Credit ratings across Africa have been falling, and global rating agency Moody’s says the last 12 months saw far more downgrades than upgrades out of its 24 African sovereign ratings. Seven credit ratings are on negative outlook and only Morocco is on positive outlook.
Britain attracted £2.3bn in orders when it became the first western country to issue an Islamic sharia-compliant bond. It issued a £200m 5-year bond that shares profits based on rental income from three government-owned properties and offers a return of 2.036%.
London is back at the top of the world’s international financial centres, pushing out New York again, according to a world ranking of IFCs prepared by The Banker magazine.
Kenya has licensed its first ethical fund, an Islamic fund issued by FCB Capital, a sharia-compliant investment bank, and aims to become the centre of Islamic finance in East Africa, calling for the set-up of a council to advise on Islamic finance products.
South Africa is proposing amendments to the Income Tax Act to level the playing field between Islamic banks and conventional banking, although no date has been set for their implementation.
Finance compatible with Islamic investment principles is taking further root in Kenya. There has been take up of sukuk portions of infrastructure bonds launched by the Government, the Central Bank of Kenya has announced that it is working on plans to launch sharia-compliant treasury bills in the money market and it is reported in local media that a sharia-compliant unit trust is applying for registration.