Rabat – King Mohammed VI chaired the ceremony to launch the project intended to create the new city of Mohammed VI Tangier Tech City, on Monday at the Marchane Palace in Tangier.
This new city, said to be the largest Chinese investment project in North Africa, will contribute to the rapid development of the economic activities in Tangier and the northern region of Morocco. It is the fruit of the sovereign-led policy of economic partnership diversification with several countries.
The groundwork for the project was laid by many visits of King Mohammed VI to China, Russia, India and other African countries. In anticipation of the event, presided over by the King, a large delegation of Chinese businessmen and state officials arrived in Tangier on March 19.
The project, which will be situated on the east of Tangier, will occupy 2000 hectares in addition to a residential area, connected to the railway and motorway networks. Among the first industrial projects expected are those of electric buses and aeronautical components. USD 1 billion will be devoted to the construction of this project over a period of two years.
At the beginning of the ceremony, Minister of industry, trade, investment and digital economy, Moulay Hafid Elalamy, presented the broad lines of this large-scale project to King Mohammed VI.
“Mohammed VI Tangier Tech City which will be implemented by Tangier-Tetouan Al Hoceima region, HAITE Chinese group and the BMCE bank, a concrete example of the Chinese-Moroccan partnership whose impact goes beyond the Tangier region to include entire Kingdom,” El Alami outlined.
China, a rising country with industrial, financial, technological and scientific strength, has developed notable know-how in the field of industrial and Smart Cities, he said. El Alami also noted that “these cities integrate harmoniously industrial, commercial, entertainment and public utilities zones and provide them with the high technology needed in modern life.”
President of the council of the Tangier-Tétouan-Al Hoceima region, Ilyas Omari, said that the “Mohammed VI Tangiers Tech City” project is in line with the royal direction. It will create thousands of jobs, transfer advanced technology, foster the national economy’s competitiveness and raise the region’s economic status continentally and internationally. President of HAITE groupe, Li Biao, underlined that Morocco has become, thanks to its solid and multiple assets, a hot destination for Chinese businessmen.
President and CEO of BMCE bank of Africa, Othman Benjelloun, remarked that “The implementation of Mohammed VI Tangier Tech City project will contribute in the revival of the Silk Road which is significant to our Chinese partners.” In a presentation during the introduction of this project, Benjelloun noted that “This road will now pass through Tangier toward the rest of the African continent, Europe and America.”
According to Li Biao, Morocco’s political and social stability, with an economy that is open to the world and well integrated in international value chains, and the presence of world’s industrial leaders in competitive sectors, make the country the ideal investment environment for Chinese investors.
He added that the choice of Tangiers to host this project is due to the central geographical position of the city at the crossroads of continents, only 15 km from Europe. Its well-developed infrastructure, namely the Tangiers Med port and associated facilities also make it the ideal choice.
This new project involves building an economic centre that would generate 100,000 jobs. The inhabitants of Tangiers region will benefit from 90,000 of these jobs. The grand scale of the project involves 200 Chinese companies operating in the automotive manufacturing, aerospace industry, aviation spare parts, electronic information, textiles, machinery manufacturing and other industries. The total investment of companies in the area after ten years will reach USD 10 billion, Biao said.
According to the preliminary plan, construction of Mohammed VI Tangier Tech City will be extended over a period of 10 years to create a new international smart city, integrating ecology, habitability, industry, vitality and innovation.
The city is the subject of a Memorandum of Understanding regarding the creation of an Industrial and Residential Park in Morocco between the Kingdom and the Chinese group HAITE. It will constitute a leading economic hub for African countries and will consolidate the royal vision for mutually beneficial South-South cooperation.
China’s economic and investment policy abroad is undergoing major changes. Despite the fact that it has substantial reserves, China aims to rationalize its interventions abroad while financing a gradual restructuring of its economy towards less demanding labor activities. Beijing appreciates the advantages of establishing itself in Morocco, which has a free-trade agreement with the EU and the United States and is developing its relations with the countries on the African continent.
In addition to industrial projects in the same region, Chinese companies are also interested in the tourism sector. China aims to further develop the cultural proximity that exists between the two nations.