Mega City in the North of Morocco
Is the Tangier area the new Singapore of the Mediterranean? This is going to be a monster project. Morocco plans the construction of an industrial city of 300,000 inhabitants on the coast in the region of Tangier. A project whose cost would be close to 10 billion dollars and which would be developed by the Chinese group Haite, according to the site Quartz.
King Mohammed VI, who was personally involved in the negotiations of this project by meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on an official visit in May 2016, wants to imitate the model of the Chinese Special Economic Zones, such as Shenzhen, which Came into being in the late 1980s. Enterprises that set up operations benefit from very reduced taxes, the effect of which is the establishment of multinationals and the hiring of a local labor force.
Other African countries have tried to copy the Chinese model of development, notes Quartz, but Morocco represents for Beijing a major asset with its geographical position in front of Europe. But the big question is how much money China is willing to invest in this mega project.
However, as reported in The Economist magazine in a long article, special economic zones are very popular throughout the world and on the African continent, but the failures are numerous. “Africa is littered with white elephants” – infrastructures oversized for their needs – in this regard, according to the British media. Problems of electricity, transport or simply good economic governance often undermine the ambitions of African leaders.
“Many areas of the continent will fail due to lack of energy supplies or because they are too far from ports,” explains The Economist.
If it wants to boost its development through the construction of a special economic zone, Morocco must not believe in a miracle recipe and put in place a broader economic policy that will benefit the boom of its new city.