| Africatime
Friday 24 March 2017
(Reuters (Eng) 03/13/17)
The United Arab Emirates, one of the Middle East's largest economies, wants to expand trade ties with faster growing nations in Asia and Africa, a senior official said on Sunday. Rich Gulf Arab states are looking at ways to diversify their economies, including who they trade with, after more than two years of depressed oil prices forced a rethink of government spending. The pace of economic growth in Asian and sub-Saharan African economies has made them ideal partners, Abdullah al-Saleh, undersecretary for foreign trade and industry at the UAE ministry of the economy, told Reuters in an interview in Dubai. Asia's two largest economies China and India are expected to grow by 6.5 percent and 7.2 percent this year whilst...
(AFP (eng) 03/12/17)
The World Bank says it has approved $150 million in financing to support small enterprises in Morocco and improve social programmes in the North African country. The funds, approved on Friday, will help the government "modernise its national identification system and provide financing to promote innovative startups and job creation", a statement said. According to the World Bank, almost 5.3 million Moroccans "live under the threat of falling back into poverty due to their socio-economic conditions". Friday's statement said that $100 million will "aim to develop systems to ensure that social programmes are better targeted and reach the most vulnerable Moroccans".
(Xinhuanet 03/10/17)
Morocco has received over 18,000 applications in three months from migrants living illegally in the country, Moroccan Ministry of Expatriates and Migration Affairs said here on Thursday. The applications, filed in 69 prefectures throughout the kingdom, were submitted by migrants from various nationalities, said Anis Birou, the expatriate and migration minister, as he launched the project "Stories without Visas." The project depicts, via digital stories, the experience of eight refugees in search for a better life who have chosen Morocco to settle. Last December, Morocco launched the second phase of the regularization of illegal migrants in the country, especially those belonging to sub-Saharan Africa. Since 2013, the process of regularization of illegal migrants in Morocco has granted some 25,000 migrants...
(AFP (eng) 03/10/17)
In the beginning was .com, followed by a host of other .somethings, but on Friday, 32 years after the world's first domain name was registered, the African Union has launched .africa for the continent. Africans who want to register a website will be able to apply for a .africa domain name in the coming months, which outgoing AU commission chair Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said would allow the continent's people and businesses to better reach the world. "With .africa, I would say Africa has finally got its digital identity," said Dlamini-Zuma, who will next week hand power to Chadian Foreign Minister Moussa Faki Mahamat after four years at the helm of the continental body Sub-Saharan Africa has one of the lowest rates...
(AFP (eng) 03/09/17)
Morocco is "more determined than ever" to develop the Western Sahara, Interior Minister Mohamed Hassad said Wednesday on a two-day visit to the disputed territory. Rabat insists the former Spanish colony is an integral part of its kingdom, but the Algeria-based Polisario Front demands a referendum on self-determination there. The two sides fought for control of the Western Sahara from 1974 to 1991, with Rabat gaining control of the territory before a UN-brokered ceasefire took effect. "We are more determined than ever to continue to develop the Sahara region," Hassad told AFP. "Unfortunately there are many people who don't like this, particularly the fact that we are building roads," he said, referring to the Polisario. Hassad spoke after Morocco pulled...
(Middle East Monitor 03/09/17)
Algeria rejected calls for Morocco’s return to the African Union to be hailed in the Arab League on Sunday, a diplomatic source said. The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Algeria’s Permanent Representative to the Arab League Nadir Arbaoui refused the proposal of his Moroccan counterpart to enlist hailing Morocco’s return to the African Union to the agenda of the upcoming meeting of the Arab League prime ministers. The diplomat told the Anadolu Agency that a verbal skirmish erupted between the two representatives that resulted in ending the meeting and raised the issue to the prime ministers themselves. In January, the African Union officially accepted Morocco’s return after three
(Middle East Monitor 03/09/17)
A Moroccan member of parliament has been shot dead in front of his house in Casablanca yesterday. Abdellatif Merdass, a member of parliament representing the Constitutional Union (UC), was shot dead at the entrance of his home in the district of California in Casablanca, according to news source Alyaoum24. According to reports, an unidentified person knocked on the politician’s door and when Merdass appeared he was shot several times. The politician died immediately. Police have since cordoned off the area with no details of the crime revealed or the motivation behind the attack yet determined.
(Agence Ecofin 03/09/17)
About 23% of Morocco’s GDP in 2016 came from cannabis production. This was revealed by the US State department in a report on global drugs traffic released on March 3rd. “Over the 2015-2016 season, Morocco produced nearly 700 metric tons of cannabis, which represent 23% of its GDP valued at $100 billion,” the report states. The US State department also said Morocco which is the world’s leading producer and exporter of the crop, has become a major transit nation for cocaine coming from South America to Europe. This was proven by a seizure last year of 250kg and 1,230kg of the drug in Oujda and Dakhla respectively. The report also reveals that cannabis is the most widely used drug in...
(Xinhuanet 03/09/17)
A critical mass of trained and well equipped community health workforce is key to easing the rising burden of infectious and noncommunicable diseases in Africa, experts said on Wednesday at a continental forum taking place in Nairobi. The experts, policymakers and campaigners who attended Africa Health Agenda International Conference agreed that optimal engagement of community health workers is key to revolutionize response to diseases ravaging the continent. Kenya's Cabinet Secretary for Health Cleopa Mailu in his opening remarks said that investments in training for community health workers will have multiplier impact on Africa's socioeconomic development. "We require highly skilled and motivated cadre of community health workforce to deal with a high diseases burden in disadvantaged settings in this continent. These...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/17)
An official from the Polisario Front fighting for the independence of the Western Sahara on Tuesday blamed Morocco for the resignation of a UN envoy to the disputed territory. Christopher Ross quitting last week was a result of "Morocco blocking negotiations since 2012" on the future of the former Spanish colony, M'hamed Kheddad said. Morocco insists that the Western Sahara is an integral part of its kingdom, but the Algeria-based Polisario is demanding a referendum on self-determination. The two sides fought for control of the territory from 1974 to 1991, with Rabat gaining control of it before a UN-brokered ceasefire took effect. Ross submitted his resignation after spending eight years trying to resolve the dispute. An American who served as...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/17)
Two museums dedicated to the life and work of fashion legend Yves Saint Laurent will open in Paris and Morocco later this year, his foundation said Tuesday. The larger museum in Marrakesh -- where the late designer often retreated to work in the home he shared with his partner Pierre Berge -- hopes to attract up to 700,000 visitors a year. "Both museums are aimed at the general public as well as fashion lovers. Yves Saint Laurent was a major artist of the 20th century," the couple's foundation said in a statement. It holds a collection of more than 5,000 outfits and 15,000 accessories the Algerian-born designer
(AFP (eng) 03/08/17)
A Moroccan parliamentarian has been shot dead in Casablanca, local media reported Wednesday. Abdellatif Merdas was gunned down late Tuesday near his home in the well-off southern district of Californie. The 53-year-old was in his official car when he was hit three times by shotgun fire, private news websites reported. Hit in the head, he succumbed to his injuries shortly afterwards. Local news websites showed photos of the scene and a car with broken windows, surrounded by police officers. They said one or more attackers fled in a foreign-registered vehicle. Moroccan police said Wednesday that a suspect had been arrested. "This individual with a criminal record is suspected of an alleged link to the armed homicide that killed a Member...
(Reuters (Eng) 03/08/17)
A Moroccan lawmaker was shot and killed in front of his home on Tuesday night in Casablanca, according to a statement from his political party and local media. Security officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment on motivations. It was not clear whether the lawmaker had been targetted specifically but killings of political figures in Morocco are rare. The victim, Abdellatif Mirdas, 53, parliamentary member of the liberal Constitutional Union Party representing the Settat district, was returning to his home in Casablanca when he was shot in his car, according to reports in local media. "The Constitutional Union denounces this despicable criminal act against one of our leaders," the party said in a statement, adding it hopes an...
(AFP (eng) 03/08/17)
Lawyers and human rights campaigners launched an initiative for African whistleblowers in Senegal on Tuesday, aimed at providing a secure means of exposing wrongdoing on the continent. African nations such as Somalia, South Sudan, Libya and Guinea-Bissau regularly appear at the very bottom of rankings such as Transparency International's Corruption Index, while none make it into the top 30. The Platform for the Protection of Whistleblowers in Africa (PPLAAF) will provide guidance from legal experts, secure submission of information and a hotline for potential informants, according to its founders. The initiative is the brainchild of Spanish superstar lawyer Baltasar Garzon -- who has defended Julian Assange of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks -- along with French lawyer William Bourdon, who worked on...
(AFP (eng) 03/07/17)
The UN envoy for Western Sahara has offered his resignation after leading efforts for eight years to settle the conflict between Morocco and the Polisario Front independence movement, a senior UN official said Monday. Christopher Ross submitted his resignation in a letter sent last week to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, who is considering whether to make a new appointment. Ross's departure would highlight the failure of the United Nations to make progress in settling the decades-old conflict in north Africa. "He has worked for eight years to try to come up with a framework by which the parties -- the king of Morocco and the Front Polisario -- would be able to renew negotiations," said UN political affairs chief Jeffrey...
(Xinhuanet 03/06/17)
Nearly five months after the parliamentary elections in Morocco, the re-appointed Islamist Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane is still struggling to form a new government. The leader of Justice and Development Party (PJD) has gained the support of two parties since late October, yet he has been unable to make a deal with a third party to secure the majority of 395-seat parliament. With PJD's 125 seats, the coalition with the leftist Party of Progress and Socialism (12 seats) and the nationalist Istiqlal Party (46 seats) is made up of 183 seats only. While the second party in the October 7 elections, the secularist Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM), has announced from day one its rejection to form a government with...
(AFP (eng) 03/06/17)
At least 10 people were hurt when rival football fans clashed in Morocco over the weekend, the interior ministry said on Monday, vowing a "rigorous" crackdown on hooliganism. The ministry said four members of the security forces were among those hurt in "acts of vandalism" in the northeastern town of Sidi Kacem on Sunday after a second division match between Union Sidi Kacem and Maghreb AS of Fez. Sunday's violence follows a similar post-game altercation on Friday, when 69 people -- including 15 police -- were injured in the northern town of Al-Hoceima. A ministry statement blamed hardcore fans known as Ultras for the latest skirmishes
(The Independent 03/06/17)
Th term was coined by sceptical officials, worried about the importance given to Commonwealth trade deals ahead of Brexit negotiations. Plans by government ministers to boost trade links with African Commonwealth countries are being internally branded “empire 2.0” by sceptical officials who are worried about the importance being placed on such deals ahead of the UK’s negotiations of leaving the European Union (EU). International Trade Secretary Liam Fox is expected to promise to build better links with the whole of the 52 member countries of the Commonwealth when ministers from each country meet in London later this week. But as the UK is prepares itself to leave the European Union, The Times reports that British ministers are planning to talk...
(AFP (eng) 03/04/17)
Fourteen people were injured when rival football supporters clashed in the northern Moroccan town of Al-Hoceima on Friday, the interior ministry said. Footage posted by local residents on social media appeared to show skirmishes between groups of young people in the Mediterranean coastal town. "Two groups of football fans clashed near the stadium" in the city, said the ministry, which reported material damage and 14 people needing hospital treatment. It said the authorities intervened "to reestablish calm" and that arrests were made. The clashes broke out after a game between the first division teams Wydad of Casablanca and Chabab Rif Al-Hoceima. Al Hoceima experienced weeks of protests and social unrest after a fish seller was crushed to death in a...
(Dw-World 03/03/17)
As German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits Tunisia to discuss refugees and terrorism, Morocco is showing its regional neighbors how it's dealing with the latter. Willemijn de Koning reports from Marrakesh. In 2003 and 2011 Morocco was targeted by terrorist attacks in Casablanca and Marrakesh - a shock to the country in the Maghreb region. "Morocco was really surprised by those attacks, especially in Casablanca," says Mohammed Benhammou, an adviser to the Moroccan government on how to fight terrorism. With his help, the North African country has been pouring its resources into fighting radical Islam

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