Morocco is negotiating with electric vehicle battery manufacturers to set up a plant in the country to mesh with its existing automotive sector and cobalt output.
“We hope to sign a deal for the plant before the end of this year,” Industry Minister Ryad Mezzour said in an interview with Reuters on Thursday, but declined to name the companies.
He also did not say how much investment it would require, but referred to it as a “Gigafactory,” a term widely used for very big production facilities.
The planned factory for EV batteries will “offer a huge momentum for the local automotive sector” and will benefit from the availability of renewable energy and raw materials such as cobalt and phosphates in the country, he said.
Demand for such batteries is growing outside and within Morocco, where Citroen plans to double its production capacity within two years from 50,000 supermini electric cars, Mezzour noted.
Morocco is home to production plants of Renault and Stellantis with a combined production capacity of 700,000.
“We are targeting one million within next three to four years,” Mezzour said.
Exports by some 250 Moroccan automotive manufacturers and part makers topped the kingdom’s industrial exports over the past seven years, surpassing phosphate sales.
Up to May this year, Morocco’s automotive sector sales stood at $4.13 billion, up 24%.
The first- and second-best selling cars in Europe, Dacia Sandero and Peugeot 208, respectively, are both made in Morocco, Mezzour remarked.
He explained that in order to increase competitiveness in the face of China and India, Morocco plans to increase the rate of locally made parts in the cars it exports to 80%, up from 65% currently.
“The automotive and the aerospace industries are two drivers of industrial innovation in the country,” the Minister noted.
Mezzour further stated that the aerospace industry sales will exceed pre-COVID pandemic levels, as exports up to May rose to $877 million, up 61% from a year earlier.
On Monday, Collins Aerospace became the latest major player to join a list of global aerospace manufacturers, including Boeing and Airbus, that import Moroccan-made parts.
The deal, signed on the sidelines of Farnborough Airshow, will add $1 billion in revenue to the Moroccan aerospace suppliers across all spectrums of engine, cabin, fuselage and wing part.
During the same event, Morocco signed another deal with GAL Aerospace to build a $12 million cabin interior plant.
Now, the 140 aerospace industry plants in Morocco are able to build 43% of the components of a global plane, Mezzour explained.