Lawmakers, sukuk debutantes open Africa to Islamic finance
By Bernardo Vizcaino
(Reuters) – African markets are gradually opening to Islamic finance, buoyed by governments’ debut sales of sovereign sukuk (Islamic bonds) and legislative efforts to make the sector more attractive for companies across the region.
Despite the strong growth of Islamic finance in its core markets, the Middle East and southeast Asia, the industry has lagged in Africa, which is home to one in four of the world’s Muslims. This year, however, a string of transactions is helping to broaden the sector.
Governments across the continent are using sukuk as a way to attract cash-rich Islamic investors, with South Africa making a $500 million issue in September and Senegal raising 100 billion CFA francs ($208 million) in June.
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