The Insurance (Amendment) Act 2016 signed into law by President Uhuru Kenyatta is set to enhance Kenya's position as the premier Islamic financial hub in Africa. The move came a week after the Capital Markets Authority (CMA) was admitted by the Council of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) as an associate member of the board. The new law provides for the licensing and regulation of Takaful insurance business in Kenya in order to encourage international investment in this sector. The decision to admit CMA was made at the 29th IFSB Council meeting held in Cairo, Egypt on December 14. In October, the government launched the Islamic Finance Project Management Office (PMO). CMA's Chief Executive Paul Muthaura said the authority membership in IFSB is a key step towards the development of Kenya as an Islamic finance hub. The Insurance (Amendment) Act 2016 now enables the operationalisation of risk-based solvency requirements for insurers that were introduced in the Finance Act 2013. Among those proposals is a requirement that an insurer should maintain a 100% capital adequacy ratio at all times.
Nigeria is looking for financial and legal advisers and trustee firms to organise its first Islamic bond in the domestic market, the country's Debt Management Office (DMO) said on Monday. The Opec member, which is Africa's largest economy, is working on a debut sovereign sukuk but has yet to determine the size of a potential deal. Nigeria, which is in a recession and needs to raise funds to plug a budget deficit, has set up a government committee to advise on the amount to be raised from the Islamic bond sale, the timing and jurisdiction of the issue. Issuance of a sovereign sukuk is part of a plan by Nigeria's debt office to develop alternative sources of funding and to establish a benchmark curve.
Funding Africa’s huge development needs has long represented a big challenge. This has spawned all kinds of innovative financing mechanisms in the past and could spell an opportunity for Islamic finance, notably haria-compliant bonds, or Sukuk. Still in an embryonic state in Africa – but growing nonetheless – these instruments could play a potential role in delivering large infrastructure projects, from building new airports to constructing power plants and building roads. While it is early days for Africa, on a global scale Islamic finance is not a new concept.
A longstanding feature of the financial markets of Malaysia – a world leader in the field – and across the Middle Eastern Gulf, its spread now encompasses non Muslim-centric territories worldwide. This is a pattern that is catching on, albeit slowly, in Africa. While northern Africa has provided a natural entry point for Islamic products, current activity now focuses on sub-Saharan markets, notably in West Africa.
In January 2012, the Central Bank of Nigeria granted Jaiz Bank an approval in principle to operate as a regional interest-free bank in northern Nigeria. As a result of that, Jaiz bank became the first and the only full-fledged Islamic banking in Nigeria. Islamic banking is based on the principles of profit and loss sharing.
According to Mr. Muhammed Nurul Islam, a manager at Jaiz bank, the bank offers what is called a mudaraba (profit- and loss-sharing deposit). And Jaiz bank does not finance any customer without a purpose; he explain further that the primary means of Islamic finance are based on trading, and the bank trading activities are Sharia-compliant investments with the money deposited by customers. The customers and Jaiz bank share the risks and profits between them.
A Chartered Accountant and Tax Administrator, Mr. Bicci Alli has said that the federal government as well as states cannot shun Islamic financial instruments whose market is valued at over $2.6 trillion, because it has the capability to bridge the infrastructure deficit in the country.
The federal government is presently looking for financial and legal advisers and trustee firms to organise its first Islamic bond in the domestic market, the Debt Management Office (DMO) said on Monday. Nigeria is working on a debut sovereign sukuk but has yet to determine the size of a potential deal. Issuance of a sovereign sukuk is part of a plan by Nigeria’s debt office to develop alternative sources of funding and to establish a benchmark curve.
The International Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance (IIIBF), Bayero University Kano, has said the Sovereign Sukuk bond to be issued by the federal government in 2017 could be the solution out of recession. Prof. Binta Tijjani, the director of the institute stated this yesterday when she led the management team of the institute on a courtesy call to Media Trust Limited in Abuja.
Recall that initially, the Debt Management Office (DMO) on behalf of the federal government was to issue a Sovereign Sukuk bond this year but shifted it to 2017. The Sukuk Islamic bond is structured in such a way as to generate returns to investors without infringing Islamic law that prohibits riba (interest).
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) on Thursday condemned the appointment of the governor of Nigeria’s central bank as leader of the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILMC). In a statement by CAN’s president, Samson Ayokunle, the association described the appointment of Godwin Emefiele as the IILMC chairman, as unconstitutional and totally unacceptable.
According to CAN, the government’s decision to accept the appointment amounted to denouncing Nigeria as a secular state, in negation of section 10 of the 1999 constitution. “There have been reports that the IILMC recently appointed the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele as its Chairman during its 17th Governing Board meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia. “Section 10 states that The Government of the Federation or a State shall not adopt any religion as State Religion. This action by Nigeria’s government is in clear negation of the constitution, especially this section,” the statement said. The association re-emphasised its earlier allegation that the Nigerian government plans to make the country an Islamic state.
The #Nigerian government’s move for sukuk has reached an advanced stage. As work continues on the process of the planned sovereign sukuk, the size of the possible deal has not been determined. The Debt Management Office (DMO) had opened its door for expression of interests from entities, including banks and issuing houses, needed in the process, with deadline for bids submission slated for January 9, 2017. This came a few days after the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, was elected Chairman of the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILM). His mandates include the facilitation of effective cross-border liquidity management instruments. Meanwhile, the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved the $250 million loan for the Federal Government for the development of a youth-oriented initiative called ENABLE Youth Nigeria. According to the bank, the scheme would contribute to job creation, food security and nutrition, rural income generation and improved livelihoods for youths.
In #Kenya the Sharia-compliant lender First Community Bank (FCB) has laid off a third of its workforce as effects of the recent capping of interest rates continue to shake the banking industry. The lender’s staff costs stood at Sh241.4 million as at June 2016 which rose to Sh365.2 million at the end of September, prompting action by the bank’s management. The bank, which received a regulatory approval in May 2007 to start Sharia-compliant banking, last week reported a 16.2% jump in quarter-three net profit to Sh74.4 million. FCB is one of four banks that recently announced staff cuts as a reaction to the biting interest regulations on loans and deposits. The other three banks are Sidian Bank, Family Bank and Ecobank.
Djibouti expects to see new entrants in its Islamic finance sector and the government plans to work on a framework to allow the use of Sukuk, or Islamic bonds, to fund infrastructure projects, its central bank governor said.
Djibouti, a country of less than a million people located on the Horn of Africa, is a relative newcomer to Islamic finance, having introduced sector-specific legislation in 2011, but authorities hope it can increase banking penetration in rural areas while also attracting foreign investment.
The government has established a national Sharia board to help oversee the sector, appointing five members to the independent body last week, central bank governor Ahmed Osman said in an interview.
The move could help Islamic finance by improving consumer perception of the industry and providing greater clarity on contracts which follow religious principles such as bans on interest and gambling. The government is in discussions with the Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank to secure a technical mission to help establish a framework to issue sukuk.
Islamic banks are gradually embracing socially responsible finance, from renewable energy to microfinance efforts, helping unlock new funding sources for environmentally-friendly projects, an industry survey shows. The two sectors have developed separately from each other, but green projects could benefit from tapping Islamic banks in countries like the United Arab Emirates and Malaysia, where they now hold a quarter of total banking assets.
Around two-thirds of financing in Saudi Arabia follows Islamic principles, which forbid investing in gambling, tobacco and alcohol. This resembles the screening methodology used by ethical funds in Western markets. Green finance is increasingly important for Islamic banks seeking to differentiate themselves from their conventional peers, the Bahrain-based General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI) said in a report.
The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), a development finance institution of the Saudi Arabia-based Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations Deposit (CDC), a financial institution backed by the government of Gabon, recently announced that they have signed a memorandum of understanding for the creation of a private equity fund to support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Gabon and elsewhere in Central Africa.The goal of the fund is to foster the growth of SMEs that have been ill-served by banks and thus to grow the region’s economy as a whole.
As of October 13, 2015, ICD reported total assets of USD 1.7 billion and annual income of USD 97 million. No financial information for CDC is available. CDC has a balance sheet of XAF 195 billion (approximately USD 315 million).
Nigeria-based Jaiz International Bank has won three awards at the 6th Global Islamic Microfinance Forum (GIMF) organised by Centre of Islamic Banking and Economics in Nairobi, Kenya. The organisation and its associated institutions, Jaiz Charity and Development Foundation, Jaiz Takaful Insurance, Jaiz Zakat and Waqf Trust Fund won the awards. The awards are Lifetime Achievement Award bestowed on the Chairman of Jaiz Foundation, Alhaji Umar Abdul-Mutallab, CON; Best Corporate Social Responsibility Award to Ambassador Adamu Babangida Ibrahim, Director General/CEO, Jaiz Charity and Development Foundation and The Best Rising Islamic Microfinance Personality Award was awarded to the Managing Director of Jaiz Takaful Insurance, Mr. Momodou Musa Joof.
A Shariah-compliant Sacco that promises to cushion pastoralists from incurring losses during droughts has opened a second branch in Wajir town. Crescent Takaful Sacco (CTS), the first Shariah-compliant Sacco in Kenya, seeks to engage and provide financial inclusion to the poor in northern Kenya. The Wajir branch is the first outside Nairobi. CTS has various products tailor-made for the arid and semi-arid region such as the Mifugo Kash-Kash product that links pastoral traders to potential markets. According to the Sacco’s Chairman Hassan Bashir, livestock traders are eligible for up to 70% financing through the product. The product is mainly delivered using the Islamic contracts of Mudharaba and Musharaka. In both contracts, the profit share is pre-agreed upfront and a distinct profit margin is charged on each delivered transaction.
Pour permettre aux pays africains de régler leurs contrats de constructions de nouvelles infrastructures, il faut sans cesse trouver de nouveaux modes de financement. Les institutions internationales couvrent les deux tiers des projets, mais d’autres formes se développent, notamment à l’initiative de la Chine. Mi-novembre, le Sichuan Development Financial Leasing a annoncé qu’il allait vendre 300 millions de dollars de sukuk via Silk Routes Capital. Un fonds créé sur mesure à Singapour, piloté par des Chinois et une équipe de financiers internationaux. Une première pour la Chine dans ce domaine. Sur le continent, le Nigeria, le Sénégal ou encore le Soudan font de plus en plus appel à la finance islamique pour boucler les financements de projets ferroviaires et de gros équipements urbains.
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.
Many Muslims contacted me in the last years with one single repeating question: Are CFD and/or Binary Options halal meaning permissible in Islam? There are indeed forex brokers offering so called Islamic accounts avoiding outright interest. But still: A contract of difference does not involve the ownership of any underlying (currency, stocks etc.) hence money against money is exchanged in different amounts - this is the most simple test for the prohibited Riba. Any Muslim receiving such offers should therefore insist of receiving the Fatwa and if not provided leave out.
The intention on those trading activities everyone can ask himself; mostly it will be akin to gambling and this on top of the fact that the trading activity itself is a zero sum game; meaning what one wins another looses, which rules out again to participate in such business. It does not do any better that aside from luck the outcome is influenced by know how - the same is true for classical money games as Poker or Backgammon. Still nobody would classify Poker therefore as halal.
Kenya plans to develop Islamic finance through a wide-ranging taxation review and the establishment of a national sharia board. The country wants to build up the industry as part of a long-term plan to turn Nairobi into an international financial centre. The initiatives are being led by the Islamic Finance Project Management Office (PMO), a body setup recently to coordinate efforts among Kenya's regulatory agencies. According to finance consultant Farrukh Raza, the PMO has submitted an initial set of policy amendments focused on taxation of sharia-compliant products. A second batch of policy amendments will be presented by the end of this year, covering banking, insurance, pensions and capital market products. Kenya's National Treasury has said it is looking at the possibility of a debut sale of sukuk, although it has yet to finalize details for such an issuance.
Ethiopia's central bank aims to develop Islamic finance to help expand financial access and inclusion. The country has one of the highest economic growth rates in Africa, but relies heavily on an agricultural sector that employs three-quarters of the workforce. According to Getahun Nana, Vice Governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia, the government wants to industrialize its economy but this requires sustaining investment rates of almost 40% of GDP over the next five years. Islamic finance could help in this endeavor, so the central bank is conducting a study to determine the demand for sharia compliant financial products. Islamic finance is still new in Ethiopia. Currently 8 out of 18 financial institutions offer sharia compliant products via Islamic windows but they have so far mobilized less than 1% of total deposits.
Standard Chartered's Islamic division is seeking banking licences in three African countries in order to offer its services to the population. According to the bank's head of Islamic banking, Mohammad Ali Allawalla, Standard Chartered Saadiq could enter at least one of three markets, Nigeria, Botswana and Zambia, as early as 2017. The bank is also in discussions about gaining an Islamic banking licence in Brunei in South East Asia. Standard Chartered Saadiq's core markets are Pakistan, Malaysia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Bangladesh and in 2014 it entered the Kenyan market, its first move into Africa.