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By Aziz El Yaakoubi
RABAT, April 8 (Reuters) - French carmaker Renault and component suppliers will invest 10 billion dirhams ($1.04 billion) in Morocco to build an "industry ecosystem", the country's industry minister said on Friday.
Renault's ecosystem and its new plants will raise Renault's local sourcing of components to 65 percent from 32 percent and are projected to generate 20 billion dirhams in revenues, Moulay Hafid Elalamy told Reuters.
Renault already has two car plants in the kingdom. It has a modern plant in Tangier producing cars and body pressings for export and anoher, older assembly plant in Casablanca.
"Renault ecosystem means that around Renault plants in Tangier and Casablanca, many other companies are coming to invest and make the parts that will shape a Renault car," the minister said, though he declined to say to give an exact figure on Renault's investment in the project.
The director of the company's Africa, Middle East and India region, Bernard Cambier, also declined to give details but said that at least 15 component makers are commited to invest in the project.
Cambio and Elalamy signed the deal inside the royal palace in Rabat.
Renault's Tangier car factory, the biggest in North Africa, required initial investment of 600 million euros ($683.70 million) and is expected to reach an annual production capacity of 400,000 vehicles in the coming years.
Morocco expects auto industry exports to reach 100 billion dirhams a year by 2020 as a result of PSA Peugeot Citroen's decision last year to build a 557 million euro factory in the country, slated to produce 200,000 vehicles a year.
The kingdom has attracted a number of big auto and aerospace investors in recent years, including Delphi, Bombardier and Eaton Corp..
Unlike many countries in the region, Morocco has managed to avoid a big drop in foreign investments in the wake of the global financial crisis and the Arab Spring uprisings of 2011, partly by marketing itself as an export base for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. ($1 = 9.5845 Moroccan dirham) ($1 = 0.8776 euros) (Editing by Greg Mahlich and David Goodman)