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APM Terminals Tangier Celebrates 10 Years In Morocco With The Munich Maersk, The Largest Ship Calling An African Port

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 22:01

PortNews

APM Terminals Tangier welcomed the Munich Maersk, one of the world’s largest container vessels, as it made its maiden call to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the largest and most modern terminal facility in North Africa.

APM Terminals Tangier is one of the most important transfer points of global trade. In addition to handling Moroccan import and export cargo, the terminal manages and transfers cargo for onward destinations in Africa, Latin America and beyond. Tangier’s strategic location and state of the art facilities provides easy accessibility to cargo vessels sailing between the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.

The Munich Maersk is one of the largest vessels in the Maersk Line fleet, and second in a series of Maersk Line’s improved Triple-E class. With capacity to hold 20,000 containers, the vessel is the largest container ship to call a port in Africa as part of a regular rotation.

“We are delighted to welcome this latest addition to Maersk Line’s fleet in Tangier, just as we celebrate 10th anniversary of our operations. This is yet another confirmation of the strategic importance of APM Terminals Tangier as not only the gateway to Morocco, but as a leading transhipment hub in the region”, says Hicham El Alami, Chief Operating Officer at APM Terminals Tangier.

Since starting operations in July 2007, APM Terminals Tangier volume has grown 72%, to handle more than 1.7 million containers per year. The terminal operates at highest levels of energy efficiency and has reduced its CO2 emissions by 30% since 2009.

To ensure future competitiveness, the terminal recently acquired two super post Panamax cranes, to serve giant vessels like the Munich Maersk. This brings the total number of cranes in operation at the terminal to ten. Investments in elevating more cranes to serve even larger vessels in the future are underway, which will further cement Morocco’s place as an important orchestrator of global trade.

“With this maiden call of Munich Maersk to Tangier, we have yet another opportunity to celebrate our good cooperation with the city, the port and APM Terminals,” added Marcos Hansen, Maersk Line’s Managing Director in Western Mediterranean. As the latest addition to our modern fleet, this new vessel continues our commitment to serve our customers in 2/3 Morocco and around the world in an even more efficient, environmentally-friendly and sustainable way.”

With a high focus on operational efficiency and safety, APM Terminals Tangier has a strong track record in providing high quality services to customers and has become an employer of choice in the country. Furthermore, the terminal team takes pride in partnering with the community to provide a variety of education, sport and social economic programs.

APM Terminals is a leading global port and cargo inland services provider with a presence in 59 countries providing the world’s most geographically balanced global terminal network with 76 operating port and terminal facilities, five new port facilities under construction, and an inland services network spanning 103 operations at 89 locations in 38 countries. Headquartered in The Hague, Netherlands, the company works with shipping lines, importers/exporters, governments, business leaders and the entire global supply chain to provide solutions that help nations achieve their ambitions and businesses reach their performance goals.

Hotelier Summit To Capitalise On Morocco’s Tourism

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 13:36

Travel Trade Weekly

On the back of Morocco’s flourishing tourism industry, the Hotelier Summit Africa (North) scheduled on October 04 – 06 is set to boost the strategic relationships instrumental for the further development of the country’s multiple sectors.

Contributing to the prosperity of hospitality and construction industries, Moroccan tourism experienced significant growth this year, recording higher tourist arrivals from traditional and emerging markets.

In February, the country registered a 92 percent leap in Chinese visitors over 2016’s figure, with Russia, Japan and the US also soaring, up 82 percent, 62 percent and 32 percent, respectively.

Ravi Kumar Chandran, director, Hotelier Summit Africa (North), IDE, commented, “[…] Overall, the summit will serve as a strategic platform to help deliver growth, competitiveness and innovation in the hospitality and real estate industry [in Morocco].”

APM Terminals Tangier Celebrates 10 Years In Morocco

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 13:30

Marine Link
By Aiswarya Lakshmi
Photo: Maersk Line

APM Terminals Tangier welcomed the Munich Maersk, one of the world’s largest container vessels, as it made its maiden call to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the largest and most modern terminal facility in North Africa.

APM Terminals Tangier is one of the most important transfer points of global trade. In addition to handling Moroccan import and export cargo, the terminal manages and transfers cargo for onward destinations in Africa, Latin America and beyond.

Tangier’s strategic location and state of the art facilities provides easy accessibility to cargo vessels sailing between the Atlantic Ocean and Mediterranean Sea.

The Munich Maersk is one of the largest vessels in the Maersk Line fleet, and second in a series of Maersk Line’s improved Triple-E class. With capacity to hold 20,000 containers, the vessel is the largest container ship to call a port in Africa as part of a regular rotation.

“We are delighted to welcome this latest addition to Maersk Line’s fleet in Tangier, just as we celebrate 10th anniversary of our operations. This is yet another confirmation of the strategic importance of APM Terminals Tangier as not only the gateway to Morocco, but as a leading transhipment hub in the region”, says Hicham El Alami, Chief Operating Officer at APM Terminals Tangier.

Since starting operations in July 2007, APM Terminals Tangier volume has grown 72%, to handle more than 1.7 million containers per year. The terminal operates at highest levels of energy efficiency and has reduced its CO2 emissions by 30% since 2009.

To ensure future competitiveness, the terminal recently acquired two super post Panamax cranes, to serve giant vessels like the Munich Maersk. This brings the total number of cranes in operation at the terminal to ten. Investments in elevating more cranes to serve even larger vessels in the future are underway, which will further cement Morocco’s place as an important orchestrator of global trade.

“With this maiden call of Munich Maersk to Tangier, we have yet another opportunity to celebrate our good cooperation with the city, the port and APM Terminals,” added Marcos Hansen, Maersk Line’s Managing Director in Western Mediterranean. As the latest addition to our modern fleet, this new vessel continues our commitment to serve our customers in 2/3 Morocco and around the world in an even more efficient, environmentally-friendly and sustainable way.”

With a high focus on operational efficiency and safety, APM Terminals Tangier has a strong track record in providing high quality services to customers and has become an employer of choice in the country. Furthermore, the terminal team takes pride in partnering with the community to provide a variety of education, sport and social economic programs.

Morocco Makes Women Eligible For Muslim Notary Positions

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 03:40

ANSAmed

The ‘adoul’ profession, a sort of notary for judges in Muslim court systems, can be held by women and not only men in Morocco now.

”Eyes and ears of the judge” is the theological definition for the role normally reserved for men that lightens the work of notaries and judges in the administrative, civil and criminal justice systems. Every deed they write needs a judge to sign it to make it valid.

Due to customs, trust and accessibility – especially in small towns – ‘adouls’ are often used for real estate sales, inheritance laws and to record witness statements included in official trial documents. The justice ministry has now launched a public competition for October for 700 ‘adoul’ positions that women can take part in.

The competition is regulated by Law 16.03, which in at least its first draft in 1982 named ‘being a male’ as one of the requisites in Article 4.

The Article was amended a few years ago but no competition had until now opened to women as well. (ANSAmed).

Bitcoin Store $5 Mln Fraud ‘Operator’ Haddow Falls To Police In Morocco

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 03:32

Coin Telegraph
By William Suberg

“Clandestine” businessman Renwick Haddow is in police custody as the US moves to arrest another Bitcoin bad actor.

Multiple sources including the UK’s Daily Mail report that Haddow, who allegedly conned investors out of $5 mln via a fake exchange platform, was found in the Moroccan capital Tangiers.

“Haddow created two trendy companies and misled investors into believing that highly-qualified executives were leading them to quick profitability,” the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) commented after charging Haddow last month with securities fraud.

The British-born New York resident is said to have tricked investors who contributed funds to his Bitcoin Store platform and other ventures, diverting funds to offshore accounts.

“In reality, Haddow controlled the companies from behind the scenes and they were far from profitable,” the SEC’s New York Regional Office director Andrew M. Calamari added.

Cointelegraph previously reported on Haddow’s original arrest earlier this month, and Moroccan authorities are now set to consider his extradition.

It is a second high-profile Bitcoin case to surface involving the SEC this week, with the regulator also seeking $110 mln in anti-money laundering fines against Russian exchange BTC-e.

Its assumed founder, Alexander Vinnik, is also under pressure to pay a personal fine of $12 mln.

Morocco And Algeria Keep Building More Barriers

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 03:01

The Economist
Middle East & Africa
Marsa Ben Mhidi

Fences make neighbours poorer.

Had Algeria and Morocco honoured their agreement back in 1989 to form an economic union, along with Tunisia, Libya and Mauritania, they would be among the Middle East’s largest economies. Their poor border regions would be booming crossroads. Over the decade to 2015, reckons the World Bank, their two economies would each have almost have doubled in size.

Instead, Algeria grew only by 33% and Morocco by 37%, as both governments instead reinforced their barricades. Their north-west corner of Africa remains “the most separated region on the continent”, says Adel Hamaizia, an Algerian economist. While sub-Saharan countries agree common currencies and trade zones, Algeria digs deeper ditches. Morocco revamps its berms and renews its razor wire. Concrete walls rise on both sides. Frustrated families shout greetings across the divide. Tantalisingly, both have built hundreds of kilometres of east-west highways which stop short of their common border.

Islamic empires once spanned the Maghreb, the land of the setting sun, as Arabs term north-western Africa. Both countries share a common history, cuisine, architecture, strand of Islam and an Arabic dialect mashed with Berber and French. But in 1957 colonial French generals erected an electrified barrier, the Morice Line, along the border to keep out arms-traffickers and guerrillas based in newly independent Morocco. Bar five paltry years in between, the border has been closed ever since. In 1963 the two countries fought a brief war. Skirmishes are now rare, but fighting words are common. Algerian republicans deride Morocco’s monarch as feudal, and because of the kingdom’s land-grab of Western Sahara call him the world’s last colonial ruler. Their neighbours cannot help sniggering at Algeria’s latest prime minister, whose name, Tebboune, is Moroccan slang for “vagina”.

Their prospects should be brighter. Both countries have largely avoided the upheavals of the Arab spring. They are almost homogeneously Sunni, free of the region’s sectarian divides. They have the advantage of cheap labour, and offer Europe a bridge to Africa. Algeria has had the edge. It produces copious oil and gas. And it developed a programme of mass industrialisation and agrarian reform after independence, while King Hassan II, who died in 1999, preserved his ancient kingdom like a museum. Algerians spend twice as long in school as Moroccans, and with so much oil, they earn almost twice as much.

Yet Morocco is catching up fast, thanks to its greater economic openness under Hassan’s son, Muhammad VI. The kingdom ranks 68th on the World Bank’s measure for ease of doing business—88 places above Algeria. Exporting goods from Algeria takes six times as long as from Morocco, and costs almost four times as much. Algerian businessmen complain that centralisation, corruption and red tape have crushed local production. Investment is deterred by a law that limits foreign shareholders to 49% of any concern. Look at Renault, they say. Its production line in Tangiers, in Northern Morocco, is the largest car manufacturer in Africa to be sourced from locally made parts. But its plant in Oran, Algeria’s second city, is little more than an assembly line. Algeria’s beaches can rival Morocco’s for beauty. The coves at Marsa ben Mhidi next to its sandbank with Morocco are enchanting. But tourism on its coast remains state-run and spartan, while Morocco’s are considered some of Europe’s premier escapes.

The time was when smuggling at least provided Algerians near the border with a living. Trucks and donkeys hauled subsidised basics like fuel, flour and sugar to Morocco, and returned with hashish from Morocco’s mountainous Rif. But the latest fortifications have put paid to that. Young men who once plied the routes now fill the mosques with their frustration. Unfinished villas line the roads, abandoned. Officials say the new defences will keep out the drug barons and the risk of a spillover of Morocco’s growing Berber unrest. But locals suspect that at a time of falling oil revenues, the army is simply diversifying its revenues by hogging the smugglers’ take. For $80, they say, soldiers will open the gates of army border crossings at night to those without papers.

For five brief years it was all so different. In 1989 both countries removed visa controls as part of a new Maghreb Arab Union. Trade moved freely. Algerians went west on holiday. The two countries parked their squabble over Western Sahara. Then in 1994 a bomb went off in Marrakesh, and King Hassan, nervous that the civil war in Algeria was heading his way, accused Algeria of involvement and chased out its nationals. Algeria’s generals responded by closing their borders, battening down the edges, and retreating into huffy isolation. As with the Gulf Co-operation Council, another trading bloc that has failed to deliver at the other end of the Arab world, practice rarely matches fraternal ideals.

This article appeared in the Middle East and Africa section of the print edition under the headline “Open Sesame”.

OIC Condemns Killing Of Moroccan Peacekeeper In Republic Of Central Africa

Thu, 07/27/2017 - 01:11

Asharq Al-Awsat English
Getty Images

UN peacekeepers pictured last month in Bria, north of Bangassou.

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) strongly condemned an attack that targeted yesterday a group of UN peacekeeping force, in South-East of the Republic of Central Africa.

One Moroccan UN soldier was killed and three others injured while escorting a humanitarian convoy to provide water. The attack took place in the southern diamond-mining town of Bangassou.

OIC Secretary-General Dr.Yousef bin Ahmed Al-Othaimeen expressed regret over the incident and ongoing violence waged by the Anti-balaka militias, in Banguasu, for more than two months which led to claim many Muslim victims, stressing solidarity with the OIC with the Central Africans.

The Secretary-General expressed condolences to the Moroccan Government, to the family of the victim and wished the injured speedy recovery.

Asharq Al-Awsat English

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

Two Moroccan Peacekeepers Killed In C. Africa Attack

Thu, 07/27/2017 - 00:54

Daily Nation Kenya
AFP Photo Pacome Pabandji

UN peacekeeping soldiers from Rwanda patrolling in Bangui, Central African Republic. Two Moroccan UN peacekeepers were on July 26, 2017 killed in an attack in the country’s southeast.

In Summary

The Moroccan peacekeepers were killed in an ambush by suspected anti-Balaka fighters.

The country is struggling to emerge from a civil war that erupted in 2013.

This followed the overthrow of former president Francois Bozize, a Christian, by Muslim rebels from the Seleka coalition.

By AFP
More by this Author

BANGUI

Two Moroccan UN peacekeepers were Tuesday killed in an attack in the Central African Republic’s southeast, two days after the death of another soldier from the same contingent, the force said, blaming pro-Christian militias for the violence.

“The Minusca (peacekeeping mission) regrets to announce the deaths of two more blue helmets on Tuesday afternoon in Bangassou,” a town 700 kilometres (430 miles) east of the capital Bangui, the peacekeeping force said in a statement.

The Moroccan peacekeepers “were killed in an ambush by suspected anti-Balaka fighters, while another peacekeeper was slightly injured,” Minusca said in its statement.

The UN peacekeepers were attacked as they were stocking up with water “for the humanitarian needs of the town,” the statement added.

The country is struggling to emerge from a civil war that erupted in 2013 following the overthrow of former president Francois Bozize, a Christian, by Muslim rebels from the Seleka coalition.

VIGILANTE UNITS

The coup led to the formation of “anti-Balaka” (anti-machete) vigilante units, drawn from the Christian majority, which began to target Muslims. Both sides committed widespread atrocities.

On the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, Bangassou has in recent weeks become the epicentre of the unrest in the Central African Republic.

A similar ambush in Bangassou on Sunday left another Moroccan UN peacekeeper dead.

ATTACKER KILLED

On Friday, a patrol of peacekeepers was shot at and one of the attackers killed, a MINUSCA spokesman told AFP, again blaming pro-Christian militias.

Six blue helmets were killed in Bangassou in May.

Former colonial power France intervened in 2013 to stop violent Christian-Muslim clashes and formally ended its peacekeeping mission only last month, hailing it a success despite fresh outbreaks of violence.

That leaves mainly the UN’s 12,500-strong Minusca peacekeeping mission to protect civilians from armed groups.

Welcome To Morocco

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 16:02

Hellinic News

Welcome to Morocco: Tangier from the Kasbah looking down on the Medina & the new port facilities.

“Welcome to Morocco,” was the greeting not just from the front desk reception at hotels but from shopkeepers, people on the street, vendors in the Medina and waiters at cafes. Expressed with broad smiles it seemed to this first time visitor to the ancient Kingdom of Morocco to be genuine.

Passersby greeted each other and this foreign writer with “good day” in Arabic, French or Spanish, depending on location.

Simple statements, yet time taken out of their day to make one feel less of an outsider had a major impact. It made one think why these ordinary gestures were important. Hospitality was not learned in university courses; it was embedded into a nomadic culture in a land of rugged beauty that preceded the Prophet Mohamed’s reinforcement of the concept:

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him honor his guest and recompense him.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, what is his recompense?” The Prophet said, “It is for a day and a night, as good hospitality is for three days and after that it is charity.” And the Prophet said, “Whoever believes in Allah and the Last Day, let him speak goodness or remain silent.” (Prophet Mohamed on hospitality) 1

Does that mean Morocco is a haven of smiling calm? Hardly. Crossing a street provides challenges, as anyone who’s traveled to Southeast Asia can attest – one goes with the flow of traffic and calculates timing. Turning down another request for a tour guide was repetitive.

A firm but friendly “no thank you” may have to be repeated dozens of times as shopkeepers in the Medina and waiters in front of cafes entice visitors to enter. Sometimes simply turning in the opposite direction worked well after persistent entreaties. What never worked was a display of frustration. The response to that was being offered another glass of mint tea – the hook to make the sale.

One article cannot be a guide to an entire country. Tangier is frequently a visitor’s initial stop owing to its close proximity to southern Spain and was this travel journalist’s introduction to Morocco. Five days in the city offered a glimpse of the Kingdom’s culture, ancient past and future path creating a template for explorations in the north over the following two weeks.

Looking out from on top of the walls of the Kasbah (fortified city) onto the harbor and the Strait of Gibraltar with the Medina below it’s obvious why Tangier has occupied a prized location for nearly 7,000 years. To the original Berbers, Phoenicians and Romans it was an essential Mediterranean trading port with access to the Atlantic Ocean, Ireland and the British Isles beyond. A mere nine miles to the Iberian Peninsula it launched the Moorish conquest forever shaping the culture of what would eventually become Spain.

Whoever held Tangier controlled the front gate to the Mediterranean world, which is why during the rise of European empires in the 18th century it was hotly contested with France ultimately emerging as the dominant power spreading its influence and language throughout most of present day Morocco. Despite the end of the Protectorate in the 1950s, French remains the dominant second language of the Kingdom and a part of Moroccan culinary legacy.

Since this visit coincided with the holy month of Ramadan, Tangier epitomized the dichotomy of the Kingdom. Devout Muslims fast for 15 hours each day for 30 to 31 days – approximately 4:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Fasting means ingesting nothing by mouth, not even water.

Keeping cool during Ramadan

Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar, which is based on the lunar cycle so the exact dates shift each year. In 2017 it straddled the end of May through the third week of June. Tangier, Rabat, Casablanca and other coastal cities averaged in the humid 80s (F) in June. Inland – Fes, Meknes, Marrakesh – temperatures soared into the low 100s (F).

Standing on that fortified wall of the Kasbah gave a birds eye view of the soon to be completed construction of Tangier’s new cruise ship terminal and fishing fleet port (commercial fishing remains a major industry in the waters of the Strait of Gibraltar). Construction cranes dotted the modernizing city while just a few feet away stonemasons worked in the sweltering heat on major historic restoration projects – all without so much as a drop of water allowed.

This was not a sponsored trip for this travel journalist; it was a personal exploration. Accommodations and restaurants were not chosen with the expectation that they would appeal to all tourists although most of them should and they certainly shed light on today’s Morocco.

Bayt Alice interior

Bayt Alice is an art filled two hundred year old mansion in the ancient medina of Tangier masquerading as a budget hostel. Restored and operated by a retired French architect, Bayt Alice immerses its guest in the heart of ancient Tangier and attracts an international mix of travelers, many young. Yet good hospitality is infectious.

The roof top garden terrace was both the lounge and breakfast room where talks of adventures were exchanged and a sumptuous traditional Moroccan breakfast could be reserved at minimal cost. The rooms were not air-conditioned but the traditional design of the house allowed for adequate airflow and this journalist was provided with a fan on request.

Just outside the door were the twisting streets of the ancient Medina of Tangier ­– traditional shopping malls for this area of the globe. It was such a narrow maze of streets they would, and did, hinder invaders! Be prepared to get lost, although a properly equipped smart phone with a map app will be beneficial.

This chef journalist ate in small neighborhood cafes, often with much younger guests of Bayt Alice. Since this was Ramadan, many larger restaurants, with the exception of those specializing in the tourist trade, were closed, but street vendors and bakeries did a thriving business as locals bought food to break the fast after sundown.

From 7:30 p.m. any number of small cafes opened selling traditional tagines and couscous dishes along with salads and the copious varieties of pastries and sweets beloved by Moroccans.

Ask directions for Ch’Hiwat L’Couple a superb small neighborhood restaurant owned & run by Youssef & his wife Chef Hanane.

Sardines a la Chermoula at Rashid’s

Likewise seek out Rashid’s, a local hangout just around the corner from Bayt Alice, and savor such dishes as Sardines a la Chermoula -– each piece a sandwich of two fresh sardine fillets with cilantro, parsley, spices, lightly battered and pan fried.

In the evening take a taxi to Cafe Hafa, an institution without change since 1921 that attracted the great literary and political minds of the lost generation. Enjoy mint tea, the national drink, and the cooling breeze off the Strait of Gibraltar on its cliff side location above even the Kasbah. To drink something stronger one needs to visit bars in the larger hotels outside the Medina.

If shopping provides travel entertainment than Morocco’s Medinas will enthrall. If haggling thrills, the Medinas are akin to Las Vegas to attain that high. If on the other hand more peaceful activities are the agenda, Tangier provides.

The American Legation is the first and oldest American owned foreign property and the only one that’s a United States National Monument on the National Register of Historic Places. The Kingdom of Morocco was one of the very first to recognize American independence in 1777 and in 1821 the legation was established in the Medina of Tangier where it served as the embassy for 135 years. Still United States property it’s a beautiful building, a Moroccan cultural center and has an impressive art collection.

Dar-el-Makhzen was the 17th century Tangier palace of the Kings of Morocco prior to the French Protectorate (1912 – 1956). It remained a royal residence until the late 1930s. The beautiful palace now houses two museums, the Museum of Moroccan Arts and the archaeological Museum of Antiquities. Located at the highest point in the Kasbah, its gardens capture any breeze wafting though the city on a sultry afternoon.

There are popular excursions outside Tangier and should be arranged through licensed companies. Wide sand beaches abound and from both the Medina and newer downtown it’s an easy walk or taxi ride to the city beach. Nearly completed is the wide serpentine Beach Promenade well lit at night – all part of the vision of progressive King Mohamed VI to modernize both Tangier and the Kingdom.

American Legation, Tangier

It almost seems as if every Moroccan male over a certain age is a tour guide. They’re not. Taking a tour of any city in the Kingdom is well worth the modest expense if certified guides conduct it. Do ask your accommodations to help you arrange for an official guide and politely decline everyone else – certified guides don’t solicit on the streets or in taxis.

Over the following two weeks travels to the legendary “blue city” of Chefchaeouen, the Sufi holy city of Moulay Idress, the stunning ruins of the great Berber and Roman Empire city of Volubilis, fabled Fes, the former 17th century capital of Meknes and the rapidly modernizing current capital of the Kingdom, Rabat, reinforced the first impressions Tangier imparted. Morocco is determined to become a first world North African Kingdom balancing traditional values with modern progress.

Seventeen days in the northern Rif region of a multi-millennium old North African culture hardly makes a travel journalist an expert. Yet it opened a window of wonder onto the ancient Berber Kingdom of Mauritania, the Roman Empire, the spread of Islam, the Moorish impact of seven hundred years on the Iberian peninsula and the extraordinary continuity of the current 350 year old Alaouite Dynasty. “Welcome to Morocco” remained on the lips of the people fueling this travel journalist’s desire to return.

The Kasbah, Tangier

When you go: By ferry: Tangier is easily reached within one hour by high-speed ferry from the Spanish port of Tarifa. From the Spanish port of Algeciras the ferry runs to Tangier Med some 25 miles east of the city requiring a bus or taxi to reach Tangier. (The Algeciras ferries are convenient for visiting Morocco’s other Mediterranean coast resort cities) By air: international flights from major European cities land at Ibn Battuta Airport.

Travel with Pen and Palate every month to Greece and the world in the Hellenic News of America.

Travel with Pen and Palate returns to Greece September and October 2017. Follow his new Greek series starting with the October issue of the Hellenic News of America.

Bab Fass Gate to the Medina off the Grand Socco, Tangier

Katrina Kaif Is Taking Proper Surfing Lessons In Morocco To Surf Like A Pro!

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 15:22

PinkVilla
Home/Entertainment
Written By Upala KBR Mumbai

Katrina Kaif has been learning how to surf along the Atlantic Ocean coast.

… And no, Salman Khan is not learning this water sports!

If Salman Khan has been learning horse-riding in the ancient city of Essaouira, Morocco, Katrina Kaif is no less behind. She has been learning how to surf along the Atlantic Ocean coast but while Salman has been learning horse-riding for action sequences in the film, the actress has taken up a professional course of surfing as a hobby as she loves learning new and exciting things every day – sometimes for fun and sometimes for shoot sequence. She had done a water stunt with a seabob in Bang Bang and undergone training for the stunt for two days. Both Salman and Katrina been shooting for Ali Abbas Zafar’s Tiger Zinda Hai in Essaouira.

Says our source from Essaouira, “While Katrina has been learning for fun, she is also serious about learning it well. She has been taking wind surfing proper lessons every day from an instructor at Explora Watersports, which is the best surf and kite school in Essaouira. Salman has not been taking surfing lessons. His point of interest is only horse-riding. The surf and kite school is right across Katrina’s hotel and she walks across to it in the morning and takes lessons before shoot, whenever she gets time. Wind surfing is famous in Essaouira because it’s very windy along the coast.”

The source adds that Katrina had done her research before leaving for Morocco what Essaouira offered in terms of water sports. “She learned that Essaouira is one of the best beginner and mediocre wave surf spots in Morocco and a perfect spot for kite surfing. The instructors are certified and experienced professional teachers who help the surfers to push just that extra bit to catch a perfect wave. There are packages with daily yoga lessons given too and Katrina has taken that. So during sunset on the rooftop of the school she gets to stretch her sore muscles. It’s her second trip to Morocco and right now while she’s doing it for fun, whatever Katrina does she loves to be perfect the craft.”

When we asked the actress whether she wanted to learn how to surf like a professional, Katrina says, “Well it’s a hobby for now. Let’s see later…”

KHD Signs Contracts In Western Sub-Sahara Region

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 13:03

Cement News

Humboldt Wedag GmbH, Germany, a subsidiary of KHD Humboldt Wedag International AG (KHD), Cologne, Germany, has signed contracts totaling over EUR80m for the supply of equipment and execution of civil and erection works as well as supervision services for a cement plant in western sub-Sahara region.

The contracts will be booked as order intake as soon as the pre-conditions for commencing project execution are fulfilled, the company said in a statement.

Saudi King Arrives In Morocco For Private Vacation

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 11:35

Xinhuanet
Source: Xinhua
Editor: Huaxia

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud arrived on Monday in the northern Moroccan city of Tangier for a private vacation, local media reported.

The king was greeted on his arrival in Ibn Battouta by Moroccan Prime Minister Saadeddine El Othmani and the president of Tanger region Ilyas El Omari.

Nearly 924 rooms have been reserved for the Saudi delegation in the most prestigious hotels in the city, the Moroccan news site le360.ma reported.

A total of 453 luxury cars were also made available to the Saudi delegation, it reported. In recent years, the Saudi king has been spending his holiday in the Moroccan coastal city.

Prior to his departure, King Salman appointed his son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to run the affairs of the country in his absence.

Enditem

The Sun Shines On Historic Capital Of Morocco

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 11:00

The straits Times
photo: European Press Photo Agency

Moroccans and tourists took advantage of beautiful summer weather to enjoy the beach in Rabat, Morocco, on Sunday.

Tourists seduced by the exoticism of Marrakesh and Fez often unfairly neglect Morocco’s lesser-known capital, reported The Telegraph.

Rabat, which is located about 300km from Marrakesh and sits at the mouth of the River Bou Regreg, has fine public beaches and a 12th-century kasbah, or citadel, perched over the water.

Morocco welcomed about three million tourists during the first four months of this year, and is set to see an increase of about 10 per cent over the same period last year.

Tourism remains a vital pillar of the Moroccan economy and is the country’s second-biggest employer, after agriculture. The sector accounts for 10 per cent of national income and, along with exports and remittances from Moroccans overseas, is one of the country’s main sources of foreign currency, according to Agence France-Presse.

Maroc Telecom H1 Revenues Fall 5% To MAD 10 Bln In Morocco

Mon, 07/24/2017 - 15:23

Telecompaper

Maroc Telecom’s revenues in Morocco decreased by 5.1 percent to MAD 10.07 billion in the first six months to 30 June from MAD 10.62 billion in the same period in 2016, affected by the reintroduction of asymmetric call termination rates in March and the deregulation of IP telephony in November 2016. The fixed line and mobile outbound service revenues increased by 2.3 percent, driven by the success of high-speed offers.

EBITDA declined by 5.6 percent to MAD 5.36 billion from MAD 5.67 billion in 2016 as a result of lower revenues.

The EBITDA margin shrank by 0.3 percentage points to 53.1 percent, with a 0.5 percentage points improvement in the gross margin ratio and to a 2.3 percent decrease in operating expenses following the departure of 1,026 employees. The adjusted operating income was MAD 3.49 billion with a margin of 34.7 percent, down 1.4 percentage points as result of the fall in EBITDA and the increase of 1.5 percent in depreciation charge after an important investment programme.

The adjusted cash flow from operations in Morocco was MAD 3.09 billion, down by 9.3 percent due to the decrease in EBITDA amid lower mobile call termination rates, the deregulation of IP telephony and a 15.5 percent increase in investment, driven by the acceleration in the roll-out of 4G+. The mobile customer base reached 18.4 million on 30 June, an increase of 1.3 percent in one year, with 3.7 percent growth in postpaid and 1.0 percent in the prepaid subscriber base.

King Salman, Emir Of Qatar Family To Vacation In Morocco

Mon, 07/24/2017 - 13:45

ANSAmed Italy

King Salman of Saudi Arabia will spend his August holidays in the northwestern Morocco port town of Tangier for the third year running.

The king, who recently severed his country’s diplomatic ties with Qatar, is expected to arrive in the country on Monday.

Despite the diplomatic crisis, the Saudi royal family will be vacationing not far from emir of Qatar’s family, which chose the inland mountainous town of Ifran, less than 400 kilometres away, for its holidays.

King Salman will make his a working holiday, but he has left the kingdom in the hands of his son, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, 31, who was named on June 21 as heir to the throne.

The Moroccan government has chosen to remain neutral in the face of the diplomatic crisis with Qatar.

Two jets are expected to arrive at the Ibn Battouta Airport in Tangier from Jeddah on Monday evening, one with King Salman and his delegation aboard, and the other carrying his wife and part of his family.

The Saudi royal family has reserved 924 hotel rooms, for around 1,000 guests total; the large number of guests has made it impossible to find accommodations in 5-star hotels in the city for the entire month of August.

The delegation also had to comb auto dealerships in Marrakech, Rabat, and Casablanca to provide all of the 453 luxury cars it required.

Preparations in Tangier for the delegation’s arrival have been underway for about two weeks, since the time that the kitchen, cleaning, and ceremonial staff of 143 men and women arrived in the royal family’s luxurious estate with a view of the Atlantic Ocean. (ANSAmed).

Maghreb Future Is Tied To Resolving Western Sahara Conflict

Mon, 07/24/2017 - 12:37

Middle East Online
By Saad Guerraoui – LONDON

The political crisis in Libya is also hampering its ties with neighbouring countries.

Foreign Ministers from the AMU attend 34th Council of the organisation in Tunis.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) slammed the Arab Maghreb Union (AMU) for failing to ensure the free movement of goods in a free trade area that would span the wide North African region that in­cludes Morocco, Mauritania, Alge­ria, Tunisia and Libya.

“It is crazy that goods need to transit between these neighbours via the French port of Marseilles when they could simply cross over by land,” wrote Wadia Ait Hamza, head of Social Engagement — The Americas, in a paper posted on the World Economic Forum website.

Founded in 1989, the AMU is a pact seeking to establish economic and political integration between member countries.

The last planned summit origi­nally scheduled for May 26, 2005, was postponed indefinitely because of Morocco’s refusal to take part in it due to Algeria’s vocal support for Sahrawi independence. Analysts said that longstanding political disa­greements between Morocco and Algeria regarding the Western Saha­ra conflict besides the political crisis in war-torn Libya were hampering the union’s economic progress.

Morocco annexed Western Sahara in 1975 and maintains it is an inte­gral part of the kingdom. Algerian-backed Polisario Front separatists began an armed conflict with Mo­rocco for an independent state that lasted until the United Nations bro­kered a ceasefire in 1991.

Rabat has proposed a form of autonomy under Moroccan sover­eignty for the territory. The proposal was rejected by the Polisario Front, which insists on the right of the Sah­rawi people to self-determination in a UN-monitored vote.

Algeria denies involvement in the Western Sahara issue although its leaders are suspected of playing a key role in it.

In February, Moroccan King Mo­hammed VI warned that the AMU would crumble if its incapacity to live up to the ambitions of the 1989 agreement continued.

“Today, we regret to see that the Arab Maghreb Union is the least in­tegrated region in the African con­tinent, if not in the whole world. Intra-regional trade has reached 10% between ECOWAS [Economic Community of West African States] countries and 19% between SADC [Southern African Development Community] countries, while it is still stagnating at less than 3% be­tween Maghreb countries,” King Mohammed VI said.

Trade within the AMU is the low­est of any region in the world, aver­aging $200 million per year between the five countries. This accounts for 3% of the bloc’s total trade. The European Union accounts for more than 60% of the bloc’s total trade.

Mohamed Amine Mansouri Id­rissi, the general manager of Af­rique Strategie in Morocco, said it is “heartbreaking” that two neigh­bouring countries trade through a third party.

“Why do we have to make some­one else, who doesn’t create any added value, benefit from trade be­tween Morocco and Algeria?” asked Idrissi, adding that the third party could make much higher profits than Moroccan exporters, a policy that harms Algerian consumers.

Ali Bahaijoub, director of the Cen­tre for Euro-Mediterranean and Afri­can Studies, said that the AMU crisis was mainly due to the political stale­mate between Morocco and Algeria over Western Sahara.

“As long as the army rules in Alge­ria, the crisis between the two coun­tries will not be resolved,” Bahaijoub said.

“There is a political vacuum in Al­geria that is jeopardising the future of the region.

“It is better for Morocco to trade with other economic zones rather than wait for Algeria to open its bor­ders, which have been closed since 1994,” he added.

Algeria closed its land border with Morocco in 1994 after Rabat insti­tuted visa regulations on Algerian tourists following a terrorist attack on the Atlas Asni Hotel in Marrake­ch that killed two Spanish tourists. Morocco accused Algeria of being involved in the attack.

The political crisis in Libya is also hampering its ties with neighbour­ing countries. Huwaida Elfnayesh, a professor at Tripoli University’s School of Law, said “recent events in the Arab countries, represented by the ‘Arab spring’ revolutions, contributed to widening the gap between the union countries, espe­cially in terms of security.”

“Each country tries to secure its borders from the infiltration of ‘extremist fighters’ as well as the absence of a government in Libya. All these things have brought the union back to the scratch,” said Elf­nayesh.

“The problem of the Moroccan Sahara is still between Algeria and Morocco. Moreover, the collapse of the state in Libya and its civil war directly affects the countries of the union given that common borders with Tunisia and Algeria and the geographical location of Libya in the heart of the union, where Morocco has hosted the negotiations of the Libyan parties in the so-called ‘Skhi­rat’ under the auspices of the United Nations, but the peace process is still long, which is reflected nega­tively on any attempt to revive the Union.”

The WEF called for the opening of borders between AMU members to ensure the free movement of goods and people.

Economic analyst Atman Dkhissi said the WEF’s statement about the AMU is not something new.

“AMU members need to put aside their political problems to enhance trade between them that would boost employment in the region,” said Dkhissi, echoing Bahaijoub’s re­mark that the AMU’s future is tied to resolving the Western Sahara issue.

“Before the border closure, east­ern Morocco’s economy greatly de­pended on Algerian tourists’ spend­ing,” said Dkhissi.

Ali Hamza highlighted the Maghreb countries’ complementary economic conditions. While Tunisia and Morocco specialise in services and agriculture, Libya and Algeria have significant natural resources.

AMU Secretary-General Taieb Baccouche told Jeune Afrique maga­zine on the sidelines of the African Union summit in Addis Ababa “the fact that I have not yet had discus­sions with these two heads of state (Moroccan and Algerian leaders) since taking up my duties does not refer to any official position with regard to the AMU or with regard to myself.”

He said he was waiting for the AMU foreign ministers’ summit lat­er this year to present a new strategy before presenting it to various coun­tries’ leaders.

As for the political crisis between Morocco and Algeria, Baccouche ex­pressed his optimism about an im­provement in the future.

“I think reconciliation will come. We should not give up,” he said.

Elfnayesh was less than hopeful about the project’s future.

“Despite the great ambition of the Maghreb integration project, the reality proved its failure in all re­spects, as all the economic, political and security indicators show,” she said.

“Unfortunately, there are no quick solutions that could push the union ahead, with the many problems that surfaced on a daily basis — includ­ing the Libyan crisis — which led to the almost permanent closure of the border between most of its coun­tries after the ‘Arab spring’ and the anxiety of terrorism has dominated the governments of the region.”

Saad Guerraoui is a regular contributor to The Arab Weekly on Maghreb issues.

This article was originally published in The Arab Weekly.

Colas Has Won A Construction Contract To Extend A Tramway Line In Morocco

Mon, 07/24/2017 - 12:32

Thé Construction index

Société du Tramway de Rabat-Salé (STRS) has appointed a consortium of Colas Rail and its Morocco-based road construction subsidiary, GTR, to build the extension of Line 2 of the Rabat-Salé tramway. This extension will connect Rabat’s Yacoub El Mansour district and Salé’s new hospital to the tramway network.

The €29m (£26m) contract includes installing the tram platforms, laying rails and installing rail signalling equipment over a total distance of 7km. Colas will also add an additional storage track to the Hay Karima depot and relocate the tram stop serving Salé train station.

Construction work will start next month and the line extension is scheduled to start running in the second half of 2019.

UN: Moroccan Peacekeeper Killed, Three Wounded In CAR

Mon, 07/24/2017 - 12:19

Al Jazeera
News Central African Republic
Source: AFP news agency

The UN blamed pro-Christian armed groups for the shootings in the southern Central African Republic city of Bangassou.

The UN’s 12,500-strong MINUSCA peacekeeping mission is tasked with protecting civilians from armed groups which continue to flourish [File: Reuters]

An ambush killed a Moroccan peacekeeper and wounded three others on Sunday in the Central African Republic, the United Nations said, blaming pro-Christian armed groups for the violence.

“A MINUSCA (peacekeeping mission) military convoy was targeted by Anti-balaka,” it said of the clash in the southern city of Bangassou.

The country is struggling to emerge from a civil war that erupted in 2013 following the overthrow of former President Francois Bozize, a Christian, by Muslim rebels from the Seleka coalition.

The coup led to the formation of “Anti-balaka” vigilante units, drawn from the Christian majority, which began to target Muslims. Both sides committed widespread atrocities.

OPINION: World’s most neglected conflict rages on in the CAR

“The attack took place while the Moroccan peacekeepers were escorting water tankers to the river to help resupply the village,” the MINUSCA force said on Sunday, condemning the assault and sending “condolences to the family, the people and the government of Morocco”.

Earlier on Sunday, the UN condemned an “attack by Anti-balaka near a cathedral where a number of displaced people are living”. Two children were seriously wounded, it said.

Morocco Tops Maghreb Countries In Attracting Foreign Investment

Mon, 07/24/2017 - 02:26

Xinhuanet
Source: Xinhua

Morocco has topped Maghreb countries in terms of attracting foreign direct investment (FDI), local media reported on Sunday.

Citing a report by the Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation, the Moroccan financial daily L’Economiste said the North African kingdom attracted 2.3 billion U.S. dollars worth of FDI in 2016.

According to the report, Morocco overtook its neighboring Maghreb nations such as Algeria with 1.5 billion U.S. dollars, Tunisia with 958 million U.S. dollars and Libya with 493 million U.S. dollars worth of FDI in 2016.

Among Arab countries, Morocco came at fifth after the Unite Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Lebanon.

It noted that Arab countries drained some 30.8 billion U.S. dollars worth of FDI in 2016, a 25 percent increase compared to a year earlier.

Morocco, China Sign Deal To Build Africa’s Tallest Skyscraper In Rabat

Mon, 07/24/2017 - 02:16

Xinhuanet
Source: Xinhua

A Chinese firm has signed a deal with Moroccan companies to build the tallest skyscraper in Africa in the capital of Morocco, local media reported on Sunday.

The deal was concluded in Casablanca by China Railway Construction Corporation and Morocco’s BMCE Bank of Africa and Travaux Generaux de Construction de Casablanca, Morocco’s leading construction company, le360.ma news site said.

The 55-storey tower will reach 250 meters high, with the adoption of ecological and sustainable design concepts. It will include offices, hotels and luxury apartments, according to the report.

The tower will be the highlight of a large-scale project to develop the Bouregreg valley in Rabat, a key component of the 2014-2018 Integrated Development Program dubbed “Rabat, City of Light, Moroccan Cultural Capital.”

The new project also involves the construction of several innovative facilities, including the Grand Theatre of Rabat, the Arts and Culture House, the National Archives of the Kingdom of Morocco and the Archaeological Museum.

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