Speaking to CCTV News Africa, Jeremy Awori, MD Barclays Kenya stated the bank would be expanding its range of Sharia compliant products based on feedback received from customers. He hinted such products would be aimed at business banking customers and would build upon the banks current asset financing strategy within the industrial sector.
Mr Awori further commented, as Islamic finance structures continue to mature; Sharia compliant products will be seen in the context of the merits of their structure as opposed to being seen from a faith based perspective. He added risk management is easier when dealing with Sharia compliant structures due to core assets being used within the financing framework.
These comments echo those made by Deputy Turkish Prime Minister Ali Babacan who speaking at an IMF discussion emphasised the universality of Islamic finance for all of man-kind irrespective of faith. He added Turkey has been pushing for asset and equity based finance and was happy to see such structures adopted by the United Kingdom, and Luxembourg in the issuances of their respective sovereign sukuk.
Barclays and Islamic Finance
Within the retail-banking environment, Barclays Kenya offers the La Riba Bank account which it started in 2006 to provide Islamic Finance and Banking services for Kenya’s 8 million Muslims who represent 25% of the population. Barclays Kenya is part of the British Barclays Bank group which through its investment-banking arm Barclays Capital has helped arranged a number of high profile sukuk in the UAE and Malaysia.