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International Marrakech Air Show 2016: Bigger Than Ever

Comments (1) Business, Featured, Middle East

Marrakech Air Show 2016

The Marrakech Air Show is an international aerospace exhibition and conference, attracting businesses from the industry and worldwide spectators.

On Saturday, the fifth biennial International Marrakech Air Show (IMAS) concluded in stunning style. With every year that passes, it seems that this marquee event becomes ever more important. This year saw in excess of 200 industry leading companies take part and covered more than 70,000 sq. meters of exhibition space. While dazzling aerial displays on the final day are what capture the public’s imagination, the real impact of the event is realized through the forging of new business ties amongst the elite of the aeronautics world. This global exhibition is internationally recognized as being one of the top events on the international aerospace and defense (A&D) calendar, attracting industry leaders and international spectators.

The opening ceremony was kicked off in a traditional fashion by the Moroccan marching band. Afterwards, the Royal Moroccan flag and the International Marrakech Airshow flag were flown in tandem over the airfield by military helicopters. This was followed by a breathtaking display from The Royal Moroccan Army’s Aerobatics team who piloted F16 fighters and concluded the ceremony. The gravitas of the occasion was underscored by the attendance of Moroccan Head of Government, Abdelilah Benkirane.

Attendees and Spectators

Exhibitors included Civil Aviation, Spaceflight, Military Aviation, Defense Technology (from land, air and sea) and Research and Defense authorities from around the globe. There were both static and air exhibitions which included industry leaders and national representatives.

Marrakech Air Show 2016 conferenceKey attractions among the static displays were Dassault Aviation’s Rafale and a long-range Falcon 900LX which required a six-man exhibition team to staff the aircraft and show off its capabilities. Also prominently displayed was a U.S. Air Force C-130J Hercules, from the Ramstein Air Base in Germany. This Behemoth stood out as a symbol of partnership whilst promoting regional security throughout the African continent.

Aerobatic display teams from Italy, the UAE, Spain, The USA and the Royal Moroccan Air Force put on stunning shows for eager onlookers, competing over style and inflight capabilities to battle for pre-eminence in their field. The Italian aerobatic team, Frecce Tricolori, performed at the IMAS for the first time ever. They put on a particularly striking display in traditional Italian colors: red, green and white.

US and Moroccan bonds

With the US contingent of the show boasting 15 participating companies, and as one of the show’s largest exhibitors, it shows how important this region is to the US aerospace and defense industry. Among the companies representing the US were Boeing, FLIR, Lockheed Martin and Pratt & Whitney who were organized by Kallman Worldwide in collaboration with government agencies including the departments of Commerce, Defense and State. “The growth of the show and the expansion of military and commercial aerospace infrastructure in Morocco says a lot about the long-term opportunities for our exhibitors here,” said Kallman Worldwide CEO, Tom Kallman.

Not Just an Air Show

In reality, The International Marrakech Air Show is much more than just an air show. It’s an invaluable business and networking occasion for a variety of entities. This year saw exhibitors specializing in fields such as aircraft construction, satellite systems, avionics and onboard components, propulsions engineering, weapons systems, land defense armaments and many more. Senior government representatives from forty countries came to rub shoulders with specialist firms, legislators and aeronautics giants.

In the aeronautics sphere, Morocco has become the strategic gateway between Africa and the rest of the world. Commercial air travel is becoming increasingly more viable and popular for African citizens; authorities and private enterprises are both maneuvering to meet this demand. Additionally, African governments are increasingly looking to invest in defense capabilities and associated infrastructure. Big business opportunities beckon and the Marrakech Air Show is designed to facilitate the process.

In recent years, the Moroccan aeronautics sector has seen rapid growth of between 15-20% per annum. Firms such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Airbus, Bombardier and a host of others now maintain a permanent presence within Morocco’s borders. In total, more than 120 world class aeronautics organizations now operate in the country. The success of the airshow has helped demonstrate to businesses that Morocco is the premier platform from which to service new markets in the region.

Ultimately, The International Marrakech Airshow 2016 was as a resounding success. The event delivered on two fronts, firstly as a thrilling spectacle of modern aviation, and secondly as a vehicle by which business and aeronautics can flourish, bringing benefits not just to Morocco but to the entire continent.

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Morocco prepares to host global climate change conference

Comments (0) Africa, Featured, Politics


More than 30,000 people are expected to attend the COP22 gathering in Marrakesh in November.

Morocco has begun preparations for COP22, the 2015 global climate conference, where African nations hope to see further action to help mitigate damage from climate change.

The event, expected to attract 30,000 attendees, will be held November 7 – 18 in Marrakech. Morocco recently appointed a committee, headed by Foreign Minister Salaheddine Mezouar, to guide logistical preparations.

The conference follows COP21 last November in Paris, where 195 participating countries produced a landmark agreement to reduce carbon emissions.

Repairing damage will be key issue

The upcoming conference is expected to focus on an issue of great importance to many African nations: Mitigation of damage already done by climate change and help adapting to a new environment.

Speaking at a recent “From COP21 to COP22” conference in Geneva, Helen Clark, administrator of the United Nations Development Program, said the next conference must drive mitigation efforts.

Following the Paris agreement, Clark said, agencies and governments must “scale up” initiatives to repair or reduce damage and help countries adapt to changing environmental conditions.

Clark said her agency would facilitate access to financial and technical resources along with other major global actors.

From decision to action

She said COP 22 in Morocco marks a transition from the consensus building and decision-making of Paris to a “COP of Action.”

Clark said that in addition to supporting development to reduce emissions, her agency will work with more than 100 countries to finance mitigation measures as well as strengthening disaster management work and linking it to climate change damage.

While Africa is the least polluting continent on the planet, it has suffered some of climate change’s most severe effects.

At the climate conference in Paris, African leaders emphasized the need for financial help to address losses in their countries.

Drought, flooding, erosion hit Africa

Southern Africa, including Mozambique, Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa has been hard hit by drought as have Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia in the Horn of Africa.

Drought has nearly emptied the Kariba Dam reservoir on the Zimbabwe-Zambia border, forcing power shortages and energy rationing.

At the same time, heavy rains, landslides and flooding have hit Burundi, Nigeria and Malawi.

In tiny Zanzibar, the rise of sea levels is salinizing the soil, making farming impossible. Zanzibaris have also seen rising temperatures, floods and increased sea waves.

Coastal erosion is emerging as a major threat in West Africa, where large shares of gross domestic products are associated with the sea, including fishing and tourism.

Financial help to mitigate damages and help countries adapt to a new and changing environment are expected to take center state at the Marrakech conference.

Morocco has ambitious plans to reduce emissions

Morocco hopes hosting the conference will also shine an international spotlight on its ambitious efforts to reduce its own reliance on greenhouse gas emissions with its pledge to reduce them by one third percent by 2030.

Morocco plans to increase the share of renewable energy to 42 percent by 2020 and to 52 percent by 2030. The country recently opened what is believed to be the world’s largest solar power plant near the city of Ouarzazate, about 120 miles southeast of Marrakech

As preparations get under way, organizers have begun holding workshops to educate tour and hotel operators and discuss logistics in the city of about 1 million population is Morocco’s most popular tourist destination, known for its colorful markets. Marrakech hosted COP7 in 2001.

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