Morocco to boost regional air transportation
According to Moroccan ministers of Transports and Finances, Karim Ghellab and Salah Eddine Mezouar, Morocco is determined to boost regional air transportation as an efficient tool for sustaining socio-economic development.
The two ministers made the remarks at the signing ceremony of a convention with Moroccan flag carrier "Royal Air Maroc" (RAM) for the promotion of the new low-cost airline RAM-EXPRESS.
The convention sets the goals and tasks of the new domestic airline and outlines the responsibilities of the Moroccan State, which contributed 25 % in the 300 Million DH ($ 36 Mln) capital of RAM-EXPRESS.
The low-cost company was created to prop up Morocco's socio-economic development, enhance Moroccan regional strategy, bolster trade exchanges between the various regions of the Kingdom, encourage domestic tourism and draw more investments to the Kingdom.
Two killed in Gendarmerie Royal plane crash
Two people were killed on Thursday in a crash of a light aircraft of the Gendarmerie Royal.
The crash of the small plane occurred during an emergency landing near the Rabat-Salé airport killing the two people on board, said a statement of the Chief of Staff of the Gendarmerie royale.
An enquiry was opened to determine the causes of the accident, the same source added.
Moroccan women's situation 'very positive', UNIFEM Executive Director
The situation of Moroccan women is "very positive", "encouraging" and could serve as a model in north Africa, according to the Executive Director of the UN Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) Inés Alberdi.
"The progress of women's situation in Morocco is very positive and encouraging" thanks to the new Family Law, Alberdi said following a meeting with Morocco's Social Development, Family and Solidarity minister Nouzha Skalli.
She also commended the partnership between the Moroccan government and civil society to promote women's rights and ensure a good implementation of the Family Law.
For her part, Skalli showcased Morocco's achievements in terms of protecting and promoting the rights of children and women, adding that the partnership with UNIFEM was positive in several programmes, notably regarding fighting violence against women.
The meeting between Skalli and Alberdi took place on the occasion of the 54th Session of the Commission on the Status of Women.
Praise from Women's NGO
At the same time, The Washington-based organization Freedom House highlighted, on Wednesday, Morocco's achievements in terms of women's rights, particularly the increase of political representation and the 2004 Family Code reform.
Moroccan women "continue to make gains politically, and a 12 percent quota was implemented for the June 2009 local elections, substantially increasing female political representation on this level", Freedom House said in a study on women's rights in the Middle East and North Africa region.
The American NGO also shed light on the "sweeping changes" engrained in the 2004 family law and the new nationality law which enables Moroccan women married to noncitizen men to pass their nationality to their children.
Women in Morocco made progress in other fields, Freedom House said, noting that they may "travel without a guardian's approval, lead their business ventures and advance to higher levels of education in greater numbers, in addition to negotiate their marriage rights."
The Washington-based NGO added that Morocco has made progress in protecting women from domestic violence through consolidating support networks for victims.
Union unrest in Morocco
An interesting article on the Maghrebia website highlights union unrest in Morocco.
According to Maghrebia, three major public-sector unions launched a general strike last Wednesday after two months of negotiations with the government reached an impasse.
"We're not fans of strike action," Democratic Labour Federation general secretary Abderrahman Azzouzi said, "but after a two-month halt in the negotiation process, we had to do something."
The strike, led by the Moroccan Labour Union, the Democratic Labour Federation, and the National Union of Moroccan Workers, may paralyse public-service activity in Morocco throughout the month. Union officials and the government plan to resume talks in April.
Micro finance in Morocco
Specialists in new technology are to present solutions for micro finance on March 11-12 in Marrakech. The meeting is being organized by PlaNet Finance, an NGO headed by France’s Jacques Attali, with backing from the Groupe Banque Populaire and the French consultancy Sogeti.
Experts in banking transactions by telephone are to attend, among them: MiPay, Fundamo, and the South Korean concern SK Telecom, which is present on the market through Mobile Money Ventures.
The cash transfer firm Money Transfer International is to be represented by Olga Maitland and the software publishers Crystal Clear Software, Craft Silicon and Compuscan are to present their risk management systems.
The micro finance market in Morocco represents about EUR 500 million, with 1.2 million active loans on the books. But the bad loan rate has climbed to 5% as opposed to just 2% a few years ago. A contract was awarded to Experian to set up a center to reduce risks (MC 867) but the project has been delayed. And nothing much has come of the idea of transforming micro finance associations into virtual banks that can take in savings, either.
Morocco sets sights on 2016 Africa Cup
According to the afrik.com website, Morocco is the only country to have submitted its candidacy to organize the 2016 Africa Cup of Nations. Although there is still time before the final application is submitted, the country’s football infrastructure has raised a few eyebrows.
Gabon and Equatorial Guinea won a joint bid to host the continental soccer games in 2012, while Libya is to host the 2014 African Cup of Nations.
And even though Morocco, Kenya, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo and Guinea are competing to host the 2016 games, only the Kingdom of Morocco has officially submitted its candidacy.
"We are ready to organize a major competition and we have our chances. Morocco meets CAN’s selection criteria,” said Moncef Belkhayat, Moroccan Minister of Youth and Sports, in January. “We’ve already won a Cup once, in 1976, and we have not organized the games since 1988. By 2016, all the necessary stadiums will be built and operational."
Moroccan Blog Awards get a boost from Global Voices
The recent Moroccan blog awards received a boost from the influential Global Voices site with Hisham writing a wrap up. Global Voices is a community of more than 200 bloggers around the world who work together to bring you translations and reports from blogs and citizen media everywhere, with emphasis on voices that are not ordinarily heard in international mainstream media.
Global Voices seeks to aggregate, curate, and amplify the global conversation online - shining light on places and people other media often ignore. We work to develop tools, institutions and relationships that will help all voices, everywhere, to be heard.
Our thanks to Global Voices!