NAIROBI, The growth of the Islamic finance sector is set to improve investments in infrastructure and offer support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Kenya, says National Treasury Cabinet Secretary(Minister) Henry Rotich.

The government has embarked on a process to guide the development and operations of the financial sector which will facilitate the growth of Shariah finance in the country, he said here Monday when opening the inaugural International Islamic Finance Conference of Africa (IIFCA).

The government was keen to ensure that the financial services sector was efficient and globally competitive, said Rotich, who added that Shariah=compliant financing was the key to financial inclusion of the large under-served Muslim populations in Kenya’s marginal areas.

“The government is keenly exploring the issuance of Kenya’s own Sukuk bond in order to diversify its sources of financing,” said the Cabinet Secretary.

At the same time, the government has initiated discussions for Kenya to joint the International Islamic Development Bank (IIDB) and Organization of Islamic Co-operation (OIC) in order to leverage opportunities arising in the sector for the socio-economic transformation of the country.

The two-day conference is aimed at promoting and harmonising Islamic Shariah principles of banking and to present a platform for networking among banking sector stakeholders in Africa.

National Bank Managing Director Munir Sheikh said the conference would bring together policy makers, bankers and business influencers around the globe to spur economic growth and development in continental Africa.

He revealed that the Islamic Banking Window of National Bank attracted more than 25,000 customers in 2015 and the figure was expected to double in 2016.

Source: KBC