| July 28
July 28 Kenya's KCB Bank, the country's
largest lender by assets, plans to offer Islamic banking
products through its entire branch network, accelerating the
expansion of sharia-compliant banking in east Africa's biggest
The move comes after Kenya's Capital Market Authority
proposed a separate regulatory framework for Islamic finance,
part of a broader strategy designed to boost the country's
KCB has received all necessary approvals to launch Islamic
banking across its 182 branches in the country, chief executive
Joshua Oigara said in a statement. "In the long term, the
product will...promote development in the marginalized areas of
our country," Oigara said.
The lender will initially roll out Islamic banking services
through seven branch centers, beginning from next month.
KCB joins Standard Chartered in offering Islamic
banking services in Kenya, after the British lender launched its
"Saadiq" brand in March.
Islamic finance, which follows religious principles such as
bans on interest payments, accounts for roughly 2 percent of
total banking business in Kenya, where Muslims make up about 15
percent of the population of 40 million.
There are currently two full-fledged Islamic banks in Kenya
- Gulf African Bank and First Community Bank (FCB) - as well as
Islamic banking services at several conventional lenders.
KCB, which operates across east Africa from Burundi to South
Sudan, already offers Islamic banking services in Tanzania.
Islamic finance is also being developed by several other
sub-Saharan countries in Africa such as Nigeria and Djibouti.
In June, Kenya's finance minister said the government would
consider issuing Islamic bonds, or sukuk, after a successful
debut $2 billion Eurobond.
(Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)