China may be awarded a major high-speed railway project in Morocco amidst fierce global competition, according to a local newspaper.

China Railway Design Corporation (CRDC) has already won a contract to carry out preliminary studies for the Marrakesh-Agadir high-speed train and this could pave the way for awarding the main contract to China, Hespress said in a weekend report.

“Awarding the study contract to a Chinese company is a clear indication that China could win the main rail contract,” the paper said, quoting well-known Moroccan economist Rasheed Sari.

“Morocco may take into account the fact that Chinese companies are more competitive and cost less than Western firms.”

Press reports in Morocco said in 2023 that the project could cost nearly $9 billion and that it would be carried out in two phases, including the 390-km line from Kenitra in Northwest Morocco to the central Marrakesh city and the 239-km line from Marrakesh to Agadir in the South.

Hespress said there is a “fierce” competition for the project by companies from France, Spain and Japan.

It quoted Alrais Issawi, another Moroccan economist, as saying that Chinese firms have demonstrated great ability to adapt to work conditions in Africa, including in Morocco.

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)


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