Al Baraka to open Morocco bank in 2016

Bahrain-based Al Baraka Banking Group plans to launch an Islamic bank in Morocco early next year after receiving approval from the country's central bank, and is looking to expand into East Africa, chief executive Adnan Ahmed Yousif said. The new bank will be equally owned by Al Baraka and Banque marocaine du commerce extérieur (BMCE), and will start operations in the first quarter of 2016. He said the new bank would open 20 branches in its first five years of business. The chief executive also said the group is considering expanding into East Africa because the banking system there is similar to that of the Gulf region, and was currently exploring opportunities in Kenya. Besides, the bank also plans to grow its operations in Egypt.