The 3rd Africa Islamic Finance Forum will be attended by experts and senior decision makers from Nigeria, Somalia, Ivory Coast, Sudan, Kenya and beyond. Islamic finance is a vital instrument for financial inclusion and capital diversification with the capacity to unlock liquidity in the region and attract wealth from the Gulf. Some of the key drivers for Islamic finance in the continent include increasing the productive base of the continent along with the infrastructure needs and strong population growth which is creating significant demand for finance.
Among sectors identified as areas for high Islamic finance growth in Africa are SMEs, microfinancing and the Sukuk market, especially in light of the massive infrastructure needs of the region (of up to US$97 billion). Yet, there are challenges that remain including
- The current regulatory framework which is not yet conducive enough to ensure cost efficiency
- How to effect the timely execution of Shariah compliant financial transactions
- Lengthy documentation which lacks standardization
The Africa Islamic Finance Forum will address these challenges and look at the huge opportunites for growth in the year ahead.