Tuesday 03, January 2017 by Isla MacFarlane

Morocco gives nod for five Islamic banks

Islamic banking is set to take off in Morocco after five applications to open Islamic banks were approved, a further three banks gained permission to sell Islamic products and a central Shari'ah committee was announced.

Five Islamic banks are set to open in Morocco after Bank Al-Maghrib, the country’s Central Bank, approved five applications. A further three banks have been given permission to sell Islamic products.

A Shari’ah committee which will govern all Islamic finance activities will also be established, according to a statement from the Central Bank.

The five banks are: CIH Bank in partnership with Qatar International Islamic Bank; BMCE Bank of Africa jointly with the Saudi/Bahraini group Dalla Al Baraka; Banque Centrale Populaire with the Saudi group Guidance; and Crédit Agricole du Maroc in partnership with the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD).

Attijariwafa Bank is currently in talks about a future partnership. Banque Marocaine du Commerce et de l’Industrie, Crédit du Maroc and Société Générale have all been given the green light to sell Islamic products.

A Shari’ah committee will be established from the country’s Supreme Council of Ulema (religious scholars), which will have the sole authority to issue fatwas on the Shari’ah compliance of financial products.

“The launching of participative (Islamic) finance products in Morocco complements and expands the range of products offered by the domestic banking sector and opens it to new financing capacities,” a statement from the Central Bank said. “It will strengthen the attractiveness of Casablanca as a leading financial hub in Africa, in accordance with the will and guidance of His Majesty the King, may God assist Him.” 

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