Médias24: Can you bring enough Moroccan capital into the automotive industry on the current platform?
Ryad Mezzour: We do it. There are already a few, in glass, radiators, records and drums, some pretty interesting pieces. Some are gaining large market shares internationally. I’m thinking of an actor from Fez who makes the pistons and is just developing. But it’s true that there aren’t enough of them.
-Basically, you are not bringing enough Moroccan capital back into the industry.
-No no no. I disagree with the wording.
Moroccan capital has taken a long time to take an interest in the sector as such, substantial work has been carried out over the last 15 years, I have the impression that it has gone unnoticed.
Moroccan capital was heavily deindustrialized in all sectors 15-20 years ago. He had turned to real estate in a very clear, very intense way. And those who wanted to stay went into import and distribution. This is the price we paid for our openness to the world. This openness to the world has enabled us to build an even more solid industrial platform that serves the world; We had to open up to attract investment.
During this somewhat complicated period of China becoming the factory of the world, Morocco had no choice but to open up and become an open economy to attract investors.
-Let’s talk about Tanger Tech. You have a role to play in this, as you are industry minister and represent the government in negotiating deals like the ones signed recently. Sources in Tangier have informed us that this agreement will allow the project to be cleared, the plots to be marketed etc. Is it true ?
-Yes / Yes. It’s a very long negotiation. On the price of the land, on the methods of sale in the valuation, on the methods of allocation, on the prices offered to investors…
We had very long discussions, an exchange that led to the mobilization of everyone, including the government, which led to this investment agreement with the company that will take on the project, which is a Sino-Moroccan mixed company.
– What does the agreement say?
– The methods of land transfer, the assignment clauses, everything I just told you.
-Why don’t you publish it?
– Because it is an agreement with a private actor and the private actor wants to keep certain information for him.
– Is it true that the only project currently taking place within Tanger Tech is a furniture manufacturing project? Do you confirm this information from the desk?
-I confirm that we have a furniture project, although the marketing has not yet officially started. It’s not the only project. And it’s not just a simple project, it’s a fully integrated ecosystem where world leaders in this sector have chosen to build a very solid base in Morocco.
-Why should they come to Morocco and not elsewhere?
-Because there is Moroccan competitiveness and proximity to one of the largest markets in the world; because we have skills, infrastructure and an incentive system that interests them.
– Will the jobs at Tanger Tech be Moroccan?
– The overwhelming majority is Moroccan, more than 99% and even 99.99%.
-But starting with furniture, even if it’s a big project, is confusing. It’s still called Tanger Tech. We would have thought of high tech.
– Tanger Tech is a 20-year project. Where there will be technology. However, there is know-how, design and creativity in furniture that should not be neglected, without forgetting Smart Furniture.
-What other projects do you have since it’s not just about the furniture?
– Today there are several projects, but mainly projects that could be related to the automobile and renewable energies.
It is a city primarily destined for Chinese investment and will bring together cohesive ecosystems around those investments.
– Let’s dream a little: How do you see the future of Tanger Tech?
– I see it, among other things, in a great project by a car manufacturer for electric vehicles, whether for two wheels, small mobility or even large vehicles.
-Who are you talking to?
-We had conversations with an operator. And there’s a second one we’ve scheduled a short on-site visit for this week.
In addition, we would have connected vehicles, a smart city, technology, tremendous technical ability that will develop solutions for the world, great Sino-Moroccan universities.
– Would that be the city too?
-It is planned. For an activity area of this size, it is 470 hectares in the first phase. In the end we would have 250,000 to 300,000 inhabitants. It’s a city.
-Where does the interest of these investors to settle in Tangier come from?
-It’s easy: proximity and access to the European market, in terms of logistics and customs duties. zero tariffs. We can ship the goods by truck. And these customers don’t need to buy in bulk to build up inventory. It’s next to.