Mauritius to open first Islamic bank

The palm-fringed island’s growing offshore financial sector pitches itself as a financial platform bridging Africa, the Indian sub-continent and Asia.

Mauritius is seeking to tap into the $1 trillion Islamic finance industry, and the central bank also plans to offer sharia-compliant short-term liquidity tools.

The Bank of Mauritius granted its first Islamic Banking licence in October 2009 to provide an alternative mode of financial intermediation to bank customers, central bank Governor Rundheersing Bheenick said.

“We expect the bank to be operational by the end of the first quarter of 2011,” Governor Bheenick wrote in his annual end-of-year letter to stakeholders.

Islamic banking is one of the world’s fastest growing financial sectors, with industry estimates putting annual growth at 15-20 per cent.

source : the telegraph