Kenya reviews Islamic finance laws ahead of debut sukuk

Wednesday February 17 2016

Attorney-General (AG) Githu Muigai addresses participants during the Eminent Person's Forum on Kenya's human rights agenda at Intercontinental Hotel, on November 30, 2015. Prof Muigai accused county bosses, on January 6, 2016, of telling half-truths on the issue of functions transfer to counties. PHOTO | ROBERT NGUGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Attorney-General (AG) Githu Muigai in Nairobi, on November 30, 2015. PHOTO | ROBERT NGUGI | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

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Kenya is reviewing all laws and regulations governing its nascent Islamic finance industry to aid the issuance of a debut Islamic law-compliant bond known as a sukuk, its attorney general said on Wednesday.

The East African nation, which issued its first Eurobond in 2014, wants to expand the range of financing available for infrastructure projects like roads and power plants.

The Treasury has said it is looking at the possibility of issuing the sukuk in the 2016/17 fiscal year, starting in July, but it has not offered details.

"We want to be able to facilitate the issuance of the bond," Githu Muigai told Reuters, adding the process will be completed in a maximum of nine months.

"We are in full flight with the review of that entire regulatory framework," he said on the sidelines of a conference on Islamic Finance in Nairobi.

Kenya's central bank licensed two shariah-compliant banks in 2007. At least one firm has since started to offer Shariah-compliant insurance products in the market.