Western Sahara Worldnews
Angharad Lock, Digital Assistant Editor
Agreements regarding the Nigeria-Morocco gas pipeline project were signed at a ceremony chaired by King Mohammed VI in Rabat (Morocco) on Monday. The pipeline is planned to stretch from Nigeria to Morocco and, eventually, into Europe.
According to news sources, when presenting on the pipeline project, Nasser Bourita, the Moroccan Foreign Minister, claimed that the Nigeria-Morocco pipeline will have a positive impact on over 300 million inhabitants.
Bourita’s Nigerian counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama, has stressed that the conclusion of the pipeline agreements just a few months after discussions about the pipeline commenced at the UN Climate Summit COP22 in November last year, proves a successful partnership between the countries.
World Bank org
New World Bank program supports improved access to finance for small and young enterprises and the development of local capital markets.
The World Bank announced today a $350 million program to support wide-ranging reforms of financial intermediation in Morocco. The operation supports new sources of financing for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) while improving the regulatory oversight of the banking sector.
The operation also supports capital market development by broadening the range of instruments and strengthening the protection of Moroccan investors. Finally, it addresses the financial sustainability of the civil service pension fund, thereby preserving its role as a major institutional investor. The program will eventually unleash new financing solutions for small enterprises and the real economy more broadly.
To improve access to finance and promote financial inclusion, the Second Capital Market Development and Small and Medium Enterprise Finance Development Policy Loan (DPL) supports the expansion of the state’s loan guarantee schemes into Morocco’s regions. It also supports the development of credit information on new borrowers to facilitate lending decisions, as well as the provision of alternative payment services outside the traditional banking system. This will over time improve the financial lives of households and small enterprises with hitherto limited or no access to the formal financial system. With the financial sector exposed to new risks as the economy develops and Moroccan companies diversify into Africa, the DPL also supports enhanced central bank supervision of banks particularly those belonging to large financial conglomerates that could pose a risk to the entire financial system.
Stabilizing the finances of the Caisse Marocaine des Retraites, the mandatory pension fund for civil and military services, is a key part of the program. The reform gradually increases both the retirement age and contributions, as the first stage of a comprehensive reform toward restoring financial soundness to the pension system. The reform raises immediately the minimum pension payments for those at the lower end of the salary scale to protect the least well-off retirees and women survivors. Taken together, the reform safeguards the pension promises made by the State to its civil servants.
“Morocco has made significant progress over the past two decades in modernizing its financial system and creating an environment conducive to private sector development,”” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Maghreb Country Director for the Maghreb and Malta. “Global experience shows that private initiative is the engine of job creation, and better access to finance for SMEs, along with other financial inclusion efforts while safeguarding financial stability, will help unlock the immense potential of Morocco’s youth and women.”
Low-income households in particular are expected to benefit from the reforms supported by the DPL. Increased access to finance for small and medium enterprises will create more opportunities and generate jobs. The rise in pensions for those at the bottom wage scale will prevent any sudden drop in take home pay and help maintain their levels of consumption. Apart from providing new sources of financing for women entrepreneurs, the reforms create new systems for electronic payments allowing women to by-pass many social and economic hurdles that have excluded them from the economy.
“Strengthening capital markets and creating a dynamic, private sector-led economy will also allow Morocco to capitalize on new investment opportunities,” said Gabriel Sensenbrenner, World Bank Lead Financial Sector Economist and Team Leader. “This program will equip the financial system with instruments that help it allocate resources to where they are most productive, while safeguarding financial stability. This is particularly important as Morocco becomes a hub for Africa’s economic development.”
This DPL complements an operation approved in March this year supporting equity financing for innovative young and fast-growing enterprises in Morocco. It is also aligned with the World Bank Group strategy to help develop capital market solutions to mobilize private financing for infrastructure projects in client countries.
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The Punch Nigeria
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Godfrey Onyeama, introduces Nigerian delegates to the King of Morocco, King Mohammed VI. Photo: Akinkugbe
Nigeria and Morocco on Monday strengthened their business relationship by signing two bilateral agreements in Rabat, the Moroccan capital.
According to a release signed by the Communication and Change Management Consultant, Mrs. Olubunmi Akinkugbe, the first bilateral agreement was the Joint Initiative on the Morocco-Nigeria Gas Regional Pipeline.
“Tagged ‘The Wonder of Africa’ the pipeline, the project has historical significance because it is designed by ‘Africans for Africans,’ with a direct impact on 300 million people through the speeding up of electrification projects in West Africa; thus serving a basis for the creation of a competitive electricity regional market,” Akinkugbe wrote.
She said the scope of the Memorandum of Understanding, which was signed by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation and the Office National des Hydrocarbures et des Mines, was to determine the modalities of undertaking a feasibility study and a Front-End Engineering and Design study relating to a gas pipeline from Nigeria to Morocco.
It also specified equal partnership in governance, management and financing of the project.
The timeline for both studies is two years from the date of signing.
Interested third party countries will be allowed to join, the release added.
The second bilateral agreement was on the Second Phase of the Fertiliser Initiative.
The first phase was the supply of a cargo of phosphate by Morocco to Nigeria after eight weeks of its signing.
“This supply led to the resuscitation of 11 blending plants which produced about 1.3 million tonnes of fertiliser; creation of 50,000 (direct) and 150,000 (indirect) jobs, while farmers have access to the quantity of fertiliser they need.
“The second phase will enable the maximisation of local fertiliser production through the creation of platform for basic chemical products, secure the Nigeria’s market’s fertiliser supply for competitive prices and reinforce local distribution channels,” the release stated.
According to the Foreign Minister of Morocco, Nasser Bourita, who presented the broad guidelines of the projects, the signing of the agreements reflects the shared vision of the two leaders: President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari; and
King Mohammed VI of Morocco, in favour of a sustainable, active and solidarity-based joint development for Africa.
Both projects were initiated during the Royal visit of the king to Nigeria in December 2016, the release said.
The ceremony, held at the palace of King Mohammed VI, had in attendance a delegation led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Godfrey Onyeama; the Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Mr. Audu Ogbe; Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; and Governor of Jigawa State and Chairman, Presidential Committee on Fertiliser, Mr. Abubakar Badaru.
Representatives of other African countries were also in attendance.
Maxtech Ventures Inc. (CSE: MVT) (CSE: MVT.CN) (CNSX: MVT)(FRANKFURT: M1N) (OTC PINK: MTEHF), (“Maxtech” or the “Company”) is pleased to announce that it has entered into a strategic development partnership with Morocco-based Green Energy Resources (“GER”) to evaluate established mineral and mining concessions in Morocco for potential acquisition or joint venture.
GER and Maxtech are actively evaluating several advanced stage manganese assets in Morocco with an emphasis on fully permitted mining concessions with established histories of manganese production. These existing permits have been targeted for either 100% purchase or joint venture. The Company expects to report on its negotiations shortly.
The mining industry of Morocco is important to the North Africa region and the national economy of Morocco. The country is the world’s third largest producer of phosphate, and contains about 75% of the world’s estimated reserves. Mining contributed for approximately 35% of exports and 5% of GDP in 2011. Foreign investors have found the investment climate, infrastructure, fiscal situation, and political stability very favourable to the mining business (http://data.worldbank.org/country/morocco).
Peter Wilson, CEO of Maxtech said “This partnership provides a unique opportunity for Maxtech to expand into Morocco with a goal to eventually supply manganese into the European marketplace. It is an excellent jurisdiction in which to operate and with the help of Green Energy’s in-country presence we will be able to evaluate new manganese claims efficiently.”
About Maxtech Ventures Inc.
Maxtech Ventures Inc. is a Canadian based diversified industries corporation with gold and manganese mineral properties. Its focus is on mining and the products that are derived therefrom.
For additional information see the Company’s web site at http://www.maxtech-ventures.com
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information about the Company is available on www.SEDAR.com under the Company’s profile.
Neither the Canadian Securities Exchange nor its Regulation Services Provider (as that term is defined in the policies of the Canadian Securities Exchange) accepts responsibility for the adequacy or accuracy of this release.
Certain statements contained in this release may constitute “forward-looking statements” or “forward-looking information” (collectively “forward-looking information”) as those terms are used in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and similar Canadian laws. These statements relate to future events or future performance. The use of any of the words “could”, “intend”, “expect”, “believe”, “will”, “projected”, “estimated”, “anticipates” and similar expressions and statements relating to matters that are not historical facts are intended to identify forward-looking information and are based on the Company’s current belief or assumptions as to the outcome and timing of such future events. Actual future results may differ materially.
In particular, this release contains forward-looking information relating to the business of the Company, the Property, and financing and certain corporate changes. The forward-looking information contained in this release is made as of the date hereof and the Company is not obligated to update or revise any forward-looking information, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable securities laws. Because of the risks, uncertainties and assumptions contained herein, investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. The foregoing statements expressly qualify any forward-looking information contained herein.
Maxtech Ventures Inc.
Sand and gravel
March 2017 saw Dumez Maroc (part of the Vinci Construction International Network) handover a new fishing port in Casablanca, a project forming part of a total redevelopment of the port area.
Undertaken on behalf of Morocco’s ports authority, this complex operation – the biggest project ever implemented by the company – took place in a particularly hostile environment where heavy swells are frequent.
The task involved transferring the city’s old fishing port, which was too small and in poor condition, to a new, larger and more modern site.
The work included the creation of a main breakwater (655m), a secondary breakwater (535m), two quays (323m and 145m) and 240m of floating jetties, as well as dredging in the inner basin and access channel.
by Karol Rutkowski
New report outlines path to faster, sustainable economic growth and more inclusive human and social development.
Morocco has an opportunity in the years ahead to boost economic growth and job creation, especially for young people, and to catch up even faster with developed economies by investing in its human capital, modernizing the economy and improving the performance of public institutions.
This is the conclusion of the most recent Morocco Economic Memorandum (CEM) released today, entitled “Morocco 2040 – Emerging by Investing in Intangible Capital”. The new report provides an analysis of past economic performance as well as development opportunities and constraints, and then offers a roadmap for reforms to achieve superior economic and social outcomes over the next generation.
“Today’s launch concludes two years of research and analysis conducted in close collaboration with the government and key Moroccan constituencies. This report is timely as the country engages in a new development phase and we are pleased to contribute to its efforts towards the sustainable development goals” said Marie Francoise Marie-Nelly, World Bank Maghreb and Malta Country Director. “We are also pleased to present the report’s main recommendations to a set of stakeholders, from government, civil society, academia, to private sector and youth. We hope that this document will trigger a rich debate among all segments of society and mobilize greater support and understanding for the reforms needed to build a future based on shared prosperity”.
The CEM underlines the country’s significant social and economic achievements over the past fifteen years. Morocco engaged in a set of economic and social reforms to boost productivity, improve living standards, create jobs and enhance institutions. This process was further enriched by the 2011 Constitution which called for greater rights and opportunities for Moroccan citizens and enhanced the Kingdom’s governance framework. Bringing Morocco’s improved development outcomes to the next level and achieving economic convergence with Southern European countries will require to further deepen and integrate sector and governance reforms, according to the CEM.
The report proposes a set of critical pathways to reach that goal. It recognizes that while youth employment continues to be a major challenge, the country has the potential to unleash job creation and bring about the needed reforms to improve productivity and people’s living conditions. Specifically, the report invites the authorities to rethink the country’s business model in order to spur competitiveness, boost productivity and promote fair market conditions for investors, be they small or large. This will in turn create a more level-playing field for the private sector to grow and will generate more jobs for youth and women in particular.
In order to achieve this strategic goal, greater investments in the country’s precious human capital will be needed. This long term agenda touches upon two key sectors: education and health. In order to achieve an “education miracle” and give Moroccan students the needed skills to integrate into a more competitive job market, the CEM calls for a comprehensive education reform geared toward enhanced education sector performance, governance and outcomes. The health sector will also require sustained and significant efforts to bridge the access gap between rich and poor and to ensure efficient and accountable public health care. Yet, based on international experience, no successful social inclusion can be attained without achieving gender equality. According to the CEM, Morocco’s ability to empower and mobilize greater economic opportunities for women will be instrumental to significantly enhance economic growth.
Finally, the CEM views the strengthening of institutions and the country’s governance model as a key precondition to reinforce the rule of law and place the Moroccan citizen at the heart of its development model. This ranges from more accountable and efficient public services to giving voice to citizens and enhancing respect, interpersonal trust and civic duty.
“This roadmap humbly presents the economic policy and political economy conditions capable of boosting Morocco’s growth potential. But the most important role is that of each and every citizen to feel entitled and responsible to act on the country’s development, to strive for inclusive institutions and equal economic opportunities, to promote gender equality and interpersonal trust, and to contribute with confidence to building Morocco’s future” said Jean-Pierre Chauffour, World Bank Lead Economist and CEM author. “It takes a consultative and inclusive process for the country’s constituencies to discuss and agree on how they would like to see their country by 2040. We hope that we have at least contributed to triggering this debate through the analysis and projections contained in the present report”.
© Photo: YouTube/Youtupe Mania
US Navy Littoral Warship Coronado Departs Singapore for Patrol in Pacific.
The US guided missile cruiser Vella Gulf performed a maritime interdiction and small boat defense training session with the Royal Moroccan Navy’s (RMNS) patrol ship Commandant El Harti, the US Navy said in a press release on Tuesday.
“The Ticonderoga-class guided-missile cruiser USS Vella Gulf (CG 72) participated in a cooperation exercise with the Royal Moroccan Navy [on] May 5, 2017 while on deployment in the US 6th Fleet area of operations,” the release stated. “Vella Gulf and the P306 RMNS Commandant El Harti conducted maritime interdiction operations (MIO) and small boat defense procedures during the exercise.”
The release explained that maritime interdiction operations are key to stopping piracy on the high seas and noted that small boat attacks on larger ships are increasing.
“Vella Gulf is deployed as an independent unit in support of maritime security and ballistic missile defense operations in international waters across the globe,” the release added.
The US 6th Fleet is headquartered in Naples, Italy and its area of operations covers approximately half of the Atlantic Ocean from the North Pole to Antarctica as well as the Adriatic, Baltic, Barents, Black, Caspian, Mediterranean and North seas.
Source: FLSmidth A/S
FLSmidth has won a five-year contract from OCP S.A. (formerly known as Office Chérifien des Phosphates) to operate port equipment for handling phosphate, fertilizers, and sulphur. The port is located in Jorf Lasfar, El Jadida, 100 km south of Casablanca, Morocco.
The contract marks FLSmidth’s first Operation & Maintenance contract in Morocco.
FLSmidth was awarded this contract as part of OCP’s ‘ecosystem’ initiative to benefit the local economy by bringing external know-how and hiring local workforce. FLSmidth was selected as partner due to their extensive know-how and commitment to source locally.
“We are extremely proud to be awarded this contract. It marks the culmination of a long-standing partnership between OCP and FLSmidth and is an important step in materials handling equipment operations in Morocco. We will deliver productivity enhancement to OCP by operating and maintaining the equipment we have supplied ourselves,” said Claus Christian Torbøl, Senior Vice President, FLSmidth Operation & Maintenance.
Kristoffer Bohr Grønbæk
Mobile: +45 3093 1427
FLSmidth is the market-leading supplier of productivity to the global mining and cement industries. Headquartered in Copenhagen, Denmark, and with offices in more than 50 countries, FLSmidth delivers engineering, equipment and service solutions to customers worldwide.
Productivity, sustainability, and quality are focus areas for FLSmidth and its 12,000 employees. The company generated revenue of DKK 18 billion in 2016. Read more on www.flsmidth.com
A Moroccan UN peacekeeper was killed on Saturday in an attack in the Central African Republic’s southeast, close to where five other peacekeepers also lost their lives in recent days, the United Nations said.
An overnight attack targeted civilians in the town of Bangassou as well as a UN mission field office and “in the firefight, one peacekeeper of the Moroccan contingent died from gunshot injuries”, the UN mission MINUSCA said in a statement.
It said the attackers were members of a wide coalition including the mainly Christian anti-Balaka group who “attacked civilian populations, targeting in particular Muslims”, another sign of the continuing sectarian violence that has ravaged the country.
MINUSCA also said there were reports of civilians killed.
“At this time it is difficult to ascertain the humanitarian situation in Bangassou. However credible sources have confirmed an undetermined number of civilian casualties,” the statement said.
Displaced people in the area have fled to the town’s mosque, Catholic Church and the Doctors without Borders (MSF) hospital, it added.
The head of MINUSCA Parfait Onanga-Anyanga warned the militias that the authorities would be “relentless” in finding and arresting those responsible for the killings.
“The blood of peacekeepers and the blood of innocent Central Africans will not fall in vain in this country,” he said.
On Monday, another Moroccan and four Cambodian soldiers were also killed in an attack on their convoy.
UN officials said the bodies of the four Cambodian peacekeepers were badly mutilated, to the point of making identification difficult.
MINUSCA deployed 10 000 troops and 2 000 police to the CAR following bloody sectarian fighting that erupted after the 2013 overthrow of leader Francois Bozize.
Among Africa’s poorest countries, the CAR descended into bloodshed pitting the anti-Balaka fighters against the mainly Muslim ex-Seleka rebels.
While calm has been restored to the capital Bangui, parts of the country remain under the sway of armed groups.
Asharq Al awsat
Wheat being harvested in China’s Shandong province. AFP photo
The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has expected Morocco’s harvest of wheat to increase from 2.7 million tons in 2016 to 7 million this year.
It also expected the 600,000 tons of barley harvested last year to reach 2.8 million in 2017.
After “poor and erratic rains” last year, “prospects for the 2017 harvest look very promising,” FAO said in a report.
“While parts of Morocco suffered from autumn drought up to mid-November 2016, which delayed plantings in some areas, good precipitation later in the season replenished soil moisture, improving yield prospects,” it said.
Moroccan dams cover only 15 percent of its agricultural land, with rainfed agricultural production accounting for 85 percent of aggregate output, said the report.
Good precipitation later in the season replenished soil moisture, improving yield prospects. The total area planted with winter cereals in the current season is 5.11 million hectares, compared to 3.6 million hectares in the previous year, it said.
According to the report, Morocco’s cereal imports in 2016/17 (July/June) are forecast at 9.1 million tons. A larger increase in import requirements was limited by ample carryover stocks from the previous year’s above average harvest.
European Union and Black Sea countries supply most of the common “soft” wheat, while Canada is the traditional supplier of “durum” wheat.
As part of the expected increase in harvest this year, FAO said that the government has announced the increase of the import duty on “soft” wheat from 30 percent to 135 percent.
The report added that food inflation in Morocco is limited, recording a 1.8 percent decrease in March last year.
The government subsidizes more than 1 million tons of the “national flour”, a common wheat of standard quality used to make flour for the low income consumers but the “durum” wheat market is not regulated.
Ageela Saleh, accompanied by Libyan ambassador Abdulmajed Seif El Nasr (left), presented by Moroccan foreign minister Nasser Bourita with a trophy to mark his visit (Photo: Herald of Libya)
President of the Libyan House of Representatives Ageela Saleh Issa reaffirmed on Tuesday commitment towards Libya’s political agreement, signed on 17 December 2015 in Skhirat, however after the amendment of a few terms.
Saleh Issa said that after amendments are made the accord will be incorporated into the country’s constitution, recognizing the Government of National Accord’s (GNA) presidential council.
Speaking at a press conference held on Monday after Saleh Issa said that the Libyan parliament requested the amendment of the Skhirat agreement. The presser was held on the sidelines of bilateral discussions held between Saleh Issa and Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita in Rabat.
The presidential council must be composed of a single president and two deputies, Saleh Issa said. He also mentioned that the acting prime minister must have power over council assignment, in addition to other points.
For his part, Moroccan FM Bourita called on all Libyan parties to accept the principle of consensus. It was in the interests of the Libyan people, their peace, and the country’s unity, the minister said.
Morocco hosted the UN-brokered Libya Dialogue sessions in Skhirat which resulted in the Libyan Political Agreement. Saleh Issa, however, is not wholly in agreement with it.
Since March 2016, the conflict between the two rival governments, the Libyan House of Representatives and the GNA-affiliated General National Congress (GNC), has intensified. Despite previously supporting it, the Libyan House of Representatives withdrew its recognition of the GNA by voting against it in the summer of 2016 and becoming their rival for governing the country.
More so, Bourita said that his country’s interest lies in sustaining Libya’s stability and unity given the long-standing relations shared between the two countries.
He stressed that Rabat will continue its mediation efforts with all Libyan parties in hopes of bringing conflicting parties closer together.
Bourita pointed out that Saleh Issa’s visit to Rabat comes within the framework of many efforts made by Morocco under orders from King Mohammed VI concerning the Libyan file, aiming to establish a political consensus between the Libyans.
For his part, Saleh Issa said that talks with Bourita intensely reviewed the situation in Libya and directed help to Libyan people, as well as provided substantial aid for counterterrorism efforts.
The 23rd World Festival of Sacred Music opened late on Friday in Morocco’s old city of Fez, with China as guest of honor.
Held under the theme “Water and the Sacred,” the festival was opened by Morocco’s first lady Princess Lalla Salma.
Choosing water as its theme, this year’s festival aims to promote respect for the environment as the natural extension of a spiritual approach.
The festival in 2017 will be an opportunity to explore the symbolism of water and urge the world to reconcile with the environment and mobilize for the future generations and the planet.
The nine-day festival will feature a number of renowned traditional artists from all over the world.
Starting in 1994, the annual festival was designated in 2001 by the United Nations as one of the major events contributing in remarkable fashion to the dialogue between civilizations.
Leggy Ellie Goulding Puts On A Hair Raising Display As She Performs At A Moroccan Music Festival In A Strappy Camisole And Satin Blouse Ensemble
By MailOnline Reporter
She’s known for her energetic performances and catchy pop tunes.
And Ellie Goulding lived up to her reputation with a hair-raising performance at the Mawazine Music festival in Rabat, Morocco on Friday.
The petite pop princess wowed fans were her high-tempo routine and electric vocals while also showing off her amazing figure.
Lights: Ellie Goulding put on a hair-raising performance at the Mawazine Music festival in Rabat, Morocco on Friday. The Lights hitmaker wore a strappy camisole and black satin blouse.
Ellie Goulding excited about performing at festival in Morocco.
Ellie, 30, put her sun-kissed tanned legs on display in figure hugging strappy camisole and black satin blouse.
The Lights hitmaker styled her golden loose locks in a choppy layered cut while rocking out on the stage.
Plenty to smile about! Cat Deeley is in high spirits as she steps out in fitted leather jacket and tinted sunglasses for shopping spree with husband Patrick Kielty.
Mary Elizabeth Winstead looks chic in floral blouse as she joins Ewan McGregor and the cast of Fargo for special LA screening of new series.
The starlet put her anxiety battles about stepping into the spotlight behind her as she showed she stepped out with confidence.
In a recent interview, she told People: ‘I think part of what sparked my panic attacks was not feeling confident enough to believe in myself. I was scared I wasn’t as good of a singer as everyone thought I was.’
Leggy: The petite pop princess wowed fans were her high-tempo routine and electric vocals
The Starry Eyed hitmaker appeared to be flying solo at the event, amid her rumoured romance with Team GB rower Caspar Jopling.
They put on a cosy display in New York City in April reigniting rumours they had become an item in March of this year.
Their blossoming romance comes after Ellie’s recent split from the Beckham’s bodyguard Bobby Rich, who she was first linked to in November 2016.
She previously enjoyed a two-year on/off relationship with McFly’s Dougie Poynter.
Ex: Ellie previously enjoyed a two-year on/off relationship with McFly’s Dougie Poynter
While the former flames split for good in February 2016, they revealed they still ‘love each other very much’.
She told the MailOnline that she would always hold Dougie dear.
‘It’s like we’ve always been friends. He’s one of my really good friends,’ she said.
‘For me, when I’ve been in relationships with people, those are the people I will always hold dear to me.
New flame: Ellie is rumoured to be dating Team GB rower Caspar Jopling. Ellie Goulding fails at playing it cool in front of Puff Daddy
by Ali Haidar
Algeria and the Polisario are finding it difficult to conceal their resentment at the stance expressed lately by Donald Trump’s administration regarding the Moroccan Sahara conflict.
The separatists and their mentors were hoping to see the new US administration adopt a stand on this issue favorable to their theses, but they were bitterly disappointed.
While Algerian rulers and Polisario leaders have not yet assimilated the latest Security Council resolution on the Sahara, largely in favor of Morocco, they were dealt another blow, this time directly from Washington.
In the FY17 Appropriations Bill passed by the Congress and promulgated by President Donald Trump on Friday, May 5, the United States renewed unambiguously its support for Morocco, in the territorial conflict opposing it to its neighbor, Algeria.
The Bill stipulates in Title III of the Act that the funds made available for assistance for Morocco shall also be made available for any region or territory administered by Morocco, including the Western Sahara.
Better than this, the Congress calls on the Secretary of State to continue his efforts to “negotiate a settlement of this dispute, consistent with the policy of the United States to support a solution based on a formula of autonomy under Moroccan sovereignty”.
In the same document, the Trump Administration is invited “to support private sector investments in Western Sahara”.
Washington’s position seriously compromises the theses upheld by the Polisario and by Algeria, a stakeholder in the frantic and illegitimate battle waged against Morocco.
And they are not at the end of their sorrows. France’s President-elect Emmanuel Macron will surely drive yet another nail in the coffin of the separatist theses, although the ailing President of Algeria Abdelaziz Bouteflika tried to soften him in a congratulations message. He described him as a “great friend of Algeria” in a vain attempt to coax him to change France’s stand on the Sahara issue.
The Polisario and Algeria try to ignore that Macron’s diplomatic adviser Aurélien Lechevallier had said during the electoral campaign that regarding the Sahara issue, Macron will maintain France’s position in favour of UN-led efforts to find a political and mutually acceptable solution to the regional dispute, and that Morocco’s autonomy initiative represents a credible basis to reach a political settlement.
© REUTERS/ Adama Diarra
Attack on UN Mission’s Camp in Mali Kills One Peacekeeper.
A Moroccan peacekeeper that had been missing after the attack on a UN convoy in Central African Republic earlier this week was found dead, UN Secretary-General spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters on Thursday.
“The Moroccan peacekeeper who had been reported missing has now been found dead. We extend our condolences to the people and government of Morocco,” Dujarric said.
On Monday, the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) convoy was attacked by Anti-Balaka militia near the village of Yogofongo, located 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) from the country’s south-eastern city of Bangassou.
The total number of the victims of the attack now amounts to five, four nationals from Cambodia and one Moroccan.
The Central African Republic has been suffering from sectarian clashes between Muslims and Christians since the 2013 coup, when Muslim Seleka rebels seized control in the majority-Christian nation, overthrowing then-President Francois Bozize, who had ruled the country since 2003.
Anti-Balaka militias, composed primarily of Christians, have been conducting violent activities and atrocities since 2013. In 2014, human rights watchdog Amnesty International reported several massacres committed by the group against Muslim civilians.
A delegation of Moroccan parliamentarians is currently in South Africa to take part in the fourth session of the Pan-African Parliament (PAP), being held in Midrand, near Johannesburg, from May 8 to May 19.
Speaking in the wake of the Kingdom’s return to the African Union (AU), which took place at the organisation’s 28th summit held in Addis Ababa in January, this participation aims to prepare for Morocco’s official return to the legislative body of the AU, the report said on Thursday.
“Our participation is aimed at finalising the procedures for Morocco’s accession to the Pan-African Parliament,” Abdellatif Abdouh, a member of the House of Councillors (Istiqlal party), told MAP.
He said that the participation is part of the framework of the dynamisation of parliamentary diplomacy to accompany the return of the Kingdom within its African institutional family.
The return of Morocco to the PAP will be formalised on the occasion of the fifth session of this Parliament, which will be held next October, Abdouh added.
The members of the Moroccan delegation — three members of the House of Representatives and two of the House of Councillors — will hold meetings with several African delegations.
Mohamed Zakrani, deputy of the parliamentary group of the constitutional assembly in the House of Representatives, stressed the importance of Morocco’s return to the PAP, noting that this return will defend the interests of Morocco.
Another official said that Morocco’s return to the PAP will mark the beginning of a new chapter in Morocco’s relations with Africa.
“The presence of Morocco in the PAP will enable the Kingdom to defend its just and legitimate causes within a pan-African legislative institution whose influence is constantly strengthening,” the official said.
A Chinese higher education fair opened on Thursday in the Moroccan capital Rabat with the participation of some 22 universities.
Held at Mohammed V University in Rabat, the fair represents a precious opportunity for Moroccan students who are interested in pursuing their studies in China.
The participant universities are prestigious institutions specialized in the fields of transport, finance, industry, foreign languages and sciences.
Speaking at the opening of the fair, Chinese ambassador to Morocco Sun Shuzhong said that education cooperation is an important area at the Chinese-Moroccan partnership.
He hailed the significant increase in educational exchange between the two countries, adding that Morocco has become the first Arab country to have three Confucius institutes.
On Friday, the fair will move to Morocco’s largest city of Casablanca.
A Moroccan policeman stands guard at the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation office in Sale. [Reuters]
Rabat- Moroccan police have arrested six people on suspicion of belonging to the ISIS terrorist organization in the cities and towns of Casablanca, Tangier, Tetouan, Marrakesh and Safi.
The preliminary investigation found that the suspects have promoted for ISIS and vowed to carry out terrorist attacks in Morocco, the interior ministry announced on Wednesday.
Some of the detainees with ties to militants in Syria and Iraq have acquired bomb-making and booby-trapping skills for the purpose of carrying out attacks on vital installations, entertainment facilities and popular areas in several Moroccan cities, the German news agency said.
Bomb-making material, including electronic devices, electric cables, gloves and masks, were confiscated in the raids. Police also found knives and transcripts calling for the murder of non-ISIS members.
The arrest of the six suspects came days after the interior ministry announced that the authorities in Morocco and Spain had dismantled a “terrorist cell” of three ISIS supporters.
It said one of the jihadist suspects was arrested in Tangier, and the other two were detained in Spain.
The ministry said the three-man cell had been in “close contact” with ISIS in Iraq and Syria and was recruiting volunteers to join the jihadist ranks.
Last month, Moroccan security forces announced the dismantling of a seven-member terrorist cell active in the cities of Fes and Moulay Yacoub.
This is post 3 of 4 in the series “Africa Calling: The Most and Least Attractive Investment Destinations”
1. Here Are The New Top 10 Investment Destinations in Africa
2. Botswana Emerges as the Most Attractive Investment Destination of Africa
3. Why Are Morocco and Egypt Among the Top Three Investment Destinations of Africa?
4. The 10 Worst Investment Destinations of Africa
Morocco: A consistent performer
From 2013 until 2016, Morocco has been quite consistent, ranking among the top three destinations according to Quantum Global Research Lab’s Africa Investment Index (AII).
Morocco placed second in the 2016 index, released in April this year, due to superior showing on current account ratio, ease of doing business, and import cover. The country also ranks fairly high on real gross domestic product (GDP), and Facebook penetration rate. Its worst showing comes is in external debt as a percentage of gross national income (GNI), where it ranks 30th.
In 2015, Morocco had stood third overall in the rankings, and was the top investment destination in 2014.
Due to its consistent performance, Morocco emerges as the top ranked country in the AII in the three-year rolling rankings.
The political environment is the biggest challenge for the nation, apart from low per-capital GDP, which S&P Global Ratings holds is “one of the lowest in the category of countries rated BBB-/A-3.”
The country was without a government for over six months until recently when the parliament gave its vote of confidence to Prime Minister Saad Eddine El Othmani’s Islamist Justice and Development Party. This lacuna in administration has led to delays in public spending programs. However, overall, the country’s ranking remains strong across metrics, making it a viable investment option.
Egypt: Opportunity in the land of the Pyramids
Egypt has been in the top ten in the Africa Investment Index (AII) in all years from 2013 to 2016.
However, its third place as per the 2016 index was its best showing in these four years.
Related Article Botswana Emerges as the Most Attractive Investment Destination of Africa
The country has scored well on factors including size of GDP, real interest rate, total population, and external debt as a percentage of GNI. It ranks among top ten nations on Facebook penetration rate, credit rating, and current account ratio. Its worst ranking is on the factor of exchange rate risk, where it ranks 48th among 54 countries.
In both 2014 and 2015, Egypt stood at eighth overall in the rankings.
The country has been on a reform path after it qualified for a $12 billion loan program from the International Monetary Fund in November 2016. However, its action to improve its finances may have been detrimental to the people who had marched against rationing of bread in March. The government is under pressure to do more in order to qualify for future tranches of the aforementioned loan.
There have been some positive effects of the reform process though, as Egypt has got back on investors radars.
Until now, we have looked at the top 10 investment destinations of Africa and focused on the top three. In the next article, let’s look at the bottom 10 countries as per the AII.
This is post 3 of 4 in the series “Africa Calling: The Most and Least Attractive Investment Destinations”
By: Samaa Web DeskPublished in Economy, Pakistan
Pakistan and Morocco have signed a memorandum of understanding on establishment of a joint business council in Casablanca.
The MoU was signed by Vice President of Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Ishtiaq Baig and President of Moroccan Federation of Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Services, Mustapha Amhal in Islamabad.
The purpose of establishing the joint business council is to strengthen economic cooperation between the two countries in trade, investment, technology transfer, services and other industrial sectors.
The forum, comprising Pakistani and Moroccan businessmen, will not only discuss means of promotion of economic cooperation but will also make recommendations to the respective governments in this regard. –SAMAA/app
Story first published: 10th May 2017