During the last year IFC has been ramping up its work encouraging so-called South-South investments between the Middle East and North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, in an effort to promote economic development and integration. Morocco especially is playing a key role in the development of Sub-Saharan Africa, and has emerged as a regional hub for South-South investments.
“Sub-Saharan Africa is increasingly important to us as we seek to grow, develop the Moroccan economy, and build bridges with our neighbors to become an international player,” said Mohamed Benchaaboun, CEO of Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP).
BCP, an IFC client, is one of the largest banks in Morocco and it has ambitious plans for investment across Sub-Saharan Africa, including a microfinance institution in Côte d’Ivoire that will help small businesses expand and boost the economy.
Though the region is rich with potential, it needs an estimated $90 billion per year over the next 10 years to meet basic infrastructure demands. That’s why IFC has made several investments in Moroccan banks and insurance companies, purchasing equity and guaranteeing cross-border trade, to help them enter emerging markets in Sub-Saharan Africa, create jobs, share best practice, and raise local business standards.
In the last three years, combined commitments totaling almost $300 million in BMCE's African subsidiaries, insurance company Saham Finances, and Attijariwafa Bank’s Sub-Saharan Africa affiliates, have been designed to increase access to in-demand goods and services. These commitments mean that regional companies can bloom into international concerns and compete on a global level.
“Access to finance in Sub-Saharan Africa remains a challenge, especially for smaller companies,” said Joumana Cobein, Head of the Maghreb region for IFC. “Helping Moroccan banks expand their business to these new emerging markets addresses that challenge and shares knowledge, while simultaneously improving investor confidence in the local economy and back in Morocco.”
The visit of King Mohammed VI to several West African countries this March highlights Morocco’s strategy to become a regional investment hub, and an active champion of South-South investment. The creation of Casablanca Finance City, a regional commercial and financial hub for firms exploring expansion in Africa, will also be instrumental in helping top Moroccan companies share their expertise.