The footprint of Islamic banking in Africa is set to expand further as the continent seeks to deliver on the economic and strategic opportunities provided by Shari’ah compliant ﬁnancing. Sukuk has emerged as a viable and strong source of attracting international funding for infrastructure projects in Africa and the continent has recently witnessed a surge of successful Sukuk debuts.
With its strong links to the real economy, Islamic ﬁnance is well placed to spur economic activity especially in the strategically vital African SME segment as well as provide the basis to boost international trade and investment by forging connections between Africa, the Middle East and broader OIC markets.
In addition, Islamic ﬁnance is addressing ﬁnancial inclusion imperatives on the continent by providing accessible ﬁnancial services to the under‐banked and growth is being further fueled as the leading international players in the Islamic banking industry continue to expand their retail oﬀerings and footprint across the key markets of Africa. FinTech innovations internationally and on the continent, are also driving game‐changing disruptions which are re‐shaping how Islamic banking operates.
Building on the success of previous summits where more than 250 Islamic banking leaders from across Africa and internationally gather each year, Ethico Live in collaboration with the Central Bank of Djibouti have announced that the International Islamic Banking Summit Africa: Djibouti 2017 will again take place on November 8-9, 2017 at the Kempinski Palace Djibouti.
Held under the patronage of Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, president of the Republic of Djibouti, this year’s summit will be held under the theme ‘Unlocking the Economic & Strategic Potential of Islamic Finance in Africa’ and will tackle how to boost the potential of Islamic finance to deliver several key value propositions to Africa, particularly in the high-impact areas of Sukuk and infrastructure finance; trade and investment and financial inclusion and innovation. The summit also features a keynote speech from Ahmed Osman, the governor of the Central Bank of Djibouti.
Commenting on the exciting new developments in Islamic finance both in Djibouti and across Africa, Osman said, “Islamic finance continues to offer significant potential to African countries who are looking to diversify their sources of funding and deliver strategic economic priorities. This potential is being realised most notably through Sukuk issuances which are enabling infrastructure development on the continent, as well as in the role Islamic banking is playing in boosting international trade and investment flows and deepening financial inclusion.”
Currently Africa has only around 2 per cent of global Islamic banking assets and as little as 0.5 per cent of Sukuk outstanding ‐ and the stage is now set for the rapid growth of Islamic banking and ﬁnance across the continent. As home to over a quarter of the global Muslim population, Africa has an increasingly strong and viable market for Islamic ﬁnancial services and products. Islamic ﬁnance is being increasingly deployed as a strategic instrument to tap into the unbanked population in Africa and innovatively address the vital issue of ﬁnancial inclusion, as well as becoming a catalyst for boosting FDI and trade ﬂows between the continent and OIC markets. Furthermore, Sukuk is well positioned to play a powerful role in meeting the funding gaps in strategically vital infrastructure projects across the region.
However, much work still needs to be done on the continent, especially in areas such as the regulatory framework, for Islamic ﬁnance to realize its true potential and thrive, core issues that will be addressed at the International Islamic Banking Summit Africa: Djibouti 2017 on November 8-9 at the Kempinski Palace.