Mauritania: All BNM branches to operate according to Islamic finance principles
The National Bank of Mauritania (BNM) will expand the Islamic financial system to all its branches across the country.The National Bank of Mauritania (BNM) will expand the Islamic financial system to all its branches across the country.
BNM chief executive Mohamed Ould Noueiguedh has justified this approach by pointing out that Islamic banks have largely been unaffected by the financial crisis, due to the "nature of their operations, away from all the bidding and sale of credit with interest".
"Now, we have 14 branches that operate according to this system, which we intend to generalise across all of our branches," he said, quoted by Agence Nouachkott Information.
The Central Bank of Mauritania (BCM) has implemented a series of reforms in 2012 to provide a legal and regulatory framework that is specific to Islamic finance products.
Industry experts believe there is room for more Islamic banking services in North Africa and that they could contribute a more inclusive development model that favours an equal sharing of risks and benefits between project providers and resource users.
This financing method is therefore considered as a viable solution to improve access to banking services in Mauritania, where only 150,000 people own a bank account in a population of three million, according to figures from the BCM.