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.
Africa’s development needs are greatly aligned with Islamic finance given the continent’s infrastructure deficit, paving the way for more sharia-compliant products on the continent. According to Imran Mufti, partner at Riyadh-based law firm Hogan Lovells, being attached to tangible infrastructure and development projects is in line with the ethos of Islamic finance. Mufti’s statement comes following three sukuk issuances in West Africa on the 18th October from Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal and Togo. Each sharia-compliant bond was listed on the regional bourse, the Bourse Régionale des Valeurs Mobilières (BRVM). Mufti said the latest sukuk issues’ success and tight yields show that investors are comfortable with sukuk from Africa.