Casablanca Among Africas Top Cities for Investors

Rabat – Global auditing firm Price Waterhouse consulting (PwC) has ranked Casablanca among Africa’s top “cities of opportunity” based on data collected during the last quarter of 2014 and the beginning of 2015.According to the report titled Into Africa: The Continent’s Cities of Opportunity, Casablanca is ranked in the fourth place among African cities which offer the best business opportunities for investors.The PwC report ranked 20 African “cities of opportunity” based on a number of factors, including infrastructure, human capital, economics and society and demographics. Morocco’s economic hub finishes in the top five in five of eight variables. It ranks first in both number of headquarters of top 500 companies and GDP diversity, third in financial services and fourth in GDP per capita. However, Casablanca was let down by poor diversity and population growth.Casablanca is also among the cities ranked in the report that have concluded or initiated significant modernization projects.The city inaugurated both the largest mall in Africa and a tram network. A new train station has also opened, which will begin high-speed rail service to Tangier. Also awaiting completion in 2015 is a new marina, another mall, and the 24,000-square-metre Grand Théatre de Casablanca.North African cities dominated the top five thanks to strong infrastructure. Cairo ranked first mainly due to how long it has been around. According to the report, “older cities often have more extensive infrastructure because they have been long enough to address their needs.”The Egyptian capital is followed by Tunis, Johannesburg, Casablanca and Algiers. The overall ranking is the sum of performance in all 29 variables grouped under the five aforementioned factors. read more

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Security Council extends mandate of UN force in Lebanon until end of

Unanimously adopting a new resolution, the Council endorsed Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s recent recommendation to maintain the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), due to expire tomorrow, until 31 July. The proposal was included in the Secretary-General’s latest report on UNIFIL, which says the relative calm of the first six months of 2003 has given way to exchanges of fire across the line of withdrawal, or Blue Line.”Air strikes and shooting incidents across the Blue Line resulted in the deaths of three Israelis, two soldiers and a civilian, and three Lebanese civilians,” the report says. “The persistent Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace and several instances of Hizbollah anti-fire directed towards Israeli villages contributed significantly to the tension.”By today’s resolution, the Council condemned all acts of violence, voicing “great concern about the serious breaches and the sea, land and continuing air violations of the withdrawal line.” The parties were urged to halt violations, refrain from provocations that could further escalate the tension, and cooperate fully with the UN.Welcoming the steps taken by the Government of Lebanon to assert its control over the south of the country, including the deployment of Lebanese armed forces, the Council called for the extension of those measures and urged Lebanon to do its utmost to ensure calm throughout the south.It also applauded progress in removing landmines and took note of communications to the Government of Lebanon and UNIFIL of maps and information on the location of mines. The Council stressed the need to provide the Government and the mission with any additional landmine maps and records. read more

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