Tangiers - With an ultramodern port, high-speed train and the biggest car plant in North Africa, Tangiers is looking to profit from its strategic location overlooking the Strait of Gibraltar and its proximity to Europe.
Morocco's northernmost city, just a short boat ride from southern Spain, has always attracted foreign interest, notably in the period before independence in 1956, with its unique status as an international zone.
In line with efforts to tap its potential and reverse decades of neglect, King Mohammed VI launched the "Tanger-Metropole" programme last September to boost the city's development.
The ambitious four-year, $1 billion plan, which will target industrial development in particular, aims "to take full advantage of all the major infrastructure already in place," the governor of Tangiers Mohammed Yaakoubi told AFP.
First among the "Tanger-Metropole" projects is the Tanger-Med port, inaugurated in 2007, which lies around 40km east of the city and already welcomes two million passengers and 700 000 cars every year.
Situated on one of the world's busiest shipping routes, the port is expected to double the number of containers it handles with the construction of Tanger-Med 2, to six million annually, bringing its total cost to eight billion euros.
A zone has also been given over to car manufacturer Renault, whose decision to set up a plant in Morocco caused a stir in France last year amid fears over French jobs being outsourced.