The moroccan press
A Moroccan delegation, led by secretary of state to the minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mounia Boucetta, paid, on Wednesday and Thursday, a visit to Dar es Salaam, where she held several meetings with senior Tanzanian officials, as part of the follow-up to the partnership agreements signed during the royal visit to this east African country in October 2016.
Delimitation of Maritime Borders, Sovereign Decision with Economic, Strategic, Diplomatic and Development Dimension
The delimitation by Morocco of its maritime borders is a sovereign decision that has an economic, strategic, diplomatic and development dimension, said, on Thursday in Rabat, minister in charge of Relations with the Parliament and Civil Society, government spokesman, Mustapha El Khalfi.
Morocco has made stunning advances over the last 15 years in the field of maternal health, said, on Wednesday in Rabat, country director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Bérangère Boell-Yousfi.
"Morocco has made stunning advances in maternal health over the past 15 years, by reducing its maternal mortality rate to 72.6 deaths per 100,000 live births, that is over 30 per cent in five years," said Boell-Yousfi during a meeting marking the celebration of World Population Day.
The speakers of the Belgian regional parliaments lauded the exceptional character of friendship and cooperation relations between Morocco and Belgium, fostered by the vital contribution of the Moroccan community in the country.
During talks between Moroccan speaker of the House of Representatives, Habib El Malki, the Belgian officials stressed the need to further consolidate these relations by taking advantage of the convergence of views between the two countries in various regional and international issues of common interest.
Head of Govt. Discusses with 'Dubai Holding' Representatives Means to Pave the Way for Investments in Morocco
The head of government, Saad-Eddine El Othmani, met, Tuesday in Rabat, with representatives of "Dubai Holding", on means to pave the way for investments of this Emirati group in Morocco.
According to a statement by the head of government's department, representatives of "Dubai Holding" presented their areas of interest and future plans in Morocco.
Last month, the regional economic cooperation body for West Africa, ECOWAS, approved in principle Morocco’s request for membership. This step opens the door to final approval, pending studies to determine the implications of Morocco’s membership. As noted in a number of stories, Morocco’s entry into ECOWAS can only strengthen the organization. The current 15 member bloc would move from 21st to 16th in terms of GDP with Morocco’s participation. “With its strategic geographic and economic position, Morocco would be a vital platform for ECOWAS countries to secure European, American and Arab markets,” according to Front Page Africa.
An analysis of the benefits of the potential union was done by Oxford Business Group (OBG). The report looked at Morocco’s membership in terms of its continued expansion of economic ties in West Africa and how those diverse ties will have a positive impact there. Morocco’s platform as a regional economic driver, thanks to its preferential trade agreements with the EU, US, and Mediterranean countries, among others, will enable greater access to these markets for ECOWAS countries.
In addition, Morocco itself, already the second largest African investor in Africa, is building partnerships to undertake even more projects in Africa, as witnessed by the more than 950 bilateral agreements signed with African partners since 2000. OBG made particular mention of two MoUs with Nigeria as signs of future prospects. The first covers a joint venture to govern, manage, and finance a gas pipeline from Nigeria, along the west coast of Africa, to Morocco and then beyond to Europe. Some 13 countries and 300 million people will be directly affected and benefit from the badly needed access to non-polluting energy supplies. The second project, similar to one with Gabon, covers cooperative ventures in the fertilizer and chemical sectors to upgrade Nigeria’s access to fertilizers specially blended for that country’s needs.
The OBG analysis points out that this expanding effort in Africa does not mean less emphasis on Morocco’s traditional partners in Europe. “While Morocco looks to bolster ties on the African continent, its largest trading partner remains the EU, which accounted for 55.7% of trade and 61.3% of exports in 2015. Trade in goods between the two markets has risen steadily in recent years, from €29.3bn in 2014 to €30.6bn in 2015 and €34.6bn last year, according to IMF data. Of Morocco’s €13.8bn worth of exports to the EU in 2016, machinery and transport equipment made up 40.4%, followed by agricultural products (23%), and textiles and clothing (20.3%).”
These results are indicative of the shifts in the Moroccan economy as it diversifies beyond tourism and agriculture to its growing manufacturing base, which has added great value to its exports. “Recent developments in Morocco’s automotive, aeronautics and electronics sector also bode well for its trade prospects,” says the OBG. From global giants Renault, Peugeot, Boeing, and Jacobs Engineering, to the many supply chain companies that make up the technology and manufacturing ecosystems, Morocco is reaping the benefits of strong economic incentives, prime geographic location, and political stability. This is a great incentive for the ECOWAS members that are keen to step up their industrial sectors.
While the economic and business advantages of Morocco’s membership are a big part of the story, a more complete narrative would include the human development dimension of Morocco’s ties in the region. From scholarships for African students, to extensive technical and foreign assistance programs, to innovative policies towards sub-Saharan migrants, to festivals celebrating common cultural roots, Morocco provides an array of collaborative and cooperative initiatives to more closely knit together the region. Both Morocco and ECOWAS members will benefit greatly from greater regional economic integration, and possibly provide examples to other states and regions of the continent.
The post Oxford Business Group Makes the Case for Morocco’s Membership in ECOWAS – Jean R. AbiNader appeared first on Morocco On The Move.
Pioneer and rooted in the legitimacy of a common and shared history, the policy implemented by HM King Mohammed VI in Africa could be the cornerstone of the "new deal" to which Europe and Africa aspire, André Azoulay, HM the King's advisor, said in Sofia at the closing ceremony of the Summer School of the Bulgarian School of Political Science.
US NEWS & WORLD REPORT
by Samia Errazzouki
A ban on carrying laptop computers and other large electronic devices in aircraft cabins on direct flights between Morocco and the United States will be lifted on Thursday, Morocco’s Royal Air Maroc said in a statement.
In March, the United States banned laptops in cabins on flights originating at 10 airports in eight countries — Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar and Turkey — to address fears that bombs could be concealed in them.
Royal Air Maroc is the only carrier to operate direct flights to the United States, flying from Casablanca’s Mohammed V International Airport to New York and Washington D.C..
It did not say why the restrictions had been lifted, but the U.S. Department of Homeland Security had already dropped restrictions on six of the airlines after they adopted stricter screening for explosives and other enhanced measures.
The department said on Tuesday it would review requests by the remaining three Middle Eastern airlines — from Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Egypt — to have the ban lifted.
State-owned EgyptAir said it expected the restrictions to be removed on Wednesday. Saudi Arabian Airlines, also known as Saudia, said it expected the ban to be lifted on flights from Jeddah and Riyadh by July 19.
(Reporting by Samia Errazzouki; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Catherine Evans)
The Moroccan government and the United Nations System signed, on Tuesday in Rabat, the UN Development Assistance Framework (UNDAF) for Morocco for the period 2017-2021.
The plan, which will guide UN support for the country's development over five years, will mark a new chapter in the Morocco-UN partnership for sustainable development.
The UNDAF was signed by minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nasser Bourita, and UN resident coordinator, Philippe Poinsot.
Abidjan: 44th Session of OIC Council of Foreign Ministers Meeting Hails Morocco's Return to AU (Official)
The 44th Session of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) Meeting hailed, on Tuesday in Abidjan, the return of Morocco to the African Union (AU), said deputy minister in charge of Moroccans living abroad and Migration Affairs, Abdelkrim Benatiq.
OIC Foreign Ministers stressed that this return is a strong signal of the Kingdom's commitment to promoting peace and stability, and its willingness to contribute to development and prosperity efforts in the African continent, Benatiq told MAP.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Morocco is ready to start floating its currency, local media reported on Tuesday.
In June, the country’s central bank announced Morocco will start the first step of floating Dirham, Morocco’s official currency, in early July.
“Morocco has been ready, as we’ve already said. It’s a sovereign and voluntary decision the Moroccan authorities have taken as part of a long process of integrating the country into the world economy,” the Moroccan financial daily l’Economiste quoted Nicolas Blancher, head of mission for Morocco in the IMF’s Middle East and Central Asia Department, as saying. “We don’t see any big exposure to risk,” he noted.
The Moroccan government has said studies are being carried out to ensure enough time for the decision to take effect.
Currently, the Dirham is fixed via a peg that is 60 percent weighted to the euro and 40 percent to the U.S. dollar.
The first stage will ease that peg to allow the currency to trade in a narrow range, which will expand gradually over a few years.
Washington, DC, July 11, 2017, Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) – Morocco ranked No. 1 in North Africa and second on the continent in U.S. News & World Report’s ranking this week of “Best Countries for Immigrants” – part of its Best Countries survey series.
According to the outlet, more than 21,000 people from across the globe assessed 80 countries, and in the immigration aspect of the survey ranked them based on four elements: “economically stable,” “good job market,” “income equality,” and “is a place I would live.”
“Countries also were scored in relation to others on the share of migrants in their population; the amount of remittances the migrants they host sent home; and graded on a United Nations assessment of integration measures provided for immigrants, such as language training and transfers of job certifications, and the rationale behind current integration policies,” according to U.S. News.
In 2013, Morocco became the first country in the Arab world to adopt a liberalized immigration policy that provides protections for migrants and asylum seekers. In 2014, the country successfully regularized the status of about 25,000 migrants, providing them with residency papers; and in December 2016, launched a second phase of the program.
Earlier this month in a speech delivered to the African Union Heads of State and Government Summit, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI lamented the struggle of migrants on the continent. “Africa is losing its youths to legal and illegal migration. There is no way such a loss can be justified… Thousands of young Africans try clandestinely to reach the northern shore of the Mediterranean in search of a better life, with all the risks involved. They are precious men and women and are part of our continent’s human resources.”
He urged attendees, “What we need to do, above all, is to change our perception of migration and see it not as a constraint or threat, but as a positive element. Since time immemorial, has migration not been a factor of rapprochement between peoples and civilizations?”
“We must work together to develop an African Agenda on this question that includes a common vision of the ways and means of dealing with the question of migration, both within our continent and in international forums,” he said.
“Morocco has been a leader on the issue of migration for many years,” said former U.S. Ambassador to Morocco Edward M. Gabriel. “King Mohammed VI long ago recognized that a welcoming, humanitarian approach offers the best solution. Challenges remain, of course, but Morocco has made great progress in integrating immigrants into its society.”
Contact: Jordan Paul, 202.587.0855
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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The girls, aged between 15 and 17, from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, and Tunisia, will take part in a 22 day summer exchange program in Washington DC and Virginia between July 12 and August 3.
Previously the program had also included girls from Libya and Yemen, however this year they are not on the list of participating countries.
TechGirls is an initiative of the US Department of State that began in 2012 during the Obama administration.
Since its inception the program administered by youth organisation, Legacy International, has brought 158 teenage girls from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestinian Territories, Tunisia, and Yemen to the US for “a supercharged three-week program including coding camp, job shadow experiences and meetings with tech industry leaders.”
The US State Department says girls will attend leadership clinics and project management workshops at Virginia Tech and in Washington DC.
They’ll also be mentored by leaders in the tech industry from the US, the Middle East and North Africa.
It comes amid President Donald Trump’s 90 day travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority countries; which also places a 120-day ban on all refugees.
The Supreme Court in June announced it would allow a revised version of the ban to take effect before the justices will hear full arguments in October.
Afghan girls’ robotics team
Meanwhile six Afghan girls who were denied visas to enter the US for an international robotics competition will be watching their robot participate in the FIRST Global challenge on July 16 by Skype.
The high school girls had made the perilous journey – twice – from Herat to Kabul to apply unsuccessfully for their visas.
Teenage girls from Afghanistan Robotic House, a private training institute, practice at the Better Idea Organization center in Herat, Afghanistan.
“We still don’t know the reason why we were not granted visas, because other countries participating in the competition have been given visas,” 14 year old Fatemah Qaderyan told Reuters.
* Fitch says Moroccan covered bonds market would boost housing finance
* Fitch says introduction of a covered bonds market in Morocco would support continued strong growth of retail mortgage lending
* Fitch says asset quality in Moroccan banking sector is weak by international standards
* Fitch says Moroccan covered bonds would lessen maturity mismatches between banks’ assets and liabilities, reducing liquidity risk – a credit positive Source text for Eikon.
Morocco’s economy is expected to grow 4.8 pc in 2017, driven by strong recovery in the agricultural sector, Mission Chief of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Morocco, Nicolas Blancher said.
A total of 27,722 Moroccan expatriates returned to Morocco via Bab Sebta crossing point since the beginning of the 2017 Marhaba Operation on June 5 and until July 4, a customs source said.
During the same period of last year, 32,482 Moroccan expatriates returned to Morocco via the same crossing point (-14%).
The number of vehicles of Moroccans living abroad that returned to Morocco via this post on June 5-July 4 reached 5,335 (-16%), the source added.
Moroccan Autonomy Initiative, Credible & Serious Proposal to Find Compromise to Destructive Conflict
Professor Stephen Tomblin of the University of Newfoundland, St. John's in Canada, said that the Moroccan Autonomy Initiative is a “serious and credible” proposal that aims to “find a new compromise to a destructive conflict that has lasted too long”.
Southern Times Africa
By Magreth Nunuhe
WINDHOEK – Mauritius, South Africa, Rwanda, Botswana, Morocco, Namibia, Algeria, Tunisia, Kenya and Cote d’Ivoire are the 10 most competitive economies in Africa, according to the Africa Competitiveness Report 2017.
In all of Sub-Saharan Africa, Mauritius leads the pack as the topmost efficient country, while on the global scale it ranks as the 45th most attractive country in which to do business, having dropped from its 39th spot from last year.
Mauritius is followed by South Africa, whose global ranking has substantially improved from 56 to 47, while Rwanda has also upgraded from position 62 to 52. Botswana is up from 74th spot to 64 with Morocco at 70, while Namibia has only slightly improved from 88th place to 84.
Tunisia is at 95, Kenya (96) and Côte d’Ivoire (99). The May 2017 report was published by the African Development Bank (AfDB), World Economic Forum and World Bank.
It assesses competitiveness landscape of economies, providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity, while also assessing national competitiveness worldwide and providing a platform for dialogue between stakeholders.
Mauritius continues to outperform its continental peers because “its leaders have removed the hurdles that prevent so many other countries from achieving prosperity; in this case, streamlining its goods market, building solid infrastructure and promoting a healthy workforce”.
South Africa and Rwanda have also improved their global ranking since the last index was released in 2015, with their continued growth being attributed to the uptake of technology, efficient financial markets and a focus on strengthening institutions. The report indicates that creating jobs can lead to Africa’s economic revival that may sweep the continent to prosperity. But in general, countries that have put in place sound fiscal and monetary policies, by keeping inflation, debt, and current accounts in check, have tended to see improvements in their macroeconomic environment, counterbalancing the negative effects of shrinking revenues.
“This is an aspect where many African countries have improved significantly, having better control of inflation and government accounts compared to 20 years ago, and in some cases achieving a performance in line with advanced economies,” reads the report.
Countries like Gabon were hailed in the report for maintaining a low inflation rate, relatively high national savings, and a contained budget deficit, while Botswana, although impacted by shrinking mineral exports, has done well in ranking globally, thanks to good management of its resource fund, low public debt and inflation, and high national savings.
Together with Mauritius, Gabon and Botswana are said to have developed the soundest macroeconomic environments in Africa.
Mauritius is the only African country in transition from an efficiency driven economy to an innovation driven one, in the league of advanced economies, like Germany, Korea, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States.
The innovation-driven economies are characterised by the ability of a country to sustain higher wages and an associated level of productivity only if their businesses are able to compete with new and unique products using sophisticated management methods.
African countries in the efficiency driven stage of development are Namibia, South Africa, Cape Verde, Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia, whose economies are categorised by more efficient production and increased product quality, higher education and training, developed financial markets and the ability to make use of latest technological developments.
The above African countries are on par with countries such as Peru, Jordan, Indonesia, Albania, Belize, China and Colombia in terms of their stage of economic development.
The majority of African countries remain in the first stage of development – the factor-driven stage, where they are required to prioritise in building sound institutions and providing macro-economic policies, adequate infrastructure and ensuring a healthy and educated workforce.
According to the report, Africa has shown a five percent improvement, but compared to 10 years ago, Africa’s gap has started to widen with the world’s most advanced economies this year.
On a positive note, the quality of seaports and roads in some African countries, like Namibia and South Africa, perform relatively well, with the quality in line with average levels in advanced economies.
Africa has made significant progress on a number of crucial competitiveness dimensions over the past decade, such as on health and literacy, child mortality sharply declining from 83 to 47 percent, and primary school enrollment having grown to above 80 percent, according to the report.
East Africa is reported to be the sub-region that has managed to improve its competitiveness performance the most, gaining 8 percent in score since 2007, followed by Southern Africa, which has gained 6 percent.
West Africa and North Africa, after a short period of improvement, the competitive index note they are today at the same level of competitiveness they used to be 10 years ago.