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Cablegate: Mepi Update for Morocco

VZCZCXYZ0010
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHRB #0716/01 2141605
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 011605Z AUG 08
FM AMEMBASSY RABAT
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8924
INFO RUEHAS/AMEMBASSY ALGIERS 4861
RUEHLB/AMEMBASSY BEIRUT 0566
RUEHEG/AMEMBASSY CAIRO 2409
RUEHTU/AMEMBASSY TUNIS 9691
RUEHCL/AMCONSUL CASABLANCA 4232
RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 1960

UNCLAS RABAT 000716

SIPDIS

STATE FOR NEA - DAS PATTON, NEA/PI, AND NEA/MAG
TUNIS FOR MEPI

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: EAID ECON PGOV SCUL EFIN KMPI MO
SUBJECT: MEPI UPDATE FOR MOROCCO

REF: 07 Rabat 1724

1. Summary: This cable highlights MEPI programs
and initiatives in Morocco from April 1 through June
30. During the quarter MEPI Women's Pillar Program
Manager Olivia Ricchi visited Morocco to assess
breast cancer awareness, and the Mission approved
two new local grant proposals. Other activities
included a corporate ambassadors' event, an
International Research and Exchanges Board's (IREX)
workshop on Citizen Journalism in the Maghreb,
interviews for the MEPI Youth Summer Institute, and
MEPI Alumni Network and Financial Service Volunteer
Corps (FSVC) projects. Implementers are partnering
with local NGOs at the grassroots level to support
numerous programs committed to reform in the four
MEPI pillars. End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- -------
MEPI TEAM ASSESSES MOROCCO'S BREAST CANCER SITUATION
--------------------------------------------- -------

2. MEPI Women's Pillar Program Manager Olivia
Ricchi and Roselie Vasquez-Yetter from implementer
ICF International visited Morocco on June 4 and 5 to
conduct an assessment of Morocco's breast cancer
treatment capacity, explain the Middle East
Partnership for Breast Cancer to key interlocutors,
and learn about Morocco's efforts to raise awareness
and combat the disease. The assessment team
succeeded in explaining the Partnership program to
the Moroccans and whetting their interest. Morocco
is actively working on breast cancer issues and is
interested in participating in the MEPI Middle East
Breast Cancer Partnership activities, as announced
at the Economic Forum by First Lady Bush. Ricchi
and Vasquez-Yetter learned about Morocco's first
national breast cancer awareness campaign, which
took place between April 25 and May 25. The breast
cancer effort has the personal support of King
Mohammed VI's wife, Princess Lalla Selma, who opened
a cancer treatment center in June and was the
driving force behind the national campaign.
Ministry of Health Secretary General El Makkaoui
told the visiting MEPI team that the MEPI-funded
breast cancer program would provide opportunities
for partnering in the fields of training and
research. Staff from ECON, POL and PAS contributed
to the success of this visit.

---------------------
NEW MEPI SMALL GRANTS
---------------------

3. In April, the Mission approved two new MEPI
local grants totaling USD 87,406.60. The first
recipient, the "Comite de Soutien a la Scolarisation
des Filles Rurales" (CSSFR) will conduct a broad
lobbying campaign targeting the representatives of
the Ministry of Education in three different cities.
It is aimed at increasing the number of schools in
rural areas that enable local girls aged between 12
and 17 to complete their primary and secondary
education in optimal conditions and to minimize
school drop-out rates. In the second, journalist
Rachid Janakari (MIT Media) will train media
trainers in 11 different cities on internet drafting
and publication of multi-media content (text, sound
and image). The project aims to reinforce the
skills of the local and private media in Morocco,
supporting the efforts of media reform by exposing
them to new forms of publication and communication
on-line.

----------------------------
CORPORATE AMBASSADORS' EVENT
----------------------------

4. The Middle East and North Africa (MENA)
Businesswomen's Network Moroccan Hub, "Association
des Femmes Chefs d'Entreprises du Maroc" (AFEM),
hosted a Corporate Ambassadors' event, June 9 - 10,
in collaboration with Vital Voices Global
Partnership through a MEPI funded program. This
two-day, highly interactive and dynamic conference
featured U.S. Corporate Ambassadors Judith Willson
(Vice President, Bernstein Global Wealth
Management), Kathleen Diamond (Founder and CEO,
Language Learning Enterprises, Inc), and Sandra
Taylor (President and CEO, Sustainable Business
International LLC), and outstanding Moroccan
speakers. The theme of the event was "Women's
Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Growth," and
featured business skills workshops on Strategic
Planning, IT and Corporate Growth, Strategic Human
Resources, Corporate Social Responsibility, along
with workshops on Advocacy topics. AFEM anticipated
that around 200 business women and men would attend,
but were only able to attain about half of that
number. Nonetheless, the two-day event provided
business and advocacy capacity building, and offered
a unique opportunity for both Moroccan businesswomen
and U.S. executives to network and exchange ideas
that will help solidify the critical link between
businesswomen in the MENA region and the U.S.

--------------------------------
IREX CITIZEN JOURNALISM WORKSHOP
--------------------------------

5. A group of 22 journalists and bloggers from
throughout the Maghreb region attended IREX's
workshop on Citizen Journalism in the Maghreb in
Casablanca, May 23- 25. Overall, the workshop was
well-received. Virtually all of the participants
commented on the quality of the other participants,
and they appreciated the opportunity to strengthen
their networks. There had been a discussion in the
Tunisian blogosphere prior to the workshop, with
some urging a boycott due to the connection with the
United States and MEPI. After the workshop,
everyone praised the free flow of ideas, open
discussion, and the way the participants were
encouraged to drive the agenda. During the week
following the workshop, many bloggers who attended
posted positive commentary about the workshop
content and the networking opportunity with fellow
bloggers. One of the Tunisians took the initiative
to create an IREX alumni group on Facebook for
workshop participants as a means of keeping everyone
connected and sharing resources and information.

--------------------------------------
MEPI YOUTH SUMMER LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE
--------------------------------------

6. The Public Affairs Section (PAS) in Rabat
interviewed more than 70 undergraduate students from
all over Morocco. Ten of them, representing
different geographic areas and socioeconomic
backgrounds, were selected to participate in the
seven-week intensive leadership training program in
the U.S. for undergraduate students, from June 30 to
August 13. One of those selected is an alumnus of
the Access micro-scholarship program. PAS arranged
pre-departure briefings for the students and
explained that the Institute consists of leadership
training workshops, academic sessions, site visits,
community service projects, home stays and other
cultural activities. The program includes a two-day
orientation in Washington, D.C., a four-week
academic residency program at a U.S. university or
college, and a two-week educational study tour to
other regions of the U.S. A MEPI grant will be
awarded to the student who designs the best
community project.

7. As part of the international book day
celebration, the Information Resource Center
scheduled a series of programs with the
participation of Ms. Hind El Hasbaoui, university
student and summer 2007 alumna of the MEPI "Study of
the U.S. Institute," who shared with attendees her
experiences in the U.S. and conducted a workshop on
leadership.

------------------------------
MEPI ALUMNI NETWORK ACTIVITIES
------------------------------

8. During this quarter, the MEPI Alumni Network
focused on civil society reforms. MEPI Alumni
received training in the following areas: youth and
volunteerism, fundraising, advocacy and lobbying.
These events are a great networking opportunity and
aim to enhance the professional and personal
development skills of the MEPI Alumni.

-------------
FSVC PROJECTS
-------------

9. In April, FSVC provided two volunteers to
consult with Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM) working group
focusing on effective supervision approaches for
microcredit associations (MCAs), given the 2006
extension of its legal supervisory responsibilities
to include such institutions. Volunteers from
Bolivia and South Africa provided an overview of
their countries' approaches to the regulation of
MCAs. As a result of the project, BAM has advanced
its efforts to develop a viable regulatory framework
applicable to MCAs, considering current legislation
and regulation. It is now in a better position to
interact with other stakeholders in the ongoing
debate over the direction of the microfinance sector
in Morocco.

10. In May, the Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP)
central management unit requested FSVC to assist its
Internal Audit and Compliance department with a
training and consultations program which would
complement ongoing assistance to BCP on the
development and strengthening of their Internal
Audit and Risk Management functions. FSVC provided
two volunteers to conduct a five-day consultation
and training program on the skill sets and
techniques required to effectively audit BCP's
credit departments responsible for disbursement of
loans to businesses of different scales, including
small and medium enterprises and larger
institutions. The volunteers' case-focused training
helped the BCP Audit team launch a program to
improve audit practice to international standards by
improving internal organization and applied audit
practice.

11. In June, BAM Supervision sought FSVC assistance
on improving applied practice in oversight of
consolidated accounts of Financial Conglomerates.
BAM has instituted obligatory consolidated
accounting using international accounting standards
(IAS) to replace the prior French Accounting
Standard as part of its program to move the
financial sector to compliance with international
practices. Building on prior FSVC consultations the
volunteers via practical practice-based insights on
addressing supervisory- oriented IFRS related
reporting problems helped BAM Supervision teams work
through analytical issues regarding implementing
effective supervision using IAS/IFRS reporting.
Volunteers also identified general structural
approach issues that BAM should address for both
consolidated accounts for financial conglomerates
and for general bank reporting.

12. A detailed description of MEPI programs in
Morocco can be found on the Mission unclassified
Internet web page at www.usembassy.ma.

RILEY

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