Morocco to sign $ 2.4 bn IDB loan deal

Morocco expects to sign a $ 2.4 billion loan deal next month with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). The North African country has agreed a package with the IDB under which it will receive $600 million each year from 2013 to 2016. A small part of that sum will be a donation rather than a loan. A formal signing will be held in May. Moreover, Morocco is expected to raise around $ 1.5 billion this year by selling its first sukuk, with a final decision on borrowing to be taken by July. Morocco’s government has said it will limit its public debt to 60 percent of GDP despite the rising budget deficit.

Morocco central bank plans central sharia board

Morocco's central bank has started talks with a body of Islamic scholars on establishing a central sharia board to oversee the country's fledgling Islamic finance industry. The board, composed of scholars and financial experts, would rule on whether instruments and activities complied with sharia principles. Moreover, the government plans to submit to parliament a bill regulating Islamic banks, which will be called participative banks under the legislation. Parliament's vote is expected by the last week of April.

Still springtime in North Africa? [Banker Middle East]

North Africa is moving towards the development of the Islamic financial industry as a response to the protests in several countries of the Arab world. Although there are some difficulties to overcome like low banking penetration and limited development of retail banking in general, there ist still potential for growth and progress. However, until a more stable political environment is provided, Shari'ah-compliant banking will be a niche market in North Africa.

International conference on Islamic finance begins in Casablanca

While the government of Morocco is working on a framework to introduce Islamic finance to the country, an international conference on Islamic finance takes place in Casablanca. Starting on November 29th, insurers, bankers and heads of financial institutions from various countries currently involved or intending to engage in Islamic finance, will take part in the conference. Among the participating countries are Tunisia, the UAE, Malaysia, Bahrain, France and Luxembourg.

Morocco to spearhead Islamic private equity in the MENA region with a US$ 1 billion investment fund

A number of investment professionals united in a collective is planning to set up a US$ 1 billion integrated Islamic finance investment platform in Morocco. This will be made possible by the creation of Sharia compliant financial institutions for the first time in the country, including a private equity management company and an Islamic microfinance organisation. As part of the "1 Million Jobs for MENA initiative", the project aims to provide appealing opportunities for investment. Thus, it is supposed to make its contribution to the high growth employment expectations of the MENA region.

Morocco joins neighbours to draft sukuk law

Following the example of other North African countries, Morocco is working on the draft of a law aiming to allow the sale of Islamic bonds. Thus, the country makes efforts to lure more investors to their debt after the surge of global sukuk offerings reached record amounts. The bill will be put to parliament immediately after the completion of the draft. Details on the exact time when this is to be expected are not revealed. Other two African countries - Tunisia and Egypt - are working on draft laws concerning sukuk sales as well.

Does Islamic finance have a responsibility to reduce unemployment

According to expectations, financing SMEs shall be a measure to deal with unemployment in the MENA region. Reports suggest rapid growth of the market share of Islamic banking in Egypt due to the change in public policy. Smaller markets such as Oman and Morocco are also considered important in this context. Observers point out that Islamic finance is a potential source of spurring economic growth in the countries which experienced the Arab Spring. However, it is highly doubtful whether Islamic finance can solve the unemployment issue especially among young people. The question is rather if it should make conscious efforts to contribute to dealing with unemployment as part of its business strategy instead of a byproduct of its activities.

Islamic banking may enter Morocco

The vote of Morocco's parliament on the new draft banking law will take place in September. A chapter of the new law concerns Islamic banking. It is expexted, that in the very near future, Islamic banking will start in the country, already there are investors for the sector. A boost to Sharia-compliant finance is discussed.

Morocco, strong demand, limited offers

Dar Assafaa a branch of Attijariwafa Bank is currently the sole Islamic finance provider in Morocco, despite strong local deman of about 94 % as stated by a study of Islamic Finance Advisory & Assurance Services (IFAAS) in 2012. In 2010 VAT tax regulation has been amended to allow for Murabaha offers. Still dedicated Islamic banking regulation is seen as pre-requisite to offer.

S&P Indices Launches Shariah Index with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation

S&P Indices made an anouncement that a new Index will be launched due to increase in the demand for a shariah-compliant benchmark in Islamic countries. The new S&P/OIC COMCEC 50 Shariah Index will measure the performance of 50 leading Shariah-compliant companies from members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Eligible countries and territories for the Index are: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

Tatarstan/OIC-Economy-Forum: 100 Investment Projects Presented At Kazan OIC-RF Forum

Aproximatly 100 investment projects worth 300 billion roubles have been introduced at the 4th International Summit in Kazan.
The organizers of the forum were the government of Tatarstan, the Islamic Business & Finance Development Foundation (IBFD) with the support of the Federation Council of Russia.
The summit is attended by thousands of guests from over 30 countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation including: Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Morocco, Turkey, the UAE, Oman, Pakistan.

QIIB leads plan for Morocco Islamic bank, insurance firm

International Islamic (QIIB) chairman and managing director Sheikh Dr Khalid bin Thani al-Thani and Morocco’s new Prime Minister Abdelilah Benkirane discussed in a meeting the prospects of setting up an Islamic bank and an insurance company in the North African country.
They analyzed ways to further strengthen bilateral ties between the two countries with particular focus on Qatari investments in Morocco.
Sheikh Khalid proposed the opening of a joint venture Islamic bank and an insurance company in Morocco with majority participation (51%) by the North African country’s citizens and the remainder with Qataris (49%).

IDB chief urges EU not to repeat mistakes of the past

Ahmad Mohamed Ali, the president of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), has given notice that the euro zone sovereign debt crisis is adversely affecting the Bank's member countries and urged European leaders to find the right solutions and not to repeat the mistakes of the past.
He explained at the "Islamic Finance on the 21st Century" symposium which was held in Madrid on Dec. 1 that Turkey, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria are very much affected as exports begin to decline because of the credit crunch and economic situation in the European Union (EU).

Islamic Banking and Finance in North Africa

In its new publication, Islamic Banking and Finance in North Africa, the African Development Bank assesses the state of Islamic banking in the region and explains why its use has been limited. The report considers the future potential of Islamic finance, including its possible alignment with North Africa’s development goals, particularly its ability to increase the diversification of funding sources.

The report takes into consideration the effect of Islamic banking’s focus on the equitable distribution of risk and returns between suppliers and users of funds. Islamic Banking and Finance in North Africa goes further by exploring whether Islamic-style finance contracts could contribute to the development objectives of North African countries.

full report for free download:

Morocco plans to authorise first Islamic bonds

Morocco plans to authorise first Islamic bonds. Central bank of Marocco wants to allow sukuk.

Morocco plans to authorise first Islamic bonds

Morocco's central bank is in talks with the country's banking industry group GPBM on regulations that would allow sukuk.
The central bank started only in late 2007 to allow some banks to provide Islamic finance products, but does not issue licences for fully fledged Islamic institutions.

Dow Jones Islamic Markets commentary: Lessons from the turmoil

Dow Jones Islamic Market Index (DJIM) suffered the largest losses in February. Political crisis and civil unrest in Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Yemen, Morocco, escalating even to a civil war like in Libya, weighed on the markets.
The turmoil led the DJIM Kuwait Index to drop 8.64% . DJ Dubai Financial Market (DFM) Titans 10 Index lost 4.83%.These declines stand in stark contrast to the rise in energy prices, which usually lift Middle Eastern markets.

Asia sukuk draw Gulf funds as crisis worsens

The political conflict that has spread to Bahrain, Libya, Yemen and Morocco will make it more expensive for companies to issue Islamic bonds in the region and in Malaysia. The Asian nation is attractive to borrowers because of its lower yields.
But spreading unrest across the Middle East may be encouraging Shariah-compliant investors to increase purchases of Asian assets and will spur sales of Islamic bonds.

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Congress of Muslim Philanthropists Online - March 23-24, 2011, Venue Change: Dubai

The annual convening of the World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists, widely recognized as the premier forum on Muslim Philanthropy worldwide, welcomes social investors, grant-makers, government and business leaders, visionaries, and civil society executives to a solicitation-free collaborative environment.

The 4th World Congress will initiate a dialogue around the potential roadmap for Muslim Giving in the next decade. This discussion will be enriched by the collective wisdom and experience of leading philanthropists and intellectuals from around the world. The forum will also examine challenges unique to Muslim societies, and offer options for managing them.

Update 17th Feb 2011:

The organizers of the 4th World Congress of Muslim Philanthropists regret to announce the change of meeting venue due to circumstances beyond their control. This unpredicted situation came about in response to the directives we received today from the Moroccan authorities. While we feel extremely disappointed, we believe it is prudent that we do not compromise on the safety of our guests.

Call For Submission

First Sharia compliant movie fund raises $40m

In just four weeks, the world’s first Sharia-compliant movie fund has reached more than $40m.
The Black Knight is expected to reach $85-90m by April, half of which will come from UAE investors.
The movie, which is scheduled to be filmed in Morocco and could also include scenes shot in the UAE, is the first instalment in a trilogy of films and will be released in 2012.

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