Kenya

MoU signed to support creation of #Sukuk sector in #Kenya

Nasdaq Dubai and the Nairobi Securities Exchange have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate the creation of a Sukuk sector in Kenya. The MoU was signed in Dubai by Hamed Ali, CEO of Nasdaq Dubai, and Geoffrey Odundo, CEO of the Nairobi Securities Exchange. Hamed Ali assured that by cooperating and sharing expertise, the two Exchanges will provide powerful support for the growth of Islamic finance in Kenya. Geoffrey Odundo said the development of the Islamic capital markets can provide significant support for funding national development while strengthening international relationships. Other recent steps for the sector include a Sukuk transaction on Nasdaq Dubai’s Murabahah financing platform carried out by the Africa Finance Corporation.

Safaricom and Gulf Bank to launch Sharia-compliant banking service

#Kenyan operator Safaricom and Gulf African Bank are set to launch a Sharia-compliant banking service through M-Pesa to allow customers to open and operate M-Sharia bank accounts. The M-Sharia platform will be rolled out by next March, targeting the bank’s retail and merchant segments. Retail customers will be able to borrow cash through their mobile phones from as little as KES 100 to KES 200,000. Merchants will have a chance to buy stocks by borrowing through that platform from KES 50,000 to KES 500,000. The tenor for the retail service will be thirty days, while that for merchants will be three months.

#Kenya just stands out: Dr Adnan Chilwan, GCEO, Dubai Islamic Bank

Dr. Adnan Chilwan, CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB), said that Kenya stood out to the Bank as a stepping stone to expanding its operations into Africa. In May 2017 DIB was granted a banking licence by the Central Bank of Kenya to operate a subsidiary, DIB Kenya. According to Chilwan, Dubai always had the ambition to venture into Far East Asia and East Africa. As DIB had already ventured into Far East Asia, East Africa was the next logical point. From the East African countries Kenya stands out in its regulatory framework and the stability in the country. DIB Kenya is already open and the bank has ambitious plans for East Africa. Chilwan added that Kenya was a country that DIB would be surely focussing on in years to come.

Dubai Islamic Bank plans African #expansion after planting #Kenyan roots

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has plans to solidify its foundations in the East African Islamic banking sector. Chairman Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani confirmed confirmed the information last weeek. DIB was granted permission to enter the market by the Central Bank of Kenya in May 2017. The regulator used the new entry to highlight Kenya’s growing status as a regional finance hub. Until the DIB entry, Kenya had only two full-fledged Islamic institutions: Gulf African Bank and First Community Bank. The country also has one takaful Islamic insurance firm, a Shari’ah-compliant mutual fund and two cooperatives. Kenya's treasury ministry recently unveiled new plans to make mainstream Islamic finance a major part of the country's growth strategy. Finance minister Henry Rotich said in March that the government would propose alterations to financial law and issue new regulations to facilitate Shari’ah finance.

Dubai Islamic Bank eyes regional market after #Kenya launch

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) has signalled intention to enter the budding East African Islamic market. DIB chairman, Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, said that the lender would expand and consolidate its reach in East Africa after solidifying its Kenya base. The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) in May opened the door for Dubai Islamic Bank to enter the local market after more than a year of waiting. DIB intends to exclusively offer Shariah-compliant banking services in the country. Kenya has recently unveiled a package of initiatives aimed at developing a policy framework for Islamic finance in the country. Authorities intend to make Kenya a hub for Islamic finance in Africa with ongoing reforms expected to drive the growth of Islamic-finance operations.

#Kenya should see #Sukuk as the next frontier of finance

Ongoing development of Islamic finance in Kenya is expected to innovate the financial services sector. One area that will see a hive of activity in the local market will be the introduction of sukuk. The Kenyan government is now preparing to issue the first Sovereign Sukuk with the aim of diversifying sources of funding at competitive rates. Usually, Sukuk derives its financing structure from the nature of the underlying assets available to the originator, regulatory and tax considerations as well as perspectives expressed by the Shariah scholars. However, what may be declared as Shariah-compliant by a team of scholars could be rendered invalid and non-Shariah-compliant by a team of other scholars. This informs the need to have one central Shariah body that regulates the industry to minimise confusion from multiple non-structured Shariah opinions.

IMF warns #Kenya of loopholes in Islamic banking #regulation

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has warned that the rapid growth of Islamic finance in Kenya is happening without adequate protection of depositors. Despite the fact that the Shariah banks are already offering loan products, Kenya is yet to refine its prudential regulations to cater for Islamic banking. Kenya is also yet to come up with a Shariah-compliant deposit insurance scheme and is continuing to manage deposit insurance premiums in a single pool for all banks. This situation could complicate compensation of depositors if a bank offering conventional and Islamic products collapses. According to the IMF, Kenya should seek to bring clarity to the grey areas in Islamic finance as it drafts amendments to the banking law as promised in the 2017/18 budget.

Gulf African banks on Shariah compliant #insurance scheme

#Kenya’s first fully Shariah compliant bank Gulf African is banking on a Shariah compliant insurance premium financing facility. The regular Insurance Premium Financing (IPF) enables customers to cover costs of immediate insurance premiums while spreading repayment over an agreed period. This Shariah compliant IPF enables the lender to enter into an agreement with both the insurer and the insured. The bank pays the full insurance premium of the insured immediately while operating under the Tawarruq model. Gulf African Bank CEO Bdalla Abdulkhalik said this policy will act as security for the bank and customers will also enjoy effortless renewals as agreed upon. Gulf African Bank will also act as the billing and collecting agent.

Shake-up on the way with DIB entry into market

Dubai Islamic Bank’s (DIB) formal entry into the Kenyan market is expected to shake up locally-owned Islamic lenders that have faced little competition for a decade. The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has now opened the door for the bank after more than a year of waiting. Kenya has until now had only two fully-fledged Islamic banks, while five other conventional lenders have been offering Shariah-compliant services and products through "Islamic Windows". DIB makes its foray into Kenya at a time when authorities are keen to make Kenya a hub for Islamic finance in Africa with ongoing reforms expected to drive the growth of Islamic-finance operations. The Kenyan government has recently unveiled a package of initiatives to develop a policy framework for Islamic finance in the country.

#Kenya: CBK Licences Dubai Islamic Bank

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has licensed Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) after the bank fulfilled its stipulated requirements. Dubai Islamic Bank Kenya intends to exclusively offer Shariah compliant banking services becoming the third fully Shariah compliant bank in Kenya. The decision is seen to highlight the CBK's confidence in the stability of the banking sector, which has been experiencing turbulence in the past couple of years. DIB is a fully owned subsidiary of Dubai Islamic Bank of the United Arab Emirates, which has an asset base of Sh4.8 trillion and capital of Sh754.8 billion. The Central Bank of Kenya welcomes the entry of international brands and believes that DIB's entry will expand the offerings in the market.

#Kenya aims to become the next global center of Islamic finance

East Africa’s biggest economy is positioning itself to become a regional hub for Islamic banking. Kenyan finance minister Henry Rotich said on March 30 that the government would propose amendments to the financial laws and issue new regulations to facilitate a Sharia-compliant retirement scheme. It will also amend the public finance management act to provide for the issuance of sukuk. In the past, Kenyan regulators found it hard to issue new regulations, as the government was battling the jihadist fundamentalist group al-Shabaab. Regulatory agencies say Kenya is now ready to allow Islamic finance and banking to thrive. In fact, Kenya is already a regional leader in Islamic banking. The country has two fully-operating Islamic banks. There’s also one takaful Islamic insurance company, a sharia-compliant mutual fund and two cooperatives. In December, Kenya joined the Islamic Financial Services Board based in Malaysia.

#Fintech’s #power is in the unbanked and unbankable

Katharine Budd, the chief executive and co-founder of Now Money, a Dubai-based fintech start-up, explains how fintech works.
This is a new financial services phenomenon. While nowadays you might be able to operate your bank account from a website or mobile app, but the systems behind these online user interfaces have barely changed since they were implemented in the 1970s. The international payment transfer system Swift still runs on the telephone systems. This means that no matter how nice the front-end website your account is on, the transactions displayed are still run off legacy systems, which can lead to legacy issues such as delays in processing transactions and potentially losing the transaction in the system altogether.
New start-ups are innovating where banks are stagnating and are cooperating with regulators and cybersecurity experts and developing new technology. These organisations have become know as “fintechs” and their purpose can range from offering customers alternative ways to bank, usually through mobile, to using advanced analytics to provide investment recommendations.

Treasury targets billions through #Sukuk #securities

The Kenyan Treasury will push through the country’s first Sukuk bond in the coming year. The changes will see the Public Finance Management Act amended to allow the issuance of the bond, which has been in the works since 2014.
Treasury CS Henry Rotich said that the Capital Markets Act, the Co-operatives Societies Act and Sacco Societies Act are also lined up for ammendment.
The government plans to borrow up to Sh256 billion from external sources in the next fiscal year, to plug a budget deficit of Sh524 billion. The State has in the recent past taken up foreign loans in form of the Eurobond and syndicated loans from commercial lenders. Kenya has been mulling over a Sukuk bond for the past two fiscal years, given its highly discounted nature, which would provide cheaper financing compared to commercial loans. The lack of the necessary regulatory framework has, however, delayed this option. In the current fiscal year, Kenya has turned to syndicated loans to finance part of her budget deficit. These loans include the just signed $800 million loan from four international banks, and a similar $500 million facility taken from the African Export-Import bank.

#Kenya's #budget paves way for #Islamic #finance

Kenya's government has unveiled a package of initiatives under its latest budget to develop Islamic finance in the country, as part of efforts to mobilise local funds and set Nairobi as a regional hub for the sector. The moves could spur Kenya's decade-old Islamic banking sector and help the government fund infrastructure in a country where Muslims account for about 10% of the population of some 44 million.
Finance Minister Henry Rotich outlined the steps as part of the country's 2017/2018 budget, released on Thursday, aiming to level the playing field between Islamic and interest-based transactions. Amendments to the Public Finance Management Act will also allow the government to issue Islamic bonds, or sukuk, as an alternative funding source. This could prove useful for a government that has set aside billions for infrastructure, with a fiscal deficit set at 524.6 billion shillings ($5.10 billion).

College to draft Islamic finance #curriculum

A #Kenyan college yesterday signed a three-year memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Malaysian training university to develop curriculum on Islamic Finance. Coast International College (CIC) also signed a letter of collaboration with the Inceif, the global University for Islamic Finance owned by the Central Bank of Malaysia. The MoU was signed by college principal Loise Gichuki, Inceif president and chief executive Daud Vicary Abdullah. The programme will offer Diploma in Islamic finance. The Malaysia University will provide curriculum, course materials and lectures related to Islamic jurisprudence, Islamic Law of contract, financial accounting and fundamentals of Islamic Banking.

Financial regulators keen on Shariah - compliant guidelines

#Kenyan financial regulators expect new guidelines in 2017 for the supervision of the entire sector. Insurance Regulatory Authority (IRA) supervisor Mary Nkiomu said the Islamic Finance Project Management Office established in December 2015 has submitted policy proposals to the National Treasury. The guidelines will enable the financial sector regulators to incorporate Islamic finance regulatory frameworks. Islamic finance institutions are largely operating in a self-regulatory environment governed by religious principles, backed with regulations for conventional operations. The guidelines, drafted in 2015, are set be rolled out to the public for consultations this year. The delay in the roll out has been attributed to terrorist attacks over the years.

CBK in final stage of licensing two banks

The Central Bank of #Kenya (CBK) announced it was in final stages of licensing two banks, DIB Bank Kenya, which is owned by Dubai Islamic Bank, and Mayfair Bank which is owned by Kenyan investors. The two firms had received an "approval in principle" before the indefinite suspension of new banks. CBK suspended the licensing of new banks on November 17, 2015 saying it needed to strengthen oversight. The moratorium stalled entry of international banks into the country, where commercial banks have come under closer scrutiny from the regulator because of increasing bad debts. CBK governor Patrick Njoroge said the local banking sector has made huge improvements over the past year, adding that CBK’s supervision department has improved its monitoring capacity.

Stock Exchanges of #Nairobi and #Qatar to Cooperate on Islamic Finance

The Kenyan capital markets regulatory authority and the Nairobi Securities Exchange today visited the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) and signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) for cooperation between the two exchanges. The two sides will share information and technical assistance in respect of processes and procedures relating to listing, trading, depository operations, clearing and settlement. Mr. Samuel Kimani, Chairman of the Nairobi Stock Exchange, said that his is a young exchange looking for further development and cooperation opportunities. Rashid bin Ali Al-Mansoori, CEO of Qatar Stock Exchange, expressed his happiness and hope that the MOU will help enhance the economic cooperation between the two countries.

#Kenya: Islamic Finance Roots Grow Deeper in Kenya

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.

The #growth of #Islamic #financing in #Africa's #infrastructure

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.

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