Furukawa Selects Tangier in Morocco for Fiber Optic Cable Factory

Furukawa Electric will open its new fiber optic cable factory in Tangier, Morocco. We have reported on May 8, 2015, about Furukawa’s intention to establish a new manufacturing facility in Africa. Read the full news here: Furukawa to Build Fiber Optic Cable Factory in Africa. At the time of reporting, the location of the factory was not disclosed. Now it is confirmed that the new factory for making cables will be the northern city of Tangier, which is closer to the southern tip of Spain. Furukawa’s strategic move to open a factory for fiber optic cable came at a time when African demand for fiber optic cables started showing promising growth.

Furukawa will invest around 8 million US dollars to set up the factory in Tangier. At first, the factory will focus on making optical fiber cables only. Cables will be made utilizing the optical fibers that will be supplied Furukawa’s fiber manufacturing facilities in Japan and the United States. Furukawa Electric is one of the leading producers of optical fibers in the world. The company claims to be at the third position in terms of quantity of optical fibers production globally.

Furukawa becomes the first major company to enter the African continent with its fiber optic cable manufacturing plant. Africa’s annual consumption of optical fibers used in cables made by companies in the continent amounts to less than 3 million. This is a negligible compared to the quantity of fibers in cables consumed by the projects all over Africa. Majority of the cables are imported to African continents mainly by Chinese and Korean companies followed companies in European, Indian and Middle East region. African fiber optic cable demand is estimated to be at around 8 million fiber kilometers in cables, which is expected to quadruple in the next three years. Furukawa is all set to tap from this huge growth in demand.

Currently, there are 6 fiber optic cable manufacturers in the African continent. El-Sewedy and Egytech in Egypt, FBR Maroc in Morocco, CATEL Fiber Optics in Algeria, M-tec and cbi electric in South Africa are the existing fiber optic cable manufacturers in Africa. El-Sewedy had updated their website with a claim that they have started a fiber optic cable manufacturing plant in Ethiopia. East African Cables in Kenya also carry information about the supply of fiber optic cables from their factory, but not sure whether they established a factory in Kenya or just supply cables from their supporter LS Cables, Korea.

Furukawa targets telecom companies in Africa and Europe to supply their cables produced in Tangier factory. The factory will be expanded in the future by producing optical connectors and related fiber optic components. The company opened a factory in Colombia in 2014 and has been boosting output in Russia and India. By investing in countries with growth potential, Furukawa aims to raise its output capacity for optical fiber by 30% by the end of 2018. Furukawa Electric produces optical fibers, which is around 10% of the global optical fiber production.

Tangier in Morocco is a strategic location to cover both Europe and Africa. Morocco has free trade agreements with more than 50 countries, has drawn attention as an export hub with easy access to the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. The country’s security level, considered relatively better than that of surrounding areas, has also been an appeal to many investors.

Morocco has an existing fiber optic cable manufacturer, FBR Maroc. This fiber optic cable manufacturing facility is yet to start commercial production. Last week we have reported a statement from Algerian Minister for ICT about Algeria’s plans for starting a new manufacturing facility for optical fiber/cable.

With slightly more than 4 million population, Tangier is a major city in northern Morocco. Tangier is located on the North African coast at the western entrance to the Strait of Gibraltar where the Mediterranean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean off Cape Spartel. It is the capital of the Tangier-Tetouan Region and of the Tangier-Asilah prefecture of Morocco.

The history of Tangier is very rich, due to the historical presence of many civilizations and cultures. The city is currently undergoing rapid development and modernization. Projects include new tourism projects along the bay, a modern business district called Tangier City Center, a new airport terminal and a new football stadium. Tangier’s economy is also set to benefit greatly from the new Tanger-Med port.

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