Islamic finance in Tunisia could reach 25-40% share of sector
Tunisia’s fledgling Islamic finance industry could take a 25 to 40 percent share of the country’s financial sector in five years’ time if necessary rules, consumer education and private investment plans materialize, according to a Thomson Reuters study. Currently, sharia-compliant business accounts for just 2.5 percent of the Tunisian financial sector. The study estimates that Islamic financial assets in Tunisia could reach $17.8-$28.5 billion by 2018, up from $1.4 billion at present. Some industry practices that are controversial among some Islamic scholars, like tawarruq or commodity murabaha, are generally being avoided in Tunisia, the study found. One boost for Islamic finance in Tunisia would be issuance of the country’s first sukuk, which the government is planning. Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has given Tunisia a financial guarantee to issue a sukuk worth $600 million. Last week, the IDB extended said it would extend $1.2 billion in funding to Tunisia for industrial, agricultural and trade projects.