Africa: Islamic finance looks south of the Sahara

Africa has big potential for Islamic finance. Nigerian Jaiz Bank for example aims to expand outside northern Nigeria and open 100 branches by 2017. Local conventional banks are getting ready to move into Islamic finance too, including Sterling Bank, which recently gained a licence to open an Islamic window. Despite Kenya’s smaller Muslim population compared to Nigeria, the country’s Islamic finance sector is also emerging. Gulf African Bank for example enjoyed over 154% net profit growth to $2.8 million. Other countries like Zambia are eager to catch up. However, the lack of competition might be a challenge, as well as conventional banking laws dictating Islamic finance.