Tunisia to launch €450 million sukuk
The country is increasingly looking at Islamic finance as a source of financing.Tunisia will issue an Islamic bond, or sukuk, worth a billion dinars (€450 million) in the course of next year, Tunisian Finance Minister Slim Chaker has announced.
The Minister also said during the presentation of the budget in 2016 that the external financing needs of Tunisia are expected to reach three billion dinars next year.
"Our total needs in 2016 will be six billion dinars, including three billion dinars from external loans," Mr Chaker said.
Tunisia expects economic growth to recover next year after slowing almost to a halt in 2015, when two terrorist attacks hit the tourism industry.
Tunisian growth is expected to reach 2.5 percent next year compared with 0.5 percent in 2015.
The sukuk marks a step towards the adoption of Islamic finance in Tunisia. Despite the large Muslim population in the country, only a small percentage of all financial transactions are carried out in a Sharia-abiding way.
According to data published by poll company Gallup, one per cent of Tunisians elect to use Islamic finance over more traditional banking methods.
However, the survey suggests that this trend may be changing. Nearly half of the 1,000 people surveyed acknowledged knowing about Islamic finance.