The “made-in-Morocco-themed” ceremony sought out to highlight the merits and still unemployed potential of Morocco’s manufacturing sector.
Rabat – King Mohammed VI today chaired the inauguration of the “Atlantic Free Zone” industrial platform in the Kenitra region, an hour drive from the capital Rabat.
An initiative of the French automobile giant PSA Group, the platform is presented as the culmination, but also the start, of a scheme of projects to boost Morocco’s promising automotive sector.
Reporting on Thursday’s opening ceremony chaired by King Mohammed VI, Morocco’s official news outlet, MAP, called the Kenitra plant “a project that spurs the development of the national automobile sector and mirrors the excellence of “Made in Morocco”.
PSA new Kenitra plant is expected to increase Morocco’s automotive sector’s output to reach an annual production of 100,000 vehicles and “related engines.”
During his visit to the French giant’s Kenitra site, the Moroccan King also oversaw the ongoing extension works which are meant to double the group’s current output by 2023.
But the staggering output goals were not the only talking points the Kenitra plant’s inaugural day. On the employment front, PSA expects its Kenitra plant to generate as many as 4000 jobs by—also by 2023.
After screening the stages of the completion of the Kenitra facilities, PSA shared with guests its vision and goals for the advancement of Morocco’s automotive sector.
The group said its ambitions were consistent with Morocco’s leadership goals: Making the country a vibrant investment hub and a full-throated participant in the growth-driving automotive sector at the global level.
But the ceremony’s most eventful moment was the unveiling of the Peugeot 208, courtesy of Kenitra factory.
Sanguine about the prospects of Morocco’s automobile ecosystem and nodding at PSA’s enthusiastic take on the opportunities that Morocco offers investors, Moulay Hafid Elalamy, Morocco’s Minister of Industry, Trade, Investment and Digital Economy, applauded PSA for keeping its side of the bargain in the completion of the new game changer Kenitra plant.
“The infrastructure, the PSA factory and the factories of its subcontractors were carried out under the agreed conditions and within the set deadlines,” Elalamy pointed out.
After dwelling on technicalities about the success odds, the quality, and the highly encouraging statistics of PSA Kenitra plants, Elalamy highlighted the upside for both the Moroccan economy and the French giant. By 2018, PSA purchases of Morocco-manufactured parts hit 700 million Euros, far above initial plans.
Better still, the company expects to reach its dream 1 billion Euro objective well before 2025, the date it had initially set. Morocco, for its part, has gained in competitiveness and job creation.
Jean-Christophe Quemard, PSA executive vice president for the Middle East and North Africa, said that Morocco is part and parcel of the group’s growth and global reach strategies.
“It is in the Kingdom that our Group has chosen to set up its Regional Decision Center, and to develop a Research and Development Center integrated in the PSA Group’s global R&D network,” he said.
While it vows to bring Morocco’s automotive industry to a higher place in the global market, the French giant seeks to take full advantage of the enormous opportunities the sector already offers. The sector, which currently employs almost 190,000 people and amounts to 65.1 billion Moroccan dirhams in terms of investments, is Morocco’s leading export industry.
News of the PSA’s Kenitra venture comes as Morocco makes no secrets about its plans to flex its industrial muscles and become a regional hub and a noticeable presence in global transactions.
Elalamy, who was also present on that other occasion, said that the string of investment-friendly reforms Morocco has made in recent years is making the country a “privileged destination” for many world renowned manufacturers.
“Our approach centered on promoting investments seeks to attract them [investors] to invest in the kingdom and help us complete the ecosystem,” he said.