2018-11-05

Bank Al-Maghrib demonstrates policy leadership to advance financial inclusion in Morocco

After five days of intensive discussions and presentations by senior executives of Bank Al-Maghrib (BAM), Ministry of Commerce and private sector, the Innovations in Digital Finance member training wrapped up in Rabat, Morocco on Friday, 2 November 2018.

Organized by BAM and the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI), the member training focused on three core areas in digital financial inclusion: payment and payment systems oversight, innovative regulatory approaches and cybersecurity frameworks. Participants also discussed green financial inclusion as an emerging policy area. Gender and consumer protection were underlying themes throughout the five-day training.

“I hope that this kind of training is offered regularly since digital payments are evolving; AFI members should be on track in order to learn from each other and harmonize policy developments. This would allow digital payments to advance financial inclusion without compromising the management of risks associated with emerging digital payment technologies and trends,” remarked an avid participant at the training.

Throughout the week, 37 participants from 27 countries, representing 29 AFI member institutions shared and learned from each other’s country experiences including how to develop strategies to create enabling payment ecosystems, facilitate decision making for designing innovative regulatory approaches, and design cybersecurity frameworks tailored to their own jurisdictions.

A participant added that “the [digitization of bulk payments session] was very good, providing a new perspective on the government’s role in ensuring successful digitization. The session highlighted the role of regulators in making sure mobile network operators cooperate in digitization and ultimately, financial inclusion.”

The Innovations in Digital Finance member training was created to address the growing demand from members for Capacity Building programs focused on DFS within the AFI network, where members share lessons and experience on effective approaches to balancing financial innovations with financial stability.

“It was nice to learn the Moroccan experience about coming up with a National Switch using home grown technology. We are keen to follow Morocco’s success story as we move forward with implementing our own National Switch,” one of the participants highlighted.

Morocco is one of the leading countries within the AFI network demonstrating policy leadership to advance financial inclusion. BAM developed advances oversight mechanisms for payment systems and means of payments, backed by in-depth knowledge of how complexities in the payment system translate to additional oversight mechanisms.

The member training also covered global perspectives on interoperable retail payment systems and challenges related to payment systems oversight, digitization of bulk payments, innovative regulatory approaches, and cybersecurity threats in pursuit of digital financial services (DFS) for financial inclusion. BAM has advanced cybersecurity frameworks in place that comply with international standards, which was showcased at the training.

“I realized that in my country, we're a bit behind on regulating around cybersecurity. These [cybersecurity] sessions were a kind of "wake-up call" for us,” remarked a participant during the training.

“With fast emerging technology, proliferation of financial services, diversification of financial service providers the role of regulator has assumed a much more critical role. The key question we addressed in this training was how we, as regulators, can make this transition efficient, safe and proactive rather than reactive. Capacity building plays a key role in preparing us for this enhanced role,” emphasized AFI’s Head of Capacity Building, Madhurantika Moulick, during her closing remarks. She also remarked that the wealth of knowledge within the AFI network is extremely enriching and urged participants to leverage on various AFI platforms including the AFI Data Portal to share and learn from each other.