CAPACITY BUILDING

EBRD Supports Competitiveness In Morocco’s Automotive Sector

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By Nibal Zgheib

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is strengthening the competitiveness of the private manufacturing and service sector in Morocco, with a €12 million(US$13.58million) loan to Morocco Mobility and Automotive Centre (ATC), a Moroccan company involved in automotive testing.

The EBRD’s funds will help ATC acquire equipment to set up the first automotive testing centre of its kind in Africa.

This large-scale centre is expected to start operations in 2022. It will contribute to the sector’s competitiveness and the extension of supply chains in the country by introducing new types of service at different stages of the production process or distribution channels that are currently unavailable on the market.

In Morocco, the vehicle sector has been affected significantly by the COVID-19 pandemic, with an 11.6 per cent decline in vehicle sales in 2020.

The automotive industry is a key driver of exports and employment in the country, contributing to 25 per cent of exports, involving more than 260 suppliers and supporting over 148,000 jobs. Currently, Morocco has four integrated industrial clusters for the industry, in Casablanca, Kenitra, Rabat and Tangier.

As part of the new collaboration with the EBRD, the company will create and conduct a training programme for young people in the technical skills of automotive testing in Oued Zem, a less-developed area of Morocco. These efforts are in line with EBRD’s Equality of Opportunity Strategy 2021-25.

The testing centre will be certified to ISO 9001 for its quality management system for testing, analysis, construction of equipment and prototyping of vehicle powertrains and powertrain components. This will help introduce non-environmental standards that are internationally accredited and currently not widespread in the sector in Morocco.

ATC is a greenfield company established in Morocco. It is jointly owned by FEV North Africa, which is in turn owned by the FEV Group, a German service provider in the vehicle and drive system development sector, and by UTAC Maroc, owned by UTAC Group, a French testing company.

The loan agreement was signed at the EU Africa Business Forum in Brussels, co-organised by the European Commission, the African Union Commission, and African and European Union business organisations.

Morocco is a founding member of the EBRD. To date, the Bank has invested nearly €3.2 billion in Morocco through 80 projects.

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