IFC invests in Islamic finance

Apr 04, 2013

The International Finance Corporation has announced the acquisition of a 15 per cent stake of the Gulf African Bank, Kenya's first commercial Islamic bank.

The Gulf African Bank is about to increase its financing of small and medium businesses and female entrepreneurs thanks to an investment from the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

A total investment of $5 million (€3.9 million) will allow IFC to acquire 15 per cent of the Gulf African Bank. This initiative is aimed at encouraging the bank to launch on new markets by mitigating risks.

It is the first time IFC, part of the World Bank group, is investing in one of the two Islamic finance banks of Kenya.

Oumar Seydi, IFC director for East and Southern Africa, hopes the IFC's investment in Islamic finance will allow it to reach new customers who would rather use Islamic finance institutions.

Additionally to the IFC investment, a $3 million trade line aimed at financing importation and exportations, as planned by the Global Trade Finance Programme, will be made available.

The Gulf African Bank was founded in 2008 as an alternative to traditional banks in Kenya. It was then the only commercial bank offering banking products in line with the Sharia.