The Moroccan central bank announced this week it has approved five Islamic banks, fulfilling a long-standing promise of the Islamist party leading a coalition government since 2011. It is the latest Muslim country to authorize Islamic banks, amid growing market demand for Sharia-compliant banking.
The three hold increasing assets around French-speaking Africa are leading national banks Attijariwafa, linked to the royal family, state-owned Banque Centrale Populaire and private BMCE Bank of Africa.
Four of the five banks will be partnerships between Moroccan banks and Islamic financial institutions in the Gulf.
However, Sharia forbids interest, which is central to many banks’ operations.