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 Boubker Ajdir, activities director in Francophone countries of the IFAAS Group, sukuks are funding tools that conform to Islamic finance principles, also called Sharia-compliant bonds. Any entity in search of funding, whether startups or established companies, governments or the private sector, can use sukuks to raise money in the financial market.
Ajdir said that sukuks use the Islamic financing formats of selling, partnerships, and speculations. In contrast, in traditional banking, funds are used in lending with interest.
He added, “Sukuks are financial instruments that will enable companies to go through capital markets without going through the banking procedures.”
Boubker Ajdir related that Islamic banking can play a role in sukuks. Islamic banks will suggest sukus to their clients, as well as facilitating different banking procedures to companies that want to invest in sukuks.
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.