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Case study

Bank of Africa: Committed to Sustainable Energy Finance

In the current global geopolitical landscape, climate risks and the transition to a green and inclusive economy remain at the heart of Bank of Africa – BMCE Group’s priorities. Over the past 20 years, the pan-African banking group with Moroccan roots has consolidated its position as a regional sustainable finance pioneer actively committed to contributing to the energy transition in Morocco and across the African continent.

Well aware of the rising national energy challenges in Morocco, Bank of Africa has continuously financed projects related the implementation of the national energy strategy, which includes Law 99-12 regarding sustainable development, Law 47-09 on energy efficiency, and Laws 13-09 and 58/15 on the development of renewable energy.

Bank of Africa’s uptake of sustainable energy finance can be traced back to its long-held conviction that the financial sector has a fundamental role in the achievement of sustainable development goals, including the transition to a low-carbon future. In 2000, Bank of Africa became the first African signatory of the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Statement and in 2019 re-affirmed its stance by becoming a Founding Signatory of the “Principles of Responsible Banking.”

The Group further signed on to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and UNEP FI “Statement by Financial Institutions on Energy Efficiency Finance” in 2015, pledging to increase investment in clean energy, and to date has financed major wind energy and desalination projects. Bank of Africa also issued a Green Bond in 2016 during COP22 to finance energy efficiency and renewable energy projects.


Bank of Africa’s sustainable energy solutions for SMEs: MorSEFF / MorGEFF programs

Bank of Africa contributed to co-creating the energy efficiency market in Morocco when it became the first Partner of the Morocco Sustainable Energy Efficiency Financing Facility (MorSEFF), a dedicated financing facility for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and corporations. MorSEFF was developed in 2015 with EBRD, EIB, KfW, and AFD with the support of the European Union. The Bank later signed onto a similar facility in 2017 – the Morocco Green Economy Financing Facility (MorGEFF) – in partnership with EBRD, with a grant from the Green Climate Fund.

The Bank’s “Cap Energy” product was born out of these programs and to date has disbursed more than 65 million Euros in sustainable loans to SMEs.

Customers benefitted from a unique blended package offering financing, free technical assistance including a free energy audit, and an investment bonus that increased the appetite for this new market. Positive spin-offs for clients were applicable in multiple industries including transport, industry, and construction.

In parallel, the Bank raised awareness among its customers through roadshows and seminars encouraging low-energy technologies, focusing on renewable energies and strengthening local production.

In 2017, Bank of Africa was awarded the Sustainable Energy Gold Award by the EBRD in recognition of its commitment to green and inclusive growth through the MorSEFF program, impacting more than a hundred companies across all regions in Morocco.

In the face of rising commodity prices and hyperinflation, it is important to invoke the financial advantage of energy efficiency as the proverbial lowest-hanging fruit, meaning that energy savings can be more easily translated into financial savings for companies and industry.

In a post COVID-19 reality, cutting costs from resource utilization – energy, water, waste – is more pertinent than ever as clean technological innovations accelerate, and especially in the MENA region where climate risks are vital.

Bespoke programs such as MorSEFF and MorGEFF must continue to be offered in Morocco and other parts of the African continent in partnership with commercial banks like Bank of Africa, with the support of DFIs, MDBs, and other grant donors, to boost investment in energy efficiency and enable positive impacts on the economy, the environment, and society.

Looking ahead, Bank of Africa remains firmly committed not only to the immediate economic impacts, but also to a sustainable path of development, and will continue to sow partnerships to refine its sustainable financing solutions to better support SMEs and corporations.