Tuesday 23 January 2018
(Xinhuanet 10/31/17)
A regional meeting on migration opened in the Moroccan city of Skhirat with the aim to elaborate an African agenda on the issue. The three-day meeting brings together representatives of African states, the United Nations, the African Union, NGOs and academics. Speaking during the opening of the meeting, Moroccan Minister of Foreign Affairs Nasser Bourita said the informal session aims to open a deep dialogue between the politician, the experts and the civil society. Since March, Morocco's king Mohammed VI has been in charge of coordinating the migration issue within the African Union. In his speech addressed to the 29th AU Summit last July, the Moroccan king stressed the need for African states to work together to develop an African...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/31/17)
HARARE (Reuters) - Economic growth is expected to rise to 3.4 percent in sub-Saharan Africa next year from 2.6 percent in 2017, the IMF said in a report on Monday, but warned that rising debt and political risks in larger economies would weigh down future growth. Nigeria and South African are the biggest economies in Africa south of the Sahara, but both nations have been clouded by political uncertainty linked to the tenure of their leaders. The IMF said a good harvest and recovery in oil output in Nigeria would contribute more than half of the growth in the region this year while an uptick in mining and a better harvest in South Africa as well as a rebound in...
(AFP (eng) 10/30/17)
Tensions still simmer in Morocco's neglected north a year after a fishmonger was crushed to death in a rubbish truck, sparking a wave of protests for social justice. On Saturday, residents of the port city of Al-Hoceima marked the first anniversary of Mouhcine Fikri's death as he tried to retrieve swordfish confiscated by authorities because they were caught out of season. The 31-year-old's death had sparked demonstrations for justice that quickly snowballed into a wider social movement named Al-Hirak al-Shaabi, or "Popular Movement", calling for jobs, development and an end to graft. Protests gripped the Rif region, particularly the main port city of Al-Hoceima, but also spread to the capital Rabat and economic hub Casablanca. Demonstrators clashed with security forces,...
(AFP (eng) 10/25/17)
King Mohammed VI of Morocco on Tuesday sacked three ministers because of "delays in development programmes" in the troubled northern Rif region, the palace said. The Rif was gripped earlier this year by months of angry demonstrations calling for jobs, development and an end to corruption in the North African kingdom. Morocco in 2015 launched a $700 million (600 million euro) programme to revive the northern port city of Al-Hoceima, a focal point of the protest movement. But a report released on Tuesday cited "malfunctions" and unjustified delays, the royal cabinet said. "There was a big delay in launching projects, and worse, the majority...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
A protest leader who spearheaded demonstrations that rocked northern Morocco earlier this year went on trial Tuesday in a packed courtroom in the city of Casablanca. Unemployed Nasser Zefzafi, 39, who was arrested in May, faces the death penalty for allegedly "undermining the internal security of the state" after becoming the flag bearer for the protest movement in the impoverished Rif region. Zefzafi's silhouette could be seen through the opaque glass in the courtroom alongside some 30 other defendants, in his first public appearance since his detention. His co-accused are facing between five and 20 years behind bars. A judge quickly suspended the hearing to restore order as some 50 lawyers and dozens of relations of those on trial struggled...
(AFP (eng) 10/24/17)
Elephant poaching in Africa declined for a fifth straight year in 2016 but seizures of illegal ivory hit records highs, the CITES monitor said Tuesday, calling it a "conflicting phenomena". In its latest report, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species also noted that despite the overall fall in poaching, Africa's elephant population has continued to drop "due to continued illegal killing, land transformation and rapid human expansion." Global illegal ivory trade has remained relatively stable for six years, CITES reported. But 2016 saw a full 40 tonnes of illegal ivory seized, the most since 1989, as well as the hightest-ever number of "large-scale ivory seizures", the group said. "The overall weight of seized ivory in illegal trade is...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/23/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - African political leaders, activists, and local chiefs joined forces on Monday to commit to ending child marriage in West and Central Africa, the region with the highest child marriage rate in the world. More than a third of girls in the region are married under the age of 18, with the rate over 50 percent in six countries and up to 76 percent in Niger. Driven by factors including poverty, insecurity and religious tradition, marrying off girls once they reach puberty or even before is a deeply engrained social custom in much of West and Central Africa. The practice hampers global efforts to reduce poverty and population growth and has negative impacts on women’s and...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
Morocco has recalled its ambassador after the Algerian foreign minister accused the kingdom's banks of "laundering hashish money" in Africa, in the latest diplomatic spat between the North African rivals. The foreign ministry said it also summoned Algeria's charge d'affaires in Rabat on Friday evening to protest the "very serious statements... concerning the African policy of the kingdom of Morocco." Algerian Foreign Minister Abdelkader Messahel made his comments at a meeting of business leaders in Algiers on Friday, excerpts of which were widely circulated on social media. He was discussing the sharp increase in investment...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
A 1,200-kilometre (750 mile) round bus trip taking about 22 hours: that is the weekly grind faced by families of activists arrested over a protest movement in northern Morocco if they want to see their loved ones jailed in Casablanca. "The families of those detained are exhausted, every week it's the same ordeal," complained Rachid Ahbbad, as he visited his 19-year-old son Bilal who was jailed in June. "Why do they make us go through this suffering?" The Rif region of northern Morocco, a predominantly Berber area, was gripped earlier this year by months of angry demonstrations calling for jobs, development and an end to corruption in the North African kingdom. Originally sparked by the death of a fisherman crushed...
(AFP (eng) 10/21/17)
The killing of four American special operations soldiers in Niger has highlighted the increasing role elite units are playing across Africa, which is rapidly becoming a major center of US military action. Their mission is to counter the advances of a slew of jihadist movements across the continent, including Al-Shabaab in Somalia, affiliates of the Islamic State group in the Sahel region and Boko Haram in Nigeria. Of the 8,000 special forces "operators" deployed globally this year, more than 1,300 are in Africa, according to officials from the US Special Operations Command (SOCOM), which is based in Tampa, Florida. Another 5,000 or so are in the Middle East. In five years, the number of US commandos in Africa has tripled...
(AFP (eng) 10/20/17)
Visitors crowded through the doors Thursday as a museum to legendary fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent opened to the public in the Moroccan city of Marrakesh. The museum's management said 1,000 people thronged through its exhibition halls in the first three hours to get a glimpse of some of Saint Laurent's most iconic creations as they went on display in the city that inspired him. The opening comes just over a fortnight after another museum to the famed French couturier, who died in 2008, began working at the company's former headquarters in Paris. The Moroccan project -- housed in a modernist building of traditional rose-coloured ochre bricks -- was a last labour of love for Saint Laurent's former business and...
(Reuters (Eng) 10/20/17)
DAKAR (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - The #MeToo social media campaign to raise awareness about sexual harassment and abuse has sparked conversation in parts of Africa where domestic violence is rampant but strong cultural and religious taboos prevent women from admitting it. Prompted by sexual abuse allegations against American film mogul Harvey Weinstein, millions of women around the world have been sharing their experiences of harassment and abuse on Facebook and Twitter with the hashtag #MeToo. The movement has reached only a small part of the population in West Africa, but some women are participating in defiance of attitudes which dictate that being abused brings shame on the family, is a curse, or makes a woman unmarriageable. In Senegal, some women...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
A smart white coat is no proof of being a qualified medical practitioner in Morocco, where fake dentists and other "health professionals" thrive on poverty, sometimes with wretched consequences. "It's all a question of know-how. I inherited mine from my father," Hamid says proudly, sporting a thin moustache and teeth yellowed by thick deposits of tartar. Hamid brandishes his pincers at the heart of the joyous racket of the Sunday market of Beni Yakhlef, a rural town about 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the seaside metropolis of Casablanca. About a dozen patients wait their turn under an ancient, ragged sunshade, seated on plastic stools bearing the logo of a renowned brand of soft drink. Hamid cleanses the pincers with bleach,...
(AFP (eng) 10/18/17)
Rent-a-room giant Airbnb said Tuesday that it had provided accommodation for 1.2 million visitors to Africa over the last year -- double the previous year as tourism expands across the continent. The website now offers more than 100,000 accommodation options in Africa, global public affairs director Chris Lehane said on a visit to Johannesburg. "It's an incredibly rich and diverse continent, an incredibly dynamic place, certainly a big part of our future," Lehane told AFP. Airbnb was founded in 2008 and offers accommodation ranging from single bedrooms to whole homes in 65,000 cities in 191 countries. The company announced Tuesday that it would invest $1 million (850,000 euros) in Africa by 2020 to "promote and support community-led tourism projects". "For...
(AFP (eng) 10/17/17)
Though its motto is "one Africa, one voice", the reality of "Africa's parliament" could not be more different. Since its creation in 2004, the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) has struggled to make its voice heard, prompting its deputies to ask themselves at a recent gathering: "What are we for?" "Every time we're here, we obsess over the same things. If we are not making laws, then what's the point of being here?" Corneille Padonou of Benin said to his fellow parliamentarians. "This forum is not a parliament, it is just a discussion platform that does not have any legislative powers. This institution is still wobbly," said Floyd Shivambu, a parliamentarian from South Africa. "As it is, it is a waste of...
(AFP (eng) 10/16/17)
The UN's new envoy for Western Sahara will travel to Morocco at the weekend as part of a regional tour aimed at kick-starting talks on ending the decades-old conflict over the disputed territory. Former German president Horst Kohler will travel to Rabat on Sunday before heading to Algeria and Mauritania, UN sources said. The visit comes ahead of his first report to the Security Council on October 24 on prospects for re-launching negotiations that have been comatose for years. The council adopted a resolution in April that called for a new UN push for talks between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Polisario Front.
(AFP (eng) 10/16/17)
Morocco's ambassador to Greece had his diplomatic vehicle stolen on Sunday after a break-in at his residence, Athens police said. The break-in occurred early on Sunday morning in the affluent Athens suburb of Psychiko, an area popular with embassies that is nominally well-guarded. The robbers also stole a few items from the ambassador's residence, a police source said. Reports said the ambassador and his wife were present at the time of the robbery nut were unhurt.
(Reuters (Eng) 10/16/17)
RABAT (Reuters) - Moroccan authorities said on Saturday they had dismantled a cell linked to Islamic State that was active in eight towns and cities and was planning terrorist operations. Eleven people were arrested. Security forces detained the alleged mastermind of the cell in a safe house in Fez, where they found guns and a large quantity of bullets, materials for making suicide belts, nails and electric wires, according to a statement from the interior ministry. Police also found chemical products that could be used for making explosives, and a “suspicious car”, the statement said. It said one of the suspects was an explosives expert. Those arrested were “planning to carry out dangerous terrorist operations targeting sensitive sites, at the...
(AFP (eng) 10/16/17)
Residents angered by persistent water shortages in southern Morocco have taken to the streets in a series of "thirsty protests" that has grabbed the attention of the country's king. Since the start of the summer, inhabitants in the region of desert town Zagora have been left parched and furious as water supplies are cut off for hours -- or even days -- at a time. "The situation is critical. It means daily suffering for the people in this region," Jamal Akchbabe, head of an environmental group in the town, told AFP by phone. "Families are going for days without tap water, while others don't have any for several hours each day. And this water is undrinkable." In a bid to...
(APA 10/16/17)
APA-Dakar (Senegal) - The president of the African Development Bank, Akinwumi Adesina, will deliver the Norman Borlaug Lecture on Monday 16 October as part of the World Food Prize events taking place from October 16 to 20, 2017 in Des Moines, Iowa, USA. The Norman Borlaug Lecture under the title: “Betting on Africa to Feed the World”, will be held on World Food Day, October 16, in conjunction with the annual World Food Prize celebration. AfDB President Adesina will receive the 2017 World Food Prize on Thursday October 19, announced a press release issued by the AfDB on October 16, which also said “the prize is to agriculture what the Nobel Prize is to peace, science and literature.” The World...

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