The moroccan press
July 27, 2017
Like much of the world, Moroccans are devoted soccer fans—quick to proclaim their loyalty to either Real Madrid or FC Barcelona, but also to local teams like Raja in Casablanca or ASFAR in Rabat. Soccer, however, is not the only sport that people in this country—and Africa as a whole—love to play and watch. Basketball is becoming ever more popular in the region, and interest in the continental tournament of AfroBasket is growing. The International Basketball Federation (FIBA) tournament, which began in 1962, is held biannually on the continent and brings together the best players from all over Africa.
Draw results for AfroBasket 2017 were announced on July 16 at The Westin Turtle Bay Resort and Spa in Balaclava, Mauritius. This year, the tournament will be hosted by Tunisia and Senegal from September 8 to September 16. During the initial Group Phase, two groups will play in Senegal’s capital, Dakar, while the other two groups play in Tunisia’s capital, Tunis. The rest of the games, the Final Phase, will be played in Tunis. Morocco has hosted the tournament four times, most recently in 2001 in Casablanca.
Morocco will be competing in Group B (playing in Dakar), alongside Angola, the Central African Republic, and Uganda. North African neighbor and host country Tunisia is in Group C (playing in Tunis), competing against Guinea, Rwanda, and Cameroon. Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali, and the Ivory Coast face off in Group A (playing in Tunis). To round things off, Group D (playing in Dakar) consists of five-time champions Senegal and Egypt, as well as Mozambique and South Africa. The most recent holder of the championship title of AfroBasket is Nigeria, who won in 2015.
Morocco may have a difficult road ahead, as its group competitor Angola has won the title 11 times since 1989, most recently in 2013. On the other hand, Morocco emerged victorious only once, in 1965. At AfroBasket 2005 in Algeria, Morocco placed 6th in the tournament and ranked at 8th in both 2011 and in 2013, when they defeated Rwanda, Burkina Faso, and Algeria. While they came out in 13th place in the most recent tournament, they never lost by more than six points, including two one-point games, one of which was against powerhouse Angola. Furthermore, they won against the Central African Republic that year, whom they will meet again in this year’s tournament.
Earlier in July, Moroccan power forward Abderrahim Najah expressed his wish for his country to host one of the two tournaments in the 1st Round African Qualifiers for the FIBA Basketball World Cup 2019. In an interview with FIBA.com, Najah said that Morocco’s current roster boasts “one of the best generation of Moroccan players,” and he is determined to “finish with at least a bronze medal.” Eyes will be on him and his teammates this September to see if he can follow through on his promise.
Morocco and the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) signed, on Tuesday in Rabat, two agreements on the financing of the second part of the High-Speed Line project, worth 15 million Kuwaiti dinars (474 million dirhams).
The loan agreements were signed by minister of Economy and Finance, Mohamed Bousaïd, KFAED director-general, Ahmed Al-Badr, and managing director of the National railway office, Mohamed Rabie Khlie, in the presence of minister of Equipment, Transport, Logistics and Water, Abdelkader Amara.
Secretary of state to the minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mounia Boucetta, co-chaired, Tuesday in Conakry, with minister of Foreign Affairs and Guineans Abroad, Bah Hadja Makalé Camara, a working session on the follow-up of the various cooperation and partnership agreements signed with this West African country.
The meeting, which is part of the program of a visit paid by a Moroccan delegation to Guinea, brought together representatives of the Moroccan and Guinean public and private sectors.
Asharq Al-Awsat English
UN peacekeepers pictured last month in Bria, north of Bangassou.
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) strongly condemned an attack that targeted yesterday a group of UN peacekeeping force, in South-East of the Republic of Central Africa.
One Moroccan UN soldier was killed and three others injured while escorting a humanitarian convoy to provide water. The attack took place in the southern diamond-mining town of Bangassou.
OIC Secretary-General Dr.Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen expressed regret over the incident and ongoing violence waged by the Anti-balaka militias, in Banguasu, for more than two months which led to claim many Muslim victims, stressing solidarity with the OIC with the Central Africans.
The Secretary-General expressed condolences to the Moroccan Government, to the family of the victim and wished the injured speedy recovery.
Asharq Al-Awsat English
Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.
Daily Nation Kenya
AFP Photo Pacome Pabandji
UN peacekeeping soldiers from Rwanda patrolling in Bangui, Central African Republic. Two Moroccan UN peacekeepers were on July 26, 2017 killed in an attack in the country’s southeast.
The Moroccan peacekeepers were killed in an ambush by suspected anti-Balaka fighters.
The country is struggling to emerge from a civil war that erupted in 2013.
This followed the overthrow of former president Francois Bozize, a Christian, by Muslim rebels from the Seleka coalition.
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Two Moroccan UN peacekeepers were Tuesday killed in an attack in the Central African Republic’s southeast, two days after the death of another soldier from the same contingent, the force said, blaming pro-Christian militias for the violence.
“The Minusca (peacekeeping mission) regrets to announce the deaths of two more blue helmets on Tuesday afternoon in Bangassou,” a town 700 kilometres (430 miles) east of the capital Bangui, the peacekeeping force said in a statement.
The Moroccan peacekeepers “were killed in an ambush by suspected anti-Balaka fighters, while another peacekeeper was slightly injured,” Minusca said in its statement.
The UN peacekeepers were attacked as they were stocking up with water “for the humanitarian needs of the town,” the statement added.
The country is struggling to emerge from a civil war that erupted in 2013 following the overthrow of former president Francois Bozize, a Christian, by Muslim rebels from the Seleka coalition.
The coup led to the formation of “anti-Balaka” (anti-machete) vigilante units, drawn from the Christian majority, which began to target Muslims. Both sides committed widespread atrocities.
On the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangassou has in recent weeks become the epicentre of the unrest in the Central African Republic.
A similar ambush in Bangassou on Sunday left another Moroccan UN peacekeeper dead.
On Friday, a patrol of peacekeepers was shot at and one of the attackers killed, a MINUSCA spokesman told AFP, again blaming pro-Christian militias.
Six blue helmets were killed in Bangassou in May.
Former colonial power France intervened in 2013 to stop violent Christian-Muslim clashes and formally ended its peacekeeping mission only last month, hailing it a success despite fresh outbreaks of violence.
That leaves mainly the UN’s 12,500-strong Minusca peacekeeping mission to protect civilians from armed groups.
Washington, DC, July 26, 2017, Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) – In its most recent quarterly survey of 250 countries, credit risk insurance specialist Euler Hermes ranked Morocco as the only country in the “low-risk” category in the short and medium term in North Africa, and one of only three in Africa. The rating is based on monitoring “macroeconomic imbalances, the business environment, and the stability of the political system,” according to the firm.
In its analysis under the heading “It’s oh so quiet,” Euler Hermes lists key “strengths” in the country, including the leadership and popularity of King Mohammed VI; “sound commercial and diplomatic relations with the U.S. and the EU;” the economy’s resilience in the face of last year’s devastating drought; its central geographic location near to very large potential markets; and its debt service management.
The report describes Morocco as “an island of tranquility” with a solid basis for continued growth and progress, benefiting from existing strong trade ties, geographic location, and a growing capacity for regional business leadership.
The survey pointed out that “the prudent policy-mix, as well as good management of foreign exchange reserves” underpinned the economy’s resilience. With good harvests anticipated, Euler Hermes predicts GDP growth of 4.5% in 2017, encouraged by the diversification of the economy, through both better agricultural management and use of fertilizers, and the steady growth of the industrial and services sectors.
“It is no coincidence that Morocco continues to win recognition as a trade and investment platform for Africa,” said former US Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel. “King Mohammed VI’s vision and economic diplomacy for the past 16 years and the evolving business-friendly government policies make it ideal for international companies and investors.”
The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials, and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.
This material is distributed by the Moroccan American Center for Policy on behalf of the Government of Morocco. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.
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Business Brief: Key International LPG Forum to be held in Morocco as Country Readies to Build Tallest Skyscraper in Africa. Foreign Investment Rising as Auto Sector Expansion Continues – Jean R. AbiNader
The global LPG sector is coming to Morocco in the fall to examine worldwide trends and opportunities; Morocco inks an agreement with the Chinese to build tallest skyscraper in Africa for public-private occupants; country continues to be top draw for Foreign Direct Investment in Africa; and automobile sector supply chain adds to its capabilities.
30th World LPG Forum in Morocco this fall. Continuing its leadership role in the promotion of clean energy sources, Morocco will host the Liquefied Petroleum Gas Forum (LPG) in Marrakech in October, bringing together policy makers, international agencies, companies, and researchers to map policies, view technology advances, and develop strategies affecting the future of the industry.
According to the North Africa Post, ”As a part of the Marrakech World LPG Forum, the 10th Global Technology Conference (GTC-2017) offers participants the opportunity to see some of the most important and innovative technology being discovered in the global LPG industry. The primary aim of the GTC-2017 is to showcase the most innovative and original technological ideas from around the world and create new opportunities for the LPG industry.”
Among those expected to address the forum are government leaders, such as Moroccan minister of Energy, Mines, and Sustainable Development Aziz Rebbah, who will join industry experts to discuss varying perspectives on LPG related to commercial and environment issues. Stakeholders expected to attend include industry research entities, academic partners, LPG producing companies, equipment manufacturers, distributors, and the industry supply chain and related distribution and marketing organizations.
Due to global concerns with air quality and access to clean energy, LPG demand is growing in both developed and developing countries. Included in the program is a focus on HSE Management Systems, the Health, Safety, and Environment regulations being adopted to enhance safe operations with a view towards a sustainable future for the industry.
The African LPG market, which has increased by some 30% in the last five years, will be in focus, with Morocco as a good example, having seen an increase of 20% during that period, making it now the second-largest consuming market on the continent.
Rising above the continent. Morocco has signed an agreement with a Chinese company to build Africa’s tallest skyscraper. It will be located in Rabat as part of the Bouregreg River valley development project. Although announced earlier this year, the final agreement was just initiated by the China Railway Construction Corporation, BMCE Bank of Africa, and Travaux Generaux de Construction de Casablanca, Morocco’s leading construction company.
Utilizing the latest ecological and sustainable design concepts, the 55-story tower will reach more than 820 feet in height and include offices, hotels, and luxury apartments. It is part of a larger development that involves the construction of several innovative facilities, including the Grand Theatre of Rabat, the Arts and Culture House, the National Archives of the Kingdom of Morocco, and the Archaeological Museum.
Good news on the foreign investment front. According to a report by the Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation, Morocco attracted $2.3 billion worth of foreign direct investment (FDI) in 2016, leading all North Africa countries. According to the EU Bulletin, “FDI flows to the North African kingdom were mostly dominated by investments in the country’s major manufacturing base – in 2015 it attracted sizeable FDI amounts in the automotive industry especially from France. Much of the growth was due to investments… driven mainly by the expansion of foreign affiliates in the financial industry (CIB Bank and Citadel Capital) and pharmaceuticals (Pfizer).”
Morocco is on pace to do as well in 2017, with the announcement by French automotive supplier Faurecia that it will open a plant in the Free Trade Zone in Sale and intends to open another in Kenitra, its second at that location, to focus on interiors. Faurecia will invest some $18 million in this new plant, which will employ 1,300 people, and looks to double its production by 2019.
Kuwait reaffirms support for Morocco’s development. In a recent statement to the press at a loan agreement signing between Morocco and Kuwait, its ambassador in Morocco, Abdullatif Al-Yahya, reiterated his country’s support for Morocco’s economic development. The $50 million loan will support the high speed rail line connecting Tangier with Casablanca.
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Welcome to Morocco: Tangier from the Kasbah looking down on the Medina & the new port facilities.
“Welcome to Morocco,” was the greeting not just from the front desk reception at hotels but from shopkeepers, people on the street, vendors in the Medina and waiters at cafes. Expressed with broad smiles it seemed to this first time visitor to the ancient Kingdom of Morocco to be genuine.
Passersby greeted each other and this foreign writer with “good day” in Arabic, French or Spanish, depending on location.
Simple statements, yet time taken out of their day to make one feel less of an outsider had a major impact. It made one think why these ordinary gestures were important. Hospitality was not learned in university courses; it was embedded into a nomadic culture in a land of rugged beauty that preceded the Prophet Mohamed’s reinforcement of the concept:
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him honor his guest and recompense him.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, what is his recompense?” The Prophet said, “It is for a day and a night, as good hospitality is for three days and after that it is charity.” And the Prophet said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak goodness or remain silent.” (Prophet Mohamed on hospitality) 1
Does that mean Morocco is a haven of smiling calm? Hardly. Crossing a street provides challenges, as anyone who’s traveled to Southeast Asia can attest – one goes with the flow of traffic and calculates timing. Turning down another request for a tour guide was repetitive.
A firm but friendly “no thank you” may have to be repeated dozens of times as shopkeepers in the Medina and waiters in front of cafes entice visitors to enter. Sometimes simply turning in the opposite direction worked well after persistent entreaties. What never worked was a display of frustration. The response to that was being offered another glass of mint tea – the hook to make the sale.
One article cannot be a guide to an entire country. Tangier is frequently a visitor’s initial stop owing to its close proximity to southern Spain and was this travel journalist’s introduction to Morocco. Five days in the city offered a glimpse of the Kingdom’s culture, ancient past and future path creating a template for explorations in the north over the following two weeks.
Looking out from on top of the walls of the Kasbah (fortified city) onto the harbor and the Strait of Gibraltar with the Medina below it’s obvious why Tangier has occupied a prized location for nearly 7,000 years. To the original Berbers, Phoenicians and Romans it was an essential Mediterranean trading port with access to the Atlantic Ocean, Ireland and the British Isles beyond. A mere nine miles to the Iberian Peninsula it launched the Moorish conquest forever shaping the culture of what would eventually become Spain.
Whoever held Tangier controlled the front gate to the Mediterranean world, which is why during the rise of European empires in the 18th century it was hotly contested with France ultimately emerging as the dominant power spreading its influence and language throughout most of present day Morocco. Despite the end of the Protectorate in the 1950s, French remains the dominant second language of the Kingdom and a part of Moroccan culinary legacy.
Since this visit coincided with the holy month of Ramadan, Tangier epitomized the dichotomy of the Kingdom. Devout Muslims fast for 15 hours each day for 30 to 31 days – approximately 4:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Fasting means ingesting nothing by mouth, not even water.
Keeping cool during Ramadan
Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, which is based on the lunar cycle so the exact dates shift each year. In 2017 it straddled the end of May through the third week of June. Tangier, Rabat, Casablanca and other coastal cities averaged in the humid 80s (F) in June. Inland – Fes, Meknes, Marrakesh – temperatures soared into the low 100s (F).
Standing on that fortified wall of the Kasbah gave a birds eye view of the soon to be completed construction of Tangier’s new cruise ship terminal and fishing fleet port (commercial fishing remains a major industry in the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar). Construction cranes dotted the modernizing city while just a few feet away stonemasons worked in the sweltering heat on major historic restoration projects – all without so much as a drop of water allowed.
This was not a sponsored trip for this travel journalist; it was a personal exploration. Accommodations and restaurants were not chosen with the expectation that they would appeal to all tourists although most of them should and they certainly shed light on today’s Morocco.
Bayt Alice interior
Bayt Alice is an art filled two hundred year old mansion in the ancient medina of Tangier masquerading as a budget hostel. Restored and operated by a retired French architect, Bayt Alice immerses its guest in the heart of ancient Tangier and attracts an international mix of travelers, many young. Yet good hospitality is infectious.
The roof top garden terrace was both the lounge and breakfast room where talks of adventures were exchanged and a sumptuous traditional Moroccan breakfast could be reserved at minimal cost. The rooms were not air-conditioned but the traditional design of the house allowed for adequate airflow and this journalist was provided with a fan on request.
Just outside the door were the twisting streets of the ancient Medina of Tangier – traditional shopping malls for this area of the globe. It was such a narrow maze of streets they would, and did, hinder invaders! Be prepared to get lost, although a properly equipped smart phone with a map app will be beneficial.
This chef journalist ate in small neighborhood cafes, often with much younger guests of Bayt Alice. Since this was Ramadan, many larger restaurants, with the exception of those specializing in the tourist trade, were closed, but street vendors and bakeries did a thriving business as locals bought food to break the fast after sundown.
From 7:30 p.m. any number of small cafes opened selling traditional tagines and couscous dishes along with salads and the copious varieties of pastries and sweets beloved by Moroccans.
Ask directions for Ch’Hiwat L’Couple a superb small neighborhood restaurant owned & run by Youssef & his wife Chef Hanane.
Sardines a la Chermoula at Rashid’s
Likewise seek out Rashid’s, a local hangout just around the corner from Bayt Alice, and savor such dishes as Sardines a la Chermoula -– each piece a sandwich of two fresh sardine fillets with cilantro, parsley, spices, lightly battered and pan fried.
In the evening take a taxi to Cafe Hafa, an institution without change since 1921 that attracted the great literary and political minds of the lost generation. Enjoy mint tea, the national drink, and the cooling breeze off the Strait of Gibraltar on its cliff side location above even the Kasbah. To drink something stronger one needs to visit bars in the larger hotels outside the Medina.
If shopping provides travel entertainment than Morocco’s Medinas will enthrall. If haggling thrills, the Medinas are akin to Las Vegas to attain that high. If on the other hand more peaceful activities are the agenda, Tangier provides.
The American Legation is the first and oldest American owned foreign property and the only one that’s a United States National Monument on the National Register of Historic Places. The Kingdom of Morocco was one of the very first to recognize American independence in 1777 and in 1821 the legation was established in the Medina of Tangier where it served as the embassy for 135 years. Still United States property it’s a beautiful building, a Moroccan cultural center and has an impressive art collection.
Dar-el-Makhzen was the 17th century Tangier palace of the Kings of Morocco prior to the French Protectorate (1912 – 1956). It remained a royal residence until the late 1930s. The beautiful palace now houses two museums, the Museum of Moroccan Arts and the archaeological Museum of Antiquities. Located at the highest point in the Kasbah, its gardens capture any breeze wafting though the city on a sultry afternoon.
There are popular excursions outside Tangier and should be arranged through licensed companies. Wide sand beaches abound and from both the Medina and newer downtown it’s an easy walk or taxi ride to the city beach. Nearly completed is the wide serpentine Beach Promenade well lit at night – all part of the vision of progressive King Mohamed VI to modernize both Tangier and the Kingdom.
American Legation, Tangier
It almost seems as if every Moroccan male over a certain age is a tour guide. They’re not. Taking a tour of any city in the Kingdom is well worth the modest expense if certified guides conduct it. Do ask your accommodations to help you arrange for an official guide and politely decline everyone else – certified guides don’t solicit on the streets or in taxis.
Over the following two weeks travels to the legendary “blue city” of Chefchaeouen, the Sufi holy city of Moulay Idress, the stunning ruins of the great Berber and Roman Empire city of Volubilis, fabled Fes, the former 17th century capital of Meknes and the rapidly modernizing current capital of the Kingdom, Rabat, reinforced the first impressions Tangier imparted. Morocco is determined to become a first world North African Kingdom balancing traditional values with modern progress.
Seventeen days in the northern Rif region of a multi-millennium old North African culture hardly makes a travel journalist an expert. Yet it opened a window of wonder onto the ancient Berber Kingdom of Mauritania, the Roman Empire, the spread of Islam, the Moorish impact of seven hundred years on the Iberian peninsula and the extraordinary continuity of the current 350 year old Alaouite Dynasty. “Welcome to Morocco” remained on the lips of the people fueling this travel journalist’s desire to return.
The Kasbah, Tangier
When you go: By ferry: Tangier is easily reached within one hour by high-speed ferry from the Spanish port of Tarifa. From the Spanish port of Algeciras the ferry runs to Tangier Med some 25 miles east of the city requiring a bus or taxi to reach Tangier. (The Algeciras ferries are convenient for visiting Morocco’s other Mediterranean coast resort cities) By air: international flights from major European cities land at Ibn Battuta Airport.
Travel with Pen and Palate every month to Greece and the world in the Hellenic News of America.
Travel with Pen and Palate returns to Greece September and October 2017. Follow his new Greek series starting with the October issue of the Hellenic News of America.
Bab Fass Gate to the Medina off the Grand Socco, Tangier
Written By Upala KBR Mumbai
Katrina Kaif has been learning how to surf along the Atlantic Ocean coast.
… And no, Salman Khan is not learning this water sports!
If Salman Khan has been learning horse-riding in the ancient city of Essaouira, Morocco, Katrina Kaif is no less behind. She has been learning how to surf along the Atlantic Ocean coast but while Salman has been learning horse-riding for action sequences in the film, the actress has taken up a professional course of surfing as a hobby as she loves learning new and exciting things every day – sometimes for fun and sometimes for shoot sequence. She had done a water stunt with a seabob in Bang Bang and undergone training for the stunt for two days. Both Salman and Katrina been shooting for Ali Abbas Zafar’s Tiger Zinda Hai in Essaouira.
Says our source from Essaouira, “While Katrina has been learning for fun, she is also serious about learning it well. She has been taking wind surfing proper lessons every day from an instructor at Explora Watersports, which is the best surf and kite school in Essaouira. Salman has not been taking surfing lessons. His point of interest is only horse-riding. The surf and kite school is right across Katrina’s hotel and she walks across to it in the morning and takes lessons before shoot, whenever she gets time. Wind surfing is famous in Essaouira because it’s very windy along the coast.”
The source adds that Katrina had done her research before leaving for Morocco what Essaouira offered in terms of water sports. “She learned that Essaouira is one of the best beginner and mediocre wave surf spots in Morocco and a perfect spot for kite surfing. The instructors are certified and experienced professional teachers who help the surfers to push just that extra bit to catch a perfect wave. There are packages with daily yoga lessons given too and Katrina has taken that. So during sunset on the rooftop of the school she gets to stretch her sore muscles. It’s her second trip to Morocco and right now while she’s doing it for fun, whatever Katrina does she loves to be perfect the craft.”
When we asked the actress whether she wanted to learn how to surf like a professional, Katrina says, “Well it’s a hobby for now. Let’s see later…”
UNSG Antonio Guterres offered, on Monday, his condolences to Morocco following the death of a Moroccan soldier from the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) contingent of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA), in an attack allegedly carried out by anti-Balaka militias in Bangassou.
"The UN chief offers his condolences to the bereaved family and to the Government of Morocco," said Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General, in a statement.
The board of directors of Morocco's news agency MAP, convened on Monday under the chairmanship of culture and communication minister Mohamed Laaraj, approved the activity and financial reports of the year 2016.
During this meeting, attended by MAP managing director Khalil Hachimi Idrissi, the board approved its May 24, 2017 report and surveyed its recommendations.
Health minister El Houcine El Ouardi said, on Monday in Al Hoceima, that six new health centrers are under construction and 28 others are being revamped in the city for an amount of 65.1 million dirhams.
These centers, under the "Al-Hoceima, Manarat Al Moutawassit" development program, will be completed by the end of this year or early 2018, said El Ouardi in a statement to the press during a field visit to get informed about the progress of projects aimed at reinforcing and diversifying health care offer in the province of Al Hoceima for a budget of over 500 million dirhams.
Secretary of state for foreign affairs Mounia Boucetta was granted an audience, on Monday in Dakar, by Senegalese President Macky Sall.
"I am very honoured to be granted an audience by the Senegalese president, an occasion to highlight the agreements concluded by Morocco and Senegal in the different areas," said, in a statement to the press, Boucetta who is leading, upon the royal instructions, a Moroccan delegation, including representatives of the public and private sectors, on a visit to Dakar to supervise the implementation of agreements inked by the two countries.
Humboldt Wedag GmbH, Germany, a subsidiary of KHD Humboldt Wedag International AG (KHD), Cologne, Germany, has signed contracts totaling over EUR80m for the supply of equipment and execution of civil and erection works as well as supervision services for a cement plant in western sub-Sahara region.
The contracts will be booked as order intake as soon as the pre-conditions for commencing project execution are fulfilled, the company said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud arrived on Monday in the northern Moroccan city of Tangier for a private vacation, local media reported.
The king was greeted on his arrival in Ibn Battouta by Moroccan Prime Minister Saadeddine El Othmani and the president of Tanger region Ilyas El Omari.
Nearly 924 rooms have been reserved for the Saudi delegation in the most prestigious hotels in the city, the Moroccan news site le360.ma reported.
A total of 453 luxury cars were also made available to the Saudi delegation, it reported. In recent years, the Saudi king has been spending his holiday in the Moroccan coastal city.
Prior to his departure, King Salman appointed his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to run the affairs of the country in his absence.
The straits Times
photo: European Press Photo Agency
Moroccans and tourists took advantage of beautiful summer weather to enjoy the beach in Rabat, Morocco, on Sunday.
Tourists seduced by the exoticism of Marrakesh and Fez often unfairly neglect Morocco’s lesser-known capital, reported The Telegraph.
Rabat, which is located about 300km from Marrakesh and sits at the mouth of the River Bou Regreg, has fine public beaches and a 12th-century kasbah, or citadel, perched over the water.
Morocco welcomed about three million tourists during the first four months of this year, and is set to see an increase of about 10 per cent over the same period last year.
Tourism remains a vital pillar of the Moroccan economy and is the country’s second-biggest employer, after agriculture. The sector accounts for 10 per cent of national income and, along with exports and remittances from Moroccans overseas, is one of the country’s main sources of foreign currency, according to Agence France-Presse.
Business Brief: Morocco Expands Global Trade Networks; Aims to be in Top 50 Countries for Doing Business; Will Host Global Conference on Women in Agriculture; and Launches Effort to Attract Overseas Moroccan Business Leaders – Jean R. AbiNader
While summer may bring its fair amount of heat to Morocco, it has not slowed the country’s economic and business activities. Delegations from Argentina and visits to Brazil and Ireland, and a new outreach effort to enlist Moroccans abroad in entrepreneurial initiatives are among the most recent announcements coming out of the Kingdom.
Government sets goal to bring Morocco into the top 50 for Doing Business. Last week, at the 9th meeting of Morocco’s National Committee on the Business Environment (CNEA), head of government Saad Eddine Othmani made a pledge to continue efforts to improve Morocco’s business climate to attract investors and encourage business expansion. For example, ranking in the World Bank’s annual Ease of Doing Business reports, Morocco’s rank has risen steadily, from128 out of 183 countries in 2010 to 68 out of 190 countries this year. And the CNEA goal is to be in the top 50 by 2021.
Among the initiatives announced are efforts to improve dialogue between the public and private sectors, streamlining administrative procedures, greater use of digital technology to enhance business development, and continuing reform of business laws and regulations.
Attending the CNEA meeting were Miriem Behsaleh Chaqroun, president of the General Confederation of Moroccan Business (CGEM), and other notables from the public and private sectors who share CNEA’s goals and support 22 upcoming projects to enhance the role and voice of the business community.
These include, according to a Morocco World News report, “the development of legal and regulatory framework of business, the development of mechanisms to listen to the private sector and maintaining the image of Morocco in international reports from the perspective of developing a strategy to improve the business climate, the simplification of administrative procedures and the creation of single points of contact, and the development of mechanisms and the methodology of the CNEA’s functioning.”
Underlying these projects will be “a survey to determine obstacles facing the private sector, creating a digital platform to receive comments (both grievances and suggestions) from entrepreneurs, and determining a…2018-21 plan of action to integrate Morocco into the Doing Business reports’ top 50 nations.”
Business development efforts continue apace. Among key developments these past weeks were high level interactions with leaders from Brazil, Argentina, and Ireland. As reported in several sources, Morocco is committed to expanding its presence on both sides of the Atlantic, most recently hosting Argentinean Vice-President Marta Gabriela Michetti for wide-ranging discussions related to bilateral business ties and opening new markets for Argentinean investments in Morocco as a business platform for Africa.
In Brazil, a bilateral business conference was held in Sao Paulo to explore current relations and prospects for increased Brazilian trade in Africa using Morocco as an intermediary. The seminar, “Assessing and Redefining Policies towards Africa in a New Global Scenario: Intersecting Perspectives between Brazil and Morocco,” emphasized the many opportunities in bilateral trade and investment. While the bulk of the current trade centers around sugar from Brazil and fertilizers from Morocco, participants noted expanding opportunities for both countries. One of the more intriguing ideas was a Mercosur-Morocco trade agreement to facilitate Brazilian access to both Africa and the Middle East.
One of the immediate consequences of the growing business between Morocco and Brazil is that Royal Air Maroc announced that it would expand its flights to Sao Paulo from four times a week to daily flights from Casablanca. This will serve increased business ties, as well as growing tourism options for both countries.
In Ireland, a delegation from Morocco engaged in wide-ranging talks that included opportunities in dairy, agriculture, food processing, and agri-technology that would enhance bilateral commercial relations. The visit was a follow-up to an Irish visit to Morocco last year. Local reports noted that there has been “phenomenal” growth in bilateral trade, which has doubled in the last five years, with only more opportunities ahead.
Another Sea Link to Africa. Following on the success of the Wazzan I maritime transportation link from Tangier and Casablanca to Africa, Morocco recently launched Wazzan II, to enable Moroccan exporters to connect both by sea to West African countries on the coast including Cote D’Ivoire, Ghana, Benin, and Liberia, and by overland links to Mali and Burkina Faso. It will be a weekly service from Casablanca to support the Kingdom’s 12% growth in annual exports to the continent.
And Concerning Women in Africa. The international NGO Believe in Africa (BIA) announced that it will hold its second conference in Marrakech in September. Morocco was chosen for this year’s “Women and Agriculture” conference, in large part in response to the leadership role of King Mohammed VI in promoting the role of women in development. More than 500 delegates are expected from across Africa to discuss politics and business with regional and international experts in financing, technology and innovation, climate change, and access to markets. The voices of members of non-governmental organizations and institutions will also be included, According to the event press release, “By bringing people together, BIA 2017 will be the place where the pivotal role African women play, and contribute, in agriculture and sustainable development will be discussed and honored.”
Mrs. Angelle KWEMO, president of the association and of the conference said that “Morocco is one of the most economically dynamic African countries. Geographically and strategically located, Morocco is a bridge to Europe and the U.S. for Africa and a leader for South-South trade. It is certain that during this Conference we will learn a lot from the Moroccan experience in developing and expanding its agriculture sector.”
Outreach project to attract overseas Moroccans. In February, CGEM and the Moroccan Ministry of Moroccans Abroad signed an agreement to create a special public-private partnership to attract overseas Moroccans to invest in their home country. As a result of that agreement, the Moroccan Business Bridge symposium opened today in Rabat, with around 300 Moroccan business leaders from around the world who will share their experiences and hopefully create opportunities for business development.
According to the event press release, the program will initiate a digital network “for professional exchange between Morocco’s world entrepreneurs and those based in Morocco. It aims also to encourage Moroccan investors living abroad to invest in the Moroccan market and to contribute to the development of the Kingdom by enhancing its image abroad.”
In a survey taken earlier this year, it was found that more than 50% of Moroccan entrepreneurs living abroad would invest in Morocco given the opportunity. It is estimated that there are more than 300,000 Moroccan business owners in the overseas community of more than 5 million.
The post Business Brief: Morocco Expands Global Trade Networks; Aims to be in Top 50 Countries for Doing Business; Will Host Global Conference on Women in Agriculture; and Launches Effort to Attract Overseas Moroccan Business Leaders – Jean R. AbiNader appeared first on Morocco On The Move.
France condemned Sunday's attack in Bangassou (Central African Republic) against a patrol of peacekeepers, which caused the death of a Moroccan soldier, saying that the perpetrators of this attack must be brought to justice.
"We offer our condolences to the family of the victim and to the Moroccan authorities," said the French Foreign Ministry in a statement made public on Monday by its spokesman Agnès Romatet-Espagne, adding that France supports Morocco, a country that is seriously affected, in its commitment to peacekeeping operations.
Moroccan MINUSCA Peacekeeper Killed, Three Others Wounded in Exchange of Fire with Armed Group (Military Source)
A peacekeeper belonging to the Royal Armed Forces (FAR) contingent in the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) was killed in an exchange of fire with the anti-Balaka armed militia, which attacked a FAR contingent patrol returning from an escort mission in Bangassou on July 23, 2017 at around 5:30 pm, said a military source.
Three other peacekeepers of the patrol were also injured in the attack, the same source added.
Maroc Telecom’s revenues in Morocco decreased by 5.1 percent to MAD 10.07 billion in the first six months to 30 June from MAD 10.62 billion in the same period in 2016, affected by the reintroduction of asymmetric call termination rates in March and the deregulation of IP telephony in November 2016. The fixed line and mobile outbound service revenues increased by 2.3 percent, driven by the success of high-speed offers.
EBITDA declined by 5.6 percent to MAD 5.36 billion from MAD 5.67 billion in 2016 as a result of lower revenues.
The EBITDA margin shrank by 0.3 percentage points to 53.1 percent, with a 0.5 percentage points improvement in the gross margin ratio and to a 2.3 percent decrease in operating expenses following the departure of 1,026 employees. The adjusted operating income was MAD 3.49 billion with a margin of 34.7 percent, down 1.4 percentage points as result of the fall in EBITDA and the increase of 1.5 percent in depreciation charge after an important investment programme.
The adjusted cash flow from operations in Morocco was MAD 3.09 billion, down by 9.3 percent due to the decrease in EBITDA amid lower mobile call termination rates, the deregulation of IP telephony and a 15.5 percent increase in investment, driven by the acceleration in the roll-out of 4G+. The mobile customer base reached 18.4 million on 30 June, an increase of 1.3 percent in one year, with 3.7 percent growth in postpaid and 1.0 percent in the prepaid subscriber base.