Bank Al-Maghrib has just published a fact sheet on financial inclusion, and that of women in particular. The central bank traces the evolution of this problem in Morocco, the measures taken, and the results obtained.
Financial inclusion has in recent years attracted increasing interest from international bodies, financial regulators and governments. This trend reflects an awareness of the role that financial services can play in promoting inclusive growth and achieving the goals of sustainable development, in particular by promoting the reduction of poverty and gender disparities.
In Morocco, the Moroccan authorities have, for almost a decade, included financial inclusion as one of their priority actions. Anxious to reduce social and economic inequalities and to promote the role of all sections of the population in the country’s economy, several actors including the Ministry of Economy and Finance and Bank Al-Maghrib have implemented several actions. reducing financial exclusion, through targeted policies for the benefit of individuals and businesses.
Morocco has made significant progress, particularly in terms of accessibility of formal financial services, consumer protection, financial education and corporate finance. Nevertheless, many segments of the population remain virtually excluded from the financial system.
To cope with this situation and in the pursuit of their efforts, BAM mobilized public and private actors as part of a participatory process for the development of a national financial inclusion strategy. The development of this Strategy demonstrates the strong commitment of public authorities and financial sector actors to continue their efforts to overcome the obstacles to the financial inclusion of different segments of the population.
In this perspective, the National Financial Inclusion Strategy has set itself ambitious goals of reducing the disparities between the different segments of the population, particularly between the sexes. In fact, given the significant gender gaps in terms of access to formal financial services, women are one of the priority targets for national financial inclusion policies and strategies in developing countries.
In developing economies, despite the progress made in terms of financial inclusion, the gender gap remains unchanged at 9 percentage points: between 2014 and 2017, the rate of men with bank or payment accounts has increased from 60 to 67% compared to 51% to 59% for women.
According to the latest results of the World Bank’s Findex survey conducted in 2017, the gap between men and women is greater in Morocco than in similar countries: 17% of adult women have access to a bank account compared to 41 % men. This disparity, more pronounced at the base of the socio-economic pyramid, creates a vicious circle: without access to financial services, women can not seize the opportunities offered by the market, which amplifies inequalities between the sexes.
For the female population, financial exclusion reflects socio-economic exclusion associated with cultural factors. The results of the studies carried out in recent years show that female employees are almost at the same level of financial inclusion as male employees and that the gap widens significantly at the level of the self-employed and becomes very significant for unemployed women. . In this context, and in order to meet the challenge of women’s financial inclusion, Bank Al-Maghrib has undertaken several initiatives.
National Financial Inclusion Strategy
In order to accelerate the promotion of financial inclusion in Morocco, the Ministry of Economy and Finance and Bank Al-Maghrib have developed a National Financial Inclusion Strategy as part of a participatory approach involving sector stakeholders. public and private, based on the conclusions of a thorough diagnosis of the state of financial inclusion in Morocco and a review of international best practices.
This strategy sets among its objectives the reduction of the gender gap in order to reach the level of financial inclusion of comparable countries. For this purpose, the strategy defines five axes:
– Accelerate the development of alternative models
– Strengthen the role of “classical” models in the financial inclusion of underserved or excluded groups
– Strengthen tools to better understand the risk of excluded populations
– Create the conditions for greater use of financial products
– Manage Financial Inclusion over time
In preparation for the implementation of the strategy, Bank Al-Maghrib launched a research project on the analysis of the socio-economic status of rural women in Morocco in order to understand the living conditions of these women, barriers to their economic empowerment, financial behavior, perceptions and ambitions about their role in society.
Conducted with the assistance of an American university, this project is divided into two phases:
– Exploratory study: launched during the month of February, this phase covers 7 regions of the Kingdom and aims to highlight the main factors (socio-cultural, economic, etc.) defining the different profiles of rural women while identifying the tracks to explore for effective financial inclusion for the economic empowerment of this segment of the population.
– Quantitative survey: Based on the results of the first phase, the survey will assess and measure, among a representative sample of the population, the different aspects of exclusion of rural women, their potential in terms of capacity and motivation for their economic empowerment as well as the prerequisites for effective financial inclusion.
This project will provide Bank Al-Maghrib and its partners with relevant information to better guide the work of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy and sectoral policies.
National Roadmap for Financial Sector Alignment on Sustainable Development
Developed in consultation with stakeholders in the financial sector and coordinated by Bank Al-Maghrib, the Roadmap for Financial Sector Alignment on Sustainable Development sees women as one of the priority targets through the following commitments:
– Financial Education: Recognizing the role of financial education as one of the essential levers of financial inclusion, the financial sector is committed to developing financial education programs that are tailored to the needs of women to strengthen their capacities to make informed financial decisions for responsible use of financial services.
– Providing adapted financial services: the roadmap recalls the importance of setting up products and services centered on the needs of women and women entrepreneurs.
– Establishment of indicators by gender: For a better monitoring of the gender gap, the roadmap pays particular attention to the monitoring and evaluation system and the role of financial institutions in collecting reliable data in view of the gender dimension.
Launched in 2011, the Maya Declaration is one of the initiatives of the international network of the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) with the ultimate goal of unlocking the socio-economic potential of people excluded from the formal financial system.
In this context, Bank Al-Maghrib has made strong commitments vis-à-vis the AFI and its members to face the challenges of financial inclusion of Moroccans in general and women in particular. Indeed, the Bank is committed under the Denarau Action Plan to promoting the financial inclusion of women by recalling the orientations of the Roadmap for aligning the financial sector with the Sustainable Development Goals but also by reaffirming the importance of a National Financial Inclusion Strategy that respects the gender approach.
Thus, Bank Al-Maghrib was honored by AFI, on the occasion of the 9th edition of the Global Policy Forum (GPF) held in 2017 in Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt, in it awarding the best member award in implementing its Maya Declaration commitments, recognizing the Bank’s efforts and achievements in financial inclusion.