December 24, 2015 / 7:15 AM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Qatar International Islamic Bank, CIH to set up bank in Morocco

(Adds development of Morocco’s Islamic finance sector)

DUBAI, Dec 24 (Reuters) - Qatar International Islamic Bank (QIIB) said it had signed an agreement with Moroccan lender Credit Immobilier et Hotelier S.A. (CIH Bank) to set up a bank in Morocco, which is just starting to develop an Islamic finance sector.

In November, central bank governor Abdellatif Jouahri said Morocco would start issuing Islamic banking licences within the next year.

Sensitive about Islamist ideology, Rabat long neglected Islamic finance, but it has warmed to the industry in the past few years as it seeks to attracy money and foreign investors. Islamic banks from Kuwait, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have also expressed interest in entering Morocco.

QIIB will take a 40 percent stake in the new bank, which is expected to launch in coming months after necessary approvals, the Qatari institution said on Thursday without giving details of the venture.

The Qatari joint venture is part of QIIB’s strategy to pursue overseas investments and diversity its portfolio, the lender said in a bourse statement. (Reporting by Nadia Saleem; Editing by Andrew Torchia)

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