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Morocco Fishing Output’s Value Up 10%

Thu, 08/31/2017 - 11:07

Brazil Arab News Agency

The country’s coastal and small-scale fishing produced 742,000 tons from January to July, which amounts to USD 457 million.

From the Newsroom*

Rabat – The output of the fishing sector in Morocco reached 742,300 tons from January to July and it’s worth MAD 4.3 billion (USD 457 million), up 10% in value when compared to the same period of last year, according to date released by the National Fishing Department (ONP, in the French acronym) and published this Thursday (31) by news agency Maghreb Arabe Presse (MAP). The data includes coastal and small-scale fishing.

Morocco is a large producer and exporter of fish. Brazil, for instance, imported USD 28.6 million in sardines from the Arab country from January to July of this year, an increase of 11.5% over the same period of 2016, according to data from the Ministry of Industry, Foreign Trade and Services (MDIC).

*Translated by Sérgio Kakitani

Rabat-Algiers Relations At A Standstill Because Of The Sahara

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 15:33

Sahara News
by Ali Haidar

Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said relations between Morocco and Algeria are at a standstill and have not witnessed any evolution for years.

Relations between the two countries deteriorated because of the dispute over the Moroccan Sahara and Algerian leaders’ persistence to defend the lost causes of the Polisario, a separatist Front they created at the time of the Cold War, with the sole aim of weakening their Moroccan neighbor and imposing their leadership in the region.

In an interview published Monday by Jeune Afrique magazine, the head of Moroccan diplomacy lamented the lack of cooperation at all levels between the two countries.

Nasser Bourita said in this connection that no bilateral visits were exchanged for more than seven years. Coordination remains static at all levels. The Arab Maghreb Union has not convened meetings in years and remains the least integrated grouping in the continent.

The Moroccan official blamed Algerian leaders for the diplomatic and media campaigns they have been staging against Morocco since the announcement of the Kingdom’s return within the African Union in January 2017. He said he was ready to work with all non-hostile countries, even if their standpoints on the Moroccan Sahara date back to a bygone era.

Nasser Bourita also brought up Morocco’s membership to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), stating that the regional grouping approved in principle this membership, which is now under legal review and that technical negotiations will follow.

“We are in contact with the ECOWAS Commission as we prepare for the Lomé summit (scheduled for December)”, he said, explaining that the geographical argument put forward by those opposed to Morocco’s membership was unfounded.

He insisted further that Morocco will be a valuable asset to the ECOWAS, recalling that the response of the ECOWAS heads of state to the royal letter of February 23 reflects a shared conviction that the accession of Morocco will be beneficial for all.

U.S. State Department To Get Experienced Diplomat In Key Africa Post

Wed, 08/30/2017 - 12:24

allAfrica.com
By Reed Kramer

Donald Yamamoto, who has extensive diplomatic experience in Africa including two tours as a U.S. ambassador, will take office as Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Africa on 5 September.

He is the second career official tapped for a senior policy position on Africa in the Trump administration.

News of Yamamoto’s appointment – first reported by @allAfrica on Twitter – was welcomed by Africa policy watchers.

“Having someone with Don Yamamoto’s experience in that post is very important,” Mel Foote, Constituency for Africa president, told AllAfrica. “As Africa confronts many challenges, we want to see responsible U.S. engagement in partnership with African governments and civil society organizations.”

Earlier this month, senior CIA analyst Cyril Sartor was named senior director for Africa at the National Security Council – after two previous attempts to fill the post failed.

@reedkramer Senior diplomat & ex U.S. ambassador to #Ethiopia Don Yamamoto to be acting Assistant Secretary for #Africa @StateDept

“With no dyed-in-the-wool Trumpian Africa hands available, the administration appears ready to cede Africa policy making to career civil servants and a few mainstream Republican appointees,” Matthew Page wrote earlier this month. “U.S.-Africa policy has been adrift,” said Page, formerly the State Department’s top Nigeria analyst and author of a forthcoming explanatory book on Nigeria by Oxford University Press.

Yamamoto has a one-year assignment. Naming him as acting Assistant Secretary gives the administration more time to decide who to formally nominate for the position – which requires Senate confirmation – while putting the Africa bureau in knowledgeable hands. He holds the rank of Career Minister. Among his honors is the Presidential Distinguished Service Award.

“Don Yamamoto has broad knowledge and experience, both in the field and in Washington,” says Ambassador Johnnie Carson, who served as assistant secretary for Africa during President Obama’s first term. “He will be able to provide the leadership needed to address the range of issues that the Bureau has to address.”

Morocco Arrests Three Over Links To Spain’s Terror Attack

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 22:33

Xinhuanet
Source: Xinhua

The Moroccan authorities have arrested three people over suspected links to Spain’s terror attacks, local media reported on Monday.

Citing Morocco’s Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations (BCIJ), Akhbar Al Yaoum said the suspects were captured in the Eastern city of Oujda, the northeastern city of Nador and Casablanca.

The same source said that two of the suspects were freed, while the third is still detained.
The detained is accused of preparing a terror attack against the Spanish embassy in Morocco, it added. He lived in Spain for nearly 10 years, it noted.

Moroccan authorities have raised security vigilance in the Kingdom’s northern region, especially near the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla, in a bid to thwart any infiltration attempts or smuggling of arms by terrorists.

Maine Woman Completes Selfless Mission To Help Young Man From Morocco

Mon, 08/28/2017 - 16:25

WCSH TV MAINE

Betsy Allen still does not know just what motivated her to help a young man half a world away in Morocco from her home in Aroostook County.

“I felt like I had to do it for him,” she said humbly when NEWS CENTER joined her on the trip to pick up Abdelkhalek El Malyani from the airport in Boston in August of 2016.

We followed their emotional reunion and El Malyani’s first visit to doctors at the Shriners Hospital in Springfield, Mass. The trip was the result of months of work by Allen raising money and support from Mainers.

A year later, Allen said she is overwhelmed by joy seeing how far he has come.

“Through Abdelhelek’s story I think I found my own–my own purpose,” she said.

She first met El Malyani while she was on a teaching service trip to Morocco in 2013. It was there she witnessed how he walked.

With a severe case of club foot, his twisted feet caused him to walk on the edges of his feet—something that was incredibly painful and challenging.

Now, after countless surgeries and therapy he is able to walk flat-footed.

“It has been absolutely amazing. It has been heartwarming. It has been lifechanging,” she said.

“Thank you America!” El Malyani said in an cell phone video Allen shared with NEWS CENTER.

Allen said he has learned some English in his time here and intends to continue studying the language. Aside from the serious physical limitations, she said his feet once made him an outcast in his community, and she hopes this provides a new beginning.

“He can go back now with his head held high and really contribute to his society,” Allen said.

In her own life, Allen is focused back on being a mom while finishing up her nursing degree.

“Really I just want it to last and I want to keep helping people,” she said.

She even has plans to continue education to become a nurse practitioner specializing in orthopedics—something she said was inspired by the journey.

“It’s just sheer joy to see and disbelief almost that this happened,” Allen said. “His feet are straight and the impossible became possible.”

El Malyani still has small braces on for the next month or so. Allen said he is set to continue therapy before heading back to Morocco in October.

Moroccan-Algerian Relations “At Lowest Level”- FM

Sun, 08/27/2017 - 10:40

The North Africa Post

Moroccan Algerian relations are stagnant at their lowest level with no bilateral visits planned for Seven Years, deplored Morocco’s Foreign Minister, Nasser Bourita.

Speaking to Jeune Afrique Magazine, Bourita said that Moroccan-Algerian ties remain static and that the Arab Maghreb Union has not held meetings in years making it one of the least integrated groupings in the continent.

He deplored Algeria’s hostility to Morocco’s quest to retake its legitimate place at the African institutional family. Algiers led anti-Moroccan campaigns deploying its diplomacy and media, he said.

In the interview, Bourita ranged over a number of topical issues of concern to Morocco and over the kingdom’s relations with its neighbors and partners.

On Mauritania, Bourita said that Morocco maintains close ties with its southern neighbor marked by neighborliness and cooperation.

With the European Union, Bourita highlighted the over 50-year old partnership, adding that despite occasional disagreements the two parties maintain dialogue and find solutions that further reinforce Moroccan-EU ties.

Concerning the Canary Islands, Bourita said that the controversy surrounding the demarcation of maritime boundaries was resolved. Morocco proceeded to updating its legal texts governing all its territorial waters. These texts, which date back to the 1970s and early 1980s, had to be reviewed and adapted to new realities as well as the International Law of the Sea, he said.

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.

Catalonia Attacks: Taking The Blame Off Morocco

Sun, 08/27/2017 - 10:32

The North Africa Post

The Moroccan origins of the perpetrators of the Barcelona and Cambrils attacks offered an easy scapegoat for pundits and media outlets in their attempts to ascribe terrorism to an external factor. By doing so, they further stigmatize a community of 800,000 Moroccan expatriates in Spain and fail to consider the deep causes of Europe’s residual terrorism.

The analyses that deliberately seek to put the blame on the Moroccan origins of the perpetrators are as superficial as they are lame. A look at the biographies of most of the perpetrators shows that they all have moved to Spain before the age of adulthood.

The driver of the van that ploughed into pedestrians in Las Ramblas in Barcelona, Younes Abouyaaqoub, 22 years old, is certainly born in Mririt in Morocco, but he moved to Spain at the age of 7. His brother, Houssain, one of the five terrorists involved in the Cambrils attack immigrated to Spain at the age of 4. Were these brothers terrorists when they left Morocco in such an early age?

Other terrorists of Moroccan origin involved in the Catalonia attack include the Hichamy brothers, Omar, 21, and Mohamed 24. They were shot dead in Cambrils. They were both born in Mrirt. The two brothers left Morocco respectively at the age of 3 and 6. Nevertheless, their Moroccan origin is highlighted every now and then by some Western media outlets as if it was in Mrirt where they learnt the basics of terrorism.

Likewise, the other suspects, the Aalla brothers, Said, Youssef have immigrated to spain at the age of 8 and 11 respectively, while one of the Oukabir brothers, who were shot dead too in Vambril near Ripolll, Driss, 28, left Morocco at the age of 10.

The persistence of Western media to raise the Moroccan nationality whenever the issue of Catalonia terrorist attacks is raised is actually clouding the real reasons behind the terrorist threat in Spain: domestically radicalized youth.

A recent survey from West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center found that since the Madrid 2004 terrorist attacks, more than 720 people have been detained in Spain in connection with “jihadi terrorism”, and almost a quarter of the 178 people arrested for terrorism-related activities over the past three years are from Barcelona.

The study shows that nine out of every 10 detainees included in the survey have been radicalized partly or fully while inside Spain, where terrorist recruiting agents take advantage of the hardships of immigrants in their ghettos and the lack of state effort to ensure their full integration.

Another factor that contributed to the radicalization of the youth involved in Catalonia attack is the lack of oversight over mosques in Spain. Police reports indicate that they have been indoctrinated by an unqualified Imam at a mosque in Ripol. This Imam, Abdelbaki Es Satty, who left Morocco and abandoned his children has learnt the basics of extremism between Spain and Belgium. Belgian authorities warned Spain about his extremist propension, but he managed to keep his job in leading disillusioned youth astray.

Es Satty has also been indicted on drug trafficking charges among other crimes. Had Spain consulted Morocco on Es Satty, he could have never been an Imam.

Spain and the EU in general should reconsider their laxity with extremist religious discourse and develop more policies to integrate the disenchanted youth hailing from migration, mainly Algerian, Moroccan and Tunisian migration.

The spread of confusion by highlighting every now and then the origins of the terrorists will backfire. Spreading such amalgams plays into the discourse of far-right groups who are seeking to pin all that goes wrong in the Western societies on Muslim immigrants.

Such discrimination, if not contained, will result in a counter reaction and an increased stigmatization, which could lead to radicalization. The wise thing to do is to tackle terrorism as a global problem requiring the help and contribution of the Muslim diaspora, authorities and the media and trans-border cooperation.

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.

HM King Arrives In Morocco On Private Visit

Sat, 08/26/2017 - 16:42

BNA

His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa arrived in the Kingdom of Morocco on a short private visit.

HM the King was received on arrival by Moroccan Prime Minister Saad Eddine El Othmani , Rabat–Salé Kenitra Wali Mohamed Mhidia, Military Contingent commander General Abdulla Boutaleb, Bahrain Ambassador to Morocco Khalid Salman Al-Musallim and other senior officials.

SDX Energy’s Strong Performance Reveals Circle Oil Boost And Well Successes

Fri, 08/25/2017 - 21:50

Proactive Investors
Jamie Ashcroft

“We continued to make strong operational progress across our North African portfolio in the second quarter and we are also pleased to see the positive impact that the Circle acquisition is having on our business,” said chief executive Paul Welch.

SDX Energy PLC (LON:SDX) shares gained today as it revealed a first half boosted by the acquisition of the Circle Oil assets with net revenues transformed.

In late afternoon trading, SDX shares were up nearly 4%, or 1.75p at 46.00p.

READ: SDX Energy set for ‘considerable upside’ as it moves South Disouq to production – analyst

The company, in results for the six months ended June 30, reported revenue of US$18mln compared with US$4.6mln in the same period of 2016. Netback on oil production amounted to US$13mln, versus US$2.3mln, and SDX’s net cash generation amounted to US$11.1mln compared to US$0.8mln last year.

“We continued to make strong operational progress across our North African portfolio in the second quarter and we are also pleased to see the positive impact that the Circle acquisition is having on our business with improving Netbacks and a strong cash and working capital position as at the end of H1 2017,” said Paul Welch, SDX Energy chief executive.

SDX ended the first half with US$27.6mln of cash and equivalents.

Production growth

Operationally, the group produced an average of 3,351 barrels oil equivalent per day for the six month period – with 2,170 boepd coming from the North West Gemsa field, 635 boepd from the Meseda operation and the Morocco assets contributed 546 boepd.

SDX is investing in a number of new initiatives including a programme of work-overs in Egypt and … in Morocco.

Notably, in the first half the company successful unearthed a new gas discovery in the South Disouq exploration well (SD-1X) which in testing flowed at a stabilised rate of 25.8mln cubic feet per day, significantly ahead of company expectations.

Welch said: “Following the discovery at South Disouq, SDX is targeting first gas during Q1 2018, with preparations for both the development activities and the second exploration phase now significantly advanced.

“In due course, I am looking forward to updating the market with our plans to develop the existing discovery on South Disouq, to add additional gas resources to the reserve base and on how we propose to exploit the deeper oil potential within the concession.”

WATCH: ‘We think 2017 could be a watershed year for SDX Energy’ – CEO Paul Welch

Now, the group is preparing for its Morocco programme.

“Following a successful tendering process, we are ready to undertake an exciting drilling campaign in Morocco,” Welch said.

“We have significantly de-risked a portfolio of exploration and development prospects in these recently acquired concessions and we anticipate that positive drilling results will enable us to bring additional high margin gas production online in a timely manner.”

“Another set of impressive financials”

Cantor Fitzgerald analyst Sam Wahab described Friday’s update as “another impressive set of financials” and highlighted the active period that the statement covers.

Wahab, in a note, said: “we believe investors should focus on SDX’s operational progress in Morocco, with a multi-well drilling campaign slated to commence this quarter, to further grow SDX’s high margin production in the region, against the backdrop of an attractive local gas market.

“Sebou in particular will allow SDX to execute on a drilling campaign that will provide additional production capacity and reserves, if successful.

“We have been encouraged by the pace of operational progress SDX has demonstrated in 1H/17, and investors can look forward to a period of significant drilling activity providing material, near term, share price catalysts.”

Hotelier Summit North Africa To Explore Innovative Technologies For The Hospitality Sector

Fri, 08/25/2017 - 16:20

Travel Daily News International
Vicky Karantzavelou

The Summit will highlight specific ground-breaking technologies as 3D Printing, BIM Technology, Bio Mimicry and Pre-fabricated Modules among many others.

MOROCCO – With a surge in technological innovations surrounding the real estate and hospitality sector, the 2017 edition of Hotelier Summit Africa (North) will feature cutting-edge technology solutions to improve the productivity of the industry players.

To be held from October 4th-6th, 2017 in Mazagan Beach & Golf Resort in Morocco, the mega-event will highlight specific ground-breaking technologies such as 3D Printing, BIM Technology, Bio Mimicry and Prefabricated Modules, among many others.

The Ministry of Tourism, Morocco has officially endorsed the event and representatives from the Ministry will address the gathering during the welcome reception on October 4th 2017.

The key objective of the Summit is to explore the potential impact of these technologies on the real estate and hospitality sector. While the Summit will focus on a variety of innovative solutions aimed at boosting productivity, it will also tackle operational challenges across specific project parameters.

“The future of the real estate and hospitality industry is being transformed with technology. Innovations are being quickly pursued by companies that offer an unrivalled experience to the customers. As we understand the importance of integrating innovative technologies in daily operations, the Hotelier Summit Africa (North) aims to dive deeper into the implications of this technological revolution – and understand what it means for the local and global hospitality industry,” said Ravi Kumar Chandran, Director of IDE.

Featuring presentations, interactive panel discussions, workshops and a networking session, Hotelier Summit Africa (North) will offer attendees opportunities to learn more about emerging technologies that will not only transform the business, but also provide them with real-life solutions and experiences.

“Building large complex structures are very expensive and time-consuming. However, companies are combining multiple emerging technologies as drones, 3D printing and automated robots to gather data, automate processes and build structures with more precision, accuracy and speed.

Similarly, hotel technology presents seemingly endless possibilities such as smart controls, virtual reality leads to great improvements and savings for hospitality industry; and are changing how hotel developers plan their buildings, infrastructure, management structure and staffing requirements.

The 13th Edition Hotelier Summit North Africa will share the latest technology-led innovations that are making a mark on the industry. Thought-provoking speakers and facilitators will take centre stage to share their views and ideas about the emerging innovation trends in the hospitality and real estate sector” added Ravi Kumar Chandran.

The summit will witness participation from over 500 attendees and leverage on innovative technologies to fundamentally transform and lead the way for industry players.

“Innovation is critical in today’s time. It is the only way possible for businesses to survive in the competitive marketplace. Innovation is not about fostering an individual’s creativity, but about creating a culture that supports creativity, and at Hotelier Summit Africa (North) we aim to showcase not just the innovative technologies, but also display the systems and tools that support innovation”concluded Ravi Kumar Chandran.

Innovation is a cornerstone of social and economic development, and a key to promoting economic growth, increasing competitiveness as well as providing new job opportunities. Crucial to the continued success of hospitality and real estate sector in Morocco and around the world, the 13th Edition Hotelier Summit Africa (North) will outline emergent innovative trends that will drive the effort among hospitality brands.

Morocco Is A Partner In Fight Against Terrorism

Fri, 08/25/2017 - 02:00

Financial Times
From Jais Mehaji, London, UK

© AFP
Sir, Heba Saleh writes, in “Spain atrocities throw spotlight on Moroccan militants” (August 22), about the prominent role of men of Moroccan origin behind the recent terrorist attacks in Spain.

But the ability of Moroccans to conduct terrorist attacks in Europe has less to do with Moroccan authorities letting them “direct their energies elsewhere”, as Issandr el-Amrani is quoted as saying, and more to do with worryingly lax security measures in Europe. It was in fact Moroccan counter-terrorism intelligence that helped France and Belgium thwart a number of terror attacks, and it was Moroccan intelligence that helped locate Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the orchestrator of the November 2015 atrocities in Paris.

It is no secret that terrorists travel freely at will throughout Europe, bypassing security measures. And most of these vile terrorists are born and raised and, more importantly, indoctrinated in European capitals by militant Imams who were welcomed with open arms by London and Paris.

Morocco has not had a major terrorist attack since 2003 for the simple reason that it takes pre-emptive steps to dismantle cells, rather than reacting once lives have been lost. It may have to do with Europe’s quixotic obsession with protecting the human rights of murderers, but it is wrong to suggest that Rabat is encouraging would-be foreign fighters to travel unhindered rather than risk committing acts at home. If anything, Morocco is shouldering more of a burden than it should — and in the process is having its reputation as a successful partner in the fight against terrorism tarnished.

Jais Mehaji
London SW3, UK

Letter in response to this letter:

Beware of drawing too simple conclusions on counter-terrorism / From Seán Smith, London, UK

Morocco Vows To Combat Sexual Harassment

Thu, 08/24/2017 - 19:30

Daily Mail
By Afp

Moroccans demonstrate in Casablanca against sexual harassment on August 23, 2017, following the assault of a woman on a bus.

Morocco’s Prime Minister Saadeddine El Othmani vowed Thursday to adopt a strategy to tackle sexual harassment after attacks that have shocked the North African country.

Footage of a woman being assaulted by six bare-chested teenagers on a bus last week sparked outrage less than two weeks after a video emerged online of men hounding a lone woman in the northern city of Tangier.

The government is “considering how to deal with this kind of phenomenon so that such acts do not happen any more”, Othmani said in a broadcast speech.

“The strategy to be adopted will be announced at the appropriate time,” he said, a day after hundreds of people protested in the economic capital Casablanca over the assault on a bus there.

Six suspects were arrested on Monday after footage was shared on social media showing bare-chested teenagers assaulting the weeping young woman in broad daylight, laughing as they touched her private parts.

Morocco officially champions a tolerant version of Islam and does not impose the veil, but women are frequently subjected to insults, derogatory remarks and other sexist attacks in public.

Official figures show that nearly two-thirds of Moroccan woman have suffered violent attacks, often in public places.

Moroccan law condemns harassment of women at work but not in public spaces, according to the minister in charge of human rights, Mustapha Ramid, who pledged to work to extend the law to all cases.

‘World’s Best Pastry Chef’ Pierre Herme To Open Boutique At Luxury Moroccan Hotel

Thu, 08/24/2017 - 13:03

Malay Mail Online

Frenchman Pierre Herme, who was named the world’s best pastry chef in 2015, will be taking over the pastry kitchen of the luxury, five-star hotel La Mamounia in Marrakesh, in a partnership that marks the chef’s first outpost in Africa.

From November 1 onwards, guests of the palatial hotel will be able to sample Herme’s signature pastries and macarons at his first pastry shop in the region.

Along with a boutique set within the hotel, Herme has also signed on to create the dessert menu at the hotel’s four restaurants.

While Herme is well known among gourmands as the “Picasso of patisserie,” La Mamounia is also well known in the luxury hotel world as one of the most sumptuous and opulent palaces in Africa.

The property has taken the title of best hotel in Africa at the World Travel Awards Africa — an industry event billed as the Oscars of the travel world — and by CN Traveller UK in 2015.

With a nearly century-old history, the hotel has hosted everyone from Winston Churchill and Charles De Gaulle to Charlie Chaplin, Edith Piaf, Elton John, Yves Saint-Laurent and Paul McCartney. — AFP-Relaxnews

Morocco To Build A Desalination Plant In Casablanca-Settat

Thu, 08/24/2017 - 02:11

Desalination Biz

Morocco is finalising a feasibility study and financial and institutional structures for a new seawater desalination plant project, reports L’Economiste.

The new desalination plant will supply the city of Casablanca, Morocco

The plant will be located in Casablanca-Settat region, and will supply Casablanca.

Desalination plant projects are also reportedly in the pipeline for Al Hoceima, Chtouka, El Jadida, Essaouira, Laayoune, Safi, Saidia, and Tiznit-Sidi, as well as Abengoa’s up to 450,000 m3/d project in Agadir.

“With increasing demand and insufficient local resources, the only recourse to reduce the deficit in industrial or agriculture drinking water is desalination of seawater,” said secretary of state for water Charafate Afailal.

Morocco is currently implementing its Water Security Law and contractual framework, the water table contract, which sets out the rights, responsibilities and obligations of water users and other stakeholders. The aim is to avoid overexploitation of water resources.

A recent study showed that Morocco will need to desalinate 425 million m3 of water by 2030 to ensure supply.

Abducted Moroccan Sailor Reportedly Freed By Nigerian Kidnappers

Wed, 08/23/2017 - 01:50

The North Africa Post

Moroccan officer of the merchant navy, Ahmed Janane, who had been Kidnapped last July 31 by Nigerian pirates in the Gulf of Guinea after an attack of the ship “OYA 1”, flying Panamanian flag, has been freed last Sunday.

According to members of Ahmed’s family who revealed his release, he is expected back home in a few days, reported daily Assabah on Tuesday.

Ahmed Janane, another Moroccan merchant navy officer, Abdelkader Benhala, and three other people, all crew members of the ship “OYA 1”, belonging to the Congolese shipping company Ocean Express, were kidnapped by Nigerian pirates, the daily recalled.

The family of Ahmed Janane confirmed that he has been released by his kidnappers on Sunday (August 20) and announced his imminent return to Morocco, according to Assabah, which said that no details on the other Moroccan kidnapped sailor were available.

The Gulf of Guinea, which borders some 17 countries of West and Central Africa, is known as the most dangerous area in Africa after the Somali coast, particularly in Nigerian waters.

Armed pirates, traveling on board ultra-fast zodiacs, carry out 50 attacks each year against the ships transiting in the area. They steal the cargoes and take some sailors as hostages to demand payment of ransoms for their release.

But sometimes, the kidnappings have a sad ending when the hostages are killed. “In recent days, Nigerian pirates have killed 31 people of different nationalities in five abduction incidents reported to the country’s authorities,” Moroccan news portal le360 had reported early August.

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.

News Analysis: Is Morocco The Next Regional Hotel Hotspot?

Mon, 08/21/2017 - 16:52

Hotelier Middle East
Sarakshi Rai

Morocco is being hailed as the next hotspot for hotel expansion in the Middle East and North Africa region, with an influx of hotels set to open in the next few years.

To name a few examples, AccorHotels started operating the first Fairmont in Morocco this year; Marriott International opened Fes Marriott Hotel Jnan Palace in January 2017; Rotana signed an agreement to manage a property in Morocco in 2018; and two new Hilton hotels are set to open in 2017.

Hilton development director, Middle East & North Africa Feras Hasbini sees huge potential for both business and leisure tourism in Morocco. “The country, which is poised to become an important African economic hub, benefits from a well-developed infrastructure that links the major cities, tourist destinations and airports. It is also ideally located close to Europe, making it a popular destination for European tourists,” he told Hotelier Middle East.

But that’s not the only indicator. A report from BMI Research says the future is looking good for Morocco on several key levels: political stability, social standards and economic outlook.

Morocco has been identified as a key expansion location by global operators. Hilton re-established a presence in Morocco in March 2016 with the successful opening of Hilton Garden Inn Tangier City Center. In June 2017, it opened a second hotel in the country, Hilton Tangier City Center, and earlier this year, signalled its intention to ramp up expansion in North Africa with the establishment of a dedicated development department in Casablanca. According to Hasbini, the hotel giant sees great opportunity to further its presence in Morocco and already has a number of properties in the pipeline including Hilton Garden Inn Casablanca Sidi Maarouf and Hilton Taghazout Bay Resort & Spa.

Marriott International also opened Fes Marriott Hotel Jnan Palace, a new property under the signature Marriott Hotels brand located in the heart of the city of Fes this year. The hotel represents Marriott’s entry into Morocco and Marriott International’s first property in the city of Fes. Marriott International Middle East and Africa president and managing director Alex Kyriakidis said: “We are thrilled to be opening our first Marriott Hotel in Morocco and we believe the property will play a significant role in catering to the desires of business and leisure tourists alike. Marriott is committed to the North African market, and our rapid expansion demonstrates our belief in the continent’s booming economies.”

Moroccan hospitality chain Atlas Hospitality and FTI Group, the fourth-largest tour operator in Germany, formed a joint venture to invest $108 million in the Moroccan hospitality industry in December 2016. According to a report by Morocco World News, the venture will be overseen by the Moroccan Ministry of Tourism, which is working on a plan to boost sector growth by 2020. The report went on to add that the partnership aims to “build a minimum of four new hotels in the next two years. Some currently operating hotels are also expected to benefit from this partnership, including the Atlas Targa Club, the Idrissides Urban Club as well as the Dunes d’Or Beach Club in Agadir”.

Four Seasons Resort Marrakech director of sales & marketing Holger Frehde told Hotelier Middle East that there’s great potential for hotels in North Africa. The operator first opened the Four Seasons Resort Marrakech in 2011, followed by the Four Seasons Hotel Casablanca in 2015 and it is working on another opening in Rabat, the capital of Morocco. AccorHotels also signed a hotel management agreement with New Mauritius Hotels Limited, which saw the relaunch of an existing Morocco resort under the Fairmont Hotels & Resorts brand in May 2017. The reflagging of the property, now named Fairmont Royal Palm Marrakech, marks a significant step for the luxury brand in Africa with its first property in Morocco.

However while luxury hotels have set their sights on Morocco by focusing on the main cities of Marrakech, Casablanca, Agadir, Rabat, Tangier and El Jadida, there is still a need for branded budget and mid-market hotels.

This need is tied into the growth of Marrakech’s appeal as a tourist and MICE destination. The ‘Red City’ has successfully attracted the MICE sector according to a recent HVS report, where hotels have made efforts to promote the low tourist season to MICE sectors. The strategy is backed by Morocco Vision 2020 and has focused efforts on the development of MICE infrastructure, the report goes on to add.

According to Frehde, the Four Seasons’ resort and the destination are performing “amazingly well”. With the arrival of the COP22 in November 2016 to Marrakech, the city business has been thriving and “occupancies are higher than ever”, he told Hotelier.

Opportunity For All: Promoting Growth, Jobs, And Inclusiveness In The Arab World

Mon, 08/21/2017 - 13:04

Imf.org

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Government of Morocco, the Arab Fund for Social and Economic Development (AFESD), and the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF) will co-host a high-level conference in Marrakesh, January 29–30, 2018.

The conference aims to move the dial on discussions on inclusive growth in the Arab world from endorsement to execution. Following up on the 2014 Amman conference “Building the Future: Jobs, Growth, & Fairness in the Arab World,” participants from across the region’s public, private, and non-official spheres will exchange, peer-to-peer, their experiences, lessons, and ideas on how to create more jobs by exploiting new sources and sectors of growth.

They will address how to scale up opportunities for women and youth and better enable government policy to support higher and inclusive growth by promoting entrepreneurship and innovation while embracing transparency and technology to unlock the region’s potential.

Day 1 is dedicated to interactive innovation labs to solicit stakeholders’ experience with impediments to growth and inclusiveness and brainstorm on possible solutions and policy issues to be raised at the plenary sessions.

Day 2 features plenary sessions and a concluding high-level panel moderated by IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde. The objective is to engage on issues raised during the innovation labs and seek views on practical solutions to overcome hurdles to inclusive growth. Innovation booths will showcase promising ideas from the region’s youth to help expand opportunity for all.

Tentative Agenda

More details on the agenda to follow :

Finnish Intelligence Received Tip-Off On Moroccan Stabbing Suspect

Mon, 08/21/2017 - 10:43

US News & World Report
Reuters
By Jussi Rosendahl

The Chief of Turku Police Tapio Huttunen, Finland’s Prime Minister Juha Sipila and Finnish parliament member Annika Saarikko stand next to the memorial flowers at the Turku Market Square, in Turku, Finland, August 21, 2017. Lehtikuva/Roni Lehti via REUTERS REUTERS

By Jussi Rosendahl, Lefteris Karagiannopoulos and Tuomas Forsell

HELSINKI/TURKU, Finland (Reuters) – A Moroccan man suspected of stabbing dead two people in Finland was known to Finnish intelligence as a suspected extremist but was not being monitored, authorities said on Monday, as the prime minister urged parliament to fast-track a new security law.

Abderrahman Mechkah, an 18-year-old asylum seeker who had no criminal record, was shot in the leg and arrested after Friday’s attack in the city of Turku, in which eight other people were injured.

Police say they are treating it as the first terrorism-related attack in Finland, which the World Economic Forum has described as the world’s safest place to visit.

The Finnish intelligence service said in a statement it had received a tip-off earlier this year about Mechkah.

“According to the tip-off, the suspect seemed radicalized and was interested in extreme thinking,” it said, while adding there was no information to suggest a threat of an attack.

The service said Mechkah was not among the around 350 people it was monitoring in its terrorism prevention program.

Police requested on Monday that Mechkah and four other arrested Moroccans be held in pre-trial detention. A court hearing will take place on Tuesday at 0800 GMT, with Mechkah appearing via video link from hospital. He and his lawyer have yet to respond to the accusation against him.

The National Bureau of Investigation said it was requesting that he be detained pending investigation “for two murders with terrorist intent and eight attempted murders with terrorist intent”.

Investigators have not made clear what role the four other Moroccans are suspected of playing. They deny involvement. Police also issued an international arrest warrant for a sixth Moroccan national.

King Mohammed VI : Morocco’s African Policy Has Had Positive Impact On Sahara Issue

Mon, 08/21/2017 - 01:11

Middle East Confidential
by Jaber Ali

Morocco’s African policy has had positive impact on the Sahara issue, said on Sunday by King Mohammed VI, citing in this regard many countries’ positive stands and the resolutions adopted by the African Union.

In a speech made on the occasion of the 64th anniversary of the Revolution of the King and People, (National Day marking struggle led by Late King Mohammed V and the Moroccan people against the French colonizers), the Monarch said Morocco’s African policy is based on solidarity, balanced partnerships, mutual respect and seeks the fulfillment of African peoples’ shared interests.

“The focus on Africa will not affect our stances, nor will it be at the expense of our national priorities. In fact, it will bring added value to our national economy and will deepen and consolidate our relations with African nations”, stressed the Sovereign.

“Our African policy has had a direct, positive impact on the question of our territorial integrity, be it with regard to states’ positions or the resolutions adopted by the African Union”, added the Monarch.

“2016 was the year of resolve and intransigence, during which we matched action with words to thwart the schemes designed to impinge on our rights, 2017 has been the year of clarity and of a return to the standards and principles for the settlement of the artificial dispute over the Moroccanness of the Sahara”, underlined King Mohammed VI.

He went on to say that “this firm, unambiguous policy has helped put the process back on the right track, thereby halting the plots designed to divert it into the unknown”.

This was confirmed by the UN Secretary-General’s report as well as the Security Council resolution adopted last April, be it in terms of commitment to the frame of reference for a settlement, the appreciation of the autonomy proposal as a negotiating framework, or the determination of the legal and political responsibilities of the real party concerned in this regional dispute, said the Sovereign in his speech.

“The proactive, composed and firm manner in which we settled the Guerguerat crisis thwarted the efforts to change the facts on the ground in our Sahara and helped put to rest the myth of the ‘liberated territories’ peddled by Morocco’s enemies”, said King Mohammed VI.

In parallel with these developments, “international support for the autonomy proposal has continued, as illustrated by the growing number of states which have withdrawn their recognition of the fictional entity and by the legal settlement concerning Morocco’s economic partnership with a number of influential powers”, affirmed the Monarch.

Morocco To Send Humanitarian Aid To Flood-Hit Sierra Leone

Sun, 08/20/2017 - 11:56

Xinhuanet
Source: Xinhua

The Moroccan King Mohammed VI has ordered to send humanitarian aid to flood-hit Sierra Leone, the Moroccan foreign ministry said in a statement.

This humanitarian initiative is part of the strong friendship and active and constant solidarity that bind Morocco and Sierra Leone, the statement pointed out.

The aid consist of 60 tons of food, tents, and medicines for cholera, the statement noted.

This aid will be delivered by the Moroccan armed forces to Sierra Leone on Sunday.

Sierra Leone was hit by a devastating flood, which has left hundreds dead and missing.

The disaster began on Monday when heavy rains hit the country and a hillside triggered mudslides, engulfing homes and wreaking destruction.

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