Morocco Opens To Islamic Finance

The Kingdom of Morocco now allows participative finance. On January 2 the central bank, Bank Al-Maghrib, issued authorizations for five banks to begin commercializing shariah-compliant products and services.

The five selected institutions are all local, and most are backed by foreign partners with Islamic finance expertise. State-owned Banque Centrale Populaire will develop services with the Saudi group Guidance, BMCE Bank of Africa with the Saudi/Bahraini group Dalla Al Baraka, CIH Bank with Qatar International Islamic Bank, and Crédit Agricole du Maroc with a subsidiary of the Islamic Development Bank. Attijariwafa Bank, which has ties to the royal family, is still conducting discussions for a future partnership.

Local subsidiaries of Societe Generale, BNP Paribas and Crédit Agricole—three major French banks—also received approval from the central bank to sell Islamic products.

The leading political party, PJD, had been promising to open shariah-compliant banks since it came to power in 2011.