One notable transaction was the issuance of a senior unsecured bond for Banque Marocaine du Commerce Extérieur (BMCE Bank) in 2013, for which BNP Paribas acted as joint bookrunner. The deal was not only the first international bond issuance for a bank in the Maghreb since 1985, but also the first from a non-sovereign Moroccan issuer.
With the advisory business progressing well in Morocco, BNP Paribas sought to establish an on-the-ground presence for the CIB division to service clients in the country as well as customers in the region. The Bank was granted CFC status in late 2013 by the Casablanca Finance City (CFC) the first for a global bank in Morocco s new financial centre which paved the way for the opening of a Regional CIB office. Casablanca Finance City was chosen for its robust regulatory environment and for its proximity to a range of countries and clients in North Africa. By establishing an on-the-ground presence, BNP Paribas demonstrated its commitment to Africa and positioned itself to provide long-term support to clients throughout the region.
At the same time, the Bank has adopted a similar banking approach across North Africa, accelerating business development initiatives and seeking to collaborate with other business units to develop opportunities and extend the range of services offered to clients with increasingly diverse financing requirements as they expand and grow.
Wider North Africa has offered opportunities for CIB in recent years. The Bank s clients including official institutions and firms in the financial and telecommunications sectors have access to a wide range of services, such as conventional and Islamic bonds, as well as tailored solutions for restructuring and corporate finance activities such as mergers and acquisitions, and privatisations. CIB client relationships for Tunisia and the rest of North Africa are managed regionally in Casablanca, in close co-operation with International Retail Banking (IRB).
Sami Zouari, Head of Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya, CIB, explains how the Bank s engagement with North African countries has evolved in recent years: CIB has been doing business in North Africa for some time and is now even better positioned on the ground to serve clients under the new coverage set-up. We ve consolidated our operations; from the client s perspective, it gives BNP Paribas much higher visibility because they now have one point of contact with the Bank for the full range of investment banking services and business lines. That is not only a major development for our operations, but enables us to develop and implement long-term strategies for those countries and clients.
In West Africa, BNP Paribas is selectively developing its CIB business, supported by the longer-term establishment of the retail bank, which has been active in the region for decades. Its presence has increased proximity to clients and ensured that the Bank maintains a deep understanding of local business needs and opportunities. This also applies to other countries in West and Central Africa where the Bank has had a long historical presence. The retail bank s history throughout francophone Africa has provided CIB a base on which to strengthen relationships with local regulators, governments and