Attijariwafa bank, a leading pan-African banking group, has teamed up with IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, to boost cross-border trade and investment in Africa and support the continent’s smaller businesses.
A cooperation agreement was signed by the two sides to enhance investments in both North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. The partnership will focus on supporting trade and investment between the two regions in order to enhance intra-African trade flows.
The two parties will also cooperate in corporate and investment banking, project finance, and in providing risk-sharing trade instruments. The agreement will also see IFC and AWB provide advisory services to firms in Morocco and Africa, including small and medium enterprises (SMEs), helping them access the financing and training that are crucial for their development.
“Attijariwafa bank and IFC share the vision that a healthy private sector is crucial to creating jobs and driving economic growth,” said Boubker Jai, Co-CEO of Attijariwafa bank Group.
“We will benefit from IFC’s deep expertise in the region and leverage on our African footprint and market knowledge to offer innovative products and services to our clients in such areas as digital banking and value chain financing”, he added.
Sérgio Pimenta, IFC Vice President for the Middle East and Africa, said: “as a region, Africa has great potential. But the weakness of cross-border trade and the shortage of financing for SMEs are holding back economic growth”.
“By addressing these issues, we can help unlock the potential of the continent’s private sector, creating jobs and contributing to the fight against poverty and inequality”, stressed the IFC official.
The partnership is part of IFC’s strategy to support leading Moroccan companies as they expand into Sub-Saharan Africa. With their financial and intellectual assets, these firms help support the growth of the countries they settle in. Over the last 10 years, IFC has supported around $1.4 billion in investments by MENA companies in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The Attijariwafa bank-IFC agreement was signed in the wake of the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area that is also meant to bolster intra-African trade.