Casablanca to Host First ‘Africa Sukuk Conference’ on Sharia Bonds

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Morocco will host the inaugural Africa Sukuk Conference to examine the emerging role of sukuk, Islamic bonds, in the development of African economies.

Rabat – The research and training arm of the Islamic Finance Advisory and Assurance Services (IFAAS) consultancy firm and the Kramer Levin law firm have collaborated to present the inaugural Africa Sukuk Conference on Sharia-compliant bonds.

The event is scheduled for March 19-20 at Sofitel Hotel in Casablanca.

The conference will gather potential sukuk issuers, investors, and regulators and aims to facilitate African and international players actively seeking opportunities.

According to Boubkeur Ajdir, a partner at IFAAS, sukuks are funding tools that conform to Islamic finance principles, also called Sharia-compliant bonds. Any entity in search of funding, whether established companies or governments, can use sukuks to raise money in the financial market.

Ajdir told Morocco World News that sukuks use the Islamic financing contracts such as sales contracts, partnerships, or leasing. In contrast, in traditional banking, funds are lent with interest.

He added, “Sukuks are financial instruments that will enable companies to go through capital markets without going through the banking loan.”

Ajdir related that “participatory” Islamic banking can play a role in sukuks by suggesting certificates of sukuks to their clients as investors.

In a press release, IFAAS Group said that “the event will offer policymakers, professionals and corporate decision-makers from different regions, the opportunity to share experiences from across the growing global market.”

According to Farrukh Raza, CEO of IFAAS Group, “Interest in Sukuk is growing in Africa, amongst both national and private entities. Many countries have made tremendous progress with the integration of Islamic finance into their national regulatory frameworks.”

IFAAS Group also mentioned a recent report by the Islamic finance standards-setting body, International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM). The report pointed out that sukuk issuances in Africa reached nearly $22 billion in 2018 and that South Africa and West African states have issued several sovereign sukuk.

The report said that in October 2018, Morocco joined them with its debut issuance of MAD 1 billion in sukuk.

Strategic partners for Africa Sukuk Conference include the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector; the private sector arm of Islamic Development Bank Group; and Al Akhdar Bank, the Moroccan participatory bank.

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