Cameroon: First branch dedicated to Islamic finance opens
Afriland First Bank has opened its first branch dedicated to Islamic finance.Cameroonian banking group Afriland First Bank (AFB) opened its first branch dedicated to Islamic finance on February 20th.
This is the first time a branch will be entirely dedicated to products complying with Sharia law in Cameroon and Central Africa.
After the launch in the capital, AFB plans to expand its network around the country. The banking group could also take advantage of its presence in the region, particularly in Congo, Equatorial Guinea and Sao Tome and Principe, to introduce Islamic finance in these countries.
In Cameroon, "we expect Cfaf2 billion [€3 millions euros] in credit and the collection of Cfaf3 billion through Islamic checking accounts, during the first year," said Youssoufa Bouba, Director of specialised finance at AFB.
The International Society for Private Sector Development, a subsidiary of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), has been helping AFB develop a line of products that comply with Sharia law for three years. She also contributed to staff training and advised the group on their IT management system.
About 20 per cent of Cameroon's population is Muslim, but AFB believes Islamic banking products could attract a wider consumer base.
The Islamic finance industry is booming in the world, already managing assets valued between 1300 and 1800 billion dollars, and according to forecasts 2800 billion of assets could be compliant with Shariah law in 2020.