Morocco's recent signing of an agreement with China's BYD, a leading electric vehicle maker, is set to boost its ambitious auto manufacturing industry.
Under the agreement signed on Saturday, BYD will build a factory in Morocco to produce battery-powered vehicles in the northern city of Tangier, which is expected to employ 2,500 people.
The factory is planned in an area of 50 hectares (0.5 square km) in the new Mohamed VI Tangier Tech City, as part of a project between China and Morocco to set up a large scale industrial hub in northern Morocco.
The 1-billion-U.S. dollar industrial park aims to host hundreds of Chinese companies in numerous industries, including auto manufacturing, aerospace, aviation spare parts, electronic information, textiles and machinery manufacturing.
Moroccan Ministry of Industry has set a strategic goal of joining the top 10 vehicle-producing nations in the world in a few years. The country ranks currently among the top 15.
The North African kingdom aims to reach a capacity of producing 1 million vehicles a year by 2025, it added.
BYD will become the third car manufacturer to produce cars in the North African state. Renault has already set up two car factories in Morocco, and PSA Peugeot Citroen will begin producing cars near the coastal city of Kenitra in 2019.
When the future plant of Peugeot-Citroen is operational in Kenitra in 2019, the country should exceed the threshold of producing 650,000 vehicles yearly, officials said.
Adding a fourth major auto plant before the end of 2021 will enable the country to meet its goal, Moroccan authorities believe.
With BYD's participation, Morocco also takes a step forward in another bid to become a major producer of renewable energy, where 52 percent of the country's energy consumption will be from renewable energy by 2030.
The launch of the BYD factory reinforces Morocco's commitment to sustainable development, which is now a cornerstone of the Moroccan economic model and contributes to its international commitment to reducing carbon dioxide emissions from transportation.
Morocco is also developing its supplier base to support the growing network of vehicle producing plants by attracting some important players in the industry, including Japanese manufacturer JTEKT and Italy's Magneti Marelli.