Noor Islamic Bank to set up branch in Tunisia


Chief executive officer Hussein al-Qemzi said the group, which had a market capitalisation of $ 3.16bn (2bn euros) in March having started operations in Dubai early this year, will target clients in Algeria, Egypt, Mauritania and Morocco, as well as Tunisia, from its new base.

“North Africa is an attractive growth market for investment, and the bank will serve as a facilitator to major transactions, while offering project financing in the North African region,” Sadok Attia, the bank’s chief executive for North Africa, said in the statement.

Qemzi said Tunisia offered “economic opportunities, stability, a legislative framework and a favourable geographic location.”

Emirates investors have ploughed more than $ 22bn into Tunisia, which predicts annual growth rates of six percent over the next decade.

Qemzi underlined that services would meet the basic principle of Islamic finance, which is the prohibition of Riba (usury), correlated with interest in today’s banking.

Islamic funds are also banned from investing in companies associated with tobacco, alcohol, pornography, pork or gambling, all considered taboo by devout Muslims.

The Islamic finance industry worldwide is worth around $ 700bn, Moody’s Investors Services estimated in a February report.

Islamic products, which were first sought to help pious Muslims in managing their wealth, have proved popular with non-Muslims in the United Arab Emirates where expatriate oil workers, for instance, have found Islamic mortgage rates attractive. Profit-sharing is a typical way for Islamic banking to deal with interest considerations.

A high-level committee of Muslim scholars meets regularly to interpret issues raised by financial instruments, using a variety of sources from the Quran through to modern-day Muslim law to settle debates.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *