Morocco sealed contracts worth €400 million with different French arms manufacturers, said French media adding that the deals will be announced during an expected visit of President Emmanuel Macron to Morocco next February.
The deals include a contract worth €200 million signed with Nexter to acquire Caesar self-propelled howitzer and related ammunition, latribune.fr said.
The announcement came in a series of major deals to upgrade Morocco’s defense and offensive capabilities after it placed an order of 36 Apache helicopters and related equipment for a total cost of $4.25 billion.
Already one of the biggest arms importers in Africa, Morocco has multiplied contacts with international partners to develop its own military industry in a bid to curb imports and boost independence as well as ensure technology transfer.
Moroccan papers announce that the first armament factory will be launched soon in the country as a joint venture with Belgium’s Mecar and the UK’s Chemring.
The new factory will produce an array of light and heavy ammunition and will ensure technology transfer to help Moroccans develop their own plants.
Morocco will own 10% of the capital of the plant, to be achieved for a total cost of 300 million dirhams.
Morocco and Algeria were ranked by SIPRI as Africa’s largest arm buyers taking 26% and 30% respectively of total arm sales on the continent.
In June last year, Morocco and Brazil signed a deal to share military technology reflecting Morocco’s ambition to reduce the country’s dependence on foreign arms.
Morocco’s decision to foster its domestic military industry capabilities comes at a moment marked by a surge of instability in North Africa and an arms race with Algeria that shows no signs of abatement.
A report issued by the Strategic Defense Intelligence (SDI) said that Morocco’s advanced military procurement will enable it to contain Algeria and become Africa’s leading army by 2022.