All Africa

Uganda: Resolve Islamic Banking Delay, Finance Minister Directs Bou

Finance Minister Matia Kasaija has said that whereas Bank of Uganda still has challenges, it should work around the clock to quickly resolve the pending establishment of Islamic Banking. Mr Kasaija said that, as government, they had done their job to pass the law and it was now the work of the Central Bank to operationalise the Shari'a-based banking system. In 2016, government enacted the law that would introduced Islamic Banking, agent banking and bancassurance, among other products. However, whereas other products have already been established, implantation of Islamic Banking continues to be delayed.

#Nigeria: Islamic Finance - Opportunities, Challenges and Policy Direction

Despite its growing acceptability around the world, there are untapped opportunities that can be accessed through Islamic finance in Nigeria. When the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) granted approval to the defunct Habib Bank to operate an Islamic banking service window, the attempt did not register a significant success but it kickstarted Islamic banking in the country. The Securities and Exchange Commission has issued Rules on Islamic Fund Management and Sukuk Issuance. Similarly, the Nigerian Stock Exchange and Lotus Capital have developed an Islamic capital market Index. The National Pension Commission had in 2019 issued Regulation on Investment of Pension Fund Assets which recognised Government Sukuk as one of the accepted classes of assets for pension funds investment. In all, the Nigeria Islamic Finance Industry is fairly backed by regulations, sound supervisory structure and fragmented legal framework.

#Kenya: Djibouti's East African Bank Distance Self From Kenya Registered Bank

The East Africa Bank based in Djibouti has written to the Central Bank of Kenya raising concerns of a fraud using the bank's name and logo. Curiously, the logo, colours and the information on the website of the East African Savings Bank (EASB) are similar to those of the East Africa Bank based in the capital city of Djibouti. Both East Africa Bank and East Africa Savings Bank are apparently Sharia compliant. The East Africa Bank has already reported to the Central Bank of Kenya as well as the Banking fraud investigations unit for further action. The East Africa Bank believes this is a fraudulent misrepresentation and urges all customers to avoid dealing with the said entity.

#Nigeria: Muslim Scholars Highlight Benefits of Islamic Financing to Economic Growth

Reputable Muslim scholars participated at Forum For Islamic Education & Welfare in Nigeria. The President of MUSWEN, Alhaji Sakariyau Babalola said the adoption of the Islamic financial system was growing in the country. Central Bank of Nigeria expert Dr. Bashir Umar said that Islamic finance was the way to finance infrastructure projects and had an integrated cooperative model which can eradicate poverty and enhance economic empowerment. He noted that financial inclusion was the key element to achieve inclusive development needed for sustainable growth in the country. Umar added that the presence of Islamic banking in the country has brought the unserved and undeserved members of the society into the formal financial sector.

Africa: Will #Fintech Grow Financial Inclusion?

Financial technology investors are calling for policies that promote development to achieve the World Bank target of universal financial access by 2020. Financial experts who attended the Africa Payments Innovation Summit in Nairobi said digital disruption could increase the continent's banked population. The emergence of mobile money services over the past decade has contributed to financial inclusion in Africa. According to the mobile operators association GSMA, there were 277 million registered mobile money accounts in sub-Saharan Africa at the end of 2016. But despite the progress, at least 85% of transactions in the region are still in cash. There is a mistrust between banks and telcos about whose customer they are serving, who owns the infrastructure, and the loading of additional costs on transactions between the two. Central Bank of Kenya Governor Patrick Njoroge warned innovators against getting carried away by technology.

#Uganda: Parliament to Pass Islamic #Insurance Law

In Uganda the Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) is now awaiting Parliament to pass the Bill that proposes to amend the Insurance Act (2011) in order to cater for Islamic Insurance. Earlier this year, President Museveni assented to the amendment of the Financial Institutions Act (2014) that caters for Islamic Banking. Sande Protazio, the assistant director research at the IRA, said the Insurance Act was at the committee stage in parliament and the Bill would be important for the sector in opening up opportunities within the Shari'ah compliant insurance avenue. In the proposed amendments to the Insurance Act, insurance companies intending to offer Islamic insurance have to separate their assets, liabilities and expenses.

#Nigeria: Only 20 Percent of Muslims Access Financial Services - World Bank

According to The World Bank, less than 20% of Muslims use conventional banking worldwide, in spite of the ever growing number of Islamic financial products. The bank's Vice President and Treasurer, Arunma Oteh, said this in Washington during the World Bank High Level Seminar on Islamic Finance. Ms. Oteh said that the huge financial gap that exist in the Muslim world could not be bridged and the lack of trust of financial service providers was a reason for the disparity. She added that Islamic finance was a tool for achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with Islamic investors applying the ethical and quantitative measures in their investment decisions.

#Uganda: Islamic Banking Will Attract More Money From Arab World - Expert

In Uganda the first Islamic Banking and Finance (IBF) conference was held last week. Prof. Ashraf Bin Hashim said in Malaysia, most of the Islamic banks are subsidiaries to conventional banks; therefore, they are not looked at as competitors. They are developing themselves together. IBF will widen the pool of investors and Islamic donor streams to Uganda. Instead of having only conventional investors, there will be several potential Islamic investors in the country.

#Uganda: Islamic Banking Agitators Want Four Laws Reviewed

The Ugandan government reviewed the Financial Institutions Act 2004, that allowed the introduction of both Islamic and Agency banking. However, Islamic finance agitators still believe that without the revision of the Central Bank Act, the Hire Purchase Act, The Stamp Duty Act and the Accounting Principles Act, it will be difficult for Islamic finance to deepen in Uganda. Sulaiman Lujja from the Islamic University in Uganda says Central Banks have to develop, adopt and adapt various policies and prudential guidelines.

Uganda: Islamic Banking Will Boost a Growing Economy Like Ours

Islamic banking can provide an array of financial products that would help boost an economy that's dominated by small businesses and start-ups. These small entities make a very huge contribution to greater economic growth. That said, many of Uganda's local banks regard these entities as "too small" and only want to characterise them as "start-ups" which they don't finance. Islamic Finance also provides for the Qard el-Hasan or a benevolent loan. Conventional banks provide these products in same form. However, there is a huge difference in the detail of how all this pans out. Islamic finance is the embodiment of the type of capital that will help boost a growing economy.

Africa: UNEP and Islamic Development Bank Sign Agreement On Environmental Conservation

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) today agreed on wide-ranging cooperation on environmental conservation in support of sustainable development and the fight against climate change. The Memorandum of Understanding, set to run until June 2018 initially, covers objectives common to the two organizations in the areas of climate change, agriculture and food security, eco-innovation and green economy, and Islamic finance. Capacity building in member countries in all these thematic areas will be supported. The overarching goal is to facilitate the implementation of both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Nigeria: FG Mulls Exploration of Sukuk for Budget Financing

The Directors General of the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (ICRC) Aminu Diko and Debt Management Office (DMO) Dr. Abraham Nwakwo have said that Nigeria would not be left behind in benefiting from the growing global Sukuk. They gave the assurance on Tuesday in Abuja at the two-day 2015 International Conference on Islamic Finance themed: "Islamic Capital Market: Infrastructure, Sukuk and Asset Management in Africa". Based on a 30-year National Integrated Infrastructure Master plan (NIIMP), Nigeria requires an expenditure of US$ 3.10 trillion in 30 years covering energy, transport, agriculture and water resources, social infrastructure and vital registration and security.

Ghanaians to Enjoy Interest Free Loans

The Bank of Ghana is in the process of licensing Islamic Bank, which is expected to provide interest free loans to its customers across the country. The Central Bank Governor, Dr Henry Kofi Wampah, told journalists at a press conference in Accra that the Banking Supervision Department of his outfit is working assiduously to issue new banking licenses to Islamic Bank, as well as the Ghana Armed Forces Bank by the close of the year. Research from Lotus Capital Limited in Nigeria shows there is a growing appetite for Islamic finance as approximately 30 per cent of the Muslim population around the world would be interested in Islamic finance. Nevertheless, the operations of Islamic banks give rise to a unique set of risks, in addition to the standard risks associated with banking activities.

Kenya: Islamic Finance Prospects in Africa Promising

Africa's strong demand for Islamic financial services and products was highlighted in the inaugural Africa Finance Forum 2015 held in Abidjan. Recent developments have seen African governments focusing more on creating a more enabling environment for sukuk issuances. Those that have not tapped into the sector have expressed keen interest in the market for infrastructure financing with legal frameworks underway to promote sukuk issuances. Although the Islamic financial services industry in Africa is currently dominated by the banking and sukuk segments, growth potential remains in the asset management and Islamic insurance. However, financial inclusion still remains the greatest challenge.

Nigeria: CBN Tasks Stakeholders On Sustainable Finance Practices

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has advised stakeholders in the financial services sector to adopt sustainable practices to strike a balance between economic development and the protection of the ecosystem. Speaking at a workshop on sustainable finance, CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, represented by his special adviser on sustainable banking, Dr. A'isha Usman Mahmood, tasked the stakeholders to include environmental protection in addition to maximising profit and returns on investments. The apex bank hinged its advice on the positive nexus between environmental, social management and improved economic performance, which it said were being keyed into by financial institutions worldwide.

Nigeria to Emulate Senegal's Sukuk Success

Chief Executive of Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), Khaled Al-Aboodi, says Nigeria and Ivory Coast are looking to emulate Senegal's successful move into the market for sukuk. Senegal, meanwhile, is discussing another sukuk after the ICD helped it arranged its debut $208 million Islamic bond last June. Nigeria's neighbour Niger has signed up for a sukuk programme worth 150 billion CFA francs ($260 million), although the timing has yet to be determined. Al-Aboodi said they hoped to issue the sukuk before the end of the year, adding that the tenor depended on its structure and investor appetite.

Egypt: New Dfid/Islamic Development Bank Initiative

Arab Women's Enterprise Fund (AWEF) aims to empower poor women, increasing their income and well-being and ultimately improving their livelihoods and growth opportunities. The programme will do this by increasing their participation in markets through working with market actors to encourage the adoption of new practices and also by addressing constraints in the enabling environment. AWEF is an 10 million pouns market development programme that will work in Egypt, Jordan and the Overseas Palestinian Territories (OPTs). DFID will work in partnership with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) who will contribute an additional 10 million pounds in sharia-compliant concessionary finance through financial intermediaries.

East Africa: Islamic Financing Steps Up Profile

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) have signed an agreement under which they will cooperate in the development of the private sector in ICD member countries in Africa. However, Uganda is the only member ICD country in the East African Community. According to the agreement, ICD and Afreximbank will share information on projects and business opportunities in Africa and on participation in the arrangement of syndications or investment in funds. The two will also cooperate in structuring sukuk/debt capital market transaction opportunities, co-invest in Islamic leasing companies and support local financial institutions in Africa.

Africa: Experts X-Ray Challenges to Islamic Financial System in Africa

The thematic workshop on Development of Islamic Banking in Africa held in Ilorin, Nigeria recently became apt in appraising the current challenges inhibiting the development of Islamic banking in Nigeria particularly and Africa in general. The workshop was organised by the Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) in collaboration with the University of Ilorin and Al-Hikmah University. The workshop brought together experts in Islamic Banking, Regulations and Financial Economics in order to take stock of current academic research, policies, practice and developments on Islamic Banking in Africa. The major challenge to the development of Islamic banking is considered to be the absence of regulations.

North Africa: UK Partners With Islamic Development Bank On Arab Women's Business Initiative

The UK and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) have signed a new Memorandum of Understanding to help boost business opportunities and create jobs for thousands of women across the Middle East and North Africa. The Arab Women's Enterprise Fund will see the IDB and the Department for International Development working together to improve the competitiveness of women entrepreneurs in the Arab world. It will also address legal and cultural barriers that block women getting ahead in business. DFID will contribute £10 million to provide grants to help poor women access markets. IDB will match this with a further £10 million in Sharia-compliant Islamic finance.

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