Islamic finance revolution gains steam in Africa

22 Oct 2014

With assets reaching the US$ 1 trillion, the growth of Islamic finance can no longer be ignored. It has outperformed conventional finance, expanding fourfold over the past three years. Many experts have even wondered whether the global financial crisis could have been averted by a financial system based on Shari’a principles.

This is an interesting scenario to consider: had the Islamic principles of full transparency and disclosure, fairness towards the customer and profit-sharing amongst investors been applied, there is a chance the financial crisis would not have had the same magnitude.

The growth of Islamic finance as an alternative financial management model in the post-financial crisis era continues to flourish even in new regions. One such world opening up vigorously to Islamic finance is Africa. With a predominant Muslim population of about 495 million, the continent holds promising growth opportunities for Islamic finance.

Even though a number of countries mainly in the northern part of the continent already have some Islamic banking activities, the appetite for financial products that comply with Sharia is rising in a number of other countries mostly in the sub-Saharan region as the continent awakens to the ideological and practical richness and relevance of this form of alternative banking.