Kenya

‘Kenya's sukuk ambitions must be tempered with reality’

Kenya has ambitions of becoming the Islamic finance hub of East Africa and has the first mover advantage. But contrary to recent reports that Kenya may pass legislation to eliminate tax barriers to sukuk issuance by the end of the year, Islamic bankers in East Africa's largest economy stress that it is highly unlikely that any major developments will occur in terms of tax neutrality and other legislation that is required to facilitate products such as sukuk in the local market.

Kenya’s first Takaful company licensed

Takaful Insurance of Africa has been licensed and launched in Nairobi.
The company was registered by the Kenyan industry regulator, Insurance Regulator Authority, this month. It is backed by the Cooperative Insurance Company of Kenya.
The launch of Takaful Insurance of Africa follows on from the granting of two Islamic banking licenses to Kenyan authorities in 2007 to Gulf African Bank and First Community Bank.

Sharia-compliant insurance firm launched in Kenya

The first Sharia-compliant insurance company in Kenya has been formed as the race for Islamic cash intensifies.
The firm, which will operate as Gulf Takaful Company Ltd, is being fronted by GulfCap Investments — the principal shareholder in Gulf African Bank.
Under the model, people seeking insurance cover will pay premiums to a collective fund from which payments will be made to members who suffer from the risks covered.
But unlike conventional insurance practice, the new insurance model, known in Islamic parlance as Takaful, is both an investment offering as much as it covers members.
Gulf African Bank will act as the fund manager for the insurance company, earning fees for its services to the insurance scheme.
Analysts say that by introducing Sukuk, the government could diversify the base of investors bidding for government debt papers, given the cash flush investors from the East who have shown interest in Africa as an investment destination.

East Africa catching up with Islamic finance

The perceived sustainability and attractiveness of Islamic finance as an alternative financial management model in a post global financial crisis continues to flourish in new regions and countries trying to change banking regulations and laws to facilitate the introduction of such institutions and products in their respective jurisdictions.
The latest region which is trying to open up to Islamic finance is East Africa, including Ethiopia, where local reports suggest that the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), the central bank, is in the process of finalizing a banking regulation and business directive that would allow the authorization of a bank operating under interest-free (Islamic finance) principles.
At the same time the government of Kenya is studying the possibility of issuing the country's debut sovereign sukuk issuance, while the First Community Bank (FCB), Kenya's second Islamic bank, has launched FCB Capital, which plans to issue a series of local currency sukuk plus other Islamic capital market products for a growing market segment.

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Barclays launches sharia-compliant financing facility

But about 10 per cent of the Dubai’s US$80 billion debt load is estimated to comply with Shariah, casting the spot light on the credibility pedestal Islamic financing has ridden on over the years. Islamic banking experts at IIBI say that Islamic finance as a viable solution to get rid of the weaknesses of conventional finance is mainly limited to theoretical debate.

Chase bank in Kenya has launched Shariah compliant products

Chase bank in Kenya has launched Shariah compliant products writes Mwaniki Wahome in the Daily Nation.

Known as Imam Banking, products are tailored for corporate, small-and-medium enterprises, as well as individuals. The accounts will include current accounts, savings accounts and fixed period investments. Together with Genghis Capital Limited and Winton Investment Services Sharia compliant investment banking and wealth managements products are planned. Further the management studies to introduce Takaful.

Zafrullah Khan is the MD of Chase.

Two Islamic banks in Kenya founded, but first year of operations not yet profitable

James Makau reported in Business Daily on 31 March that the Gulf African Bank and First Community Bank became the first fully fledged Islamic banks in Kenya but both had to record losses in their first year of operations as operating expenses and heavy set-up costs took a heavy toll on earnings.

Gulf African Bank recorded a loss of Sh281 million last year while First Community Bank (FCB) posted a loss of Sh307 million within the same period despite both players recording increases in net income during the year.

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