Archive for January 9, 2012
On the economic side, Morocco’s economy continued to perform strongly in the third quarter of 2011, with GDP growth slightly lower than in previous quarters but still strongly outpacing its European neighbors to the north. Inflation was also down on recent months to very low levels.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has forecast further healthy expansion in 2012, saying that average GDP growth could reach as much as 6% in the medium term. The leading party in the country’s new coalition government, the Justice and Development Party (PJD), is targeting 7% growth. Challenges for 2012 include tackling the country’s rising subsidy bill and fiscal deficit (which the PJD hopes to do in part by widening the tax base) and keeping growth on track in the face of economic problems in the EU, Morocco’s largest trading partner.
The Moroccan High Planning Commission estimates economic growth in the third quarter of 2011 stood at 4.1%, slightly below the first and second quarters when growth stood at 4.9% and 4.2%, respectively. The fall in growth reflected a comparative slowdown in the non-agricultural economy, which the commission estimated to have fallen from an expansion of 4.7% in the first quarter to 4.2% in the second and third quarters, and in the mining and tourism industries in particular.
(MENAFN – Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) Forecast parliamentary elections in Kuwait “will bring new blood” to the legislative body and will constitute a new opportunity to affirm “democratic maturity” of people of the Gulf state, said a ranking official.
The polls, due on February 2, will bolster further the democratic system and re-assert the National Assembly (Parliament) as a legislative authority that supervises performance of the executive authority, said Saad-Eddine Al-Othman, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation in a statement to KUNA.
Kuwait, since the 60s of the past century, has adopted a ruling system, based on power-sharing and respect of the people will of choosing their representatives through elections, said Al-Othman. (more…)
By: William B. Quandt
Egypt has just about completed the lengthy process set out months ago for electing its parliament. Many more months will pass before we have a clear picture of how power will be configured in the new Egypt. But one point is already clear: Political Islam is moving from being the dominant opposition voice in the largest Arab country to being a dominant voice of government.
Something similar has happened in Tunisia and, to a lesser degree, in Morocco We should anticipate comparable changes elsewhere in the region.
This is not to say that all manifestations of political Islam are the same. Indeed, the important point for Americans to understand about the new Middle East politics is that the political manifestation of Islamic values can take many forms. U.S. policymakers and diplomats are going to have to understand the important distinctions among different tendencies within Islam — just as, in the past, they came to terms with the many dimensions of Arab nationalism. (more…)
By Peter Landsdowne Telegram & Gazette Reviewer
» Enlarge photo
WORCESTER — Jazz guitarist and singer John Pizzarelli has come a long way since he made his Worcester debut some two decades ago at the late, lamented El Morocco restaurant’s Nile Lounge as part of the El’s famed Monday night jazz series. Back then, Pizzarelli was a fresh-faced jazz wannabe in his 20s who was perhaps best known as “Bucky Pizzarelli’s kid,” Bucky being Bucky Pizzarelli, the legendary jazz guitarist who performed with everyone from Benny Goodman to the Tonight Show band during the Johnny Carson years. (more…)
MUSCAT: Designers from Oman, Lebanon, Morocco, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Pakistan and Syria will participate in this year’s Muscat Fashion Week. This will be the finale event of the 2012 edition of Muscat Festival.
The Muscat Fashion Week will be held from February 21 to 23 on an outdoorrunway at the Riyam Park, which will be redone for the event.
The participating designers include Hanaa Wahaibi, Nawal Al Hooti and Dibaj from Oman, Abed Mahfouz from Lebanon, Siham Tib from Morocco, Kubra Al Qaseer from Bahrain, Amina Al Jassim from Saudi Arabia, Ayesha Depala and Kanzi from UAE, Mehwish Afzal from Pakistan and Hassan Mardash from Syria. (more…)
A family near Essaouira, Morocco happily splash around in a natural pool with zero chemicals.
A beautiful, luxurious swimming pool in Morocco that contains none of the nasty chemicals that irritate your eyes and cause respiratory problems has functioned perfectly well for over a year. A family living near Essaoiura on the country’s windy west coast (famous in parts for its murals) commissioned a natural, zero emissions eco-pool that blends in with the natural landscape. Despite critics who claim that it’s dangerous to have a swimming pool without chlorine, the “Schwimmteich” still looks great and allows the local fauna and flora to thrive as well. (more…)
The Associated Press
Hundreds of angry fishermen and their families are protesting an EU decision scrapping an accord that let them work in Moroccan waters, likening it to a death-knell for their economically depressed town in southern Spain.
The demonstrators waved red-and-white union banners and chanted Monday as they marched through Barbate, a fishing-dependent town of 20,000 in the southern Andalusia region. The fishermen are also staging a one-day strike.
EU lawmakers voted last month not to renew an accord that let European vessels fish in Moroccan waters. Among other complaints, the lawmakers called the euro36 million ($47 million) a year pricetag too expense and said the agreement led to over-exploitation of fishing stocks.