“If we produced respirators, intensive care beds, testing kits in a matter of weeks, imagine what we could do over time.”
Rabat – Minister of Industry and Trade Moulay Hafid Elalamy expressed Morocco’s determination and potential to become the most competitive automotive hub in the world.
During an interview with Finances News Hebdo, the minister appeared to be satisfied with Morocco’s recent achievements, referencing the production of respirators, CPU beds, and test kits for COVID-19.
He said that Morocco intends to take advantage of all the opportunities that the COVID-19 crisis has offered to become a leader as the automotive hub of the world.
“By trusting in our strengths, our country was able to increase in competence, in production and in agility in record time, despite health constraints,” he told the outlet.
If the country was able to produce respirators, intensive care beds, and other necessities in mere weeks, “imagine what we could do over time.”
The official added that “mass mobility is less popular since the crisis, [therefore] the personal vehicle is regaining interest for households, including in large cities.”
Morocco is prioritizing two actions for the automotive sector, the official stressed. These include improving competitiveness through deep local integration, and decarbonizing the ecosystem so “that it is efficient on the energy side and manages to maintain our export market shares.”
The objectives will enable Morocco to improve the “deep integration of our ecosystems,” which will result in greater added value.
The minister also emphasized that decarbonization represents a lever for competitiveness.
The approach is inevitable if the country wants to maintain its market share. “Otherwise, carbon taxes at the borders risk neutralizing our exports to Europe,” he stressed, according to the same source.
The official also recalled Morocco’s advanced renewable energies approach.
“By directing them [renewable energies] towards industry, we can integrate more energy-intensive jobs and reduce the energy bill of operators already installed.”
The centrality of Morocco’s automotive sector
However, the automotive sector is among those that experienced direct impacts from the COVID-19 crisis.
Benchaaboun said that the automotive sector recorded a 96% drop as of the end of April, compared to an 86% drop in March.
Last year, the Ministry of Industry said the automotive industry recorded the strongest job creation between 2014 and 2018.
The sector created 116,611 jobs in that period, representing 28.8% of all new jobs. During the same period, Morocco’s industries created a total of 405,496 jobs.
The COVID-19 crisis, however, represents a notable challenge for all industries.
In July, Bank Al Maghrib announced an improvement in Morocco’s industrial activities for May following a few months of decline during the crisis. The bank said production increased while the capacity utilization rate (TUC) stood at 56% in May, compared to 47% in April.
The ease of lockdown helped businesses resume their activities and revenue generation after months of suspension, since March, to avoid contamination among staff.