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Dubai Islamic Bank eyes regional market after Kenya launch


Dubai Islamic Bank headquarters in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Gulf lender Dubai Islamic Bank’s (DIB) has signalled intention to stamp its footprint in the budding East African Islamic market weeks after launching in Kenya.

DIB chairman, Mohammed Ibrahim Al Shaibani, said in a statement on Friday that the lender would expand and consolidate its reach in East Africa after solidifying its Kenya base.

READ: IMF warns Kenya of loopholes in Islamic banking regulation

“Our international expansion is on track as the bank officially received its licence in April from the Central Bank of Kenya to start our operations.

This paves the way for the bank’s aspirations in Africa and proliferation of Islamic finance across Asia, Middle East and the East African Belt,” Mr Al Shaibani said.

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) in May opened the door for Dubai Islamic Bank to enter the local market after more than a year of waiting.

READ: Shake-up on the way with DIB entry into market

Kenya had until then only two fully-fledged Islamic banks, while five conventional lenders have been offering Shariah-compliant services and products through Islamic Windows.

DIB intends to exclusively offer Shariah-compliant banking services in the country.

The Upperhill-headquartererd financier is expected to leverage on its massive financial muscle as it seeks to claim a piece of the fast-growing banking market in the region.

As at September last year, it had an asset base of $47.6 billion (Sh4.85 trillion) and capital of $7.4 billion (Sh754.8 billion).

The CBK said in May that DIB’s choice of Kenya as its entry point into sub-Saharan Africa signals “Kenya’s growing stature as a premier regional financial services hub.”

READ: Dubai Islamic Bank gets CBK nod for Kenya operations

The bank is understood to be keen to cash in on the efforts by authorities to make Kenya a hub for Islamic finance in Africa with ongoing reforms expected to drive the growth of Islamic-finance operations.

Kenya has recently unveiled a package of initiatives aimed at developing a policy framework for Islamic finance in the country.