Morocco’s automobile industry is speeding ahead with investment from car giants Renault and PSA Peogeot Citroen.The sector is ensuring that it overtakes the country’s traditional exports like agriculture and phosphates.
Renault already has two car plants in the kingdom. It has a factory in Tangier, the biggest in North Africa, producing cars and body pressing for export as well as an older assembly plant in Casablanca.
The country’s automobile industry was strengthened further by PSA Peugeot Citroen’s decision last year to build a 557 million euro factory in the country, slated to begin production in 2019.
We know that the automobile sector now exports 50 billion dirhams annually, more than all the other sectors including phosphates.
Renault and component suppliers last week,struck a deal to invest 10 billion dirhams ($1.04 billion USD) in Morocco to build an “industry ecosystem”.
The contract was signed by industry Minister, Moulay Hafid el Alami.
“We know that the automobile sector now exports 50 billion dirhams annually, more than all the other sectors including phosphates. It is the top exporting sector for three years now. With this project, we will reach 100 billion dirhams before 2020. This project alone will create 50,000 new jobs in Morocco,” he said.
The director of the French carmaker’s Africa, Middle East and India region, Bernard Cambier, said the deal is a new chapter in Renault’s lucrative relationship with Morocco.
“What I want really to stress is the dynamism we found in Morocco and frankly the level of quality and confidence and the work we do. I believe that with the agreements we just signed, we will continue the beautiful history of Renault in Morocco. A new dynamic and and new chapter of course on top a higher turnover and a better level of integration in Morocco itself,” he said.
Economics analyst Mohamed Cherki explained why Morocco is well placed to attract investment in its car industry.
“In the automobile sector, Morocco benefits from its geographic proximity with Europe. It has the largest port in the South of the Mediterranean Sea, it has experience with manufacturing cars. It also has qualified people, lots of rules and regulations as well as free trade agreements with the European Union, the United States, as well as with some Arab countries in the frame of the Agadir Declaration.,” he said.
The Peugeot plant is located near the coastal city of Kenitra and will begin assembling small and subcompact models for Africa and the Middle East in 2019.
Unlike many countries in the region, Morocco has managed to avoid a big drop in foreign investments in the wake of the global financial crisis and the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, partly by marketing itself as an export base for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.