London, February 3, 2012 (MAP)
London, February 3, 2012 (MAP)
Morocco is increasing its attractiveness as an industrial base, benefiting from the country’s available and skilled workforce and its proximity to Europe, said on Friday Oxford Business Group (OBG).
The UK-based publishing and consulting group, which published an analysis obtained by MAP news agency on the boom of Morocco’s automotive sector, underlined that the advantages offered by Moroccan free zones contribute to the country’s attractiveness.
The expected opening of a new automotive assembly plant in February in one of the country’s free zones, noted the OBG, is testimony to the expansion of Morocco’s industrial base, as the country looks to develop its automotive and components sectors under the National Industrial Emergence Pact 2009-15.
Renault, which has had a presence in Morocco for more than 80 years, will begin, this month operating at its new assembly plant in the Tanger Free Zone (TFZ), said the global consulting group.
The estimated 1-billion-euro factory is expected to produce 170,000 vehicles in its first year of operations, a number that the firm seeks to increase to 400,000 by 2014, said the document, adding that the plant will start off with 2600 employees and expects this number to rise to 6000 by 2015.
The OBG also said that there are an increasing number of firms in Morocco’s automotive sector which are located in free zones, particularly in the TFZ, the Atlantic Free Zone and Tanger Automotive City.
This expansion is expected to boost the sector’s contribution to the country’s GDP, creating jobs and providing to European and African markets a base for low-cost production, added the analysis, recalling that Moroccan free zones welcomed several new automotive manufacturers in 2011, including Spanish firm Proinsur, which set up operations in the TFZ.
Delphi Automotive, a vehicle components supplier operating in Morocco since 1999, has also expanded capacity at its Tangier plant, creating 1200 new jobs in 2011, said the source, recalling French Inergy Automotive Systems and Japanese Denso have invested 6 and 12 million euro, respectively, for component systems in Tangier.
The Atlantic Free Zone, located in Kenitra, has also seen a number of investments made by suppliers of automotive equipment, said the OBG in its analysis in which it noted that Japanese firm Yazaki, present in Morocco since 2000 and employing more than 8000 people, opened its third factory in late September, while Japanese company Fujikura and French firm Saint-Gobain have invested 14.6 million euro and 9.47 million, respectively, in new production units.
To meet the needs of these new projects, Morocco plans to train 70,000 new specialised graduates to enter the market by 2015, said the group.
If Morocco’s manufacturing sector continues to expand more than 80% of production is exported due to the curious quirks of global trade dynamics, it said, underlining vehicle exports have increased on average by 20.3% per year since 2005, reflecting the industry’s expansion.
These achievements, reinforced by the government efforts, show that “prospects for the Moroccan automotive sector are promising,” concluded the OBG.