The British business intelligence firm Oxford Business Group (OBG) highlighted the digital transformation experienced by financial services in Morocco, while listing the countless advantages of the sector as well as the challenges it faces.
In a 24-page report, drawn up in partnership with the Center Monétique Interbancaire (CMI) and the Moroccan bank CFG Bank, the OBG drew up an inventory of Moroccan financial services, focusing in particular on the developments observed in this area of financial technology and the catalytic effect of the coronavirus pandemic on the industry.
In addition to a general overview of the current situation of the financial sector in Morocco, illustrated by key figures of the different segments of the sector, such as banking, stock exchange or insurance, this report presents analyzes and interviews carried out with personalities from the sector such as Wali Bank Al-Maghrib, Abdellatif Jouahri or the CEO of CMI, Mikael Naciri.
The report thus underlines that the creation of a digital financial ecosystem constitutes an important objective of the Moroccan strategy in order to achieve greater competitiveness and to position itself as a major financial center in the region. Indeed, the Moroccan central bank Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM) has been working for several years to promote and develop electronic means of payment. It also listed the development and emergence of Fintechs among the pillars of its 2019-2022 digital strategy, according to the report.
“It was clear from the start that the pandemic would have a significant economic and social impact. As a result, Bank Al Maghrib activated all the instruments at its disposal and implemented several measures aimed at ensuring access to finance, in particular for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs),” Jouahri, underlined in the report. He noted that “the measures adopted by the Economic Monitoring Committee – which was set up in March 2020 and includes among others the Ministry of Finance, BAM, the General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises and the Moroccan Association of Banks – have made it possible to considerably ease the financing conditions for businesses and households”.
For his part, Naciri underlined in a similar declaration that “Morocco has the technical and technological infrastructure necessary for the development of new payment methods in accordance with international standards”, considering that “the legislative reforms and the efforts made by Bank Al-Maghrib allowed the creation of an ecosystem linking banks and payment organizations so as to guarantee the complete interoperability of transactions”.
He thus stressed that “more financial education and awareness is needed to achieve higher levels of financial inclusion,” noting that “new payment institutions have been allowed to reach out to those who are financially excluded and try to integrate them into the formal sector”.
The report also points out that the coronavirus pandemic was a moment of transition for digital and internet payments, which have increased considerably, noting that online payments recorded a growth of 30% in the first half of 2020 as Contactless payments grew 700% over the same period. He also believes that the new popularity of card payments should be confirmed in the future, noting that the adoption of the latter during the pandemic has shown that Morocco has many assets to develop the sector.
The report also dwells on the three major challenges facing the sector, namely the slow pace of establishment of the proposed infrastructures, the difficult access of start-ups to capital as well as the need to develop the framework of legal and regulatory applied to the sector.