Western Sahara Worldnews
by Joshua S Hill
The Kingdom of Morocco has this week signed a three-year Joint Programme of Work with the International Energy Agency to help the country in its transition to a low-carbon economy, focusing on energy security, energy efficiency, and renewable energy.
The North African country known as the Kingdom of Morocco has only been an Association Country with the International Energy Agency (IEA) since last November, and this week the two signed a three-year Joint Programme of Work to deepen bilateral collaboration in the areas of security, energy efficiency, renewable energy, capacity building, and data and statistics. Specifically, the work program is aimed at helping speed a transition to a low-carbon economy based on Morocco’s particular needs. The program will see the IEA Secretariat and the Moroccan Ministry of Energy, Mines and Sustainable Development work to reach the Kingdom’s long-term energy targets.
“This Joint Programme of Work takes the long-standing relationship between the IEA and Morocco to a new level,” said Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director, at the signing ceremony in Paris. “It will cement the partnership between the two parties for a more sustainable and secure energy future. Morocco’s leadership and commitment to expanding the deployment of renewable energy and weaning itself off imported fossil fuel are to be commended.”
His Excellency Aziz Rabbah, Morocco’s Minister of Energy, Mines and Sustainable Development, left, and Dr Fatih Birol, the IEA’s executive director. Photograph: ©IEA/Andrew Wheeler
We don’t necessarily hear a lot about Morocco, maybe because it is relatively small-fry in terms of its renewable energy capacity. The Kingdom of Morocco only has around 2 GW worth of renewable energy capacity, dominated by 1,265 MW of large-hydropower and 798 MW of onshore wind energy. In total, as of 2013, Morocco had 4,471 GWh of renewble electricity.
The Kingdom was nevertheless the first country in the Middle East and North Africa (often lumped together as the MENA region) to join the IEA’s Association initiative, which is aimed at opening its doors to emerging economies. Further, in 2009, Morocco set an impressive target of reaching 42% electricity generated from renewable energy sources by 2020. Additionally, Morocco implemented net metering legislation for solar PV and onshore wind plants, with private generators being allowed to sell up to 20% of their production.
Morocco has numerous renewable energy resources, including obviously wind and hydro-power, as well as large solar resources, and is already a regional leader in terms of deploying these clean technologies. The Kingdom is looking to reduce its reliance upon fossil fuel imports, while solving the gap by increasing renewable energy generation. Morocco was also one of the first MENA countries to cut fossil fuel subsidies and introduce energy efficiency measures — a step that even many western countries have failed to do.
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From: Foreign & Commonwealth Office
Mr Thomas Reilly has been appointed Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco in succession to Ms Karen Elizabeth Betts.
My first visit to Morocco was in 1998. I liked the country so much that I came back again in 2000. Those two visits left me with a tremendously positive impression of a country rich in history, culture and diversity. Little did I think that I would be back here nearly 20 years after my first visit as the British Ambassador.
It is a huge honour and a privilege to act as the representative of the UK in Morocco. I am delighted to be here now and to arrive during Ramadan is an additional blessing. Over the years, I have enjoyed Ramadan in Jordan, Kuwait and Egypt and I am looking forward to sharing it in Morocco too, as well as to learning more about Morocco during my time here. My family (who are not yet with me in Rabat) are also very excited to be moving to Morocco and are looking forward to living and learning here.
That the Morocco/UK relationship is a strong and enduring partnership, is clearly demonstrated by the fact that it is already more than 800 years old. As British Ambassador, I will be following in the footsteps of innumerable predecessors, dating back to the formal establishment of diplomatic relations when Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I sent her Ambassadors to the Court of Morocco’s Saadi Sultanate. In exchange, Sultan Ahmed al-Mansour sent his Principal Secretary, Abd el-Ouahed Ben Massaoud as Moroccan Ambassador to the Court of Queen Elizabeth. This appointment has had a lasting impact on British culture – Abd el-Ouahed Ben Massaoud is reputed to have been the inspiration for Shakespeare’s hero, Othello. Queen Elizabeth I spoke of Morocco in very warm terms – “The great friendship and cooperation that exists between our Crowns” – a warmth and closeness between the monarchies of both our countries that endures to this day.
That Royal relationship is replicated across our societies – each year more than 600,000 British tourists visit Morocco, drawn by the history, culture, geography, climate and most importantly by the warmth and generous hospitality of the people of Morocco. One of my ambitions for my time here in Morocco is to encourage even more British tourists to visit and have the chance to explore and get to know this unique Kingdom and its people.
The UK and Morocco also enjoy close commercial ties, with bilateral trade worth more than $2 billion each year. The UK is among the top six foreign investors to Morocco. Another of my priorities is to foster an ever closer partnership between Moroccan companies and their British counterparts to further strengthen these commercial ties and increase bilateral trade through mutual support in niche commercial areas.
One of those niche areas is renewable energy, where there are some very exciting opportunities. Morocco aims to increase its renewable electricity generation to 52% of energy demand and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 32% by 2030. These goals clearly demonstrate Morocco’s ambition and drive in this sector and the potential to become a global leader in the sustainable and renewable energy sector. In this context, the city of Ouarzazate, renowned as the location for the filming of Lawrence of Arabia, is pioneering a revolutionary solar power station, one of the largest of its kind in the world. The UK also has substantial experience in renewable energy and in regulating energy markets. Morocco also needs gas for its power stations and British companies are well-placed to work with Morocco to meet this need.
UK diplomatic policy in North Africa is focused on building a secure, peaceful and prosperous region, underpinned by shared values of human rights and democracy. This policy aim is supported by a number of projects in which Morocco is a key partner. For example, earlier this year the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (WFD) and the House of Councillors of the Moroccan Parliament signed a Memorandum of Understanding whose objective is to support the Parliament in upholding human rights, share public policy evaluation experiences and help Morocco’s Parliamentary Research Centre build its capacity.
Another area of shared interest is education and academia. I am looking forward to working with Morocco on building deeper academic and educational links between our two countries. The UK is home to some of the best universities in the world and we are proud to share them with Morocco’s future leaders through our Chevening Programme, through which Moroccan students have the opportunity to study at Universities all over the UK. So far, over 160 talented Moroccans have benefitted from this great initiative and I hope very much to increase that number during my time as Ambassador.
The relationship between our two countries today is in many respects stronger now than it has ever been and I look forward to building on this relationship to continue to develop an even closer partnership of equals across the different sectors which bind Morocco and the UK so closely together.
I would like to close by taking this opportunity to wish you a happy, blessed and above all peaceful end of Ramadan and a happy Eid.
Published: 30 June 2017
Japanese firm JTEKT, a bearing maker, will establish a manufacturing facility in the northern Moroccan city of Tangier, the Tanger-Med Port announced on Thursday.
The plant will span over a surface of 6.5 hectares at the Tangier Automative City Zone located in Tanger-Med Port, the Moroccan port said in a statement.
It aims to provide a direct supply for the growing automobile industry in Morocco, the statement said.
With 15-million-euro investment as a first step, the construction works will start in 2018, it said.
The initial production capacity is expected to reach 230,000 units a year, it noted.
The Japanese firm JTEKT provides major vehicle manufacturer with steering system for manoeuvring car and drive parts to propel car forward.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on Thursday granted Morocco 120 million U.S. dollars to financing a water conservation project in northern part of the country, official news agency Maghreb Arab Press reported.
The project consists of building a 135 km primary transmission pipe from the Mdez dam to the Saiss plain in northern Morocco, the report said.
It aims to replace water abstraction from the local aquifer and water resources of the Saiss plain, which is currently over exploited, according to the news agency.
It said over 7,000 peasants are expected to benefit from this project.
by Samia Errazzouki
Morocco’s central bank has postponed for “a few days” its announcement of the first phase of liberalising its dirham currency, a key International Monetary Fund-backed reform for the North African kingdom.
The central bank sent an invitation to reporters this week to say the much-anticipated announcement would take place on Thursday at a news conference with the central bank governor and finance minister. But the central bank in a brief note to reporters said it had been delayed.
A finance ministry official did not respond to multiple requests about why the announcement had been pushed back, and central bank officials declined to give a reason.
The announcement had been delayed “a few days,” the central bank said in an email to journalists without giving any further details.
The unexplained delay may reinforce investor concerns about transparency in the currency liberalisation process after several conflicting statements about the start date in the past few months.
“The process is out of control and the guys in Rabat are behaving like in panic mode,” said one trader in Casablanca, where Morocco’s stock exchange operates. “The mismanagement of a sensitive process is putting the confidence of stakeholders at risk.”
The central bank late last year said the first stages of a gradual move from currency controls to a flexible exchange rate would be implemented in the second half of 2017, along with other reforms like inflation targeting.
The dirham is fixed via a peg that is 60 percent weighted to the euro and 40 percent to the dollar. The first stage will ease that peg to allow the currency to trade in a narrow range, which will expand gradually over the course of up to 15 years.
One concern has been the level of Morocco’s foreign reserves. The finance minister blamed speculation ahead of the currency announcement this week for a $4.4 billion drop in reserves in the last two months.
(Reporting by Samia Errazzouki; writing by Patrick Markey; Editing by Richard Balmforth)
by Ali Haidar
The June session of the UN Decolonization Committee ended in New York Friday (June 23) on a double failure of the Committee Chair, Venezuelan ambassador Rafael Ramirez, and of the Algerian diplomacy with regard to the Moroccan Sahara issue.
The vigilance of Moroccan diplomacy and the mobilization of Morocco’s friends from Africa, the Caribbean, Asia and the Pacific that are member of the Special Committee (C-24) foiled all the maneuvers of the representatives of Venezuela and Algeria. These representatives wanted the C-24 to grant the Polisario the status of a legitimate representative of the populations of Western Sahara.
Morocco’s opponents were forced to withdraw from the draft resolution all the paragraphs introduced by the Venezuelan presidency on the recommendation of the Algerian delegation.
These paragraphs referred to the participation of the Polisario as a legitimate representative of the populations of the Moroccan Sahara and called for a visit by a delegation of the UN Decolonization Committee to these Sahara provinces.
Morocco’s friends insisted on the rejection of the status of representative of the Sahara populations that Rafael Ramirez was maliciously seeking to confer on the Polisario. Seven members of the Committee sent a letter to the Committee Chairman challenging his maneuvers to impose this so-called representativeness of the separatist front.
The Committee members sent a clear message to the Venezuelan Ambassador, to Algeria and to its protégé the Polisario, whose biased attitude has divided the Committee.
The majority of the committee members have thus exposed the personal and ideological agenda of Ambassador Ramirez and his Algerian colleagues about the Moroccan Sahara and the so-called representativeness of the Polisario.
And all the deceptive attempts by the Committee Chairman harming Morocco’s interests and favoring the Polisario were thwarted by Morocco with the support of its friends.
By Deus Kibamba
Photo: Agence Marocaine de Presse
HM King Mohammed VI (file photo)
Having written a great deal about regional integration in the Gulf, I have realised that a lot of people miss facts on a few other countries in that region.
Beyond the dispute between Qatar and its neighbours that I have been discussing, there is another international stalemate between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Sahrawi. This has existed for decades without a solution but efforts are underway for the conduct of diplomatic talks and a referendum as a way out of it.
For the processes to succeed, Africa must collaborate with the United Nations in the course of finding lasting peace for the West African region. Only recently, the Economic Community of Western African States was able to see off Yahya Jammeh after he lost the presidency in the Gambia. This set a record in having regional communities demonstrate meaning in the manner that Ecowas did.
There has been another issue facing the sub-region involving Morocco and Western Sahara. The Kingdom of Morocco has had a mixed history of international relations generally and diplomatic rapport with her neighbours in particular.
Starting with its withdrawal from the African Union, then known as the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), Morocco has a record of being internally united and internationally firm. The country’s withdrawal from the OAU on November 12, 1984 was justifiable given the fact that the continental body had decided to recognise and admit Sahrawi in 1982.
The main issue for Morocco has been the fact that the scientific principles of secession and/or annexation were violated in the case of recognising and admitting Sahrawi. On the positive side, the United Nations, of which Morocco remained a member and maintained a permanent Mission since independence, was keen to follow the rules of procedure before recognising a territory’s sovereignty.
Taking the case of the newest nation in the world, a referendum had to be exercised for the people of Sudan to decide whether or not South Sudan can be given independence. Likewise, the people of Morocco and Western Sahara can undergo the same processes of deciding on the future of their land.
Morocco has been a UN member since November 12, 1956. On the other hand, Sahrawi, which is a former Spanish colony, has a disputed territory status with the United Nations and is only recognised as a non-self governing territory.
Despite delayed recognition of Morocco’s reign over Sahrawi, there is increasing international support and recognition of Moroccan sovereignty over the territory as part of the Kingdom of Morocco.
Hence to diplomatically and politically resolve the ongoing sovereignty issue, two things should happen: first, dialogue should take place to be followed by a referendum for the people to decide on their identity. The good news is that the UN is in the process of setting the process in motion through the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (Minurso).
There are also ongoing talks between the Kingdom of Morocco and the Polisario Front, which the UN is moderating. Polisario, which is also known as Popular Front for the Liberation of Saguia el-Hamra and Rio de Oro, claims sovereignty over Western Sahara since its disputed independence in 1975. The bad news is that the media in Africa and globally is sound asleep on these developments in the Maghreb.
For now, a significant part of Western Sahara, especially in the south, remains part of Morocco since the Madrid agreements of 1975. One wonders how the AU in its previous version could have proceeded with recognising the territorial sovereignty of Western Sahara the way it did. Thanks to the United Nations, a consensual deal may soon be reached.
A constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament, Morocco is governed by a king, namely Mohammed VI (pictured), who is also the head of state and commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Underneath the king, there is Prime Minister Saadeddine Othmani, who oversees the day-to-day government operations. In terms of international relations, Morocco is a member of a number of organisations, including the United Nations, Arab League, Union of the Mediterranean and AU.
Surprisingly, not much is known in Africa south of the Sahara about the Gulf and Maghreb regions. How many people in Tanzania, for instance, are aware that Moroccan statehood dates as far back as 789 during the reign of King Idrisid and that the famous Atlas Mountains are actually situated in Morocco? The stalemate in the Maghreb and how it has been dealt with should be a lesson to regional communities all over Africa.
Gulf Digital News
Morocco-based Masen, a leading renewable energy company, said its president Mustapha Bakkoury recently visited Sweden to meet the country’s governmental energy agencies and Cleanergy AB to discuss collaboration opportunities.
Cleanergy AB is a privately held high-tech small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) specialised in the supply of Stirling engine-based renewable energy solutions.
Morocco and Sweden have the attributes for good business relations within the energy sector, said a statement from the company.
With Morocco’s avant-gardist strategy for renewable energy development, its optimal weather conditions and Sweden’s innovative technology solutions, focus is on how to continue developing the collaboration between the two countries, it said.
Bakkoury undertook this visit upon an official invitation by the state secretary Oscar Stenström, Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He also met Pär Nuder, board member of Cleanergy AB, and other high-level representatives of the Swedish Government and officials of the Stockholm region.
During the meeting, the officials discussed topics such as: Sweden’s energy strategy and goals for renewables; collaborative efforts between the two countries; and Morocco’s roadmap to being global leader within renewable energy
Prior to this visit Cleanergy AB had signed an agreement with Masen to deliver concentrated solar power (CSP) technology to Morocco, said a statement.
The agreement foresees Cleanergy and Masen collaborating to set up demonstration units of its Stirling CSP technology in the Noor Ouarzazate complex and to launch collaborative innovation activities on thermal energy storage systems.
Bakkoury said: “We are positioning ourselves as a major player in the renewables sector on a global level. Morocco has set an ambitious objective of 52 per cent renewables within its energy mix by 2030.”
“Relations with Sweden are part of the strategy to accomplish this, as well as our interest for innovative, state-of-the-art solar power generation technologies,” he added.
Jonas Eklind, president of Cleanergy AB, said: “They have the world’s largest concentrated solar power plant since 2016 – 580 MW Noor Ouarzazate complex and will in 2018 supply power to nearly two million people all over Morocco.”
“We see this aggressive plan and expansion as an opportunity. To enter the African solar power market and collaborate with Masen on development of the CSP technology with storage, is a solution where everyone can benefit,” he added. – TradeArabia News Service
Travel Trade weekly
In a bid to strengthen Morocco’s cargo transport sector, Royal Air Maroc has signed an agreement with Boeing to convert of a passenger aircraft into freighters.
The Boeing 767-300 set to undergo the transformation will be utilized exclusively for cargo transport, bringing the total to two and adding to the carrier’s inventory currently comprising 54 mixed-used jets.
Along with bolstering the airline’s cargo capacity from 25,600 tonnes to 77,000 tonnes, the extra aircraft will also enable the transport of animals, pharmaceuticals and oversized items.
Amine El Farissi, director, Royal Air Maroc Cargo, explained that Boeing’s conversion programme is a convenient solution during a period of urgent need for freight aircraft, therefore the company is likely to implement a similar strategy in the future.
Energy Live News
A new green bond in Morocco aims to promote and support investments in a range of renewable energy projects.
The issuance by Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP), one of Morocco’s largest banking groups, has already received investments of €100 million (£87.9m) and €35 million (£30.8m) from World Bank Group member IFC and private sector financing group Proparco respectively.
The 10-year maturity bond will enable banks to support long term investments in green assets by channeling private funding into climate finance.
This financing is expected to help save 938,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per year.
IFC has identified $68 million (£53.5m) of green investment opportunities in Morocco alone.
Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa, said: “Addressing climate change is a priority for IFC in the region and Morocco is an active player in this area.
“By building on our long term partnership with BCP, we aim to encourage more private sector investment in long term renewable energy projects, paving the way for more sustainable economic development and growth.”
by M Sehimi, Maghress
Princess Lalla Joumala Alaoui, a cousin of Morocco’s king, who most recently served as her country’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, was appointed in February 2016 to take over the embassy in Washington and was sworn in on October 13, 2016. She presented her credentials to President Donald Trump on April 24, 2017.
Morocco was one of the first countries to recognize the United States as an independent nation.
Lalla Joumala was born in 1962 in Rabat, Morocco, daughter of Princess Lalla Fatim Zahra and Prince Moulay Ali. Lalla Fatima Zohra was the eldest daughter of King Mohammad V and half-sister to the then-king, Hassan II, making her a cousin of current ruler Mohammad VI. Lalla Joumala’s aunt, Princess Lalla Aicha, was the world’s first female Arab ambassador, serving in the United Kingdom from 1965 to 1969. Lalla Joumala was the goddaughter of Marcia Israel, the founder of the Judy’s clothing chain.
Lalla Joumala attended Lycée Descartes in Rabat, then studied at the School of Oriental and African Studies, part of the University of London, where she earned a degree in politics and history. She married an Iranian, Muhammad Reza Nouri Esfandiari, in October 1986.
Lalla Joumala served for a time as an executive at Bank Al Maghrib, but turned her focus to diplomacy in the late 1990s. She served briefly as an attaché at Morocco’s mission to the United Nations in New York from 1999 to 2000. In 2001, Lalla Joumala led her country’s delegation to the UN session on HIV/AIDS.
Lalla Joumala founded the Moroccan-British Society, promoting improved relations between the two countries, in 2003. Then, in January 2009, she followed in her aunt’s footsteps when she took over as ambassador to the United Kingdom. She served there until being tapped for the U.S. post.
Lalla Joumala and her husband have an adult daughter, Lalla Nezha, who was born in 1989.
-Steve Straehley, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
Lalla Joumala, une Princesse Dans le Vent (by M Sehimi, Maghress)
Air Lease Corporation
Source: Air Lease Corporation
Today Air Lease Corporation (NYSE:AL) announced the placement and recent delivery of one 737-800 aircraft (MSN 33982) on long-term lease to Royal Air Maroc (Morocco).
“We are pleased to announce this lease placement with Royal Air Maroc, a new customer for ALC. We look forward to a successful long term relationship with Royal Air Maroc as it continues to modernize its fleet,” said Alex Khatibi, Executive Vice President of Air Lease Corporation.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including expected delivery dates. Such statements are based on current expectations and projections about our future results, prospects and opportunities and are not guarantees of future performance. Such statements will not be updated unless required by law. Actual results and performance may differ materially from those expressed or forecasted in forward-looking statements due to a number of factors, including those discussed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
About Air Lease Corporation (NYSE:AL)
ALC is an aircraft leasing company based in Los Angeles, California that has airline customers throughout the world. ALC and its team of dedicated and experienced professionals are principally engaged in purchasing commercial aircraft and leasing them to its airline customers worldwide through customized aircraft leasing and financing solutions. For more information, visit ALC’s website at www.airleasecorp.com.
About Royal Air Maroc
Royal Air Maroc, otherwise known as RAM, is the Moroccan national carrier as well as the country’s largest airline. RAM is fully owned by the government of Morocco, and has its headquarters on the grounds of Casablanca-Anfa Airport. From its base hub at Mohammed V International Airport, the carrier operates a domestic network in Morocco as well as scheduled international flights to 90 destinations in Europe, North America, South America, Africa, Maghreb, and the Middle East.
Investors: Mary Liz DePalma Director of Investor Relations Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Media: Laura St. John Manager, Media and Investor Relations Email: email@example.com
The North Africa Post
Representative of the UN refugee Agency (UNHCR) Jean Paul Cavaliéri commended Morocco for the humanism underlying its immigration and asylum policy in line with the 1951 Geneva Convention.
Speaking on the occasion of the World Refugee Day, celebrated on June 20, the UNHCR official told Morocco’s news agency MAP that the Kingdom has succeeded in developing an adequate legal framework guaranteeing the right to asylum.
Morocco updated legal texts to enable refugees to enjoy their rights to international protection, he said, adding that the UNHCR works closely with the Moroccan government and the civil society to bring help to asylum seekers in terms of registration for obtaining refugee status in addition to offering them medical and legal aid, and education to their children.
The UNHCR together with the civil society in Morocco are also organizing this June 18-23 artistic, sports and cultural activities benefiting refugees and asylum seekers in order to shed light on the living conditions of individuals and families who had to leave their countries to escape persecution and wars, he said.
The UNHCR estimates that forced displacements has worsened in recent years as 33.9 million people had to leave their homes in 1997 compared to 65.6 million in 2016.
By last March, 18,228 migrants submitted to Moroccan authorities their requests to gain residency cards as part of the second phase of a regularization campaign that was launched last December upon directives from King Mohammed VI after the success of the first phase that saw 25,000 migrants gain residency status.
Morocco was one of the first countries of the South to adopt a genuine solidarity-based policy regarding sub-Saharan migrants…This integrated policy, which is rooted in humanitarian values, is designed to make sure migrants’ rights and dignity are safeguarded.
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.
University world News
Morocco is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for African students seeking to study abroad, and is now their second most popular destination on the continent after South Africa, a trend attributed largely to proactive government policy.
According to the latest statistics published by Morocco’s ministry of higher education, scientific research and training, more than 18,000 African foreign students are currently enrolled in higher education institutions in Morocco. These African students come from 42 countries, especially francophone countries such as Mauritania, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Guinea and Gabon, but also including significant regional economies Kenya and Nigeria, said Mohammed Aboussaleh, secretary general of the ministry.
Speaking at a meeting at the faculty of medicine and pharmacy at Mohamed I University, Oujda, Aboussaleh emphasized the support and social assistance that these students receive during their university studies in Morocco.
An official at Moroccan International Cooperation Agency, the body that regulates educational and cultural co-operation between Morocco and the rest of the world, said the growth of the country’s international student body has followed proactive government policy. The Moroccan government has struck agreements with its counterparts in other African countries that provide a quota for African students interested in continuing their higher education in this north African country.
About 6,500 of these students currently benefit from scholarships provided by the agency. The remainder are self-financing and make private applications for places on courses in Moroccan universities and colleges, said the official. These students generally attend private higher education institutions studying languages, business, engineering and other disciplines.
The number of these foreign African students, predominantly from Sub-Saharan Africa, has been increasing annually: in 1994, this number was around 1,040 students, rising to around 5,000 in 2004 and up to 18,000 today, according to the statistics provided by the agency.
Four main reasons have encouraged these students to study in Morocco: quality and diversity of training opportunities; geographical proximity; administrative and political plus reliable social support services; and the opportunities returning students have in their home countries.
“I obtained a scholarship to study in Morocco. The same opportunities do not readily exist in other countries,” said Lake Nyos, a Cameroonian student studying marketing at the Higher Institute of Management and Technology in Casablanca.
Morocco is the second choice for Senegalese students seeking overseas study, after France. Speaking to University World News, Leon Nicolas Gomez, a Senegalese teacher who secured a BA and MA in English language at Ibn Zohr University, in Agadir, and at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, Fez, respectively, said he chose Morocco because there were many Senegalese students there for support, who had reported that Moroccans welcomed Senegalese students to their country.
“I got my baccalaureate with distinction. Then I was chosen to study in Morocco. I received quality education. The English departments in Morocco offer more varied subjects compared with those of Senegal. My level of English was higher than that of the students who studied in Senegal,” said Gomez, who, with his Moroccan higher education, has taught English professionally since returning home to Senegal where, he said, Moroccan diplomas are recognized.
The growth in visiting students has also been encouraged by growing commercial links between Morocco and other Africa countries. Total bilateral trade between the Maghreb country and other African states generated MAD16 billion (US$1.6 billion) in receipts last year against MAD6 billion in 2004.
These commercial links have highlighted the quality of Moroccan vocational training, which has been promoted by the Moroccan Office for Professional Training and Promotion of Work, or OFPPT, which has been trying to make the kingdom a regional hub for development, including vocational training and higher education.
Since 2002, OFPPT has signed 25 framework agreements promoting training cooperation with other African countries. This has had a direct impact regarding the office’s own work: it employs foreign Africans from 28 countries, according to data shared by the OFPPT.
The institution has developed a broad strategy to develop partnerships with African countries, welcoming their experts to Morocco to provide a diverse range of training, and helping supply trained personnel to the country’s labour market.
In 2014 alone, three agreements were signed with Gabon, Mali and Guinea. These concerned exchanges of students as well as trainers, managers and school directors. Moroccan office managers regularly conduct visits to other African countries to assess how Moroccan trainers can help develop these partner countries’ labour supplies.
The challenge is significant, especially in countries that have lower levels of economic development than Morocco, whose human resources are often weak. So far, more than 1,500 African trainees have been trained by the OFPPT.
Such projects and links have encouraged African students to seek private training in Morocco.
“Private vocational training attracts more and more African students since Morocco has a developed infrastructure related to this field,” said Adamou Nadja, a Nigerian trainee at the Private Institute for Nursing and Health Services in the capital Rabat.
Sali Elie, a former student at the faculty of medicine and pharmacy at Mohammed V University, in Rabat, and now a doctor in Mali, stressed the importance of the cooperation and good relations between Mali and Morocco in providing her the opportunity to study medicine in Morocco: “It is a very welcoming country to African students and Malians in particular, and that has been true for years.”
Elie said she intends to return to Morocco to follow specialist follow-up medical training in future.
Unsurprisingly, Moroccan university professors are happy with these developments. Dr Souad Slaoui, an English teacher at Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, in Fez, said her experience of working with foreign African students was positive as they were serious, eager to learn and well disciplined.
“As to why they choose Moroccan universities, I think that they look at Morocco as a more open country for sharing knowledge and using new strategies of teaching,” said Slaoui.
Variety of courses
Jalal Zine El Abidine, a Moroccan teacher of history and civilization at the University of Hassan II Casablanca, said Moroccan universities in general – and private institutions in particular – are a preferred destination for African students thanks to easier access into the country, including immigration controls – which is not the case in some other countries, especially in Europe.
He stressed that students were also attracted by the wide variety of courses, especially in technical, trade and business majors, and modern facilities.
“Indeed, Morocco is able to provide quality education and training for these students, especially in private institutes where programmes are similar to some international institutes. There are even European and American institutes that have settled in Morocco and direct their services to this category of student,” said Zine El Abidine. Examples include SIST British University in Casablanca, and the French School of Technical Education, also in Casablanca.
Four persons with suspected links to the Islamic State (IS) militant group have been arrested in Morocco, the country’s Interior Ministry said.
According to the ministry’s statement on Thursday, the suspects, arrested in Essaouira city, had pledged allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and were planning attacks on the key and tourist sites in Essaouira, Xinhua news agency reported.
Police have seized weapons and documents inciting violence, the statement said. Morocco has seen a growing threat from terror groups, especially IS. According to official figures, Morocco busted 19 terrorist cells and arrested 273 suspects in 2016, most of them linked to the IS group.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and Proparco, a subsidiary of Agence Française de Développement (AFD) devoted to private sector financing, are investing €100 million and €35 million, respectively, in the first green bond issuance by Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP), to promote sustainable, environment friendly projects in the country.
This is the first green bond issuance in foreign currency in Morocco, as well as IFC and Proparco’s first green bond investment in the region. The 10-year maturity bond will be used to provide long-term funding for BCP, one of Morocco’s largest banking groups, to refinance investments in selected renewable energy projects in the Kingdom.
A key objective is to help create a sustainable financing mechanism for banks to support long-term investments in green assets, by channeling private institutional money to climate finance through capital markets.
“This strategic operation cements our position as a pioneer in the financing of renewable energy projects,” said Abdeslam Bennani, Deputy CEO in charge of Corporate and Investment Banking at BCP. “It also recognizes the confidence and trust placed in the BCP Group by the largest international financial institutions.”
IFC’s investment is part of its strategy to create markets by unlocking investment for private sector projects, and meet the increasing demand for renewable energy and energy-efficient projects.
“Addressing climate change is a priority for IFC in the region and Morocco is an active player in this area,” said Mouayed Makhlouf, IFC Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “By building on our long-term partnership with BCP, we aim to encourage more private sector investment in long-term renewable energy projects, paving the way for more sustainable economic development and growth.”
“This historic investment is in line with commitments made by Morocco during COP22 in Marrakech, last year,” said Yazid Safir, Proparco Regional Representative in North Africa. “This pioneering operation for Proparco will allow us to stimulate the Moroccan capital market and develop new subscriptions for green bonds in other regions, while further strengthening our long-term partnership with the BCP group.”
The financing is expected to help save 938,000 tons on average of CO2 emissions equivalent per year, as well as the equivalent of 17.36 million tons of CO2 in greenhouse gas savings over the remaining lifetimes of the projects being financed.
IFC’s Climate Investment Opportunities Report, released in November 2016, identified $23 trillion in investment opportunities in 21 emerging market countries by 2030, and $68 million in Morocco alone in select sectors. Climate is also central to Proparco’s priorities, with the institution earmarking €2 billion by 2020 for green projects.
IFC’s green bond program helps funnel private investment into low-carbon projects. As of June 2017, IFC had issued $5.8 billion in green bonds in 12 currencies.
Hotel, retail and real estate investors will gather in Morocco this October to discuss investment and development opportunities in the African continent at the 2017 Hotelier Summit North Africa.
Hosted by leading real estate solutions provider IDE Consulting Service from October 4-6, the prime emphasis of this conclave will be to facilitate consultations between shareholder, owners and investors as well as build a platform for African Governments and African Investors to learn how to make projects bankable.
The hospitality sector in Africa is set to grow by approximately four per cent each year for the next three years. The summit aims to underscore Africa’s rapidly growing hospitality and real estate market, which is attracting increased interest from international investors, developers and occupiers
Keynote speakers will also address the floor to explain about the scale of projects they are expecting from Morocco and other African countries for them to invest in.
Morocco will be presented as the initiator and a prime destination in the continent, hosting the event as a hub for investors and African countries to promote business relations and learn from each other’s experiences.
“Africa, particularly the Northern region, has seen several developments in the past few years. However, it has been observed that areas as financial planning, project execution and more importantly the implementation of sustainable measures need better policies to be effective.
“At IDE, we seek to radically change this through engaging in actionable conversations with people who walk the talk. The Hotelier Summit Africa (North) this year has been directed towards regrouping the investors, property owners, developers and other stakeholders of the real estate landscape to gather on one platform to discuss project feasibilities from conceptualization to completion.
Our objective is for Africa to be looked up to as one of the most progressive regions of growth on the global real estate map.” said Ravi Kumar Chandran, director at IDE.
The 13th edition of Hotelier Summit–Africa will witness the gathering of hundreds of thoughtful leaders from around the continent that include C-suite investors, Government officials, high net worth individuals, hotel owners and developers, hotel operators, architects, interior designers, project management consultants, design consultants, procurement professionals, advisory specialists and sustainability experts. These parties will be engaged in face-to-face meetings with the investors and suppliers from all over the globe.
“In the 13th Edition Hotelier Summit, Africa we intend to host the Honorarium Grand on a larger scale, recognising the key contributors to the hospitality industry in Northern and Western Africa and in turn revealing the Hospitality Power List for the year 2017.” said Chandran.
Positioned as the ideal gateway to figuring a company’s growth and development trajectory in the African hospitality sector, Hotelier Summit Africa (North) is wholly dedicated to easing market accessibility, providing insights on market nuances, finalising contractual work and speeding up procurement activities.
The summit will accommodate leading companies and emerging business entities from North Africa and around the region. – TradeArabia News Service
by Ali Haidar
The two countries, which severed relations 20 years ago, have resumed contact in high gear, with the signing on Monday (June 19th) in Rabat, of two agreements. The first deals with the exemption of visa requirements for holders of diplomatic, service and special passports. Under the second accord, the two countries’ foreign affairs departments commit tohold regular consultations on bilateral relations and issues of common interest.
The two agreements were signed during the visit to Morocco by Angolan Foreign Minister Georges Rebelo Chikoti.
A press conference that was held following the one hour long meeting between Georges Rebelo Chikoti and his Moroccan counterpart Nasser Bourita focused on the Moroccan Sahara issue.
Angola has adopted for a long time a downright hostile position to Morocco and its territorial integrity. Lately, however, some change in its positions has been sensed.
On Thursday, June 15, in Luanda, Georges Rebelo Chikoti received the Polisario’s so-called Minister of Foreign Affairs, who tried in vain to dissuade him from visiting Rabat or at least to postpone his trip to after the AU summit of July 4 in Addis Ababa. But Chikoti flatly rejected both suggestions.
During the news conference, Nasser Bourita did not conceal Morocco’s wish to see Angola adopt a position of neutrality in the Western Sahara conflict
For Bourita, this “first visit of an Angolan Minister in nearly 20 years”, translates “a shared resolve to open a new page of our bilateral relations.” Today, Angola “is in a more constructive disposition (…) We hope that this attitude will evolve towards a genuine neutrality on the Sahara issue,” he said.
Recently, Angola undertook, through its Foreign Minister, to make the best possible contribution to help find a political solution to the territorial dispute over the Moroccan Sahara.
Chikoti, while showing some diplomatic reservations, reiterated his country’s desire to promote any kind of dialogue and settlement of the conflict in line with the UN resolutions.
“We can no longer ignore the fact that Morocco has returned to the African family,” he said. “So far, we had a perspective that did not allow us to meet and discuss peacefully.”
After he recalled that the Sahara issue is dealt with at the level of the United Nations, Chikoti said that the primary stakeholders are Morocco, the Sahrawis and the UN.
The remarks made by the two countries’ Foreign Ministers augur well for the opening of a new chapter of friendship between Morocco and Angola.
The Japan News
Morocco will begin the process of moving toward a flexible exchange rate system gradually in the second half of this year, the governor of the country’s central bank said Tuesday.
The North African country has had a fixed exchange rate regime for the dirham since the 1970s.
“There will be no devaluation. We are not in a situation of currency crisis,” central bank chief Abdellatif Jouahri told reporters.
“The International Monetary Fund [which has helped the Moroccan authorities in the process]did not impose anything on us. It is a voluntary decision,” Jouahri said.
Moroccan media have reported that the full liberalization of the dirham will take up to 15 years.
To strengthen the existing relationship between China and Morocco, the Chinese Ambassador to Morocco, Sun Shuzhong recently announced a plan to encourage more Moroccan students to study at Chinese universities.
At the China Higher Education Exhibition in May, the ambassador and staff from Chinese universities highlighted 22 well-known universities in the country, and explained the benefits of studying abroad in China. They discussed specialty fields in transportation, foreign languages, finance, industry, geology, science, aerospace, and other fields.
The ambassador hopes to see more educational cooperation between the two countries, in addition to the already-strong economic ties.
Last March, Morocco became the first Arab country to launch a Chinese state-affiliated institution, the Confucious Institute.
China aims high with its goals of increasing its number of international students. With over 2,800 institutions of higher education, 36 million students, and $563 billion of its budget to the educational sector, China has the resources—and the capital—to encourage growth in Morocco.
Learn more about studying in China and Morocco.
Alyssa Walker is a freelance writer, educator, and nonprofit consultant. She lives in the White Mountains of New Hampshire with her family.