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Women In Africa Club Summit Opens In Morocco

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 11:31

Xinhuanet
Source: Xinhua

The first Women in Africa Club summit opened on Monday in the Moroccan city of Marrakech.

Under the theme of “investing for better governance with African women,” the event attracted 300 business leaders, from nearly 37 countries, mostly African nations.

The summit aims to highlight the importance of women’s leadership in African societies, and to promote international and pan-African companies in support of women.

The three-day meeting will provide attendees with the opportunity to discuss concrete actions in order to offer African women greater opportunities to develop their countries.

The event includes conferences, master classes and collaborative laboratories featuring international experts to discuss various topics such as agriculture, energy, entrepreneurship, finance, water, and nutrition.

Moroccan Sahara: Bahrain Backs Final Solution Under Moroccan Sovereignty

Tue, 09/26/2017 - 01:20

The North Africa Post

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bahrain Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa has voiced his country’s full backing for a final solution to the Sahara issue under the Moroccan sovereignty.

Addressing the UN General Assembly convening in New York, the top diplomat of the oil-rich Gulf country stressed “the need to support the negotiations aimed at achieving a consensual and final political solution to this problem in the context of Moroccan national Sovereignty”.

The final solution should also be based on “relevant Security Council resolutions that confirm the seriousness of Morocco’s self-government initiative”, underlined the Bahraini foreign minister.

“We urge all parties to fully cooperate with the United Nations in this respect”, he added.

Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa also tackled other important regional and international issues. He called for a strong and stable Middle-East, saying his country supports positive relations with other countries.

The minister also renewed Bahrain adherence to the principles of non-interference in other countries internal affairs and expressed backing to the fight against terrorism and its sponsors.

“As partners, we can work together to preserve the security of the Gulf region, to combat terrorism and to provide protection for international navigation and commerce routes,” said the Foreign Affairs minister in his address.

He also urged compliance with international conventions and instruments to address the greatest challenge facing the international community – terrorism.

“Terrorism is no longer confined to terrorist organizations that can be confronted and eliminated. Rather, that menace has become a tool in the hands of States determined to create crises in other countries in pursuit of their own agenda”, he said, affirming that it is no longer acceptable to allow rogue countries to occupy others’ territories, violate the sovereignty of States, threaten international peace and security, support terrorism and spread hate and anarchy.

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

Africa Strong Presence At The International Festival Of Ibn Battuta

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 18:14

Cission
PRNewswire
by Ibn Battuta Association

Tangier meeting point for peace and tolerance.

The Moroccan Association of Ibn Battuta takes visitors on a cultural world tour during the second edition of International Festival of Ibn Battuta.

On 9 to 12 November 2017, the streets of Tangier will turn into a festive city filled with international display of talents, conferences, carnival, film screening, humorists, street art, theatrical plays, art exhibitions, musical shows, culture and friendly smiles. Inspired by the journey of the Great Ibn Battuta, visitors can experience traveling the world in less than a week, exploring into an atmosphere of cultural exchanges and finding inspiration for the next travel adventure.

For this edition, Africa had made sure to have a strong participation in all the activities, the organizing committee have receive confirmation of high profiles including but not limited VVIPs, dignitaries, government officials, ministers, ambassadors, artists, peace mediators and lecturers.

The association’s Honorary President, Mohamed Dekkak, states that this year’s theme – “Travelers, the Ambassadors of Peace”, aims to disseminate the ways the culture of traveling can drive PEACE. In this edition, Africans express high level of tolerance by having strong presence in this festival. Africa is not only land of opportunities but it’s also land of tolerance.

Aziz Benami,  the association President expresses that the event is a tremendous opportunity to bring to light some of Ibn Battuta’s travels, and adventures. The Afro barometer have shown that Africa have high degree of acceptance of ethnic groups, religions, cultures and languages.

On the second edition of the International festival of Ibn Battuta, there is many different stars participation like: Ulrich ZOUANDA, Safiath, Cisby, Malika, King Barra, Sarro, Agalawal, Soraya KSONTINI, Jamal BENMERAH , Farid MAACHOU, Yosra ZEKRI, Faten NAJJARI, khiri TAISH, Ahmed KOUAIB, Badro, Firas SBOUI, Hamid El HADRI and many more.

The festival is organized by the Moroccan Association of Ibn Battuta, a nonprofit international association that values artistic, moral and innovative action aimed at the improvement of tourism in Tangier and in Morocco. It considers the culture of traveling as the ultimate purpose of development.

Additional information can be found at https://ibnbattuta.ma/

E-mail: media@ibnbattuta.ma

Contacts: Sarah Garcia +971-26813111

SOURCE Ibn Battuta Association

Morocco To Build Port In Western Sahara City

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 15:40

Middle East Monitor

Morocco intends to establish a port in the Western Sahara city of Dakhla, the Interior Minister said last week. Abdelouafi Laftit revealed that the budget for the project will be $642 million but did not say when work will begin.

The minister explained that the port is one of 136 projects in the region with a total cost of $1.9 billion. Observers argue that the projects aim to enable Morocco to establish “facts on the ground” in the disputed Western Sahara.

According to Moroccan political activist Mustafa Boumlik, the state authorities are seeking to impose their sovereignty in the region through development and urban projects. “The government and the Polisario are well aware that the Sahara crisis will only be solved diplomatically, and not through war,” he told Masr Al-Arabia. Boumlik suggested that the government’s development plans in the region confirm its commitment to its perceived rights and sovereignty over the Sahara.

Meanwhile, international relations researcher Mohamed Lhariri noted that Spain is watching the situation carefully. “Spain is the former colonial power in the region,” he pointed out, “and it is still occupying parts of northern Morocco [Ceuta, Melilla and the Jafari Islands]. Madrid knows that it is not in its interest to end the conflict [in Western Sahara], because this will undoubtedly renew Morocco’s claim to the occupied territories in the north.”

Neighbouring Algeria, Lhariri concluded, is also reluctant to see an end to the conflict with the Polisario Front over Western Sahara, because it will enhance Morocco’s position in the region. The government of Algeria plays host to the leaders of the Polisario.

The Noble Family Rimbotti Open Their Historic Dwellings To Business Travellers

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 15:29

Travel Daily International
Vicky Karantzavelou

FLORENCE – After 20 years of successful management in luxury leisure, the historic residences of the Rimbotti family, by decision of Countess Maria Vittoria Colonna Rimbotti, are made available to top managers who wish to enjoy a stay of real comfort and prestige in the heart of Florence, the world class capital of fine arts, and cradle of Italian Renaissance.

It’s three buildings built between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, plus a villa in Fiesole, which was inhabited by Alighieri family, were restored with love by the Rimbotti’s and brought to life again. A series of careful planning, since the 1960’s, have also contributed to elevate the beauty of the architectural context.

“Palazzo Rimbotti, for instance”, says the Countess, “located as in Piazza Antinori, at the beginning of Via dei Tornabuoni, is at the heart of the luxury shopping district of the city and today goes hand in hand with the baroque style of the Cathedral in front of it. The building has been a forerunner of the current trend in the area, considering that at one time the big maisons were not there and the boutique of Hermes that we host was the first to open in the neighbourhood.”

The ‘Palaces’ have all very large and comfortable apartments – no comparison with a hotel. The walls are frescoed and the paintings precious. They all date back to the golden age of Medici’s Florence. Extremely popular with the USA, Canadian and South American leisure customers, from today they are available for business travellers too.

“As for leisure, we are not interested in bite-and­run business tourism, so we have not made either reservations or prices available on the Internet; travellers contact us personally.”

The offer also includes two luxury boutique hotels in Syracuse and Fez (Morocco), described in detail below, alongside the Florentine residences.

On Algeria’s Fake News Diplomacy

Mon, 09/25/2017 - 15:19

The North Africa Post

Algeria’s disillusioned diplomacy is apparently resorting to fake news claiming that the SADR separatist entity will be invited to the Africa-EU summit.

As it endures setbacks one after the other in its ideologically anachronistic foreign policy, Algeria indulges in terminology games claiming that the African Union and the EU are negotiation to change the appellation of the event into EU-AU Summit in a scheme to impose the participation of its puppet Sahrawi Republic.

The fake news was propagated by Algerian government mouthpiece, Algeria Press Service news agency, which relayed the fallacious statements of its Ambassador in Brussels, Amar Belani, saying that the Polisario will receive an invitation to attend the Africa-EU summit.

Lessons from History

Such statements show the short memory of the Algerian diplomacy, which seems not to learn from past mistakes. Contacted by Moroccan based Le Desk news portal, sources within the EU maintain that only countries that are member of the UN are entitled to take part in the Africa-EU summit. No decision has been made to change the name of the event that will be hosted in Abidjan on November 29-30, the sources said.

In obstinately trying to impose the participation of a separatist entity in international events involving Africa and multilateral partners, Algeria is blocking efforts towards Africa’s development. Last month in Maputo, the follow-up meeting of the Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD) was disrupted due to Mozambique authorities, under orders from Algeria, to impose the participation of the Polisario.

In strong worded response, Japanese Foreign Minister made it clear that Japan has never recognized the Polisario’s self-proclaimed republic and deplored the maneuvers of Mozambique authorities in their desperate attempt to give a seat to the separatist entity. The Japanese Minister said he was “astonished” at the Mozambican authorities’ maneuvers to give Polisario officials access to the TICAD meeting through backdoors, deploring that invited delegations, including members of the Japanese embassy, were mistreated by Mozambican authorities.

Algeria faced the same fiasco at the latest 17th summit of the Non-Aligned Movement held in Venezuela in September 2016. Despite the pressure exerted by Algeria and the host country, NAM member states rejected the invitation to the self-proclaimed SADR.

Morocco’s AU membership sends shockwaves in Algeria

As it feels the heat of Morocco’s return to the African Union, the carpet is gradually pulled under the feats of Algeria. Morocco has always been criticizing the admission of the Polisario within the pan-African organization as an anomaly in contradiction with the international law. This view is also shared by a growing number of African states who see in the Algerian pro-separatist rhetoric an ideological anachronism that aims at manipulating the AU to serve Algiers’ own hegemonic agenda.

With Morocco’s return to the African Union, the Polisario sees gloomy prospects for its propaganda in the continent. In July 2016, at the African Union Summit in Kigali, 28 African countries submitted a motion demanding to freeze the Polisario’s membership in the continental organization. A course that is set to continue as more countries in the African Union see the Polisario’s membership as an aberration in contradiction with international law because the Polisario is not a state and lacks state attributes.

Recently, several African countries that once supported the Polisario separatist endeavor are backtracking. After a diplomatic offensive coupled with win-win partnerships led by King Mohammed VI in Africa, several countries have ceased to support Algeria’s plot to create a separatist entity in Morocco and affirmed support for the UN-led political process. These countries include African heavyweights such as Nigeria and Ethiopia, which now see new cooperation opportunities with Morocco.

Overall, Morocco’s return to the African Union has set the tone for a gradual demise of the Algerian-sponsored separatism in the Sahara as the Kingdom and its friends will act as a bulwark against any attempt to use the pan-African body to simmer tension and instability in the region.

The EU for its part does not recognize the separatist SADR entity. The EU, both at the Union and at member states level, maintains a stance in support of the UN process to find a political and mutually acceptable political solution to the Sahara issue along the lines of UN Security council resolutions, which stress the preeminence of Morocco’s autonomy proposal.

Therefore, Algeria’s attempts to give Polisario militia a seat on an equal footing with EU and African member states at an international event is as pointless as it is unfeasible.

EU Does not Recognize Polisario

Voices are also rising in the EU against the Polisario. The separatist front’s proponents at the European Parliament have recently suffered a new setback with the rejection of an amendment to include a new aid to the Algeria-based separatist group in the 2017 EU draft budget.

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) decried that it is inconceivable for the EU to continue funding a movement whose involvement in embezzlement and dilapidation is well established, notably following the disclosure in 2015 of a report by the EU’s anti-fraud office (OLAF) blaming the Polisario and Algeria for diverting humanitarian aid.

The OLAF report documents “well-organized, years-long” embezzlement by the Polisario Front of humanitarian aid designated for Sahraouis held in the camps of Tindouf in Algeria. The document states that aid theft “begins in the Algerian port of Oran, where the sorting between ‘what should arrive and what can be diverted’ takes place.”

On the need to undertake a census of the Tindouf camp’s population to determine actual humanitarian needs and bar the road to embezzlers, the report explains that ”One of the reasons that made these diversions possible is the overestimation of the number of refugees and therefore aid provided.”

Recently, MEPs also drew the attention of the European commission to the “inacceptable” imposture by Algeria of a tax on the humanitarian aid sent to the population in the Polisario-run Tindouf camps.

Algeria’s stance in support of separatism in Morocco has been dealt a heavy blow at the legal level. Last year, a European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruling restored the legality of the Moroccan-EU farm agreements after a legal challenge by the Polisairo, saying that the deals “do not concern the Polisairo front”.

Prior to the ruling, the ECJ’s Chief Advocate General Melchior Wathelet explained that the Polisario front is not a legitimate organization for contesting the Morocco-EU trade agreements.

Wathelet contested the validity of the Polisario’s legality to plea at the ECJ, saying that the Polisario is not recognized by the International community as a representative of the commercial interests of the population of the Sahara, although it is considered as a party in the political process to find a solution to the conflict over the Saharan provinces.

Algeria’s responsibility in Perpetuating Sahara Dispute

Algeria’s push to impose the participation of its puppet the Polisario in multilateral event is evidencing once more that Algiers is a party to the Sahara artificial dispute and not only an “observer” as its diplomats purport. Algeria can no longer hide behind its observer status and should take a seat at the table of negotiations to fully contribute to implementing the UN Security Council resolution. UN Security Council Resolution 2351, adopted last April, has once more reiterated the call on Algeria to uphold its responsibility to allow a census of the population held in the camps.

Algeria continues to fund and support diplomatically and militarily the Polisario militias, which it hosts in the region of Tindouf since the 1970s. The Polisario have been using Algerian territories as a rear base for their guerilla warfare against Morocco until the UN-brokered ceasefire agreement in 1991.

In 2007, Morocco put forward the autonomy initiative after the organization of a referendum proved to be unfeasible in view of disagreements over who is eligible to vote. Morocco offers the autonomy initiative, which has been internationally endorsed as a credible and serious basis for negotiations. The autonomy plan offers the Sahara exclusive powers with regards to managing local affairs within the framework of Morocco’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Furthermore, as relic of the cold-war, the Polisario remains obedient and dependent financially and diplomatically on its paymaster Algeria, which uses it to achieve regional hegemony to the detriment of regional stability.

Over the last years, support for the Algerian-sponsored separatist thesis in the Moroccan Sahara has been waning, as 43 countries have withdrawn their recognition of the SADR entity out of 80 that previously recognized it in a Cold War context.

Posted by North Africa Post

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

Morocco Nabs 28 Spain-Bound Illegal Migrants

Sat, 09/23/2017 - 12:31

Xinhuanet
Source: Xinhua

The Moroccan authorities on Friday arrested 28 illegal migrants trying to reach the Spanish coast from the northern city of Tangier, local media reported.

The illegal migrants were arrested in two separate operations, leading Moroccan news site Hespress.com reported, citing a security official.

In the first operation, 16 migrants were arrested when preparing to embark on a boat bound for Spain.

The Moroccan navy arrested 12 more migrants in the second operation after intercepting their boat off Tangier.
The migrants were handed over to the security authorities to take legal actions against them, the source said on condition of anonymity.

As of Sept. 6, a total of 10,276 African migrants have arrived in Spain this year from the coast of Morocco, data from the International Organization for Migration shows.

USGC Trains Next Generation Of North African Grain Importers

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 15:06

KTIC
By USGC

Seeing is often believing, which is why the U.S. Grains Council (USGC) brought corn and feed grain buyers from Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia to the U.S. Corn Belt in September to talk firsthand with U.S. farmers and export suppliers.

“These individuals represent the up-and-coming employees as managers or directors of the procurement departments of their companies,” said Ramy Hadj Taieb, USGC regional director for the Middle East and North Africa. “Bringing this team to the United States builds new and close relationships with these key corn importers as they become the leaders of their companies in future years to come.”

The grain procurement team traveled to North Dakota, Minnesota and Louisiana. As part of the tour, team members attended a grain procurement short course at the Northern Crops Institute in Fargo, North Dakota, to further improve their grain buying and pricing skills. They also toured grain export facilities in New Orleans, Louisiana, and met face-to-face in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with major U.S. corn export suppliers and the U.S. farmers who produce the corn they purchase.

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region includes a variety of growth opportunities for U.S. corn and co-products, but the region is very volatile. In addition, the United States faces ever-increasing, significant competition from Black Sea and South American exporters. To manage these dynamics and seize short-term market opportunities, the Council strives to be responsive to current market conditions by developing relationships and working to ensure importers are informed about U.S. crop availability and pricing.

“There is a constant need to increase awareness of origination and transportation to and through the U.S. export channels,” Taieb said. “Strong, ongoing relationships with key individuals and organizations can be catalysts for changes in policy, trading practices, demand and U.S. market share.”

The four countries represented on the team (Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia) purchased 1.3 million metric tons (51.2 million bushels) of U.S. corn thus far in the 2016/2017 marketing year (Sept. 2016-July 2017). This includes sales of 871,000 tons (34.3 million bushels) to Morocco, the largest amount of U.S. corn exported to this free trade agreement partner since 2008/2009.

Significant opportunities also exist for U.S. distiller’s dried grains with solubles (DDGS). The four countries imported nearly 342,000 tons of U.S. DDGS to date in 2016/2017, a 57 percent increase year-over year. Both Morocco and Egypt are on track to import record levels of DDGS, with almost 183,000 tons and about 149,000 tons sold, respectively. Both countries will beat previous records set in 2010/2011.

Showing the importance of strong trade policy, since the United States-Morocco free trade agreement entered into force on Jan. 1, 2006, imports of U.S. corn have varied widely, but have recovered rapidly from a sharp decline ending in 2012/2013. DDGS imports, in contrast, have increased nearly 11-fold since the inception of the agreement.

Learn more about the Council’s work in the Middle East and North Africa here.

Moroccan Firm Builds Morocco’s First Data Center

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 15:01

The North Africa Post

Moroccan firm, MEDASYS, built Morocco’s first Data Center with the aim of offering an information hub conducive to fostering the country’s cyber security.

The 100% Moroccan project is part of MEDASYS strategy to develop data centers in Morocco and Africa.

The Center spans over a surface area of 2,000 square meters in Temara, 8 Km to the South of Rabat.

On the sidelines of the center’s inauguration ceremony, MESASYS, signed an agreement worth 800 million Dirhams with British counterpart Zircom. The deal provides for cooperation in building datacenters and electrical services.

The Moroccan multi-subsidiary development group MEDASYS specializes in the construction and operation of neutral datacenters. It develops, manages and supervises its own datacenters and those of other customers.

Posted by North Africa Post

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

Morocco Hosts African Government Officials’ Training Forum

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 14:46

New Business Ethiopia
By: newbusinessethiopia

The first forum for local government officials and managers of training institutions who offer training for African local governments took place at the Campus of the International University of Rabat (UIR), located at the Technopolis of Salé (Morocco) on September 18-20, 2017.

The forum was dedicated to the theme, “Human Resources in African Local Governments: The Time to Act … is Now!” and was sponsored by the United Cities and Local Governments of Africa (UCLG-Africa) and its African Local Government Academy (ALGA).

The forum was attended by more than 400 participants from 58 countries, of which 46 were from countries in Africa, including Ministers, Presidents of Associations of Local Governments, Presidents and Directors of Training Institutes, local government senior staff, experts in local governance and members from civil societies and the general public.

Proceedings were opened by Mr. Noureddine Boutayeb,  Minister-Delegate to the Minister of Home Affairs of the Kingdom of Morocco at the opening ceremony which was attended by: Mohamed Benabdelkader, Minister Delegate to the Head of Government, in charge of Administration and Civil Service Reform, Morocco; Ms. Jeanne d’Arc Kagayo Umurundi,  Minister of Municipal Development of Burundi and Ms. Hajia Alima Mahama,  Minister of Decentralization and Rural Development of Ghana.

In addition the following key personalities have Mr. Ahmed Ould Bah, Director of External Relations of the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO); Mr. Cheikh Ould Ahmed Ould Baya, President of the Association of Mayors of Mauritania, Vice-President of UCLG-Africa for the Region of Northern Africa; Mr. Mohand Laenser, President of the Association of Regions of Morocco (ARM); and Mr. Mohamed Boudra,  President of the Moroccan Association of Presidents of Municipal Councils (AMPCC).

The three day forum addressed the following issues with extensive discussion around:

The place of human capital in the new geopolitical context of decentralization in Africa;
Networking of local government senior staff and peer learning;

Promotion of the quality of education, training and capacity building targeting local government administration;

Attendees included the following partners: the Department of Public Administration and Development Management; the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs; the Bahrain Institute of Public Administration (BIPA); Cities Alliance; the National Center of Local Government Civil Service (CNFPT); the Seoul Human Resources Development Center (SHRDC); the Metropolis International Training Institute (MITI); the International City Management Association (ICMA) of USA; European Federation of Local Government Chief Executive Officers (UDITE); AAPAM Africa; the French Union of Directors General of Local Governments (SNDGCT); the African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF); and the African Training and Research Center in Administration for Development (CAFRAD).

Proceedings ended with the adoption of a declaration from Salé which highlighted the challenges being faced in human resources for local governments, the urgency for training and the need to find sustainable solutions that would address the problem of funding for training and capacity building of elected officials and senior staff in African local governments.

The African Local Government Academy (ALGA) of UCLG-Africa was proposed as a center of excellence for the modernization and professionalization of management for local governments on the continent.

Participants expressed their interest that the forum of Salé be scheduled as an annual event at the International University of Rabat (UIR) under the aegis of UCLG-Africa and ALGA.

Morocco To Rehabilitate ‘Repentant’ Islamists

Fri, 09/22/2017 - 10:09

The Middle East Monitor

Morocco is introducing a plan to reintegrate radicalised detainees who have been convicted on terror charges back into society through the “consecrating citizenship” programme.

“DGAPR [General Delegation for Prison Administration and Reintegration] is deeply aware of the importance of ensuring the conditions for the reintegration of the category of prisoners in cases of terrorism and extremism in penitentiary institutions and which requires an innovative scientific approach,” it said in a statement.

The approach is divided into three principles of reconciliation through changing oneself, working with religious texts and finally with society.

The DGAPR has allied itself with the National Council for Human Rights (CNDH) and the country’s Muslim scholars, Ulema, whose experience and expertise will be used to construct the reintegration programme.

A meeting has since been organised between the three bodies as the local Ras El Ma prison in the city of Fez for the reconciliation programme which will focus on “the spiritual rehabilitation of prisoners” and mainly include workshops led by prisoners who have been former “Salafi Jihadists”.

Read: The weakening of Morocco’s state institutions worsens the political logjam

These workshops serve as an opportunity for meetings between “repentant” Islamists and those detained on the same charges where they discuss various topics including “the relationship between extremist thinking and organised crime”. The aim is to use repentant Islamists as a model for others who have gone the same way to then renounce their ways and move on with their lives removed from any radicalism.

According to the DGAPR’s press release, the first trial of this programme that was implemented earlier this year has been “successful” with detainees who volunteered from the Al Arjat 1 prison.

In order to test the effectiveness of its work with these prisoners, the DGAPR tests the beneficiaries of the programme through practical exercises where they demonstrate the extent in which they have mastered “the dismantling of extremist discourse”.

Reconciliation offered to Islamists isn’t new to North Africa. In the aftermath of the brutal ten year civil war in Algeria, Islamists who had not taken part in the killings were offered a general amnesty in return for their arms through a reconciliation policy introduced by President Abdelaziz Bouteflika which has been successful in minimising the effect of radicalisation in the country.

Bond′s ′Desert Express′ For Morocco Tourists

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 15:15

DW Germany
DW Travel

Zugarbeiten in der Wüste (Bahnreisen Sutter)

Edouard Kunz knows timekeeping is important but the former Swiss watch precision mechanic admits that James Bond’s Oriental Desert Express in remote eastern Morocco never runs on schedule. “It takes between eight and 12 hours to make the trip, sometimes even more,” says Kunz, 70, who is known as Edi, blaming sandstorms for frequent delays.

His passion for trains put him in the driver’s seat more than 10 years ago when he persuaded Morocco’s National Office of Railways to let him run a tourist train on a disused railway line.

Zugarbeiten in der Wüste (Bahnreisen Sutter )
Sand as far as the eye can see

The track that runs near the border with Algeria was originally built nearly 100 years ago when Morocco was a French protectorate. It was part of an ambitious project, the Mediterranean-Niger railway, to link the sea to inland Africa. However, the project was short-lived and, in time, the mines and factories in Bouarfa shut down, until the desert region with its lunar landscapes was rediscovered by Kunz and the location scouts for “Spectre”. Exterior shots of the train making its way through the desert darkness were used in the Bond movie, a star-studded spy thriller with Daniel Craig reprising the role of 007.

James-Bond-Küsse in Indien kürzer (picture-alliance/dpa/Sony)
Lea Seydoux and Daniel Craig in “Spectre” (2015)

One of the most striking sequences in the film depicts a romantic dinner between Bond and a character played by French actress Lea Seydoux that is interrupted by the villain Mr Hinx, played by wrestler Dave Bautista. The resulting fight between Bond and Hinx in a train carriage has been praised by some critics as one of the best scenes in the whole movie.

Zugarbeiten in der Wüste (Bahnreisen Sutter )
Workers clean up the rails

The tourist train that Kunz hires from Morocco’s national railway operator is not quite as luxurious as the one featured in “Spectre”. Tourists can choose from a first-class, air-conditioned carriage and another that dates back to the 1960s, in which they can open the windows to take in the scenery and snap pictures. The train moves at a top speed of 50 kilometres per hour (30 mph), but this can often drop to 10 kph and sometimes the train has to come to a complete halt because of sand on the tracks. When that happens, workers resort to shovels to get rid of the sand before the train can proceed. “Some people buy BMWs but I bought myself a train,” Kunz says, with a chuckle, recalling how he struggled to make a profit with his desert train project. In a good year, he says, he makes five to six trips between Oujda and Bouarfa.

Daily Life in Fes (picture-alliance /A.Widak)
In Morocco mint tea is served all day long

On the route to Bouarfa, the first dozen or so kilometres are through a fertile plain, and then the train passes through the Tiouli tunnel. After that it is mostly desert. Along the way, passengers see abandoned train stations – and the more unusual sight of a former Roman Catholic church turned into a judo club, near a mosque. Kunz is hoping to transform one of the abandoned stations into a restaurant, but for the time being dinner is served in the train. The chef, Aziz, prepares local specialities – spicy tajine stews and mint tea – for the tourists. “This train is important. It creates jobs and helps promote our country,” Aziz says.

One of the passengers on the Oriental Desert Express is Mona, a young Moroccan based in Paris. “It is a welcome change of scenery. It’s nothing but an infinite desert behind us and ahead of us,” she says. “There’s an extraordinary atmosphere on the train,” she adds, comparing its slow progress through the Saharan sands to being rocked in a cradle.

From Moscow To Marrakech: Russia Is Turning Its Eyes To Africa

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 13:20

The Hill
by Anna Borshchevskaya
Opinion Contributor
photo by: GETTY

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill.

If you thought Vladimir Putin would settle for only Syria in cementing Russia’s footprint in the Middle East, you’re in for a surprise. From Morocco to Egypt, Moscow has been expanding influence through arms and energy deals, tourism promotion, and diplomatic overtures to warm relations and slowly dislodge U.S. influence in North Africa.

Since Vladimir Putin officially came to power in Russia in May 2000 he systematically sought to restore the positions Moscow lost after the fall of the Soviet Union and the turbulent decade that followed. In the Middle East, Putin made visible strides by 2010. In North Africa, improvements became apparent more recently.

Russia-Egypt ties, already on the rise in Putin’s earlier years, noticeably improved after Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi led the military coup of July 2013 that ushered him into the Egyptian presidency. Bilateral trade between the two countries doubled to $5.5 billion in 2014, according to Russian statistics. Russia and Egypt held their first joint naval drills in June 2015, and military exercises in October 2016. This month, Cairo finalized negotiations with Moscow to build Egypt’s first nuclear power plant.

Reportedly, Moscow had deployed special forces to Egypt on the Libyan border in March of this year, which signaled Russia’s growing role in Libya, a country with the world’s ninth largest oil reserves.

Here Putin is backing General Khalifa Haftar who controls the country’s oil-rich east but seeks leadership of the entire country at the expense of the U.N.-backed civilian government in Tripoli. Moscow offers Haftar diplomatic and military support. Haftar made three trips to Moscow since the summer of 2016, and in February of this year, the Kremlin flew several dozens of Haftar’s wounded soldiers to Moscow for treatment.

In June 2015, Moscow signed a Memorandum of Understanding on nuclear cooperation with Tunisia “(F)or the first time in the history of Russian-Tunisian relations” according to Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear regulatory corporation. In September 2016 the memorandum grew into a nuclear cooperationagreement. By the end of 2016, when Russian tourists couldn’t travel to Egypt and Turkey, approximately 600,000 came to Tunisia, a tenfold increase from 2015 and a sizable number compared to roughly 3 millionRussian tourists that used to visit Egypt annually.

Algeria has long been in Moscow’s camp and remained a top buyer of Russian arms throughout the 2000s. But in 2014 the two countries signed a $1 billion arms deal which a Russian military expert in business-oriented Vedomosti described as “possibly the largest export contract for main battle tanks in the world.”

Meanwhile, Morocco’s King Mohammed VI came to Moscow in March 2016, his first visit in fourteen years. The two countries signed a number of agreements on energy and counter terrorism, a “deep strategic partnership declaration.” Morocco aims to increase Russia’s tourists by four hundred percent, to an annual 200,000 in the next three years, and on my last visit to Moscow in May 2016 some of the city’s streets sported ads for trips to Morocco.

A major driver for Moscow’s push into Africa is arms sales and economic influence more broadly. Moscow used Syria to advertise newest weapons, and it’s paying off. “Customers have started queuing up for the weapons that have proven themselves in Syria,” said Russian deputy defense minister Yuri Borisov last month.

According to Russian deputy defense minister Alexander Fomin, these customers include African countries, which works well for the Kremlin. The Soviet Union poured resources into the African continent for ideological reasons. Putin will do no such thing. “(W)e know that the African continent has a great potential and it (cooperation) can be market-oriented and based on mutual interest,” he said in October 2016.

Still, the Kremlin’s larger aims are political and geostrategic. Putin’s overall military moves in the Middle East but also North Africa limit the West’s ability to maneuver. North African countries on the Mediterranean’s southern coast can potentially gain Russia, a traditional land power, access to additional warm water ports — something Russian leaders coveted since Peter the Great. Such access would allow Russia to project military power into Europe, Middle East and North Africa.

Russia’s economy is on a long-term declining trajectory and Kremlin’s plans may not pan out exactly as hoped, but can still produce limited success. Moreover, developing closer ties gives the Kremlin political leverage. Cairo has come to accept Moscow’s position in Syria, in support of Moscow-backed Bashar al-Assad.

Backing Haftar in Libya would both gain Putin greater access to energy markets (something he seeks to ensure Europe’s dependence on Russian energy) and cast himself as a peacemaker while preventing a genuine resolution, much as he had done in Syria. Meanwhile, working with Morocco, a crucial US ally in the region, sends a signal to Washington that it will have to deal with Putin here too.

Putin’s priority is regime’s survival. His foreign adventures are often domestic distractions, but survival is also connected to the West— working with it while simultaneously undermining it. North Africa is another crucial arena where he pursues this agenda. Speaking at Russia’s premier annual Valdai conference in October 2016 Putin said that Africa cannot be on the periphery of international relations. On this, Washington should believe him.

Anna Borshchevskaya is the Ira Weiner fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

Morocco Will Take All Measures To Secure Road To West Africa

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 09:43

The North Africa Post

Morocco gave strong guarantees that it will not allow any breach of the security of the road linking it to West African states and that it ensures that road safety is respected.

Speaking in response to fallacious information spread by Algerian co-opted media, Morocco’s foreign minister Nasser Bourita said in New York that the Kingdom will take all necessary measures to ensure the safety of commercial traffic on the road linking Morocco to the Sahel.

Moroccan media quoted the Minister saying that Morocco is ready to bring logistical and security aid to G5 Sahel states (Mauritania, Mali and Niger, Burkina Faso and Chad) in their efforts to secure their borders.

The Minister also welcomed the creation of the G5 force as a milestone in security cooperation in the region, and urged the international community to bring support to the Sahel counter terrorism force.

Morocco, in its quality as Chair of the peace building committee, also deplored the surge of violence in the Central African Republic and called for boosting the capacities of the MINUSCA, the UN peacekeeping mission in CAR.

“Armed groups cannot hijack the whole political process,” Morocco’s foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said at a high-level meeting on the situation in CAR, held on the sidelines of the 72nd UN General Assembly.

Bourita warned of the risks embedded in the ethnic and religious character of the violence in the region of Bangassou, which was until recently a symbol of tolerance and coexistence in the country.

Posted by North Africa Post

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

Ghana-Morocco Double Tax Agreement To Come Into Force In 2018 – (Part 2)

Thu, 09/21/2017 - 01:55

Graphic Online Gh
George Kwatia

In our last publication, we discussed the signing of the Ghana-Morocco Double Tax Agreement (“DTA”) and the provisions of the DTA in relation to the taxation of permanent establishments and business income.

In the concluding part of the article, we will discuss the taxation of investment, employment and service incomes as well as other considerations under the DTA.

Taxation of investment income

Where a Moroccan company pays dividends to a tax resident company of Ghana, which is the beneficial owner of at least 10 per cent of the capital of the Moroccan company, the maximum dividend tax rate in Morocco is five per cent of the dividend received.

In any other cases, a tax of 10 per cent applies on the dividend paid by a Moroccan company to a tax resident persons of Ghana.

The dividend withholding taxes of five per cent or 10 per cent do not apply where the beneficial owner of the dividends is a Ghanaian resident entity which carries on business through a PE in Morocco.

Additionally, if the beneficial owner of the dividend performs independent personal services from a fixed base situated in Morocco, and the Moroccan company is effectively connected with such a PE, then this dividend tax will not apply.

Other than interest specified as exempt from tax in the DTA, interest income received by a Ghanaian tax resident person from a Moroccan tax resident entity may be taxed in Morocco at a maximum rate of 10 per cent.

In Ghana, however, interest payments are taxed at eight per cent meaning that the foreign tax credit received may only be relieved in Ghana up to eight per cent, leaving the Ghanaian lender with unrelieved Moroccan tax on interest income of two per cent.

Unless the qualifying conditions in the DTA are met, the tax rates on interest do not apply to interest accrued by a PE of a Ghanaian resident entity situated in Morocco, or from independent personal services from a fixed base situated in Morocco.

For royalty payments by a Moroccan tax resident to a Ghanaian tax resident, tax of 10 per cent may be deducted in Morocco.

The reduced rate of 10 per cent does not, however, apply where the beneficial owner of the royalties is a resident of Ghana and carries on business in Morocco via a PE situated in Morocco, or performs independent personal services from a fixed base situated in Morocco.

Capital gains realised from the alienation of immovable or movable property of a Ghanaian resident person situated in Morocco, whether owned directly or through a PE may be taxable in Morocco as per the conditions specified in the DTA.

However, capital gains from the alienation of ships or aircrafts operated in international traffic or movable property pertaining to the operation of ships or aircrafts are taxable in the place of effective management of the enterprise.

Capital stock

Gains from the alienation of shares, capital stock of a company, or of an interest in a partnership, trust or estate, the property of which consists directly or indirectly principally of immovable property situated in a country may be taxable in that country.

Gains from the alienation of any property not stated are taxable only in the country that the alienator is tax resident.

Taxation of employment income and other types of service incomes

Income derived by a Ghanaian resident from professional services or other services of an independent character shall be taxable only in Ghana. If the Ghanaian resident person has a fixed place available in Morocco where these services are performed, then the income attributable to this fixed base in Morocco may be taxable in Morocco.

Similarly, if a Ghanaian resident individual exercises employment in Morocco, income from this employment may be taxed in Morocco.

For the income to be taxable in Ghana, the Ghanaian resident individual should spend less than 183 days in aggregate in Morocco and the cost of employment should not be borne by either a Moroccan resident employer or a P.E. in Morocco.

Fees paid to a Ghanaian resident as a director of a board of Moroccan company may be taxed in Morocco. Similarly, the remuneration of top-level managerial officials of a Moroccan company who are residents of Ghana are taxable in Morocco.

Income earned by an independent professional service such as an entertainer and a sportsman from their personal activities either Ghana or Morocco is taxable in either of both countries depending on where the activities are exercised.

The above notwithstanding, income earned from such personal activities within the framework of cultural or sports exchanges agreed by both governments and carried out for non-profit making purposes are exempt from tax in both countries.

Finally, pensions or life annuities paid by a Moroccan social security scheme to a Ghanaian tax resident shall be taxable only in Ghana and vice versa. Despite this, pension payments are currently exempt from taxes in Ghana.

Morocco To Expand Counter Terror Efforts Abroad

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 16:15

abc News
By Angela Charlton, Associated Press

The director of the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations Abdelhak Khiame gestures during an interview with The Associated Press at his headquarters in Sale near Rabat, Morocco, Tuesday, Sept. 19, 2017. Khiame says his government is working on a new strategy to track Moroccans who radicalize in Europe, as part of beefed-up counterterrorism efforts by a country that is both a key player in the global anti-extremism struggle and a source of international jihadis. (AP Photo/Abdeljalil Bounhar)

A top Moroccan security official says his government is working on a new strategy to track Moroccans who become radicalized in Europe, part of beefed-up counterterrorism efforts by a country that is both a key player in the global anti-extremism struggle and a source of international jihadis.

Preventing radicalization of Moroccans abroad is especially important after Spanish extremists with Moroccan origins carried out last month’s deadly Barcelona attacks, Abdelhak Khiame, director of an agency known as Morocco’s FBI, told The Associated Press in an interview.

“Really I was frightened by what we saw happen in Barcelona. They were all youths of Moroccan origin, their parents were Moroccan but they themselves had no connection to Morocco other than their origin and their family,” Khiame said Tuesday in his polished headquarters in Sale, near the capital, Rabat.

“Morocco’s government now must adopt another method just to control the return of those people and keep a watch on them, try and gather intelligence on them,” he added.

He would not elaborate on what surveillance measures that monitoring strategy would entail, but insisted on the importance of intelligence cooperation across borders, and said his agency is working on establishing offices in partner countries.

His agency, the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigations, is also cracking down on Moroccans returning from fighting with the Islamic State group in Syria, Iraq and Libya. It has arrested 85 men, 14 women and 27 children returnees to date, he said.

Moroccans make up an unusually large subset of IS foreign fighters — a total of 1,664 people at the agency’s last count. While larger numbers came from Saudi Arabia and Tunisia, experts say Moroccans play a sizeable role among the thousands of foreign fighters in the extremist group. So do dual Moroccan-European citizens, who were notably behind IS attacks on Paris and Brussels in 2015 and 2016.

Khiame’s agency, created two years ago to consolidate and strengthen anti-terrorism and anti-crime efforts, says it has dismantled 42 Islamic State cells and five others.

Rights groups warn that counterterrorism authorities are being overzealous and have caught up innocent bystanders in the dragnet. Thomas Galley, a Frenchman serving prison time on a terrorism financing conviction based on a confession in Arabic that he says he didn’t make and can’t understand, is among those that Human Rights Watch says is being unfairly held. Khiame insisted that the government has proof of his extremist activities.

Beyond jail and prosecution, Khiame said the government recognizes the need to solve the roots of radicalism through tackling poverty, training moderate imams and banning extremist preachers, and re-integrating former radicals.

He warned of a risk of “reverse terrorism,” or Moroccan emigrants who become radicalized in Europe then come to Morocco to stage attacks.

He cited the example of a man who embraced extremism while living in Catalonia and who was interrogated by Moroccan authorities after the Barcelona attacks, and found to be plotting violence in Morocco.

Khiame said the man had no link to the Barcelona attacks, which left 16 people dead after a partially failed attempt by a network of teens and other young Spaniards to set off explosions in the area.

Khiame’s agency helped identify the suspects and is working closely with Spain on the investigation.

The agency was also instrumental in helping French police find a leading suspect in the November 2015 attacks on the Bataclan theater, cafes and a stadium in Paris.

Rooting out radicalism is important to preserving Morocco’s reputation as a beacon of stability in a volatile region, and King Mohammed VI speaks out regularly against religious fanaticism.

Experts say Moroccans abroad are especially vulnerable because of the challenges of integration and a tug-of-war between two cultures and identities.

———

Charlton reported from Paris. Andrew Drake in Sale, Morocco and Lori Hinnant in Paris contributed.

FM Stresses Pressing Need For International Cooperation To Defeat Terrorism

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 09:00

All Africa
Maghreb Arabe Presse (Rabat)

Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita stressed, on Wednesday in New York, the pressing need for cooperation within governments and at the international level to defeat terrorism and violent extremism.

“Each dismantled cell and thwarted terrorist attack is further proof that cooperation within governments and at the international level is not just an option, but a strong imperative in our quest to defeat terrorism and violent extremism,” said Bourita at the 8th ministerial meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), chaired by Morocco and the Netherlands.

“It is essential that we persist in our joint mobilization and continue to stand together in a spirit of unity and solidarity,” he said.

“We cannot emphasize more on the fact that this global menace requires a global response, and absolutely no country can claim ability to cope alone with the manifestations of terrorism,” he said, noting that this global menace requires a global response, and absolutely no country can claim ability to cope alone with the manifestations of terrorism.

Bourita underlined that “we must also fully engage all relevant stakeholders – government services, non-governmental organizations, civil society, media, the private sector, Internet providers, etc… – along the lines of a “whole of society” approach.”

He added that the primary objective remains to support and revitalize the implementation of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and relevant Security Council resolutions, as well as GCTF’s good practices and recommendations.

“In this context, we welcome the reform of the United Nations counter-terrorism architecture and the establishment of the United Nations Office for Counter-Terrorism,” he said.

“In addition, and in line with the inclusive approach advocated by the GCTF, we have decided to expand the geographical scope of its two Regional Working Groups, which will now work to strengthen and develop capacities in East and West Africa regions,” the minister noted.

“Our decision emanated from the observation of the alarmingly developing terrorist threats in Africa and the attempts from existing and resurgent terrorist groups to link up across these regions,” he explained.

“We cannot and should not turn a blind eye on this alarming trend and allow for the promising development efforts of African countries to be challenged by the spread of terrorism, and the GCTF should fully contribute to reinforcing the capacities in the continent,” he underlined.

Morocco and the Netherlands were re-selected to assume the presidency of the Global Counterterrorism Forum for another two-year mandate.

Among the decisions taken during this meeting is the launch of a series of initiatives under the GCTF, including the initiative related to handling local violent extremists, run jointly by Morocco and the USA.

The meeting was attended by foreign ministers or representatives of member states as Spain, UK, Turkey, USA, France, Canada, Nigeria, Egypt, Qatar, KSA, Jordan, India, Indonesia, as well as UN representatives.

The GCTF is an informal, apolitical, multilateral counter-terrorism platform that was launched officially in New York in 2011, with the aim of strengthening capabilities in order to develop a strategic, long-term approach to counter terrorism and prevent the violent extremist ideologies that underpin it.

Skhirat Agreement Remains ‘Inescapable Reference Point’ To Stabilize Libya – UN Special Envoy

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 08:45

All Africa
Maghreb Arabe Presse (Rabat)

For the United Nations, the UN-brokered agreement signed by Libyan parties in the Moroccan city of Skhirat in December 2015 remains the “inescapable reference point” to stabilize Libya, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Ghassan Salamé, said Tuesday in New York.

“Morocco has made a very positive contribution to the signing of the Skhirat agreement, which for us remains the inescapable reference point for progress,” Salamé told reporters following a meeting with Morocco’s minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Nasser Bourita, on the sidelines of the 72nd UN General Assembly.

The UN official said he thanked Bourita “for the Moroccan contribution” to the Libyan political agreement, saying he is “grateful to the Kingdom” for all the support it will provide to a mediation that will be led by the United Nations.

The UN Special Representative said that he has “agreed with our Moroccan friends that the 2015 agreement needs some small adjustments, but certainly not a replacement.”

Technical meetings will take place as of September 26 between the experts of the two Libyan assemblies to “draft together (…) some amendments”, he announced.

Earlier in the day, Bourita met with Libya’s Foreign Minister Mohamed Taha Siala, who expressed his country’s appreciation for Morocco’s support to improve the situation in Libya.

Morocco: Climate Change – Morocco Convenes Meeting In New York On South-South Cooperation

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 08:30

All Africa

Morocco convened on Tuesday in New York a meeting on South-South cooperation with the objective of further strengthening this cooperation in line with the commitments made at COP22 in Marrakech.

The meeting was jointly organized with the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and was attended by several public and non-state actors, regional and international organizations and representatives of the private sector and of developing countries.

Speaking on this occasion, Josefa Leonel Correia Sacko, African Union Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture, thanked Morocco for this commendable initiative and its efforts to promote South-South cooperation to address the challenges of climate change.

Correia Sacko affirmed that the African Union Commission is ready to support this initiative, given that climate change is a global issue that requires joint efforts, including by countries of the South, which are the most affected ones by this phenomenon.

“We can share experiences, transfer technology and take a collective approach to the impact of climate change,” she told MAP.

For the African official, dialogue and multilateralism have become an absolute necessity to achieve the development and transformation of Africa and to reach the objectives on the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the African Union 2063 Agenda.

Ambassador Amena Yauvoli, COP23 special representative for the Pacific region, said he was “pleasantly surprised” by the relevance of this Moroccan initiative and its great potential to promote cooperation between countries to fight the effects of climate change.

For him, South-South cooperation as advocated by Morocco “can turn these challenges into opportunities”.

“Climate challenges are constantly increasing, and no country can confront them alone,” he noted, stressing that successful experiences such as the Moroccan one are very useful for other countries in the south.

UNFCCC spokesperson Nick Nuttall welcomed Morocco’s initiative, noting that the Moroccan presidency of COP22 contributed to the emergence of a South-South cooperation action in this area.

Nuttall underlined the importance of strengthening cooperation in order to fight the impact of this phenomenon.

In his turn, COP22 President Salaheddine Mezouar said that this meeting shows the importance given by the Kingdom to South-South cooperation, which is at the heart of its international and regional action.

“For Morocco, this dimension of South-South partnership is a vision of strategic importance aimed at providing concrete answers to real problems,” he told reporters.

Morocco’s Secretary of State for Sustainable Development, Nezha El Ouafi, stressed that the Kingdom remains convinced that “multilateralism is the right choice to put into place our actions and move forward.”

This initiative can serve as a Moroccan-African platform to fight counter the effects of climate change, she noted.

Director General of the Moroccan Agency for International Cooperation (AMCI), ambassador Mohamed Methqal underlined the personal commitment of HM King Mohammed VI to South-South cooperation, recalling in this regard the organization last year in Marrakech of the Africa Action Summit in the margins of COP22.

Methqal also pointed out that the AMCI’s actions remain mainly oriented towards the African continent, with almost 80 pc of its initiatives related to African countries.

Morocco’s Total Energy Consumption To Comprise 50% Renewables By 2030

Wed, 09/20/2017 - 07:40

ESI Africa

By the year 2030, Morocco would have invested $40 billion in projects aiming to develop the energy sector.

This is according to the North Africa Post, which cited the country’s ambitious strategy, seeking to derive 50% of its energy needs from renewable sources by the same year.

This was highlighted at a recently held forum in Bahrain’s capital, Manama, which focused on the latest developments in the renewable energy sector.

Speaking at the seminar, Minister of Energy, Aziz Rabbah said: “The Kingdom has succeeded, through an ambitious strategy, to turn its challenges into genuine investment opportunities, through its commitment to projects aimed at developing the energy sector by 2030, 75% of which are devoted to renewable energies.”

Media reported that the energy minister highlighted the fruitful results of Morocco’s energy transition, noting that the share of wind and solar power in electricity production reached 30% of overall energy output in the country in 2016.

Morocco’s energy transition

Minister Rabbah further recalled that in 2016, the Noor 1 solar complex began operating with a capacity of 160MW and a storage for 3 hours of low-light producing capacity, media reported.

The Noor project, which was developed by Saudi Arabia’s Acwa Power and Spanish firms Sener SA and Acciona SA, is estimated to have a total capacity of 2GW by 2020 once all four units have reached completion. Read more…

He also pointed to the country’s efforts to strengthen the electricity interconnection with neighbouring countries.

He made reference of the Morocco-Portugal project, which is currently under study, with a capacity of 1,000MW, and the project of a third interconnection of 700MW with Spain, including other projects with sub-Saharan countries.

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