Activation Rate of Mobile Payment Remains Limited in Morocco (Central Bank DG)

“Cash remains resilient and more competitive than digital payment methods mainly because of its anonymity and freeness,” Mr. Bouazza pointed out during a panel discussion held under the theme “Developing the use of digital payments” on the sidelines of Gitex Africa which runs through May 31 in Marrakech.

Payment methods have developed to become increasingly faster and more fluid. This is the case, in addition to internet payment, of mobile payment which was introduced in 2017, contactless payment which was accelerated by the pandemic crisis and instant transfer which started in 2023, he said, noting that despite these promising developments, the majority of Moroccans continue to use cash in payments as shown by surveys and statistical data from Bank Al-Maghrib.

The modernization of payments has been stimulated by new technologies, including QR code, NFC (Near Field Communication) technologies, data tokenization and biometrics, Mr. Bouazza stressed.

“Overall, the payment behavior of a large part of the Moroccan population is changing, since digital payments, after having recorded an average annual growth of 13% in volume over the period 2016-2019, accelerated over the past few years to reach 19%, a level higher than that of the global average which is around 13%,” he noted.

The other major trend observed is the drop in the share of payments by cheque which fell, in 10 years, from 40% to 6%, while the use of transfers and bank cards has increased respectively to 45% and 34%, he said.

To further develop digital payments, the central bank has implemented a strategic vision aimed at achieving three objectives: establishing more innovative and more competitive payment systems, ensuring the appropriate balance between innovation and regulation and integrating the national payment system into its regional environment.

Mr. Bouazza recalled that Bank Al-Maghrib has initiated studies in 2021 to examine what the issuance of a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) could look like and how it could be managed in case a decision was made to issue one.

“The 1st exploratory stage of this project allowed us to test the process of retail payments in digital currency and to evaluate some functionalities of this system. The 2nd stage is aimed at carrying out a PoC with the technical assistance of the World Bank and the IMF”, he explained.

Held under the High Patronage of His Majesty King Mohammed VI, Gitex Africa 2024 is marked by the participation of over 1,500 exhibitors from more than 130 countries.

The event is a major crossroads for exchanges on the latest innovations in technology, particularly in the areas of artificial intelligence, healthcare and cybersecurity.

The activation rate of mobile payment in Morocco remains limited to 10% and the use of bank cards for digital transactions, although it is increasing, does not exceed 30%, said Thursday in Marrakech Director General of Morocco's central bank (Bank Al Maghrib), Abderrahim Bouazza.

30 mai 2024
Marrakech
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