The Head of Dubai Chamber-Ghana Office, Cyril Darkwa, is encouraging the Bank of Ghana (BoG) to see Islamic banking as a way to promote financial inclusion in the country, noting that Islamic banking is a sector that offers huge potential growth for Africa and Ghana in particular.
“Unlike commercial banking, which thrives on interest rates on loanable funds, Islamic banking thrives on profit-sharing as it forbids charging of interest. I hope to see Ghana embrace it to reap the benefits being derived by other African countries already practicing Islamic banking.
“Other West African countries such as Senegal and Nigeria have already made headway on this front by putting legal and regulatory frameworks in place to support the growth of Islamic banking in the region,” he noted.
Islamic finance assets, he noted, are projected to grow by nearly 72 percent to exceed US$3.7trillion by 2022, supported by global appeal and consumer demands, and therefore urged the country to take advantage.
Mr. Darkwa, who was speaking at a roundtable discussion organised by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce-Ghana Office in Accra, stated that this type of finance is being utilised by banks, companies and start-ups to tap into the large unbanked population in Africa and promote financial inclusion by providing more people with access to finance.
In his presentation, an executive member of the Ghana Muslim (GM) Ambassadors, Dr. Abubakar Muhammad Marzuq, said Islamic banking will be of great benefit to the country as a whole.
“Islamic banking gives opportunities in loans, neither does it entertain interest. Any one-sided burden in financial transactions is avoided in Islamic banking. Again, with the issue of profit and loss, the giver of the loan and the receiver share the profit or loss when the need arises. These two values are enough to justify the relevance of Islamic banking and finance,” he insisted.
Dr. Marzuq, who doubles as a lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences, said although regulations are necessary to attract investors, awareness is more important to ensure a vibrant Islamic banking regime. He therefore called for effective collaboration between the Islamic banking industry and the media in order to create awareness.
On his part, Mohammed Fawzi Aminu – a Director of Business Development at GM Ambassadors, said there is a need to build the capacities of BoG and Ministry of Finance (MoF) officials to help hasten progress toward adopting Islamic banking in Ghana. He said the capacity-building exercise will help the two institutions develop the relevant framework needed for Islamic banking to thrive and attract investments into the sector.
Mr. Aminu lamented the lack of trust from potential investors in Islamic banking due to lack of a framework. He indicated that his outfit is in the process of engaging the BoG and MoF to help get proper training opportunities in Islamic finance.
“We have been able to get the Islamic Development Bank to agree on doing some training workshops for the responsible entities such as the BoG, MoF, Attorney-General and Parliamentary Select Committee on Finance, which will commence soon,” he announced.