RABAT, Dec. 11 (Xinhua) -- In another major step aimed at boosting its auto industry, Morocco signed on Monday deals to create 26 auto factories with a total investment of nearly 1.5 billion U.S. dollars.
The agreements were inked by the Moroccan government and a number of local and foreign companies in the auto industry, during a ceremony chaired by King Mohammed VI at Casablanca's Royal Palace.
The 26 new investment projects will strengthen local integration of the auto industry and meet the needs that were hitherto met by imports, Morocco's Minister of Industry, Investment, Trade and Digital Economy Moulay Hafid Elalamy said.
These factories will create 11,568 jobs, and enable the production of a range of auto parts, including aluminium wheels, dashboards, bumpers, seats and electromechanical boxes.
Six of the factories will boost an ecosystem built around the French carmaker Renault, which has two plants in Casablanca and Tangier.
These projects include the building of factories by French Sealynx, GMD Metal, and Eurostyle Systems, as well as Korean Hands Corporation, Italian Sogefi and Indian Varroc Lighting.
Thirteen investment projects will be conducted within the framework of another ecosystem to meet the needs of PSA Peugeot, which is building a factory near the coastal city of Kenitraa that plans to begin producing cars in 2019.
This move will help turn the city of Kenitra, 40 Km to the north of Rabat, into an industrial pole of excellence.
The factories will include Chinese Citic Dicastal and Aotecar, Japanese JTEKT, Korean Daedong, French Faurecia, Steep Plastique and Plastic Omnium, Spanish Ficosa and Bamesa, American Lear and Nexteer Automotive, Italian MTA and Promaghreb.
Five other projects are part of building the ecosystem of "cabling and connectivity," launched in October 2014.
The factories consist of American TE Connectivity, and two plants by Japanese Sumitomo along with its compatriots Fujikura and Yazaki.
Another two projects will help strengthen the Valeo ecosystem, which features a factory by the French Valeo and Spanish Proinsur.
The new deals were sealed two days after Morocco signed an agreement with China's BYD to build a factory to produce battery-powered vehicles in the northern city of Tangier, which is expected to employ 2,500 people.
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.