The Islamic banks that are prevalent in Kenya have a duty to market and brand their businesses in a way that is all-inclusive, according to Rahma Hassan Hersi, Managing Partner at Awal Consulting.
“We have countries just like Kenya, an example is Ireland with a higher percentage of Christians compared to Muslims, but this country is seeing a surge in Islamic financing as it is now competing with London to become a financial hub,” added Hersi.
“They have seen the opportunity that is why this growth is being seen.”
Hersi called for a thorough focus on regulations in the sector as it was deterring potential growth.
“Without regulations we are stumbling in the dark, this is not good for the industry and there is need to address this in tandem with the central bank,” she added.
“There is also very limited expertise; most times there are conventional bankers who are brought into the system with no knowledge or the know-how of [the] principles.”
According to industry statistics, the penetration of Islamic finance in Kenya is estimated at 2 per cent, with a limited number of banks and insurance companies playing in that space.
The global size of Islamic finance is estimated to be in the region of 2.1 million US dollars and has seen a steady and modest growth of 10 per cent in the region.
“The model is a risk management model; it is welfare based intervention with morality at the centre. My market in Kenya targets about 45 million Kenyans,” said Hassan Bashir, group chief executive of Takaful Insurance of Africa.