The moroccan press

Business Brief: Morocco Reaches for Stronger Trade Ties with Russia; Islamic Financing Legislation Inches Forward; and African Development Bank Ups Support – Jean R. AbiNader

Morocco on the move - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 21:00

Jean R. AbiNader, MATIC
July 19, 2017

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

Even though it’s summer, Morocco’s leaders are still actively promoting stronger economic relations globally. The African Development Bank extends additional support for industrial growth in the Kingdom; and the Chamber of Deputies authorizes expansion of Islamic financial services.

Morocco-Russia ties set to increase. Since King Mohammed VI visited with President Vladimir Putin in March 2016, talks aimed at increasing trade between the two countries have continued. Most recently, Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita co-chaired the sixth Mixed Moroccan-Russian Commission for Economic, Scientific, and Technological Cooperation in Moscow. He noted that the King was “keen on boosting partnership with Russia on all levels, as it plays an important geo-political and economic role” that Morocco welcomes. It is now Russia’s second largest trading partner in the Arab world and Africa, with a total bilateral trade value of $2.5 billion.

Minister Bourita continued, “Morocco aspires to be Russia’s major Arab and African [trading] partner. We are ready to put all our efforts to reach that goal. The kingdom also wants Russia to be among the ten major trading partners of Morocco.” To this end, he identified several sectors for cooperation, including existing partnerships in agriculture and fishing, and opportunities in new technologies, pharmaceuticals, and the automotive sector. He also mentioned Morocco’s potential role as a gateway for Russian investors to West Africa.

In response, Alexander Tkachev, Russia’s agriculture minister seconded the importance of boosting agricultural trade and said that there are also plans to increase Russian tourists threefold, from 50,000 to 150,000 per year.  The Russian minister also affirmed that Moscow wants to boost its oil and gas exports to Morocco.

Islamic financial instruments approved. Since the approval of five joint ventures to provide Islamic financial instruments in Morocco, the government has been putting in place the various elements needed to make this a reality. The most recent steps, according to Morocco World News, have been the adoption of two decrees by the government council charged with implementation. The decrees cover what is termed “participatory finance,” i.e. financing in which the borrower and seller are both involved in the investment. One governs Sukuk, which are investment certificates; the other governs Takaful, which is insurance coverage. For those who are not familiar with Islamic finance principles, the basic tenet is that both parties share in the risk, with no one guaranteed benefit over the other (as in paying interest on a loan).

The provision on Sukuk provides for how the securitization of assets in an investment are to be certified and then placed with local investors, and under what conditions. The Takaful bill spells out the authority of the government agency responsible for Islamic finance to define the provisions of insurance contracts, types of insurance, and the terms and conditions. It empowers the Ministry of Finance and Economy to “set the criteria and terms of remuneration of the insurance and reinsurance undertaking for the management of the Takaful account, as well as the arrangements for distributing technical and financial surpluses between participants in the Takaful operations.” It is on the basis of this remuneration and distribution that business benefits both partners in the transaction.

The Minister of Finance and Economy, Mohamed Boussaid stated that the effective launching of participatory banks in the Moroccan financial sector will allow diversification of sources of financing, stimulating the collection of financial savings, particularly that of households, and promoting investment by those who currently avoid western style commercial banks.

African Development Bank (AfDB) gives more support for Morocco’s industrial drive. In launching the Support Program for the Acceleration of Industrialization in Morocco(PAAIM 1), the AfDB approved a $200 million loan aimed at consolidating the “foundations for sustainable and shared growth” as Morocco’s industrialization moves apace. The goal is to increase industry’s GDP share to 23% and create half a million jobs by 2020.

In addition, the Board also approved an APA risk-sharing agreement amounting to $50 million to the Central Popular Bank (BCP) to meet the demand for greater trade financing. This will be used to “hedge a portfolio of transactions up to $100 million supporting a cumulative value for $700 million in intra-African business operations over a three-year period.”

A story in North Africa Post noted that “According to the AfDB, the APA will meet the growing demand of African markets for trade finance in vital economic sectors such as agri-food, health, services, and industry. In addition, it will promote regional integration and financial sector development and help generate additional tax revenues for several African States. This agreement will support in particular Moroccan exporters as well as banks and SMEs on the continent.”

Trade and project financing is especially critical to Morocco’s economic growth. The article pointed out that “To date, 32 transactions amounting to USD 2.3 billion in commitments are registered under the partnership between Morocco and the African Development Bank Group. The projects concern the transport, energy, water, and sanitation and agricultural sectors.”

Pick a card, any card. Morocco’s Interbank Monetary Center (CMI) reported that in the first six months of 2017, credit card activity rose by more than 84% over the same period in 2016, 3 million vs. 1.6 million. The largest increases were registered by domestic users. Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) recorded a total of 134.5 million transactions from both national and international credit cards. Cards from Moroccan banks dominated transactions in the kingdom at 98.2 percent. Wow, they’re loving their plastic!!

The post Business Brief: Morocco Reaches for Stronger Trade Ties with Russia; Islamic Financing Legislation Inches Forward; and African Development Bank Ups Support – Jean R. AbiNader appeared first on Morocco On The Move.

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Western Sahara – Resolve? and Resolutions? – Robert M. Holley

Morocco on the move - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 19:57

Photo: United Nations

Robert M. Holley
July 19, 2017

Robert M. Holley, Senior Policy Adviser, MACP

It has been ten years, a decade, since Morocco offered an initiative in the Security Council to provide a generous autonomy to the population of Western Sahara.  Ten years is a long time to wait for action, especially for a problem that already has been around for more than four decades.

It has been 15 years, a decade and a half, since the Security Council began passing yearly “resolutions” calling on the Parties to achieve a mutually acceptable “political solution” to this problem. Morocco’s ten-year-old initiative was a response to the Security Council’s encouragement to offer some kind of reasonable political compromise, and has been praised as “serious, credible and realistic.”.  It was also a response to much additional encouragement from Washington, which took a long hard look at the Moroccan initiative and decided it was more than generous by the international standards of other such autonomy arrangements. Thus, the certificate of approval from successive US Administrations both Democrat and Republican since it was first presented in 2007.

It has been nearly 18 years, approaching two decades, since the United States Government set this dynamic in motion when it decided that efforts to conduct a referendum to determine the fate of the territory were both futile and ill-advised and “resolved” to put its diplomatic weight behind ending this problem with a fair-minded political solution that gave both parties what they needed, even if it denied them all they might want.

Much pondering, thorough discussion, wide internal consultations and numerous meetings preceded the State Department decision in early 1999 to abandon the failed United Nations effort to hold a vote on the future of Western Sahara.  Eight long years had already elapsed trying to bring the Parties to agreement on who should be allowed to vote in a referendum. It was perfectly clear by late 1998 that neither eight more years nor eighty would ever bridge the divide.  I know. I was there. Time to move on to something more practical and realistic. Good American logic.

But after all the milestones now passed since that original decision in the corridors and conference rooms of Foggy Bottom, decades of them, you have to wonder what has become of the original U.S. “resolve” and what is the value of all those Security Council “resolutions” calling for a political solution.

Unfortunately, what now seems most clear, after all these years, is that U.S. “resolve” is maybe less firm than the word suggests, and that “resolutions” carry less weight than the Security Council might wish.

We hear frequently these days, with political speech increasingly scrutinized for meanings both evident and implied, that “words have meaning.” If so, maybe it is also time to take some actions that demonstrate just how meaningful words can be.

In Western Sahara, a demonstration of our resolve to settle this matter through a fair-minded political solution could well start with some unambiguous words in a U.S. statement that not only is Morocco’s initiative “serious, credible and realistic,” but, in fact, this kind of trade-off between sovereignty and autonomy offers the only way to resolve this issue.  Backing up that kind of statement with some concrete and visible actions to support Morocco’s current and ongoing efforts to prepare the region for such autonomy might also begin to persuade other Parties that our “resolve” does finally have real meaning, and that we plan to become more visibly resolute in its pursuit.

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Sound Energy Reports “Strong” Pressure Build Up At Morocco Well

Western Sahara Worldnews - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 16:29

London South East
By Maryam Cockar

LONDON (Alliance News) – Sound Energy PLC said on Wednesday its TE-7 well has demonstrated “very strong” pressure recovery to date at the Tendara reservoir in Morocco.

The London-listed upstream gas company said the pressure build up of the well is currently ongoing and pressure stabilisation is estimated to require a further six to eight months.

Reservoir simulations by Sound Energy have suggested that, once the reservoir has reached full pressure stabilisation, the connected gas volumes in place for production from TE-7 would be around 40.00 billion standard cubic feet.

Sound Energy said this is consistent with its preliminary volume estimates from May and allows the company to confirm a field development concept with regular spacing of sub horizontal stimulated wells at Tendara, which would be similar in design to well TE-7.

Following the extended well test on TE-7 during a draw down phase, the bottom hole pressure was recorded at 393.8 bar, a metric unit of pressure, against a final drawdown flowing reservoir pressure in January of 140 bar immediately following the test and an original reservoir pressure of 422.6 bar.

In January the company flowed close to 1.00 billion cubic feet over 56 days during the drawdown phase and Sound Energy said it has retrieved the downhole pressure gauges from TE-7 to analyse the initial reservoir pressure response.

Shares in Sound Energy were up 0.5% to 49.50 pence on Wednesday.

By Maryam Cockar;; @MaryamCockar

Arab League Praises HM the King’s Role in Protecting Al Quds

The moroccan press - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 13:10

The Council of the Arab League praised on Monday the role played by HM King Mohammed VI, chairman of the Al-Quds Committee, in the protection of Al Quds.

In a statement issued following an extraordinary meeting dedicated to Israel’s latest violations, the Council also commended efforts made by King Abdullah II of Jordan to preserve the holy places in Al-Quds.

The Council expressed its pride with the mobilization of the Palestinian people to defend the Arab character of the holy city and praised efforts made by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in this regard.

Categories: The moroccan press

Michelle Bachelet Receives Upper House Speaker in Santiago

The moroccan press - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 13:09

Chilean President Michelle Bachelet received, Monday evening at the Moneda Palace in Santiago, Speaker of the House of Advisors Hakim Benchamach, on a working visit to Chile.

   This audience was an opportunity to renew the will of the two countries to further promote their bilateral relations based on mutual respect, for an exemplary partnership between two countries sharing the same aspirations, Benchamach told MAP following the meeting.

Categories: The moroccan press

Morocco, One of the Most Important Partners in EU Neighborhood (European Official)

The moroccan press - Wed, 07/19/2017 - 13:06

Morocco is one of the most important partners in the European Union's (EU) neighborhood, said, on Tuesday in Rabat, vice-chair of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs, Anders Primdahl Vistisen.

Categories: The moroccan press

Culture & Communication Ministry Follows France24’s Apologies, Examines Its Compliance with Laws in Force

The moroccan press - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 13:17

The Ministry of Culture and Communication on Monday followed the apologies presented by France24 news channel in its newscast of 5pm following a letter addressed by Minister of Culture and Communication, Mohamed Laaraj, due to the channel’s airing of images having nothing to do with the treatment of the events of Al Hoceima.

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Morocco’s Net International Reserves Down 16.4%

The moroccan press - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 13:15

Morocco's net international reserves amounted to 201.5 billion dirhams until July 7, 2017, recording a 16.4 pc year-on-year decrease, Bank Al-Maghrib said.

During the week of July 6-12, Bank Al-Maghrib injected 67.2 billion dirhams.

As for the interbank rate, it remained at 2.33%, while the average trading volume increased from 5.4 billion dirhams one week before to 8.2 billion dirhams, the central bank pointed out in its weekly indicators.

During the same period, the Dirham depreciated by 0.49% against the Euro and appreciated by 0.79% against the dollar.

Categories: The moroccan press

International Symposium on African Football Kicks Off in Skhirate

The moroccan press - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 13:08

An international symposium on African Football opened on Tuesday in Skhirate (Rabat outskirts) with the participation of personalities from all over the world, including FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

The opening ceremony of this event, organized under the patronage of HM King Mohammed VI, was marked by a royal message to the participants, which was read out by Minister of Youth and Sports, Rachid Talbi Alami.

MAP 18 July 2017

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Rabat, Lusaka Share Common Vision for Peace and Stability in Africa

The moroccan press - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 12:53

Morocco and Zambia share a common vision for the consolidation of peace and stability as well as respect for the sovereignty of states in Africa, said secretary of state to the minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mounia Boucetta.

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Moroccan Cement Sales Down By 31% In June

Western Sahara Worldnews - Tue, 07/18/2017 - 00:47

Cement News
By ICR Newsroom

The Moroccan cement market contracted in June by 30.6 per cent YoY to 721,846t from 1,039,544Mt in June 2016, according to the country’s Ministry of Housing. The drop in sales was attributed to a slowdown in construction activity.

In the first half of 2017, demand decreased 9.24 per cent to 6,771,681t with all parts of country seeing a drop in sales, apart from a few southern provinces.

The largest MoM decline was reported in the eastern region, where sales fell by 39.8 per cent, from 84,668t to 50,972t at the end of June. In Fes-Meknes sales declined 37.65 per cent, or 56,735t sold against 90,996t in the same month of last year. Sales decreased at Drâa-Tafilalet, Tangier-Tétouan-Al-Hoceima, Casablanca-Settat and Marrakech-Safi respectively by 36.13, 35.31, 32.90 and 30.32 per cent. Only the Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra and Dakhla-Oued Eddahab regions were able to recover. In Laâyoune-Sakia El Hamra, cement consumption reached a 9.79 per cent increase, ie sales of 19,054t, up from 17,355t in the same month of last year.

Morocco's Africanism Is Not ‘Conjunctural”, But Belonging to Very Great Civilization (Azoulay)

The moroccan press - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 13:05

Moroccan Africanism is not “conjunctural” or the result of a political strategy, but it is a question of belonging to a very great civilization, André Azoulay, HM King Mohammed VI’s Advisor, said.

   “Our Africanism is not conjunctural and is not the result of a political strategy (...), but it is a belonging to a very great civilization”, Azoulay stressed Friday in Marrakech at a conference held on the sidelines of the 4th Al-Haouz Festival under the theme “For Peace and Coexistence”.

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BCP Group, IFC Boost Partnership for Economic Development & Social Progress in Morocco & Sub-Saharan Africa

The moroccan press - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 12:45

The Banque centrale populaire group (BCP) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) signed, Friday in Casablanca, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to consolidate their long term partnership, reaffirming their full cooperation in the economic development and social progress in Morocco and sub-Saharan Africa.

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Lower House Speaker Represents HM the King in Memorial Ceremony for Nice Attack Victims

The moroccan press - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 12:39

Speaker of the House of Representatives Habib El Malki represented HM King Mohammed VI in the memorial ceremony for Nice attack victims, which was held on Friday in this south-eastern French city, in the presence of President Emmanuel Macron and his two predecessors François Hollande and Nicolas Sarkozy.

   Some 86 people were killed and 450 others wounded in the attack when a truck ploughed into the crowd on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice during the July 14, 2016 fireworks display.

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Counterterrorism: Spanish Interior Minister Hails ‘Close’ Cooperation with Morocco

The moroccan press - Mon, 07/17/2017 - 12:37

Spanish Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido hailed, on Saturday in Bilbao (Northern Spain), the “close” cooperation between Spain and Morocco in counterterrorism.

   Speaking at a symposium themed “European Union Challenges: Jihadist Terrorism”, Zoido stressed that the Kingdom is Spain's “best partner” in the fight against this scourge, which represents a “global danger”.

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In Detaining OCP Vessel, South Africa Puts Ideology Before Justice- American Enterprise Institute

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sat, 07/15/2017 - 13:14

The North Africa Post

In detaining a vessel loaded with Sahara phosphates bound for New Zealand, the ruling party in South Africa, the ANC, is reconnecting with its anachronistic populist marxist ideology, putting politics above justice in a hostile action that threatens to derail a peace process led by the UN, said the US public policy think tank, The American Enterprise Institute.

In an analysis issued after the pulling out of Morocco’s phosphates giant, the OCP and its Sahara subsidiary Phosboucraa, from proceeding on the core of the case in South Africa, the Think Tank deplored South Africa’s intransigence to put partisan ideology above law, threatening “to derail international processes, reward terror, and effectively encourage piracy.”

The Institute deplores the decision of the South African court to maintain the ship detained in Port Elizabeth with 55,000 tons of phosphates worth $5 million on board.

The author of the analysis Michael Rubin said that South Africa’s justice had better follow the example of Panamanian authorities who “decreed that the Polisario had no jurisdictional competence in the matter.” In doing so, the “Panamanian government and court recognized that allowing self-styled governments and groups to seize shipping amounted to piracy.”

“Groups like the Polisario would then use the proceeds to finance terrorism and the lavish lifestyle of the Polisario’s politburo, and the precedent could disrupt diplomacy worldwide,” warned Rubin.

In the face of the blatant partiality and violations by the South African justice system of the international law of the sea, the OCP declared their withdrawal from the judicial proceedings on grounds that the court “has no legitimacy to pursue the question of whether the Polisario Front should be able to seize the Cherry Blossom’s cargo,” he explained.

The arbitrary detention of the ship will have a fallout on the locals in the Sahara, the author went on to say, noting that “One hundred percent of the profits from Phosboucraa mine, whose product is being shipped by Cherry Blossom, are invested into the local community”. Moreover, the author of the analysis said, “50 local Western Sahara companies subcontract with the firm, creating even greater employment. More than three-quarters of the work force is from Western Sahara as opposed to the rest of Morocco.”

He added that Phosboucraa operates in line with the UN legal framework and international law governing the exploitation of international resources.

“Less than two percent of Morocco’s phosphate exports originate in the Western Sahara and the Moroccan kingdom spends more per capita on residents of the south than it does on any of Morocco’s other regions,” Michael Rubin explained.

In siding with the Polisario, South Africa defends a militia that locks people in abhorrent living conditions in Tindouf camps, and the self-proclaimed SADR republic is a criminal group accused of embezzling humanitarian aid and of connivance with terrorist groups, he said.

The unlawful decision of the South African court also sets dangerous precedent, as the SADR republic is not the only separatist group seeking international recognition.

“If the South African court seizes the Cherry Blossom’s cargo to hand it to a Marxist hold-over in a dusty corner of Africa, then it effectively is declaring open season on international trade and an end to talks as the primary means of resolving conflict,” underlined the author of the analysis.

Posted by North Africa Post

North Africa Post’s news desk is composed of journalists and editors, who are constantly working to provide new and accurate stories to NAP readers.

Maya Gold & Silver Inc.: Zgounder Silver Mine Produces 31,942 Ounces During The Month Of June

Western Sahara Worldnews - Sat, 07/15/2017 - 00:55

MONTREAL, QUEBEC–(Marketwired) – Maya Gold & Silver (“Maya” or the “Corporation”) (TSX VENTURE:MYA) report a monthly production of 31,942 ounces (993.5 Kg) of silver during the month of June 2017 at its Zgounder silver mine in Morocco.

June 2017 Production Highlights

31,942 ounces (993.5 Kg) of silver ingots were produced from 3,536 tonnes of dry material presenting an average head grade of 338.15 g/t Ag;

A recovery rate of 83.08% was achieved representing a decrease of 4% relative to the previous month which we attribute to problems with the washing units;

Production was affected by suspension of operations for a 10 day period during the Ramadan religious holiday and by a planned mill maintenance that will further improve its performance.

Development highlights at the Zgounder Mine

During the month of June 2017, underground exploration and development consisted of 394 metres of percussion drilling in four mine workings.

Underground percussion drilling within two chutes inside panels 5y et 6y allowed the definition of one panel with a tonnage of 12,170 t at an average silver grade of 426 ppm.

Qualified Persons

The technical content of this news release has been provided by Zgounder Millenium Silver Mining and has been reviewed and approved by Michel Boily, PhD, geo from GÉON; an independent Qualified Person under NI 43-101 standards.


Maya Gold & Silver Inc. is a Canadian publicly listed mining corporation focused on the exploration and development of gold and silver deposits in Morocco. Maya is initiating mining and milling operations at its Zgounder Mine owned by Zgounder Millenium Silver Mining, a Maya 85% owned joint venture with l’Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines of the Kingdom of Morocco (15%).

Neither TSX Venture Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in policies of the TSX Venture Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.

Zgounder Silver Mine

The decision to commence production at the Zgounder Silver Mine was not based on a feasibility study of mineral reserves demonstrating economic and technical viability, but rather on a pre-feasibility study. Accordingly, there is increased uncertainty and economic and technical risks of failure associated with this production decision. Production and economic variables may vary considerably, due to the absence of a complete and detailed site analysis according to and in accordance with NI 43-101.

Forward-looking statements

This news release contains statements about our future business and planned activities. These are “forward-looking” because we have used what we know and expect today to make a statement about the future. Forward-looking statements including but are not limited to comments regarding the timing and content of upcoming work and analyses. Forward-looking statements usually include words such as may, intend, plan, expect, anticipate, and believe or other similar words. We believe the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable.

However, actual events and results could be substantially different because of the risks and uncertainties associated with our business or events that happen after the date of this news release. You should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements. As a general policy, we do not update forward-looking statements except as required by securities laws and regulations.

Ambassador Hilale Received in Bangui by President of Central African Republic

The moroccan press - Fri, 07/14/2017 - 14:31

Morocco’s permanent representative to the UN, Omar Hilale, was received on Wednesday in Bangui by President of the Central African Republic (CAR), Faustin Archange Touadera.

Hilale’s is paying his third visit to this country in his capacity as the Chair of the Central African Republic Configuration of the Peacebuilding Commission.

Categories: The moroccan press

Morocco Has Genuine Desire to Develop Its Strategic Partnership with Russia (FM)

The moroccan press - Fri, 07/14/2017 - 13:35

Morocco has a genuine desire to develop its strategic partnership with Russia in various fields, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nasser Bourita, said Thursday in Moscow.

   The will of HM King Mohammed VI aims to strengthen partnership with Russia at all levels, given the important role of Russia in geopolitical and economic terms in particular, said Burita, who co-chaired with Russian Agricultural Minister, Alexander Tkachev, the closing of the 6th session of the Moroccan-Russian Joint Commission for Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation.

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President of French National Assembly Calls for Renewed Parliamentary Ties Between Morocco, France

The moroccan press - Fri, 07/14/2017 - 10:43

President of the French National Assembly, François de Rugy, called, on Thursday, for renewed parliamentary ties between Morocco and France.

In a statement to the press after his talks in Paris with speaker of the House of Representatives, Habib El Malki, the French official stressed the importance of continuing parliamentary cooperation in order to face today's challenges, such as security and climate change.

"We have every interest in working together," he said, recalling the ancient human and economic ties between the two countries.

Categories: The moroccan press