Jan 20 (Reuters) - Nigeria’s debt management office (DMO) and capital market regulator have agreed to collaborate on a debut issuance of sovereign Islamic bonds (sukuk) before the end of the year, the two bodies said.
The move could spur wider issuance of sukuk in one of Africa’s most liquid debt markets, following similar sovereign deals from Senegal and Ivory Coast.
Issuance of a sovereign sukuk was part of a strategic plan developed by the DMO three years ago and it will now seek help from Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission in areas such as capacity building, the DMO said.
“Issuing a sovereign sukuk will attract significant amounts of affordable capital from the Gulf countries and other established Islamic markets around the world into Nigeria,” the DMO said in its statement on Wednesday.
The statement did not give a potential size for a maiden sukuk deal, although the DMO is a regular issuer of five- and ten-year local-currency bonds.
In 2013, Nigeria’s Osun State issued 10 billion naira ($62 million) of sukuk, but no other sukuk transactions have followed.
Nigeria is home to the largest Muslim population in sub-Saharan Africa, with about half of its 160 million people members of the Islamic faith. It is also home to one of Africa’s fastest growing consumer and corporate banking sectors. (Reporting by Bernardo Vizcaino; Editing by Sarah Young)