Morocco

#Morocco's Islamic 'Participatory' Banks: 71 Agencies and MAD 1.1 Billion in Loans

Since the launch of Islamic 'participatory' banks in July 2017, more than 71 agencies have joined the non-interest banking program throughout Morocco. Abdellatif Jouahri, the governor of Bank Al Maghrib (Morocco’s central bank), said the participatory banks have granted a total of MAD 1.1 billion in loans. Jouahri highlighted the special interest that murabaha is especially attractive for both real estate and automobile customers. The governor stressed that Morocco is preparing to issue its first sukuk in July 2018, which will complement the services offered by participatory banks. While the order approving the takaful circular has already been finalized, the legislative texts are still being finalized.

#Morocco to issue first sovereign Islamic bond worth 1 bln dirhams

Morocco is preparing to issue its first sovereign sukuk worth 1 billion dirhams ($105 million). According to Finance Minister Mohamed Boussaid, the legal framework is now prepared and issuance is expected in the coming weeks. Earlier, the cabinet adopted a decree allowing financial authorities to define different types of sovereign sukuk, in line with the opinion of Morocco's council of Muslim scholars. Last year, Morocco's central bank approved five requests to open Islamic banks and allowed subsidiaries of three French banks to sell Islamic products. Morocco is the most advanced among its North African neighbours in developing Islamic finance, but Tunisia and Algeria have also started to explore Islamic banking.

#Morocco to Issue its First #Sukuk Islamic Bonds in 2018

Morocco will finally launch its first sukuk in 2018. According to Hicham Talby, head of the financial sector department at the Ministry of Finance, the new financial instruments that will be operational this year will include four different formulas: Ijara, Wakala, Musharaka, and Murabaha. First, the government must complete the operational, legal, and regulatory aspects of Islamic finance. As Morocco’s first sovereign debt is taking some time to be issued, Talby expects the process to be much faster for the next three planned sukuk issues. The government originally adopted legislation allowing Islamic banking and insurance in January 2014, but there was a delay in authorization.

#Morocco to issue its first #Sukuk this year

Morocco will issue its first bonds on Islamic market this year. According to Hicham Talby, head of the finance ministry’s treasury department, the country plans to issue four dirham-denominated sovereign sukuk. While the first issuance would take much time due to the implementation of a legal framework for the operation, authorities expect the process to be faster for the three other issuances. Mali has already launched its first sukuk issuance for 2018. Likewise, South Africa and Sudan have recently announced their intention to follow the move in 2018. The Moroccan government also wants to establish a sovereign sukuk fund, ahead of an increase in dirham-dominated Islamic bonds, over the coming years.

Islamic Development Bank to Launch Multimillion Dollar Fund in Rabat

On the 4th of February, Rabat will be the host city for a workshop introducing a multimillion-dollar fund from the Islamic Development Bank called Transform to Morocco. The fund is intended to stimulate growth in science, technology and innovation and its first undertaking is an online platform called Engage. This venture will help match businesses with innovators and will fund scientific initiatives. The February workshop will be presented by Dr Hayat Sindi, who will meet with chief Ministers and Government Agencies during her tour in Morocco. She will meet spokespeople from the Ministry of High Education, Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Industry, Investment, Trade and Digital Economy.

Conditions Conducive for Islamic Finance Expansion in #Morocco- Al Baraka Bank

Bahrain’s Al Baraka Bank deems that the regulatory framework in Morocco is conducive for the launch of an Islamic finance venture. The Bank’s Chief Executive, Adnan Ahmed Yousif said Al Baraka targets the expanding Islamic finance in Morocco in effort to diversify assets and revenues in Africa. Morocco is attractive for Islamic banks because of a competitive landscape that is free from large western lenders. Yousif added that reforms were being considered, but complete tax neutrality towards Islamic finance contracts was still needed. Bahrain’s Al Baraka group forged a partnership with Morocco’s BMCE Bank of Africa to create AL Baraka Maroc, which aims at creating a network of 25 agencies in Morocco.

Fitch: Deposits in #Morocco Islamic Banks to Grow up to 10 %

According to Fitch Ratings, Islamic banking products in Morocco could expand their deposit bases by 5 to 10%. Fitch notes that the ability to grow the deposit base is positive for Morocco’s economic development because deposits represent about 70% of banking sector funding. The experts also noted that banking penetration is already high in Morocco, with 70% of adults holding a bank account. Therefore, participation banking is unlikely to take a significant market share from the well-established conventional banks. Growth rates in the Moroccan banking sector have been volatile in recent years, reflecting unsteady economic trends. Deposit growth has outstripped loan growth, but credit demand is set to accelerate. The ability to offer participation banking services could broaden the pool of potential depositors in the country, mitigating the competitive pressure.

#Morocco opens first Islamic bank branch months after approval

The first Islamic bank in Morocco, Umnia Bank, has opened its doors five months after the central bank's approval. The North African country long rejected Islamic banking because of concern about Islamist movements, but its financial markets lack liquidity and investors. Umnia Bank is a joint venture of Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) and Moroccan lender Credit Immobilier et Hotelier (CIH Bank). Umnia recently opened a total of three agencies, two in Casablanca and one in Rabat. The bank plans to open more branches throughout the country. Morocco is the most advanced of North African neighbours in developing Islamic finance. Tunisia and Algeria are also starting to explore the sector.

#Morocco opens an Islamic finance window

Casablanca Finance City welcomes international businesses that have been flocking to Morocco to take advantage of its cheap labour, skilled work force and proximity to sub-Saharan Africa. Amid the uprisings that characterised the Arab Spring, Morocco remained relatively stable. Political and social stability continued after 2010, while the neighbour countries struggled. Adding to Morocco’s allure is the introduction of formal Islamic financial products, officially labelled participatory finance in the country. In 2017 authorities issued five participatory banking licences to Moroccan banks and three to international banks. As Morocco continues to roll out participatory financial products and services slowly and cautiously, the sector will remain a niche.

Islamic Banking: Bank Al Maghrib Interested in IFSB Prudential Standards

Bank Al-Maghrib and the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) co-organized a regional workshop entitled "Facilitating Implementation of IFSB Standards" in Rabat. The workshop focused on 3 standards for participatory banking: IFSB-15 "Revised Capital Adequacy Standard" on Prudential Capital and Solvency Standards, IFSB-16 "Revised Guidance on Key Elements in the Supervisory Process" on Supervision Standards, and GN-6 "Quantitative Measures for Liquidity Risk Management" on prudential liquidity standards. This event is part of the measures taken by Bank Al-Maghrib to finalize the regulatory framework governing participatory banking activities in Morocco.

#Morocco central bank okays five Islamic financial products

Morocco's central bank has approved the use of five types of Islamic banking transactions. This means a final regulatory nod for the country to launch an Islamic finance industry. The central bank has recently set up a central sharia board to oversee the sector. The five approved transactions include murabaha, musharaka, ijara, mudaraba and salam. The central bank also set regulations for conventional banks to open windows selling Islamic products. It had given regulatory approval to three major Moroccan banks to open Islamic subsidiaries: Attijariwafa Bank, BMCE of Africa and Banque Centrale Populaire, as well as to smaller lenders Credit Agricole and Credit Immobilier et Hotelier. Subsidiaries of Societe Generale of France, Credit du Maroc and BMCI have also won permission to sell Islamic products.

Qatar International Islamic Bank, CIH to Launch Islamic Bank in #Morocco

In partnership with the Moroccan Crédit Immobilier et Hotelier bank (CIH), Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) will launch Umnia Bank, a joint Islamic financial institution. Licensing for the Umnia Bank had already been issued by the Central Bank of Morocco. According to QIIB chairman Sheikh Dr Khalid bin Thani bin Abdullah al-Thani, QIIB is now closer to formally launching the activities of Umnia Bank. He expressed his happiness to reach this stage and stated that Umnia Bank looks to be the best Islamic bank in Morocco. He added that QIIB is determined to contribute to the growth of the Moroccan economy.

#Morocco Receives $7.6 Billion from Islamic Development Bank

During the Arab-Africa Trade Bridges forum held in Rabat, bank president Bandar Al-Hajjar spoke about the strategic ties between Morocco and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). Al-Hajjar noted that Morocco has received a total of USD 7.6 billion from the IDB since its establishment in 1974 and currently the bank is carrying out a number of projects estimated at USD 1.2 billion. Al-Hajjar also praised Morocco’s efforts towards renewable energy, saying that there is a bilateral cooperation between the IDB and Morocco to share Moroccan experiments in this field with Sub-Saharan countries. The IDB has supplied Morocco with several loans over the past few years. In 2014, the IDB amounted to MAD 1.8 billion to Morocco in order to carry out drinking water supply projects, as well as the olive sector for small farmers. The IDB has also embarked on signing agreement with partners to invest in Morocco. In 2014, it signed a joint agreement with Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) to invest in the Moroccan private sector.

QIIB to begin operations in #Morocco with four branches

Sheikh Dr Khalid bin Thani bin Abdullah Al Thani, Chairman of Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) inaugurated the bank’s new branch at the Mall of Qatar. CEO Abdulbasit Ahmad Al Shaibei said the bank is expected to start its operations in Morocco by the first quarter of 2017 with four branches. The lender had signed a joint venture agreement with the Moroccan Bank Credit Immobilier et Hotelier (CIH) for the establishment of a bank in Morocco in December 2015. Under the agreement, QIIB will have 40% stake in the proposed bank. The new QIIB branch is on the ground floor of the Mall of Qatar, considered to be one of the most important shopping destinations in the region.

Al Baraka Banking Group obtains a #licence to establish a new bank in #Morocco

The Bahrain-based Al Baraka Banking Group (ABG) has obtained the approval of the Bank Al Maghrib (the central bank of Morocco) to establish a new bank in Morocco. The Group is now represented in all countries in the Maghreb. The Group now owns banking subsidiaries in Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Morocco, as well as the African continent in Egypt, Sudan and South Africa. The Group has already obtained the approval of the Central Bank of Bahrain to establish the Morocco bank and will carry the name of Al Baraka Bank Morocco. The new bank will be under the management of Al Baraka Banking Group and will operate within its network of subsidiary banking units, which are currently located in 15 countries and in turn own more than 700 branches.

Le premier #sukuk «made in #Morocco» sera «souverain»…

La déclaration récente faite par le ministre de l’Economie et des Finances annonce que le premier sukuk émis au Maroc sera souverain. La structure juridique d’accueil de ce premier sukuk sera un fonds de placement commun de titrisation (FPCT) qui servira de levée de fonds auprès des investisseurs pour le compte de l’Etat. Cette entité spécifique (appelée aussi SPV «Special Purpose Vehicle») pourra être constituée sous forme de fonds de titrisation (FT) avec ou sans personnalité morale, ou de société de titrisation (ST). En optant pour un premier sukuk souverain, le Maroc n’échappe pas aux pratiques internationales en la matière. Les dernières émissions en Afrique vont également dans le même sens (Sénégal, Afrique du Sud, Côte d’Ivoire et Niger).

Islamic banking to boost financial #inclusion in #Morocco

The Moroccan government granted state-owned Crédit Agricole of Morocco (CAM) approval to open a subsidiary of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). In addition to IDB, three foreign banks are looking to launch subsidiaries with domestic partners after Moroccan officials encouraged partnerships rather than fully owned subsidiaries. Morocco could see additional Islamic products introduced into the domestic market if new regulations are passed. Morocco will also see the introduction of mobile-to-mobile payments next year, which is expected to extend banking coverage, as well as reduce the number of cash transactions. New regulations will allow non-bank entities and individuals to open accounts to expand e-payments to transactions such as retail, utility and mobile phone payments.

U.K.-Based Research Predicts Rise of Contactless Payments, Sharia-Compliant Credit Cards in #Morocco

New market research conducted by Timetric expects the rise of contactless payment services (CPS) and Sharia-compliant credit cards in Morocco over the next few years. According to the United Kingdom-based research, Centre Monetique Interbancaire, Morocco’s own internal network switch, launched CPS in the kingdom just over a year ago alongside MasterCard. So far the CPS point of service terminals have only been deployed in Casablanca, but they are expected to reach Rabat and Marrakesh in the coming months. By the end of 2016, Moroccans will be able to take advantage of 6,000 terminals, and by 2017 that number will more than double to 17,000. By the end of the year, the government plans to authorize a total of 10 banks which provide Sharia-compliant credit card services.

Finance islamique au #Maroc: la Société Générale va créer 10 agences de banque participative

A l’occasion de la rencontre préparatoire du Salon International de la Finance Ethique et Participative SIFEP Mohammed Tahri, directeur général adjoint à la Société Générale Maroc a annoncé que son institution envisage de créer une dizaines d’agences dédiées à la banque participative. Dans l’attente de l’agrément de Bank Al-Maghrib, la Société Générale Maroc se prépare à exercer l’activité de banque participative à travers des succursales pour tester le marché. Le responsable de la Société Générale Maroc a annoncé que les résultats d’une étude de marché confiée par la banque à un cabinet marocain en coopération avec un cabinet français spécialisé en finance participative indiquent une attente manifeste du public marocain vis-à-vis de la finance participative.

Credit Agricole to Open #Morocco’s First Islamic Bank

Moroccan state-owned bank Credit Agricole (CAM) received the approval of the Ministry of Finance to open an Islamic subsidiary with The Islamic Development Bank (IDB). Credit Agricole will reportedly own 50% of the Islamic banking window as a joint venture with the IDB with an initial capital of 200 million dirhams. The two institutions have expressed plans to raise it to 400 million dirhams eventually. The central bank said earlier this year it had received seven requests to open Islamic banks and three to open windows selling Islamic finance products.

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