The moroccan press

Speaker of Upper House Hails Morocco-China Solid Strategic Partnership

The moroccan press - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 12:30

Speaker of the house of advisors (upper house) Hakim Benchamach lauded, on Friday in Rabat, the solid strategic partnership between Morocco and China.

During a meeting with Liu Qibao, minister in charge of communication and deputy prime minister of the People's Republic of China, Benchamach also highlighted the importance of the historic visit paid by HM King Mohammed VI to China in May 2016, and the promising prospects of fostering an exemplary partnership between the two countries and friendly peoples, said a statement by the house.

Categories: The moroccan press

Re-establishment of Diplomatic Relations between Morocco, Cuba

The moroccan press - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 12:28

In accordance with the High Instructions of HM King Mohammed VI, Morocco on Friday re-established its diplomatic relations with Cuba, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said.

   To this end, a joint statement was signed between the Permanent Missions of the two countries to the United Nations in New York, providing for the re-establishment of diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level, the ministry pointed out in a statement.

Categories: The moroccan press

Sahara: Bogota Declaration Hails Moroccan Regionalization Initiative, AU Return

The moroccan press - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 12:27

Signatories to the Bogota Declaration hailed Morocco's peace and regionalization initiative for the southern provinces and the Kingdom's return to the African Union (AU).

Several representatives of trade unions, academics, artists from Latin America and the Caribbean Islands adopted the Bogota Declaration, on the sidelines of the participation of the Chilean Centre for Maghreb Studies (CCEM), as a guest, in the constitutive congress of the "Alternative Démocratique Syndicale des Amériques" held on April 17-20 in Bogota.

Categories: The moroccan press

Third Annual Morocco Festival In Russia Strives To Bring Marrakech To Moscow

Western Sahara Worldnews - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 04:24

Sfgate

Through its rich culture, Morocco is aiming to reach the heart of the Russian consumer – a business strategy which could pave the way for Moroccan products into the vast Russian market .

Centuries of history, modernity and elegance came together to form the third edition of the Morocco festival in Moscow as it kicked off at the Metropolis commercial center. The Moroccan Center for Exports Promotion – “Maroc export” – has been organizing this event since 2014 to showcase a wide range of Moroccan products to Russian consumers. The opening ceremony included noteworthy Moroccan cultural activities, along with business networking, and opened up opportunities to Moroccan exporters to promote their products.

Moroccan Ambassador in Moscow Abdelkader Lecheheb said: “The Russian market is very important for our country. Morocco is the second biggest partner for Russia in the Arab world and on the African scale. This third installment is held under the banner of the diversification of our products here in Russia” Textiles, cosmetics, footwear, leather, and home decoration were among the products in the spotlight at this year’s edition of the festival. More than 350 products from 33 major companies were presented over the course of the event.

They were selected by the purchasing managers of the Metropolis commercial center, who visited Morocco to choose the products that would be of interest Russian consumers. Yasmine Benjelloun, Managing Director at Fen Yadi, told Euronews: “We are a Moroccan brand specializing in Moroccan handicrafts. Today we are working with our own Moroccan designer who launched the “Ouchma” collection we see here. Ouchma is a mixture of Berber tattoo and Moroccan zéllige patterns. “We already operate in Europe and the Middle East and we want to continue our strategy to develop internationally, so the Russian market opened for us an opportunity we would like to capitalize upon.”

Strengthening trade relations with Morocco is also a point of interest for Moscow, the Minister of the Moscow City Government and Head of the Moscow City Foreign Economic and International Relations Department told Euronews that the Russian capital is looking to expand business opportunities to include more sectors. “It is really important for the Russian citizens to be acquainted with a different culture. We think that we can share experience in the municipal technology and in the development of transport,” he said. “Morocco is considered as one of the most stable regions of all the points of view not only security but also from economic point of view and from the protection of the investment.”

Along with the opening of the festival, some business meetings have been planned between the city of Moscow and ” Maroc export” for later this year in Morocco in order to enhance entrepreneurship and trade between the two countries. Media: Euronews Business

China, Morocco Eye Stronger Partnership

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sun, 04/23/2017 - 04:09

Xinhuanet china
Source: Xinhua

China and Morocco agreed to boost their strategic partnership during the three-day visit by Chinese publicity chief Liu Qibao to Rabat.

Liu, head of the Publicity Department of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee, has been in the African country since April 20 with a Chinese delegation at the invitation of the Moroccan government. During the stay he met with Prime Minister Saadeddine El Othmani and the speaker of the House of Advisors Hakim Benchamach, among others.

The decision of Chinese President Xi Jinping and Moroccan King Mohammed VI to establish strategic partnership between the two countries last year has opened a new chapter in bilateral relations, he noted. A strategic partnership is a more elevated relationship between China and another country.

The CPC is ready to maintain friendly relations with Moroccan political parties and carry out discussions on national governance and party building, he said.

Liu also hoped to see the two nations increase people-to-people exchanges, and expand their cooperation in areas like culture, broadcasting, news, education and tourism.

The Moroccan side, for its part, said the king’s visit to China last year has lead to a new stage in bilateral relations.

Moroccan officials said China’s transformation under the CPC has been remarkable, and the strategic partnership can be enhanced through closer ties in politics, trade, and people-to-people ties.

During the visit, Liu also witnessed the signing of an agreement allowing the broadcast of a Chinese television series as well as movies on the leading Moroccan TV channel 2M, the launching of a Chinese series dubbed in Arabic, and the opening of a visual exhibition at the National Library showcasing both the cultures of China and Morocco.

Morocco, Cuba Resume Diplomatic Ties After 37 Years

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sun, 04/23/2017 - 00:58

Asharq Al-Awsat

Morocco and Cuba have restored their diplomatic relations after 37 years, announced the Moroccan news agency.

It said that the two countries’ permanent representatives at the United Nations signed an agreement in New York to resume the ties that were severed in 1976 after Havana recognized the Polisario Front’s “Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic”.

The agreement stated:”The government of the Kingdom of Morocco and the government of the Cuban republic, who share a mutual desire to develop ties of friendship and cooperation in political, economic and social fields, have resumed their diplomatic ties on the level of ambassadors.”

The agreement, written in Spanish, English and Arabic, became effective immediately after it was signed by the two sides.

A Moroccan Foreign Ministry statement said that the kingdom restored its ties with Cuba based on the orders of King Mohammed VI.

“The decision is part of royal directives to achieve open diplomacy with partners and in new geographic fields,” it added.

The monarch also ordered opening a Moroccan embassy in Havana.

King Mohammed had paid a visit to Cuba last week.

The Moroccan news agency noted that the restoration of ties with the Caribbean country came shortly after Morocco rejoined the African Union.

“Moroccan diplomacy has entered a new significant phase under the leadership of King Mohammed. It will steer away from outdated and petty calculations and ideologies,” said the news agency.

Asharq Al-Awsat

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-Awsathas 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.

Cuba, Morocco Reestablish Diplomatic Ties After 37 Years

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 21:14

China Daily
(Xinhua)

HAVANA – Cuba and Morocco signed an agreement Friday to reestablish diplomatic ties after a gap of 37 years, the Cuban Foreign Ministry said in a statement. “Guided by the mutual will to develop friendly relations, the two governments agreed to reestablish ties as well as political, economic and cultural cooperation,” said the agreement, signed by the two countries’ envoys to the United Nations in New York.

Relations will be restored with ambassadors being exchanged. Morocco’s King Mohamed VI has already ordered the opening of an embassy in Havana, one of the few Latin American capitals where Rabat was not represented to date.

Morocco cut ties with Havana in 1980 after Cuba recognized Western Sahara as the independent Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. Morocco claims the territory as its own.

King Mohammed VI traveled to Cuba earlier this month for a private family visit, but it is widely believed that he maintained diplomatic contacts with the Cuban government during his stay there.

Morocco Celebrates Earth Day Every Day

Morocco on the move - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 15:05
As COP 22 President, North African Country Continues Pushing Climate Action

Washington, DC, April 22, 2017, Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) — Morocco has long been a climate advocate, becoming the first African and Arab country to host a Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP) in 2001. In November 2016, the country—dubbed a “perfect place for the world’s biggest climate change conference,” according to Quartz—again hosted world leaders in Marrakesh for COP 22, this time with the task of implementing the historic Paris Agreement from the year before.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI urged participants at COP 22 to move beyond promises to “tangible initiatives and practical steps,” and to respect and support the priorities and resources of developing countries.

“Holding this conference in Africa,” he said, “is an incentive for us to give priority to tackling the adverse repercussions of climate change, which are growing worse and worse in the countries of the South and in insular states whose very existence is in jeopardy.”

Since November, Morocco has ensured that the climate action agenda moves forward as COP 22 President, hosting a number of events and workshops with members of Moroccan civil society as well as international stakeholders on capacity building, sustainable industrial areas, and more. Morocco sent a delegation to the World Bank/International Monetary Fund Spring Meetings in Washington, DC this month to address issues of climate finance, and is working closely with the incoming Fiji COP 23 Presidency in advance of the Bonn Climate Change Conference in May.

Meanwhile, Morocco continues leading the way on sustainability and renewable energy at home:

  1. Morocco has enshrined environmentalism in its governing documents. Article 31 of the country’s 2011 Constitution guarantees citizens’ right to “the access of water and to a healthy environment”; while Articles 71 and 152 address the government’s responsibility for environmental protection and oversight.
  2. Morocco has set ambitious energy goals. Morocco has committed to generating 42% of the country’s energy needs from renewable sources by 2020, and 52% by 2030.
  3. Morocco is a world leader in solar energy production. The country’s NOOR solar power complex is the largest in the world – so large it is visible from space; and by completion, will be capable of producing 2,000 megawatts of energy. In addition, Morocco currently maintains 13 wind farms and plans to build at least six more before 2020, capable of producing a total of 2,000 megawatts of energy.
  4. Morocco is serious about waste reduction. The Moroccan Parliament signed a bill into law on July 1, 2016 banning the use, production, or import of plastic bags; and Rabat hosts an active recycling and waste-management center that employs disadvantaged people to sort through waste for reusable, recyclable and saleable material.
  5. Morocco understands the importance of raising public awareness on climate change issues. That’s why Morocco’s  Association  of  Teachers  of  Life  and  Earth  Sciences  works  with  the  Ministry  of  Education  to  promote environmental awareness at centers in 18 different towns and cities throughout Morocco.

###

 Contact: Jordana Merran, 202.470.2049

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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Categories: The moroccan press

“African Lion” Military Drills Kick Off In Morocco – Military

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 14:34

KUNA kuweit

The African Lion multi-national military drills kicked off in the southern Moroccan city of Agadir on Saturday.

Military personnel from 11 countries are partaking in the largest joint annual exercise in Africa, the US embassy in Rabat said in a press statement.

It noted that nearly 1,300 personnel from the US marines, ground and air forces will participate in the drills, held under the command of the US African Command (Africom).

In addition the US and Morocco, armies of Spain, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, France, Mali, Tunisia, Mauritania, Senegal, would contribute to the exercise to continue till April 28th.

African Lion is an annually scheduled, bilateral US and Moroccan-sponsored exercise designed to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of African partner nation’s (APN) tactics, techniques and procedures. (end) mry.ibi

Cuba And Morocco Resume Diplomatic Relations

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sat, 04/22/2017 - 01:12

Prensa Latina

The official ceremony of the Signing of Agreement on the Resumption of Diplomatic Relations between the Republic of Cuba and the Kingdom of Morocco was held Friday at the headquarters of the Cuban Permanent Mission to the United Nations (UN).

The ceremony was attended by the Cuban representative to the UN Anayansi Rodriguez and her Moroccan peer Omar Hilale.

Both governments re-established their diplomatic relations drawn by the mutual will to develop friendly and cooperative relations between both nations on the political, economic, cultural fields, among others.

With this Agreement, Cuba and Morocco ratified that the resumption of their diplomatic relations is conducted in accordance with the principles and purposes enshrined in the UN Charter and international law, and in compliance with the spirit and standards established in the April 18, 1961’s Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations.

mh/pll/oda/wmr

Happy (Belated) Birthday to the Moroccan Scholar who Saved Aristotle – Andrew Lubrano

Morocco on the move - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 17:23

Andrew Lubrano
April 21, 2017

 

Averroes, as portrayed in Raphael’s “The School of Athens.” Photo: Wikipedia Commons.

Hanging in the Vatican, Raphael’s fresco “The School of Athens” depicts a highly anachronistic meeting of some of the greatest thinkers in human history. Plato, Aristotle, and Socrates walk through a crowd that includes a few 15th century Renaissance figures alongside ancient Greek philosophers like Archimedes and Euclid.

Seated on the left side of the fresco is a man whose style of dress starkly stands out amidst the togas and flowing robes of the Greeks. This man appears to be staring over the shoulder of Pythagoras, seemingly intensely interested in whatever the legendary Greek mathematicians is working on.

He is neither a Greek philosopher, nor one of Raphael’s Renaissance contemporaries. To Raphael and the rest of the West he was known as Averroes, the Muslim physician and philosopher famous for preserving and commenting on the works of Aristotle and Plato that were thought lost during the so-called “Dark Ages.”

However, for the Almoravid and Almohad Caliphs of 12th century Morocco, he was known as Ibn Rushd, just one of the many brilliant scholars of Islam, science, and philosophy that emerged during the Middle Ages.

Born Abu al-Walid Muḥammad Ibn Aḥmad Ibn Rushd‎ on April 14, 1126 in Cordoba, Spain—then part of the Moroccan Almoravid Caliphate—Ibn Rushd was the third generation of an influential family of scholars that had served the ruling Moroccan dynasty as religious leaders and judges in Cordoba for almost a century. At the time, Cordoba was a cultural center of the Morocco-ruled Caliphate, where a diverse population of Muslims, Jews, and Christians influenced the nascent Islamic law and philosophy with their legal, scholarly, and cultural traditions.

It is in this multicultural environment that Ibn Rush received his education in science, religion, Islamic jurisprudence, and medicine. Ibn Rushd especially excelled at the latter, and prior to his foray into philosophy was primarily known as a talented physician and scholar of medicine, writing several medical textbooks that would be used throughout Europe and the Middle East for generations to come.

After completing his studies and earning distinction in Spain, Ibn Rushd moved to Marrakesh to work more closely with the ruling Almohad Caliphate after the Almoravids were deposed. He was initially appointed as a judge, but soon became close with the Caliph’s advisors and eventually the Caliph himself, Abu Yaqub Yusuf.

Yusuf had become curious about the works and philosophy of Aristotle, but felt that the Greek philosopher’s writings were too complicated and that the available Arabic translations were of poor quality. To fix this, he commissioned Ibn Rushd to write a series of translations and commentaries on Aristotle’s works.

This initial assignment inspired Ibn Rushd to translate and write commentaries on not just Aristotle, but on Plato, Ptolemy, and several other Classical philosophers. The Caliph’s casual demand for the “Sparknotes” of Aristotle ended up being the reason that these writings were preserved and later promoted for generations of Middle Eastern and European Renaissance scholars (and freshman philosophy majors) to come.

Though Europe would lionize him for preserving and popularizing the Classics, Ibn Rushd wrote many of his own treatises on philosophy, often comparing and contrasting Greek and Islamic thought.

His influence was not limited to academia, though. For one, he served as a legal advisor to the Caliph for many years before his death in Marrakesh in 1198 CE. But he is also credited with helping to convince the Almohad Caliphs to abandon the strict and rigid Zahiri school of Islamic law and adopting the more moderate Maliki school, which focuses on consensus of judges and precedent in addition to the Quran and the Hadith. Indeed, almost a millennium after Ibn Rushd arrived in Marrakesh to serve as a judge and translate Aristotle for the Caliph, his impact can still be felt in Morocco, which still uses the Maliki school as the foundation of its religious teachings and law system.

The post Happy (Belated) Birthday to the Moroccan Scholar who Saved Aristotle – Andrew Lubrano appeared first on Morocco On The Move.

Categories: The moroccan press

Exercise African Lion 17 Kicks Off

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 14:57

Story by Staff Sgt. Andrew Satran
31st Fighter Wing Public Affairs

The U.S. Air Force, along with other U.S. military branches, the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, and 11 other nations began the annual joint training Exercise AFRICAN LION 17 in the Kingdom of Morocco, April 19, 2017.

Approximately 150 U.S. Air Force Airmen, five aircraft and associated equipment are participating in the exercise. Units participating include: U.S. Air Forces in Europe & Air Forces Africa Joint Tactical Air Controllers, U.S. Air Force Global Strike Command, Kentucky Air National Guard, and Utah Air National Guard.

“Multinational exercises give us an opportunity to train together, allow us to support joint and total forces, and strengthen our skills for future operations ” said Lt. Col. Jason Johnson, U.S. Air Force exercise lead commander.

The U.S. Air Force’s participation in this U.S. Marine Corps led exercise provides several joint training opportunities with U.S. military branches and Moroccan forces. This multinational exercise is an opportunity to reinforce lessons learned from past African Lion exercises, and will continue to build upon a foundation for future military cooperation and engagements.

“Working in a new environment with other U.S. military branches and the Moroccans gives us the opportunity to hone and refine our skills and enhances our professional relationships, allowing us to support the interoperability of forces,” said Capt. Tristan Stonger, 123rd Airlift Wing Project Officer.

This annually-scheduled, combined multilateral exercise aims to improve interoperability and mutual understanding of each nation’s tactics, techniques and procedures while demonstrating the strong bond between the nation’s militaries. In addition to the U.S. and Morocco, participating nations include: Germany, Senegal, Mauritania, Canada, France, Spain, Great Britain, Mali and Tunisia.

The exercise is scheduled to end on or about April 28, 2017, with all U.S. forces returning to their home bases at the conclusion of the exercise.

Morocco Follows with Great Concern Situation in Venezuela

The moroccan press - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 12:04

The Kingdom of Morocco follows with great concern Venezuela’s internal situation, a statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation said.

The Kingdom of Morocco deplores the fact that the peaceful demonstrations that took place this week in Venezuela resulted in casualties, including deaths among the young people taking part in the demonstrations, the statement added.

Categories: The moroccan press

Association of Families & Friends of Victims of Gdeim Izik Camp Informs UNSG of Latest Developments of Gdeim Izik Trial

The moroccan press - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 12:02

The Association of the Families and Friends of Victims of Gdeim Izik Camp sent a letter to the United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, to inform him of the latest developments of Gdeim Izik trial.

The trial was referred by the Military Court of Rabat to the Court of Appeals of salé, the letter said, adding that this deferral "was an opportunity to make our voices heard and to fully assert our rights."

However, the source added, "we were astonished by the maneuvers of the defense to drop our right to civil suit."

Categories: The moroccan press

Morocco’s Decision to Join AU Illustrates Royal Vision of the Kingdom’s Leading Role on Continent: Edward Gabriel

The moroccan press - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 11:50

 Morocco’s decision to join the African Union (AU) "illustrates HM King Mohammed VI’s vision of his country’s role on the continent as a platform for regional economic, political and security cooperation," former US ambassador Edward Gabriel wrote in an article published Thursday on the website of the Council of American Ambassadors (americanambassadors.org).

Categories: The moroccan press

A Chance Encounter With An Arab Monarch (In Miami)

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 10:43

Canadian Jewich News
by Paul Lungen, Staff Reporter

Elie Mamann was out walking with his family on Lincoln Road in Miami’s South Beach area when he thought he saw someone he knew.

There, in a clothing store, shopping with his wife and son, was a middle-aged guy wearing a jean shirt and denim pants. Mamann, a native of Toronto whose family immigrated from Morocco in 1963, recognized him immediately.

“That was the king of Morocco,” he blurted out to his wife, Sultana.

At first, she didn’t believe him. “Yeah, right,” she replied.

But Mamann was certain of it. In his household growing up, as in many of the homes of Moroccan Jewish emigrés, the king was held in high regard. So was his father, King Hassan II. And there, mingling with the commoners, in clothing as casual as you can get, was the king of Morocco, Mohammed VI, along with his wife, Princess Lalla Salma, and son, Crown Prince Moulay Hassan.

READ: WHY WE NEED TO STOP ‘RECREATING’ THE HOLOCAUST

The royal trio might have been mistaken for just another family out shopping during a family vacation. Except, of course for the U.S. Secret Service agents strategically placed around them, in addition to members of the king’s own entourage.

Mamann walked up to one of the king’s assistants, a woman in charge of protocol, it appeared, and asked permission to approach the king.

As it turned out, the king is very approachable. Mamann was given the green light and soon was in conversation with the monarch.

“I said, ‘Your majesty, I’m born in Toronto, my parents were from Casablanca and I want to thank you for all you do for the Jewish people in Morocco and around the world. He said, ‘It is my honour,’” Mamann recounted.

“He was the nicest guy you can ever meet in your life,” Mamann stated on the phone from Florida, where his family was still enjoying their Passover vacation.

The men conversed in French. The wives spoke in Spanish. The king was particularly impressed that the royal family is held in esteem by former Moroccans and that even third-generation Moroccans, like Mamann’s children, Haim, 15, Joshua, 14, and Shira, 11, are taught about the Jews’ long history in that north African land.

King Mohammed was surprised that Haim, who attends Yeshivat Or Chaim, just completed a project on the king of Morocco, in which he explained how Jews were proud of their heritage.

“He couldn’t believe it,” Mamann recounted.

For many Jewish Canadians, it can be puzzling why Moroccans hold the monarch in such high regard, Mamann said. But Moroccan Jews know the monarchy has been good to its Jews.

“Jews are safe in Morocco,” even while that is generally not the case across the rest of the Arab world, he said.

Jews have served in the government, and the country maintains good relations with Israel. The graves of saintly rabbis are protected by Moroccan guards provided by the king, Mamann said.

Of course, Jewish history in Morocco was not always sunshine and rainbows. Where once there were 260,000 Jews in the country, today the number is down to around 2,500. Facing sporadic violence, most left in the decades following creation of the State of Israel, though the king is credited with offering protection to the country’s Jews.

The Mamanns spent about 40 minutes chatting with the royal family. The boys discussed basketball shoes and the king extended a personal invitation for the family to visit him in the royal palace.

“It was very nice for the king to be so hospitable,” Mamann said of the April 13 encounter. For his part, Mamann invited the king to visit Toronto.

And it wouldn’t be 2017 if the families didn’t pose for selfies before going their separate ways.

Coincidentally, the royal princess and Sultana crossed paths one day later, again in South Beach. “[The king’s] wife told Sultana that he never stops talking about you, that even if you’re not born in Morocco… and you’re a proud Canadian, that you still have connections to Morocco and teach your children our traditions,” Mamann recounted.

Back in Toronto, news of the encounter has spread and “everybody is flipping out,” Mamann said.

Mamann expects to take up the king’s offer and visit the royal palace, perhaps sometime next year.

In the meantime, the chance meeting certainly added an element of excitement to the family’s Passover getaway, one that may well join a lustrous tradition of Jewish Moroccan lore.

F.C.C. Leader Seeks Tech Companies’ Views On Net Neutrality

Western Sahara Worldnews - Fri, 04/21/2017 - 01:00

NYT
by Cecilia Kang

Ajit Pai, the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, met with Facebook and other tech companies this week to seek feedback on his intention to unwind aspects of net neutrality, the rules that require broadband providers to make all internet content equally accessible for consumers.

Mr. Pai said on Thursday that his visits with executives at Facebook, Cisco, Oracle and Intel were constructive and that he believed the companies wanted to find “common ground.” Web companies have supported net neutrality, saying the protections guard them from paying tolls to get their content in front of consumers. Mr. Pai said that he agreed with the broad principles of net neutrality but that the rules, created by the commission in 2015, went too far in restricting broadband providers.

“I think they were appreciative,” Mr. Pai said of the tech companies. “I have been soliciting thoughts on online protections.”

Mr. Pai spoke at a news conference on Thursday after pushing through more rollbacks of Obama-era regulations. Appointed by President Trump in January, Mr. Pai has been on a deregulation charge. He has abolished a proposal to open the cable box market and frozen a program for broadband subsidies for low-income households. On Thursday, he passed two actions that will ease pricing restrictions on telecom giants and give broadcast television companies greater latitude to bulk up through mergers.

Mr. Pai’s biggest targets are net neutrality and the classification of broadband like a utility. He has the broad support of Republican lawmakers and is expected to introduce a plan that would weaken aspects of the net neutrality rules as soon as this month.

Mr. Pai said on Thursday that he wanted to overturn the declaration of broadband as a utility-like service, which puts stricter rules on broadband providers, akin to what phone services face today.

Facebook and Intel did not immediately respond to a request for comment about Mr. Pai’s remarks. The Internet Association, a trade group that represents Facebook, Google and Netflix, recently met with Mr. Pai and urged him to keep the rules intact.

A Cisco spokeswoman said Mr. Pai had asked the company’s chief executive, Chuck Robbins, to gather some Silicon Valley leaders to discuss the future of net neutrality. The informal discussion was held at Cisco’s campus in San Jose, Calif., the spokeswoman said.

In a statement, Oracle said its discussion with Mr. Pai this week was broad and did not address any specific policy proposals currently under consideration. Oracle has previously said it supports Mr. Pai’s agenda, and its meetings with him have included one with the company’s chief executive, Safra Catz, who was on Mr. Trump’s transition team.

The commission’s direction under Mr. Pai has alarmed consumer groups. Michael Copps, a former Democratic commissioner, said companies like AT&Tand Comcast that have heavily lobbied the commission to roll back rules would directly benefit from the recent actions.

“This is the price we pay for the outrageous influence of money in politics,” said Mr. Copps, a special adviser to the consumer group Common Cause. “The public interest suffers, and we are poorer — economically and civically — for it.”

In votes split down party lines on Thursday, Mr. Pai pushed forward a plan that will ease standards to allow telecom carriers like AT&T and CenturyLink to raise fees for small businesses, wireless carriers, hospitals and libraries to connect to the main arteries of their broadband networks. AT&T and other telecom giants had heavily lobbied for the new rule.

In a dramatic reversal from the Obama administration, which was pushing for caps on pricing, Mr. Pai said telecom companies should have more freedom to set their own rates. “Price regulation threatens competition and investment,” he said.

The commission also approved a separate proposal easing restrictions on broadcast television corporations seeking to buy more stations. Mignon Clyburn, the Democratic commissioner, voted against the proposal and warned that greater media consolidation would give fewer companies a bigger voice.

“This is industry consolidation month” at the F.C.C., she said.

Business Review: Arab Finance Institutions in Morocco, Bilateral Investments with Rwanda, Morocco Agriculture in the Spotlight, and More Tourism Kudos – Jean R. AbiNader

Morocco on the move - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 19:21

Jean R. AbiNader, MATIC
April 20, 2017

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

While the World Bank Group prepares for its spring meetings in Washington, DC, leaders of Arab financial institutions are meeting in Morocco. Morocco’s annual Agricultural Fair is scheduled for the end of this month. And if you’re in the mood for a vacation without your laptop, don’t miss these eight reasons to go to Morocco.

Arab Finance Community Discusses Steps to Support Economic Growth. Some 350 leaders in finance and economy from around the Arab world are gathering this week in Morocco to promote greater inter-Arab financial cooperation. These meetings have become a key platform for developing policies and programs to support sustainable development in Arab countries as well as promote greater cooperation on financial and economic issues.

A message from King Mohammed VI to the meeting addressed the urgent need to ensure social justice and adequate social safety nets for the Arab world’s growing populations. “Our Arab financial institutions are called upon today, more than ever, to react positively to the major changes and development needs witnessed in the Arab region, to pool efforts in order to support economic and financial reforms, to diversify and boost Arab economies and to achieve Arab integration,” he pointed out.

Included in his recommendations was encouragement for inter-Arab investments to support sustainable development and involve the private sector as an “engine for the promotion of development and a creator of wealth,” according to a report from Xinhuanet.com. He noted that a priority should be placed on development projects that support economic integration and enable Arab economies to be more open to their regional environment, as Morocco is doing in Africa. Among the sectors he mentioned were energy, power infrastructure, transport, and agricultural projects for food security.

Bilateral Ties with Rwanda Advance. The benefits of the King’s economic diplomacy received another affirmation according to an AllAfrica.com story as Rwanda approved a law removing double taxation for Moroccan investors. Since the King’s visit last October, there has been an uptick in investments from Morocco. “Investments from Morocco are coming in at a high speed; therefore, facilitating them is an opportunity for both countries to boost business and economic opportunities,” said Rwanda Private Sector Federation Chief Executive Benjamin Kasamagera.

The law removing double taxation for Moroccan investors was a major consideration for moving ahead with the 21 trade agreements the two parties signed last year. The announcement followed the visit of a business delegation of more than 100 Moroccan investors who looked at a number of projects including a floriculture project valued at $15 million in Gishari, eastern Rwanda, as well the development of a wholesale market for Moroccan goods valued at $31 million at the Kigali special economic zone.

Agricultural Sector Rebounds as Meknes Opens Annual Agricultural Fair. Morocco’s Minister of Agriculture and Aquatics, Aziz Akhannouch, announced that this year’s harvest is expected to reach 10.2 million tons, an increase of 203% over this period last year. He was in Meknes to kick off the annual International Agriculture Fair, which showcases all things related to agriculture, from seed selection to marketing end-products, as well as advances in ag-related research and technologies.

Agriculture accounts for more than 15% of Morocco’s GDP, and the plentiful rainfall since October has helped Morocco’s economy grow by 4.3% in the first quarter of this year, compared with 1.7% in the same period last year. In releasing its data, the High Commission for Planning said that this growth was mainly due to the rise in agricultural output by 12.9% in the first quarter this year, compared to 9% last year. Italy is being feted as the fair’s guest of honor.

Look No Further, Morocco is the Place to Go. Moroccan tourism operator Holidayme provided Trade Arabia News Service with eight good reasons to visit Morocco, “one of Africa’s most preferred tourist destinations.” They boil down to: cost (“Morocco can be an economic and delightful escape”); hiking trails; beaches; riads; shopping; food; mint tea; and… Marrakesh!  So stop thinking about it and get a non-stop flight to Casablanca from New York or Washington, DC…just seven hours away!

The post Business Review: Arab Finance Institutions in Morocco, Bilateral Investments with Rwanda, Morocco Agriculture in the Spotlight, and More Tourism Kudos – Jean R. AbiNader appeared first on Morocco On The Move.

Categories: The moroccan press

Head of Govrnement Presents Governmental Program Before Parliament

The moroccan press - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 14:55

 Head of government Saad Eddine El Othmani presented on Wednesday the governmental program during a common plenary session of the parliament's two houses.

The said program has five broad lines: the first focuses on supporting the democratic choice, the principles of the rule of law and extensive regionalization.

The second is related to fostering the values of transparency, the reform of administration and good governance, while the third concerns the promotion of economic model, employment and sustainable development.

Categories: The moroccan press

Saudi Fund for Development Grants Morocco $100 Million to Support SME

The moroccan press - Thu, 04/20/2017 - 11:26

A memorandum of understanding was signed between Morocco and the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) on Tuesday in Rabat, on the granting by the Saudi Fund of a $100 million to support the financing of SMEs in Morocco.

Signed on the sidelines of the Annual Meetings of the Arab Financial Institutions by minister of Economy and Finance, Mohamed Boussaid, Bank Al Maghrib's Wali, Abdellatif El Jouahri and vice-president of SFD, Yousef Bin Ibrahim Al-Bassam, this agreement aims to finance small and medium projects in Morocco.

Categories: The moroccan press

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