Rabat – Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) is moving forward to set up a branch of its Islamic Financial institution in Morocco next year.
ADIB which is the United Arab Emirates’ second-largest Shariah-compliant lender has reportedly applied for a license from Morocco’s Central Bank to invest in the Moroccan Islamic banking sector in 2016. “We are seeking to invest in the Moroccan Islamic banking sector after learning that we will be the first financial institution to fully comply with the principles of Sharia law”, ADIB’s Chief Executive Officer, Tirad Mahmoud, said in an interview.
Tirad went on to add that the Moroccan Islamic business sector is threatened. He noted that the Moroccan Islamic banking market was amongst the markets with the greatest potential for Islamic banking outside the Gulf Cooperation Council. He explained that the bank’s intention to invest in Morocco is part of its plan to expand in North African markets.
“We have also applied for licenses in Algeria, Libya and Tunisia,” Tirad Mahmoud concluded. ADIB is the second Emirates-based Islamic bank that has shown interest in investing in Morocco. Earlier this year, AE’s Emirates Islamic Bank (EIB), an arm of the Emirates NBD Group, also applied for operating licenses from regulating authorities in Morocco.
Further, Bahrain-based Al Baraka Banking Group is set to open a branch in Morocco next year after receiving approval from Morocco’s central bank. In November 2014, the Moroccan parliament ratified a bill regulating Islamic finance and sukuk issues. In March 2015, the Governor of Morocco’s Central Bank announced in a press conference that Islamic Banks will start doing business in Morocco beginning early 2016.