x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Morocco looks to West Africa for rising exports

Moroccan banks are also looking to benefit from the region’s underdeveloped financial infrastructure.

Moroccan exports to West African countries have grown eightfold over the last decade, as rapid development in the region drives demand for primary exports, according to a report by the Arabia Monitor.

Trade in 2012 was valued at US$864 million, up from $106m in 2002, data from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development showed.

As West Africa booms, minerals and fertilizers have been the region’s largest imports. Primary products account for a sizeable chunk of Morocco’s exports.

Moroccan banks are also looking to benefit from the region’s underdeveloped financial infrastructure, according to the report. Bank accounts per capita are among the lowest in the world, while only 3 per cent of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa have credit cards, according to data from the World Bank.

Morocco has several of Africa’s largest banks, which means it has ample opportunity to offer retail banking services to the continent’s customers, the report argues.

Government plans to launch a financial services hub in Casablanca, whose eponymous bourse is the continent’s second-oldest, aim to help the country ti become a regional hub for capital.

Moroccan banks hold $90bn in combined assets, according to Arabia Monitor, which is equivalent to 94 per cent of the country’s GDP.

abouyamourn@thenational.ae