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Morocco-China: Increased cooperation in different domains

Huayou, a Chinese manufacturer of electric vehicles battery materials, would invest $20 bln in a plant in Morocco’s region of Laayoune Sakia El Hamra in the Sahara, the regional investment center announced.

A delegation of the Chinese group visited the region where officials introduced competitive attractions to help the company export to Europe and the US where demand is on the rise on electric vehicles.

The plant would be completed in 7 years and would employ 13,000 people, the regional investment center said in a statement.

The plant is expected to have a capacity to supply batteries to 6 million cars annually with a potential to export to Europe and the US, it said.

Morocco has already announced plans to attract EV batteries manufactures to adapt its growing automotive sector to low-carbon requirements.

Cars and their components have topped Morocco’s exports so far this year outperforming phosphates and fertilizers sales.

Early this year, China’s Ambassador to Morocco H.E. Li Changlin spoke of the potential avenues for cooperation between Morocco and China, during a Chinese New Year event in Marrakech.

H.E. Changlin said that with more and more Chinese people and investors becoming aware of the North African country, they can expect cooperation with Morocco to increase in the coming years.

“Sino-Moroccan relations have entered a new era since the historic visit in 2016 of His Majesty King Mohammed VI to China,” the diplomat said, stressing their “excellent” relationship across all domains.

H.E. Changlin added that investment and tourism will be the most important domains of cooperation between the two countries.

Tourism can be bolstered as Chinese people are becoming more and more acquainted with Morocco as a country, according to the ambassador. Especially since China followed Morocco’s Cinderella run at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

“I think that in the future, Chinese people will arrive in large numbers in Morocco for their affairs, investments, and also for tourism,” he added.

Cultural cooperation

The spread of Chinese languages in Morocco also reflects the cultural ties between the two countries, which the ambassador also hailed.

The Chinese New Year celebration, held in Marrakech’s Mandarin Oriental, was also attended by Dina Othmani, a Moroccan TikTok influencer who has helped spread Moroccan culture in China.

She similarly stressed the importance of the Chinese language, saying that it is “the language of the future.”

Increased cooperation

Chinese companies are already investing heavily in Morocco, with several in tech and automotive sectors seeing it as an important market to expand into Africa, the Arab World, and even Europe.

Chinese tech giant Huawei repeatedly expressed intentions to kickstart its 5G programs in North Africa through Morocco. Similarly, Chinese car manufacturer Chery upped their efforts to penetrate the Moroccan market last year, seeing it as an important opportunity to strengthen their African presence.

Chinese firms are attempting to enter Morocco’s manufacturing industry as well, with tire company Qingdao Sentury announcing plans to invest nearly $300 million into a factory in Morocco’s Tangier.

XEV is another brand interested in the North African country, having announced plans to manufacture electric vehicles for the European market in the country.

The perceived improvement in Chinese collaboration with Morocco comes as the North African country attempts to diversify its partnerships and establish ties with new allies. In addition to China, India is one of the countries that have considerably improved their diplomatic and economic partnerships with Morocco.

With Morocco’s Head of Government Aziz Akhannouch recently representing the country in the China-Arab Cooperation and Development Summit, it appears ties between Beijing and Rabat will only grow stronger over the coming years.



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