Kenya represents a fast growing market for Islamic finance packages aimed at the industrial sector, according to Jeremy Awori, Managing Director of Barclays Kenya. Awori was talking to CCTV News Africa during the launch event for a range of Sharia compliant banking services. Barclays Kenya is expanding its Islamic financing options due to customer feedback.
Barclays’ move is part of a growing trend across Africa. In recent weeks Gulf Africa Review has reported on the expansion of sukuks across the continent and the rise of Islamic institutions and options in countries like Morocco and Senegal, Kenya and South Africa. Additionally, the Dubai Islamic Bank and other GCC finance firms are also interested in expanding their presence in Africa.
According to the World Bank, Kenya represents one of the fast growing economies in Sub-Saharan Africa. Forecast to experience growth of 6 - 7% over the next three years, the country represents a significant opportunity for finance houses. During his interview, Awori highlighted the fact that Kenya’s Muslims number approximately eight million, accounting for 25% of the country’s population.
Kenya’s economy is performing strongly, with its GDP at just under $61 billion and rising at the time of writing. Driven by the technology and communications industries, Kenya is also the recipient of the majority of FDI funding in Sub-Saharan Africa as well as dominating the impact investment sector. The country represents one of the most promising markets that continues to prove popular with foreign investors from the Middle East, America and Europe.
Awori also talked about the relative stability of Islamic finance options, pointing out that the asset- and equity-based nature of Islamic finance means that the sector is strongly grounded and less susceptible to dramatic movement in the market. Awori claimed that the fact that core assets were used within the financing framework meant that risk management within an Islamic environment was much easier for Barclays and other institutions offering Sharia compliant products.