Thursday, November 12, 2009

Moroccan News Briefs

Forty new A/H1N1 cases confirmed in Morocco

Forty new cases of the A/H1N1 flu virus were confirmed in the cities of Tangier, Casablanca, Marrakech, Rabat, Temara, Meknes and Ifrane, the Health Ministry said on Wednesday.

All cases are under medical treatment in their homes, with regular medical check-ups, said the ministry.

A total of 717 cases of the virus were confirmed since the outbreak of the disease on June 10, including 367 cases reported in schools, the same source added. The ministry made it clear that no cases of death were registered in the country.

The Glitterati head to Morocco

According to reports circulating in the resort industry, Monte Carlo SBM, who operates the top luxury end of the market in Monaco, has taken a major shareholding in a £120 million hotel and private residential complex in the Menara district of Marrakech. Apartment prices start at £1.8 million and go up to £5.4 million,

In addition, Monaco is pushing the notion of "winter residences" to its own citizens. In a report on the Times On Line, several internationally recognized celebrities have already expressed interest. These include Jenson Button, the Formula One motor racing champion, and Bob Diamond, the head of Barclays investment banking division.

Morocco plans to spend £2 billion on “Plan Azur” to generate investment, property development and tourism. Morocco’s main tourist base has come from France, but the trend for converting riads — old-style Moroccan homes — is popular with Britons seeking a cheaper alternative to France and Spain.

The tax system for property in Morocco is generous, with no capital gains tax payable after ten years, no rental tax for the first five years and 0 per cent property tax for the first three years. There is also no inheritance tax if a home is left to a family member.

Ottoman Congress to be held in Morocco

An international congress on Western Mediterranean under Ottoman ruling will be held on 12-14 November in Moroccon capital of Rabat.

The OIC Research Centre for Islamic History, Art and Culture (IRCICA, Istanbul) and the Royal Institute for Research on the History of Morocco (IRRHM, Rabat) are jointly organising an International Congress on "The Maghreb and the Western Mediterranean during the Ottoman Period".

The congress aims to promote research on the history of the Maghreb and the Western Mediterranean region during the period of the Ottoman State by exploring the existing and new directions of research and offering scholars and specialists an opportunity to present their findings and share information, IRCICA said on website.

"The period will be covered comprehensively, to generate a forum of study and academic discussion on its various aspects. The Ottoman presence in part of the region under study had varying degrees and spheres of impacts on all of the region.

"Thus the theme will cover the relations between the Ottoman State and the Maghreb and Western Mediterranean region with regard to the effects of developments relating to the central state, the provinces, and the neighbouring countries, reciprocally; economic, social, cultural and educational developments, press and publications," IRCICA said.

An important aspect of the congress is that it will also address issues relating to historiography and the state of research on the history of the region during the Ottoman period.

The languages of the congress will be Arabic, Turkish, English and French. Simultaneous translation will be provided.

Morocco launches campaign to attract British Investors

A conference on investment opportunities in Morocco has seen the participation of four Moroccan ministers who travelled to London on Monday to promote Moroccan business opportunities.

The Moroccan Foreign Minister, Taib Fassi Fihri, explained that Morocco is determined to further enhance its cooperation ties with the United Kingdom in all sectors.
"Morocco is an open country, which signed free trade agreements (FTAs) with several countries including the United States, the European Union, Turkey and some Arab ountries".

Moroccan Finance and Economy Minister, Salaheddine Mezouar highlighted the Kingdom's economic potentials and positive performance despite the economic crisis. "In spite of the global unfavorable situation, Morocco's emerging economy, based on diversified macroeconomic foundations, offers large investment opportunities," Mezouar said, adding that growth rate between 2005 and 2009 reached 5.3%.

Morocco's Industry, Commerce and Technology Minister, Ahmed Reda Chami, also joined in, saying that "Morocco has set up the right framework to attract more foreign investments and serve as a regional industrial hub."

As to the Energy Minister, Amina Benkhadra, she tackled the issue from her perspective. She stressed that Morocco has a long experience and policy in the field of energy and environment protection. She called on British companies to participate in Morocco's energy projects, which aim at increasing the contribution of renewable energies to the country's national power production. As The View from Fez recently reported, Morocco has decided to launch a large-scale solar energy project, worth nine billion dollars, which seeks to achieve a 2,000-megawatt production capacity by the year 2020.

"In fact, this high-level Moroccan delegation shows HM King Mohammed VI's strong will to further bolster bilateral relations with Great Britain," said the Moroccan ambassador to Great Britain, Chrifa Lalla Joumala Alaoui, who took part in the London conference.

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