Kenya the next big growth market for Islamic finance?
AIFS summit (East Africa Islamic Economy Summit) took place in Nairobi, an Islamic Economy summit organised in East Africa.
Kenyan authorities are taking seriously the Muslim friendly market segment. This is one of the key lessons of the EAIFS summit (East Africa Islamic Economy Summit) which took place in Nairobi, an Islamic Economy summit organised in East Africa.
Agnes Gitau from GBS Africa, one of the co-organisers of the event, shared her vision of the Kenyan market. Under her impulse, a strategic committee has been set up by the government to develop Islamic finance in the country.
A panel of international experts composed of Zineb Bensaid, Anna Maria Aysha Tiozzo and Chris Nader addressed Muslim friendly destinations/hotels in Muslim and non-Muslim countries. In Italy, Anna Tiozzo created BAYTI, a Muslim-friendly hospitality programme aimed to attract new tourists in the region.
Chris Nader from Shaza hotels, who has developed Muslim/family friendly hotels in the Middle-east, made the connection between this type of hotels and the requirements of investors for this type of projects. The honourable Tourism Cabinet Secretary Najib Balala announced that the government is on the concept of Halal travel to attract Muslim tourists to Kenya.
On the Islamic Finance side, Zineb Bensaid from ISFIN addressed the importance of understanding the consumer requirements as well as the need for proper education in that sector. Houssem Eddine BEDOUI from IRTI (the Islamic Research and Training Institute) of Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) group highlighted the importance of having different key building blocks needed in the regulatory framework to develop the Islamic Finance within a country and he emphasised on IRTI/IDB activities with different stakeholders of the islamic finance ecosystem and mainly with the regulators. He emphasised as well on the importance of trainings and education to develop talents remarkably needed in the industry globally and in East Africa particularly.
Paul Muthaura, Chief Executive Officer of Kenya’s Capital Markets Authority, said that, together with other actors of the industry, they are working on the regulatory framework to develop Islamic Finance in the country and all the necessary amendments to allow the Kenyan government to issue the Sukuk.
Mary Nkoimu spoke about the concept of Takaful. She is very keen to develop this knowledge in Kenya.
ISFIN market analysis demonstrated that currently only one Takaful company operates in Kenya. As Kenyan banks must offer different types of insurances to their clients, takaful insurance remains more expensive than the conventional ones. Clients might not necessarily choose the takaful option and specific actions need to be adopted to boost the sector.
Mona Doshi, partner at Anjarwalla & Khana, spoke about the latest legal developments and moderated the session about the regulatory framework. Jaffar Abdulkadir, the head of Islamic finance in KCB (Kenya Commercial Bank), said that ‘Islamic finance helps to develop economic power, helps eradicate poverty, create wealth and thus combats terrorism.’
Amman Muhammad, CEO of FNB Islamic Banking in South Africa spoke about the development of an Islamic finance platform in the wealth management sector to allow their clients to subscribe to certain corporate Islamic finance products. Ines Wouters, partner at Legisquadra law firm, showed that historically, the prohibition of interest exists in all monotheist religions. Moreover, she discussed about the creation of private Sukuk in Europe. Farmida Bi discussed about the latest developments of the Sukuk in the British market. Abdul Rahman from Abdul Rahman law firm corporation explained how Singapore became an international Hub for Islamic finance. Kenyan SMEs can also benefit from Islamic products and boost their activities.