MOROCCO – Morocco’s commercial bank, Banque Centrale Populaire (BCP) has signed a partnership agreement with Moroccan agritech startup SOWIT to provide farmers in the Beni Mellal-Khenifra region with access to innovative diagnostic and monitoring solutions for sustainable and effective farm management.
The agreement was concluded as part of the Regional Investments initiative launched by BCP to assist innovative Moroccan solutions.
Welcoming the partnership, SOWIT’s co-founder Hamza Rkha Chaham on social media said he is, “Happy to join force with a leading African financial institution, Banque Centrale Populaire – BCP, to accelerate farmers’ financial inclusion and provide farmers with digital advisory services enabling to mitigate risks and improve performance.”
Given that less than 10% of African farmers are able to successfully borrow money from formal financial institutions, Chaham says that SOWIT’s AI-led assessment of farmers’ creditworthiness is set to enable its customers to benefit from formal financial services and therefore boost their financial inclusion.
Hamza Bendahou, the other co-founder of the Moroccan startup, echoed Chaham’s sentiment, stating that the agreement, which was signed with BCP’s Jalil Sebti, aims to develop financial products adapted to the socio-economic context of farmers in the Beni Mellal region.
“SOWIT promotes access to finance for farmers by developing risk management tools adapted to their needs, through the use of data and digital solutions,” he explained.
The economic and social inclusion of Moroccan farmers has been the focus of some state-led initiatives such as the nationwide social security coverage project that targets 1.6 million farmers.
To date, around 800,000 farmers have secured social security benefits as part of this project.
As for financial inclusion, Morocco is still lagging behind in this aspect, with only 44% of Moroccan adults having bank accounts.
A recent World Bank report noted that bank account ownership is lower among Moroccan women (33%) and in poor communities (34%).
While a large chunk of the Moroccan population does not possess a bank account, financial inclusion among less privileged communities appears to be lower than average, highlighting the need for more inclusive and flexible financial solutions.
Meanwhile, Morocco’s phosphate and fertilizer giant OCP Group has joined the Global Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global coalition of governments, as a supporting company.
Through this partnership, the OCP Group has committed to embedding transparency in its corporate management systems and processes by adopting EITI’s principles, helping to advance its agenda with transparency.
The EITI is a global alliance of governments, businesses, and civil society organizations seeking to promote accountability in the management of natural resources supply such as oil, gas, metals, and minerals.
In addition to increasing awareness of natural resource management, its goal is to boost public and corporate governance, notes the EITI website, adding that the coalition also intends to offer its statistics to improve policymakers and multi-stakeholder discourse in the phosphate extraction industry.