Ecobank goes into Islamic finance in Cameroon

The Cameroonian subsidiary of the Pan African banking group Ecobank now offers to its clients the "Mudaraba saving account", which follows the rules of Islamic finance. Ecobank Cameroun thus joins on this segment Afriland First Bank, a credit institution with Cameroonian majority shareholding, which went into Islamic finance some years ago, with the Islamic current account (compte de dépôt islamique - CDI). On 20 February 2015, this Cameroonian bank officially opened a branch focused on Islamic finance, with the support of the International Company for the Development of the Private Sector. During the first year of operation of this specialised branch, Afriland First Bank was planning to collect around FCfa 3 billion, based on the 20% of the Cameroonian population of Muslim faith.

SEC, DMO inaugurate committee for Nigeria’s first sovereign Sukuk

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Debt Management Office (DMO) have inaugurated a committee for the nation’s first sovereign Sukuk. Mr Mounir Gwarzo, SEC Director-General, who confirmed the committee’s inauguration, said it comprised staff of the commission and DMO, and would set up modalities for the first sovereign bond. He said that Sukuk had not been approved by the commission at the moment. Gwarzo said that recently, the commission was working with the DMO to ensure issuance of the bond in the second quarter of 2016. He said that the commission would support DMO in capacity building to ensure successful issuance of the bond.

UPDATE 2-Kenya reviews Islamic finance laws ahead of debut sukuk

Kenya is reviewing all laws and regulations governing its nascent Islamic finance industry to aid the issuance of a debut Islamic law-compliant bond, its attorney general said. The East African nation, which issued its first Eurobond in 2014, wants to expand the range of financing available for infrastructure projects like roads and power plants. The Treasury has said it is looking at the possibility of issuing the sukuk in the 2016/17 fiscal year, starting in July, but it has not offered details. Githu Muigai the review of that entire regulatory framework will be completed in a maximum of nine months. Kenya's central bank licensed two shariah-compliant banks in 2007. At least one firm has since started to offer Shariah-compliant insurance products.

Legal reforms urged to promote Islamic finance in Africa

Businessmen, policy makers and top government officials met at the 2016 East African Islamic Finance Summit in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi to discuss how to build a regulatory infrastructure that could enable the financial system to deliver in east Africa. There is a need for legislative changes in order to promote Islamic finance in the east African region, Mona Doshi, an expert in Islamic finance who works with the Kenyan law firm Anjarwalla and Khanna, said. She said the current legal framework that applied to Islamic banks was based on conventional banking systems, though adjustments have been made for the special nature of Islamic banks. She furthermore urged the Kenyan government to change the legal framework to take advantage of the opportunities that Islamic finance could bring to Kenya.

Ivory Coast issues debut sukuk

Hogan Lovells advised the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), as arranger, on the arrangement of an inaugural CFA 150 billion sukuk offering by the government of Ivory Coast. The debut sukuk is an amortising sukuk al-ijara targeted at local banks and institutional investors. The offering mirrors a successful Senegal sukuk that Hogan Lovells advised on in 2014. The team was led by the firm’s global head of Islamic finance, Rahail Ali, and partner Imran Mufti. They were assisted by debt capital markets partner Baptiste Gelpi, in, Paris and Lina Bugaighis, Dubai. Bensaid outlines the sukuk sector as very promising, referring to recent developments which have seen governments focusing more on creating a more enabling environment for sukuk issuances.

Islamic Banking legalised; what does it mean and will it benefit Uganda?

Since Parliament has finally approved Islamic Banking, an increase is expected in investment from numerous Islamic Banks. Abubaker B. Mayanja, financial economist with ABL Dunamis, anticipates an increase in Capital inflow of $600m over the medium term; driven first by international banks that already include Islamic Banking products in their offering elsewhere. The second wave will come from regional players that are already in the East African market. The third wave will come from the traditional Middle East players. The fourth wave will be an expansion of Islamic finance system; insurance (Takaful), capital markets- sukuk bonds and funds, pension management, leasing (Ijara), mortgages and investment banking.

Northern Governors begin talks with multi-billion dollar Islamic Development Bank in Saudi Arabia

Worried by turbulent developmental challenges facing the Northern part of Nigeria, selected Governors from the northeast, northwest and north central, representing the 19 Governors of the region, will on Sunday begin a three day meeting with top executives of Islamic Development Bank (IDB), at the bank’s headquarters in Saudi Arabia. The parley deliberated on ways of tackling challenges of Agriculture, poverty, education, maternal mortality ?and other problems most prevalent in the north than any part of Nigeria. In subsequent days, the Governors will hold different meetings with the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, ITFC and the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment & Export Credit (ICIEC), Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD).

ICD and BCEAO plans to foster the growth of SME’s in West African countries

The Central Bank of West Africa’s CFA-franc zone (BCEAO) has signed an agreement with the Jeddah-based Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), to help finance Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) through a $100 million Islamic fund. The ICD will commit an initial $30 million for the SME fund and will help seek additional investors to increase the amount to $100 million while the implementation monitoring was entrusted to the BCEAO. The Central Bank also committed to supporting SMEs by providing incentives to credit institutions, as well as developing complementary leasing and venture capital instruments.

Nigeria to issue maiden Islamic financial bond, ‘Sukuk’

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has reached an agreement with the Debt Management Office (DMO) to issue Nigeria’s maiden sovereign Sukuk. The decision by the two government agencies to collaborate to issue the Sukuk was a major outcome of the visit of the Director General of SEC, Mounir Gwarzo to the DMO on Wednesday. The visit was a return gesture to a similar exercise by the Director General of DMO, Abraham Nwankwo, in November last year. Mr. Nwankwo revealed that issuing a sovereign Sukuk has been part of the institution’s strategic plan drawn three years ago, urging Nigerians to support SEC to building capacity in order to realize the goal of issuing Nigeria’s first sovereign Sukuk in 2016.

Kenyan government to institute Islamic Finance

Kenya is preparing to allow the use of Islamic finance, and is even preparing to launch its first sukuk. Speaking at the International Islamic Finance conference of Africa in Nairobi on Monday, Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich said that the Kenyan government would adopt legislation that would make Islamic finance possible. The conference is intended to aid developing countries in Africa to tap into the $2.1 trillion market of Islamic finance, using it as a catalyst of economic growth. Kenya can learn about the application of Islamic finance by taking advice from Muslim countries, Rotich said. Policymakers’ business leaders and government officials spent Monday and Tuesday speaking on how Islamic financial principles can help combat poverty and alleviate poverty in Africa.

Islamic Financing Will Spur Economy

President Uhuru Kenyatta is hosting two leaders of Africa’s Ieading economies, Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria and Abdel Fattah el-Sisi of Egypt. These visits are to be viewed within the prism of Uhuru’s broader strategy of economic, trade, and cross-cultural bridgebuilding. They underline his growing clout not just in trade and commerce, but also in the cut-throat arena of global geopolitics and nuanced national interests. The booming African Islamic economy provides an opportune vehicle to ameliorate the deprived conditions and lack of economic opportunity. It is a perfect fit for our infrastructure financing needs. Uhuru signed three agreements and four MoUs to promote trade between Kenya and Nigeria in June 2014 – on Trade and Agricultural cooperation, immigration and drug trafficking. A Joint Business Council was formed.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Dahabshiil’s “MicroDahab”, SolarGen Technologies Announce “Lease to Purchase” Energy Product for Low-Income Somali Farmers, Small-scale Entrepreneurs in Somalia

MicroDahab MFI, the microfinance subsidiary and corporate social responsibility initiative of the United Arab Emirates-based conglomerate Dahabshiil Group; and SolarGen Technologies, a Somalia-based distributor of renewable energy technologies, have announced a joint energy project in Somalia. The project will allow low-income Somali farmers and entrepreneurs to acquire a “solar-powered water pump” under a “lease to purchase” agreement. The African Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF), a Kenya-based fund that promotes for-profit enterprises operating in Africa, has provided unspecified support to the initiative. MicroDahab will bear both the capital cost and risk of asset ownership, while its clients reap the benefits of using the water pumps, at minimal rents.

Islamic banking becoming attractive to ‘Muslim and non-Muslim alike’

Customers wanting assurances their investments “will not be channelled into the typical sin industries” is one of the reasons cited for a growth in demand for Islamic finance in South Africa. That’s according to Amman Muhammad‚ the FNB Islamic Banking’s CEO. Over the last few years‚ the bank has seen a consistent rise in the number of South African citizens‚ irrespective of faith‚ who have approached them for various Islamic banking services such as investment accounts‚ vehicle and property finance, he stated. Muhammad said that personal principles are starting to influence the type of banking solutions people choose.

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.

Togo signs agreement with Islamic Development Bank

Togo has reportedly signed three funding agreements worth 194 million U.S. dollars with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). The agreements were signed Wednesday in Jeddah during the visit to Saudi Arabia by Togolese President Faure Gnassingbe. The first agreement worth around 131 million U.S. dollars concerns the construction of Adoua-Kara road which links five regions in Togo. Its completion will enable Burkina Faso to have direct access to Lome port. The second funding agreement will go towards improving and expanding access to basic education as well as supporting concerned institutions. The third agreement concerns the energy sector. It will see 46 million dollars spent on electrification of 43 villages in northern Togo.

FG resorts to Islamic Bond to fund budget

As the pressure on federal revenue mounts following steady decline in oil revenue, the Federal Government would be resorting to a Sukuk Bond for funding the widening budget deficit. The Debt Management Office, DMO, and Securities and Exchange Commission, SEC, are collaborating in an effort to issue the Nigerian sovereign Islamic bonds this year.Details of the expected revenue from the bond is not yet disclosed but officials said they expect significant bridging of the 2016 budget deficit which has exceeded the initial N2.2 trillion estimate. According to DMO issuing a sovereign Sukuk will attract significant amounts of affordable capital from the Gulf countries and other established Islamic markets around the world into Nigeria.

Nigeria's regulators aim for debut sovereign sukuk in 2016

Nigeria's debt management office (DMO) and capital market regulator have agreed to collaborate on a debut issuance of sovereign Islamic bonds (sukuk) before the end of the year, the two bodies said. The move could spur wider issuance of sukuk in one of Africa's most liquid debt markets, following similar sovereign deals from Senegal and Ivory Coast. Issuing a sovereign sukuk will attract significant amounts of affordable capital from the Gulf countries and other established Islamic markets around the world into Nigeria, the DMO said in its statement on Wednesday. The statement did not give a potential size for a maiden sukuk deal, although the DMO is a regular issuer of five- and ten-year local-currency bonds.

Islamic banking’ll boost economy if well harnessed, says Emir Sanusi

Emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, has said Islamic Banking institution can revitalise the troubled Nigerian economy if well adopted. According to him, one of the major benefits of the system is to reduce poverty. He spoke yesterday at the Third Annual Holiday Convention of the Guild of Muslim Professionals (GMP) at the Administrative Staff College of Nigeria (ASCON), Topo, Badagry in Lagos State. The former Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, who disclosed that non-Muslim countries including Cote d’Voire, Senegal and Gambia are picking interest in the Sukuk, the Islamic banking system, also called for increased awareness on the Islamic Banking system. He urged scholars to avail themselves of the opportunity of the training sessions organised by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Uganda embraces Islamic banking

Financial inclusion in Uganda is expected to deepen following a move by Parliament to enact a new financial law hence paving way for Islamic banking in the country. The legislators passed the Financial Institutions (amendment) Bill 2015 on Jan.7, a decision that will see individuals who had been locked out of mainstream banking by virtue of their faith or religious affiliation able to access financial services with less hindrance, once signed into law. The law will also allow financial institutions to roll out agency banking as well as offer ‘bancassurance’ products. According to Bank of Uganda data, the country’s bank account holders stand at just four million — mainly from the urban areas — out of the bankable population of about 12 million people.

Sukuk 2015 : La première tranche de 150 milliards Fcfa mobilisés avec succès

Plus de 67 milliards de Fcfa mobilisés hors Uemoa (45%), 55 milliards F cfa mobilisés en Côte d’Ivoire (37%) et 26 milliards de Fcfa dans l’espace Uemoa (17%). C’est le résultat de la première tranche de la levée de fonds sur la finance islamique, dénommée « Sukuk Etat de Côte d’Ivoire 5,75% 2015-2020 ». Lancée en novembre 2015, sous la présidence du Premier ministre Daniel Kablan Duncan, le Sukuk qui s’inscrit dans un programme quinquennal pour un montant de 300 milliards Fcfa, est repartie en deux phases de 150 milliards chacune. Arrangée par la Société islamique de développement (Sid), cette levée de fonds, qui affiche un titre minimum de 10.000 Fcfa pour un taux d’intérêt de 5,75% l’an, a permis à la Côte d’Ivoire d’être primée « Sukuk deal of the year » et « Africa deal of the year » par le journal Islamic Finance News.

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