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Marrakech  – “We are keen to turn the Moroccan Sahara into a hub for trade and human interaction between Africa and Europe,” King Mohammed VI said in a message to the participants in the 1st African Congress on maintenance, preservation of road assets and technical innovation, which kicked off on Wednesday in Rabat.“We will also build the Great Atlantic Port in Dakhla and consider a railway line from Tangiers to Lagouira in order to connect Morocco to African sister nations,” he added in this message, which was read out by the King’s Advisor Abdellatif Menouni.The monarch recalled the launching of a series of integrated projects to further link the Kingdom’s North with the South as part of the celebrations to mark the fortieth anniversary of the Green March for the recovery of Morocco’s Southern Provinces, noting that these projects include the planned freeway, which complies with international standards and specifications, and which will link Agadir and Dakhla, via Tiznit and Laayun, all the way to the Mauritanian border in the South. In addition to the quantum leap made in the development and modernization of Morocco’s road network, a strategic plan for the next 20 years has been developed in which great importance is attached to road asset preservation, the King pointed out.“Consistent with our integrated vision, this plan gives special importance to strategic connections with West Africa. The Moroccan southern provinces will thus constitute a bridge between Morocco and its African roots. Moreover, the construction of the Maghreb freeway, to the East, will continue in order to facilitate trade with neighboring countries,” the monarch underlined.He went to add that these ambitious plans, together with major infrastructure and solar and wind energy projects, are not designed only for the development of the region. “Through them, we hope to create closer bonds with African sister nations and contribute to their development as well,” he explained.With MAP read more


Hot weather and dating apps are to blame for a rise in syphilis, according to medical professionals.Health chiefs have warned that the recent heatwave is behind an increase in the spread of the infection, as more people have been sexually active. Dating apps are also contributing to a rise in the number of people suffering from sexually transmitted diseases, as it is easier than ever for people to meet.A health board in South Wales has revealed it has seen five times as many people diagnosed with syphilis in the past four months compared with the same period last year.Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board said that since April there have been 56 confirmed cases of the infection in Swansea, Neath Port Talbot and Bridgend – with 16 of those coming in the past two weeks alone. Most have been men, but several women have also tested positive.Symptoms for syphilis can include small painless sores or ulcers, blotchy red rashes, small skin growths or white patches in the mouth. It may also cause tiredness, headaches, joint pains and swollen glands, but some people may experience no symptoms at all. Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. read more