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    Mastercard: Digitization Drives Finance, Education Inclusion in Morocco

    Despite the acceleration of Moroccan digitization, the country still has lower digital payment transactions and smartphone penetration compared to other countries in the region.

    08 Jun 2022

    Rabat - Digital inclusion in Morocco has provided financial support for the vulnerable populations amid the COVID-19 pandemic and opened doors for better access to health and education services to the general public, says Mastercard’s latest report on Financial Inclusion in the Middle East and Africa (MEA).

    The report, published on June 6, notes that the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing economic crisis have accelerated the need for digital solutions in the financial and social sectors.

    “To improve their lives and well-being, people need to be able to take care of their finances, health, and ability to participate in the workforce,” said Umar Hashmi, Vice President of Global Product & Engineering at Mastercard. “This is what financial inclusion efforts can and must aim to enable.”

    As the Middle East and Africa region struggles to reach financial, health, and education inclusion outside urban hubs, argues the report, there is a clear need for accelerated digital transformation in the region.

    Despite accumulated challenges, governments and private stakeholders in MEA countries have launched several initiatives to address the financial inclusion gap by facilitating transactions for the unbanked and introducing pay-on-demand business models to make digital services accessible and affordable.

    In Morocco, digital inclusion has helped “provide quick and secure financial support to disadvantaged demographics amidst the pandemic,” the Mastercard study found, adding that Moroccan informal workers use their smartphones to receive governmental support “quickly and efficiently.”

    With smartphones facilitating online transactions, the MEA region experienced a notable uptick in smartphone penetration amid the pandemic. Yet the Moroccan penetration rate remains the lowest in the region compared to Jordan, Iraq, Kenya, Nigeria, and Pakistan.

    Notably, 75% of the surveyed Moroccans own a smartphone compared to the regional average of 83%, while only 32% of the Moroccan participants acquired one or more smart devices during 2020-2021, 9% shorter than the regional average of 41%.

    In contrast, Nigeria has the largest ownership of connected devices (87%), and 62% of the Nigerian participants in the study reported that they purchased one or more smart devices in the past two years.

    As for online transactions, only 34% of Moroccans make online transactions compared to the regional average of 55%.

    Regionally, digital transactions are commonly conducted through bank services such as applications (87%) and websites (71%). Mobile money accounts and digital wallets are also popular channels for digital transactions, followed by apple pay, google pay, and Samsung which are less common - only 32% of the participants reported using these payment options.

    While Moroccan use of online payment remains low, 46% of MEA people use these services to pay for utility bills and receive their salaries. The other uses include sending and receiving money as well as saving or investing.

    Another use of online devices that rose to the spotlight during the pandemic is digital education services.

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, Moroccan schools were closed fully for 17 weeks and partially for another 17 weeks, which raised the need for digital education services.

    Mastercard’s study notably found that 47% of Moroccans were connected digitally to an education service provider during the pandemic to attend live classes (57%), interact with teachers or students (51%), learn from recorded classes (48%), manage learning schedules (41%), and pay for services (30%), as well as store and refer to progress reports (27%).

    moroccoworldnews

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