Moroccan Banks, Launchpad for Investments in Africa- Stratfor
Moroccan banks across Africa serve as a launchpad that will allow Moroccan and European businesses to expand in the continent, Stratfor, a US firm specializing in risk analysis, said in a recent report.
The report shows that Morocco has become a key investor in Sub-Saharan Africa owing to the strength of its financial sector.
“As long-dominant European banks gradually disappear from Africa, Morocco is using its newfound financial muscle to project power across the continent in the hopes of becoming a wealthier and more internationally influential country,” Stratfor said.
Moroccan banks have branches in 20 African countries, mostly in West Africa but some banks such as BMCE and Attijariwafa bank have opened branches in non-French speaking countries.
“The 2016 purchase of Barclays Egypt by Morocco’s largest bank, Attijariwafa, signaled Moroccan banks’ intention of expanding across the continent,” said Stratfor.
“The country’s second biggest lender by assets, Banque Centrale Populaire, has also indicated plans to infiltrate the financial sector of East African countries such as Rwanda, Kenya and even closely financially guarded Ethiopia,” it said.
These banks show bigger appetite for risk as they expose themselves to low-grade domestic sovereign bonds meanwhile offering bridges to Moroccan companies pursuing opportunities in promising African markets, Stratfor said.
“Earlier this year, Maroc Telecom reported an annualized 9.7 percent increase in its user base to 60 million, all of whom are spread across a half-dozen countries in Central and West Africa,” the report recalls.