Kenya steps up efforts to develop Islamic Finance

Feb 18, 2016

The country is looking to become a leader in this field.

Kenya, which is hosting the first East African forum on Sharia-compliant financial products this week, has stepped up efforts to become a leader in Islamic Finance.

Financial regulators and private sector players from the region are meeting in Nairobi this week to "explore economic and political prospects for the region and how they may impact on Islamic Finance development, trade and investment in East Africa," according to a statement.

The document adds that Kenya’s potential and efforts towards promoting Islamic Finance development will be unveiled at the summit.

Meanwhile, the country's attorney general told Reuters on Wednesday (February 17th) it is reviewing all laws and regulations governing its Islamic Finance industry to aid the issuance of a debut sukuk.

"We want to be able to facilitate the issuance of the bond," said Githu Muigai, adding the process will be completed in a maximum of nine months.

Kenya announced in January it is about to launch its first Islamic bond. "Kenya will be issuing Sharia-compliant sukuk bonds in the coming year, and these will be used to finance infrastructure. Kenya will also join the organisation of Islamic countries," said Treasury Secretary Henry Rotich.

The Islamic finance sector has a high development potential in Kenya, with only two per cent penetration to the total banking business although 10 per cent of the country's population is Muslim.ADNFCR-2976-ID-801812838-ADNFCR