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, the National Treasury Cabinet Secretary (CS), Henry Rotich has said.
Rotich said the government has embarked on a process to guide the development and operations of the financial sector that will facilitate the growth of Shariah finance in the country.
The CS who made the remarks on Monday while opening the first ever International Islamic Finance Conference of Africa (IIFCA) in Nairobi, said that the government is keen to ensure that the financial services sector is efficient and globally competitive.
He said that Shariah compliant financing is the key to financial inclusion of the large underserved Muslim populations in the marginal areas.
“The government is keenly exploring issuance of Kenya’s own Sukuk bond in order to diversify sources of financing”, said the CS.
He at the same time, stated that the government has commenced discussions towards Kenya becoming a member of the Islamic Development Bank and Organisation of Islamic Cooperation in order to leverage opportunities arising in the sector for the socio-economic transformation of the country.
The two-day conference that was largely sponsored by National Bank is aimed at promoting and harmonising Islamic Shariah principles of banking and to present a platform for networking between bank stakeholders.
National Bank Managing Director (MD), Munir Sheikh said that the conference will bring together policy makers, bankers and business influencers around the globe to spur economic growth and development in continental Africa.
The MD revealed that the Islamic Banking Window of National Bank attracted more than 25,000 customers in 2015 and the figure is expected to double in 2016.
By Betty Kiptum/ Bernadette Khaduli