Morocco accelerates the democratization of the financial system

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The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, IMF, will release a total of 13.5 billion dirhams by 2024 to finance the financial inclusion and digital transformation program, launched in 2020, in three phases. The purpose of this financing is to allow more people to have access to the general financial system. For financial institutions, this program will above all allow the strengthening of banking in order to allow a section of the population the use of digital payment transactions, but also access to loans and subsidies.

In 1019, the kingdom received around 7 billion dirhams from the World Bank to “support measures aimed at developing financial and digital inclusion”. Today, four years later, Morocco continues to engage in new positive initiatives for better financial flows and the digitization of the financial system.

Regarding the benefits of digital for countries in the Middle East and North Africa, the World Bank and the IMF believe that “the adoption of digital technologies can accelerate growth and create jobs”, noting that tools show that about 60% of the Moroccan population uses the Internet. Morocco is investing around $13.5 billion in digitization, financed by loans.

The good results obtained so far in the development of new technologies and their accessibility for the entire population have led Morocco to develop a new financing plan for digital or financial inclusion. Funding for this project comprised three distinct phases. The first loan from the World Bank was for $500 million, the second for $450 million and the third, which will be granted in March, is for $400 million.

The financing of 13.5 billion dollars is added to that of the 2019 project. This amount will increase to 21 billion dirhams between 2019 and 2023. The amounts will be provided by the institutions of the World Bank and IMF. The World Bank’s board has yet to formally approve the latest figures.

Bank AI-Maghrib and the ANRT already on the attack

In addition to these sums, Bank AI-Maghrib and the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (ANRT) will work with the public and private sectors, as appropriate, to drive technological integration and digital transformation. This should boost the country’s economy and involve disadvantaged population groups (such as rural communities, women and young people) in the digitalization process.

To this end, Morocco is pursuing four lines of action: strengthening the financial inclusion of individuals, microenterprises and SMEs, diversifying financial instruments and promoting microfinance, supporting the development of digital financing platforms and infrastructures, and strengthening the support for digital entrepreneurs. Therefore, the project is presented as an initiative intended to benefit families and businesses, including start-ups and young entrepreneurs.

The government is currently working on an initiative aimed at digital financial services and household resilience. In addition, networking in rural and urban areas where it does not yet exist needs to be improved or promoted.

Obstacles to the digitalization of the financial system and administration

Restructuring an economy and its bureaucracy in order to be able to reap the benefits of digitalization must take many aspects into account. A modern and efficient digitization of the financial system but also of the administration can speed up processes, reduce transaction costs and objectify contacts and thus reduce corruption.

But full digitization requires not only investments and funds from and for the state, but also investments from companies and individuals. Devices, networks and network access are required. All of this comes with costs that not everyone may be able to afford. However, the level of education can also be an obstacle, as there is still a significant part of the population that meets the criteria for “functional illiteracy”. That is to say, in addition to those who continue to do not know how to read or write, there are many who left school without a diploma, some very early, and who therefore have problems with reading and writing and especially difficulties in grasping and interpreting content.

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