Rabat - Morocco’s currency reforms have contributed to more economic stability and promoted an attractive business climate for international investors. Citi shared with Morocco World News its vision for growth in the North African country.
Rabat – Morocco’s currency reforms have contributed to more economic stability and promoted an attractive business climate for international investors. Citi shared with Morocco World News its vision for growth in the North African country.
Morocco’s strategy to expand its footprint in Africa and make itself the gateway of the continent has drawn the attention of foreign investors.
Flavio Figueiredo, Citibank Global Head of Foreign Exchange Corporate Sales, told MWN in an interview that King Mohammed VI’s strategy has been reaping benefits and described the country’s economy as “stable.”
He added that the “King has been working to diversify [the] economy into different sectors.”
Figueiredo also discussed Citi’s strategy with MWN. Mr. Figueiredo said that the bank’s plan has for a long time been to “leverage” the institution’s “footprints globally” and to “connect with our clients who have global presence and to expand into the world.”
Impacts of foreign exchange reform
Citi’s regional footprint, according to Figueiredo, enables the company to help its clients to “expand into the region and expand their businesses in the region.”
Figueiredo also talked about foreign exchange reform.
“We’ve seen many countries stabilizing their economies and becoming stronger as they have been trying to adopt? more flexible strategies through floating their currencies and making the flow of the capital more freely accessible to locals and foreign investors.”
He added that the reform also attracts foreign investors. “I think the currency regime change implemented by the Kingdom is very important to attract foreign capitals and increase their flow into the country as it comes freely convertible.”
Morocco announced its decision to launch a flexible exchange rate for the dirham currency on January 12, 2018.
Digitalization and banking
Digitalization has become an important aspect in the banking industry.
“It is the future of banking. Technology is driving the banking industry today. You can’t think of a bank without thinking of technology,” Figueiredo said.
He added that banks have to evolve and expand their technology and their capabilities. “Clients are more and more interacting with banks in different digital forms. People don’t go to branches nowadays; it’s all online.”
Figueiredo evidenced his arguments on Citi’s longstanding expertise in markets and foreign exchange.
“The pace of change is faster than ever. Globally, more than 50 percent of our? corporate or non-financial clients probably interact with us electronically. The digitalization of markets has shifted clients’ requirements for greater visibility, control, and automation. Having that ability to provide our services through digital means is crucial for the future,” he said.
MWN also spoke with Mounir Belkouch, Markets Head for Citibank Maghreb, about the challenges the company faces and the benefits of dirham liberalization.
Reiterating Figueiredo’s comments on Morocco’s strategy, Belkouch said that Morocco’s strategies “have significantly improved the business climate and the country’s attractiveness for foreign investments.”
He added that the country has made significant progress in strengthening its “macroeconomic fundamentals and maintaining the FX reserve, while keeping inflation and [the] interest rate at a low level.”
For Belkouch, these aspects contributed to make Morocco “a hub for investments of large multinational corporates in the region.”
Belkouch added that “Citi, which is the go-to bank” for international firms in Morocco, “has an estimated market share of 30 percent.”
Role of Citi in Morocco and services
The markets head at Citi said, “Our role is to leverage the local teams’ and the bank’s international experiences in order to assist local corporates to better understand the constraints of the local market, the risks, and the regulations.”
The company offers its advisory services to public sector companies and trade finance and treasury services for banks.
“We continue to focus on growth and being the best bank globally through launching new products to enhance client loyalty and onboard new clients, as well as provide added value market analysis.”
According to Belkouch, Citi provides clients with updated and reliable information related to their market activity.
Belkouch also commented on the dirham currency liberalization and the effect on the value of the currency.
Belkouch said that since the implementation of liberalization, the local currency “has shown a great resilience and stability and has sometimes slightly appreciated against EUR and USD.”
Belkouch, however, believes that the value of the dirham “within the current boundaries will depend on the country’s foreign currency inflows/outflows and current account in the near future.”