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Crony interlockers and the centrality of banks: the network of Moroccan listed companies

Oubenal Mohamed

Middle East Development Journal, 2018, vol. 10, issue 2, 175-194

Abstract: In this paper, we study crony capitalism through the lens of Moroccan listed companies and the role of the financial sector. We first highlight the role of banks in the history of Moroccan capitalism from the setting up of the French protectorate over Morocco to the dominance of some major family groups. Using a network analysis of board members of the Moroccan listed companies we confirm the centrality of finance compared to other sectors. We also measure the relational proximity to demonstrate that each cluster of the four main holding families has at least one financial company. Finally, we argue that crony interlockers, who are members of royal foundations and represent an institutional investor or a holding family that owns a bank and/or an insurance company, are the most central actors in the network of listed companies. Our contribution to crony capitalism in MENA analyses the politics of finance in a neoliberal and peripheral country such as Morocco. Boone and Henry [(2004). Neoliberalism in the Middle East and Africa: Divergent banking reform trajectories, 1980s to 2000. Commonwealth & Comparative Politics, 42(3), 356–392] had described the banking sector in Morocco as a private oligopoly. Here, we provide evidence that the monarchy and its entourage are capturing corporate governance instruments such as board membership to control economic activities.

Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1080/17938120.2018.1519999

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