Djibouti sees Islamic finance sector expanding, aims for Sukuk

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Djibouti—Djibouti expects to see new entrants in its Islamic finance sector and the government plans to work on a framework to allow the use of Sukuk, or Islamic bonds, to fund infrastructure projects, its central bank governor said.
Djibouti, a country of less than a million people located on the Horn of Africa, is a relative newcomer to Islamic finance, having introduced sector-specific legislation in 2011, but authorities hope it can increase banking penetration in rural areas while also attracting foreign investment.
The government has established a national Sharia board to help oversee the sector, appointing five members to the independent body last week, central bank governor Ahmed Osman said in an interview.
The move could help Islamic finance by improving consumer perception of the industry and providing greater clarity on contracts which follow religious principles such as bans on interest and gambling. The government is in discussions with the Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank to secure a technical mission to help establish a framework to issue sukuk.—Reuters