges from 43 governments. However, this total includes the $3 billion pledge made by the U.S. under the Obama administration. Thus far, the U.S. has paid $1 billion into the fund, but President Trump has made it clear that the U.S. will not be making any payments to the GCF as long as his administration is in power.

To date, the GCF has funded 43 projects, benefiting an estimated 125 million people around the world. Twenty of the projects funded are in Africa, 17 are in the Asia-Pacific region, eight are in Latin America or the Caribbean, and three are in Eastern Europe (some projects are in multiple regions). Projects funded by the GCF fall into three categories: 41% of the funding provided thus far has gone to mitigation-based projects; 27% has been awarded to adaptation-based projects; 32% is funding cross-cutting initiatives.

The new funding in Egypt is the fourth project that the GCF and the EBRD are partnering on. In October 2016, the two announced a co-financed project to scale up private sector climate finance in Armenia, Egypt, Georgia, Jordan, the Republic of Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Serbia, Tajikistan, and Tunisia. Additionally, the GCF and EBRD are partnering on a water conservation project in Morocco and a hydropower project in Tajikistan.

Funding for the initiative will be provided under a Funded Activity Agreement (FAA) signed by the GCF and EBRD in late August. Under the FAA, the EBRD will provide $352.3 million, GCF will contribute $154.7 million, and funding from additional sponsors and co-financiers will bring the total funding to $1 billion. “This FAA is just the beginning of the potential GCF and EBRD have in combining their financial forces to drive climate action across various parts of the planet,” GCF Executive Director Howard Bamsey said in a release.

The renewable energy financing framework consisted of two components, a technical assistance program, and an effort to scale up investments in the development and construction of renewable energy projects. “This will be done by blending GCF and EBRD financing to leverage debt financing from international and development financial institutions, and at a later stage from commercial banks and private sector investments,” according to the fact sheet.

It is estimated that the once all supported projects are operational, they will generate about 1,400 GWh of electricity each year, avoiding roughly 800,000 tons of CO 2 equivalent annually.

The EBRD is one of 54 entities accredited under the GCF. The GCF operates by working through these entities to channel its resources to projects and programs. Accredited entities can be public or private, non-governmental, sub-national, national, regional or international. “Accredited Entities carry out a range of activities that usually include the development of funding proposals and the management and monitoring of projects and programmes,” the GCF explains.

—Abby L. Harvey is a POWER reporter.

Insider Tip: Highlights Of Morocco

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sun, 10/01/2017 - 11:00

Tucked away in a pocket of North Africa is one of my favourite countries – Morocco. Only a four-hour ferry ride from Spain and backing onto the Western Sahara, it’s a country that’s all at once ancient and modern, laid-back and frantic.

I loved the hustle and bustle, the colours and the smells. One of my favourite spots was Jemaa el-Fnaa markets in Marrakesh. It’s good during the day, but I’d recommend going in the late evening. A must when visiting is to try the sweet green tea with mint. A popular drink in Morocco, sit down and enjoy one with a friendly shopkeeper.

The food in Morocco is amazing and I happily ate my way through an array of amazing tagines and sweet treats. Make sure to try a sfenj (Moroccan doughnut). From the Arabic word meaning “sponge”, enjoy plain or opt for a sprinkle of sugar or honey.

Tucked away from the bustle of Morocco’s cities is another of my favourite spots – Essaouira. A quaint beach town, for most of the year the wind blows strong so relaxing seaside isn’t an option, but it means the town is bypassed by the hordes of tourists and for kite surfing lovers like myself it’s a dream spot.

– Scott Gordon, Flight Centre Lambton Quay