Standard Chartered plc, a leading global bank is seeking three Islamic banking licences in Africa, including Botswana, international media has reported.
According to reports, the London Stock Exchange listed could debuts its Islamic banking products and services, named Saadig, as early as 2017. The targeted markets are Botswana, Nigeria and Zambia, the bank’s head of Islamic banking for retail clients, Mohammad Ali Allawalla has told Reuters. “Nigeria is an interesting market in terms of size we are exploring and other markets like Botswana and Zambia, which are not big markets in terms of sheer size but in terms of pockets of customers they present a good opportunity,” Allawalla is quoted as saying by the news agency.
The bank already has presence in the above-mentioned markets. In Botswana, the global banks owns Standard Chartered Botswana, a leading listed bank which has been in Botswana for more than 100 years. “Its not just a matter of what we would like to do, it’s also a matter of how mature the regulations are, what do the regulations allow you to do, what is the cost of setting up vis-à-vis the products you can roll out in the market,” said Allawalla.
Standard Chartered Saadiq’s core markets are Pakistan, Malaysia, Bahrain, United Arab Emirates, Indonesia and Bangladesh and in 2014 it entered the Kenyan market, its first move into Africa. As well as talking to regulators in the three African countries, Standard Chartered Saadiq is also in discussions about gaining an Islamic banking licence in Brunei in South East Asia and working with the regulator there on guidelines for Islamic wealth management.