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Islamic Finance in North Africa: Development and prospects for growth in Morocco

May 31, 20177:00 p.m.
MADRID
Casa Árabe Auditorium (at Calle Alcalá, 62). 7:00 p.m. Free entry until the event’s capacity is reached.
In French, with simultaneous translation into Spanish.

Casa Árabe has organized this conference, to be given by a representative of the Central Bank of Morocco (Bank Al-Maghrib) on the occasion of the presentation of the latest issue of the journal Awraq.

In North Africa, Islamic finance has not undergone the development experienced in other regions of the world by this type of finance, which is compliant with an interpretation of Islamic law which forbids all types of interest in banking. Of the 1.9 trillion dollars in assets estimated to be moved through Islamic finance around the world at present, 40% is located in the Gulf countries and 22% in Southeast Asia, but just 0.5% in North Africa. Whereas in the Gulf these assets now represent 34% of the total amount in national banking systems (49% in Saudi Arabia and 39% in Kuwait), in North African countries they amount to less than 1%. In Tunisia and Egypt, where their presence is greater, Islamic finance accounts for just 2% and 4%, respectively, of the country’s financial assets. 

However, after what were known as the “Arab Springs,” the new environment of change and political transformations in recent years has led to some shifts and advancements in this sector in certain North African countries. Promoting Islamic finance as a “fairer” way for finance to work, as well as other measures aimed at promoting social justice and fighting corruption, has been on the economic agenda of every Islamist party to take power or assume an important role as part of the opposition since 2011, from the Ennahda Party in Tunisia and the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to the National Transition Council in Libya or the Justice and Development Party in Morocco.

Morocco was one of the countries to remain mainly on the sidelines of this phenomenon. However, with Tunisia, it is one of the countries to have experienced the greatest advancements in this field over the last few years. The Central Bank only authorized the use of “alternative” banking products in 2007, and just by those conventional banks already doing business in that country. Since then, no further advancements have occurred. In a protracted legal process, the law regulating the establishment of “participatory” banks was finally enacted by the Parliament in 2015, and the first five licenses were awarded this year, in 2017.

In order to analyze this process and the prospects for growth by this type of banking in Morocco, where, like in Turkey, it is referred to as “participatory banking,” we will get the chance to hear from Mohammed Zougari Laghrari, head of Research and Relations with Participatory Financial Institutions for the Department of Bank Oversight at the Central Bank of Morocco (Bank Al-Maghrib), the entity which regulates the industry and has monitored the entire process. Before his conference, there will be a presentation of issue number 14 of the journal Awraq, dedicated specifically to Islamic finance in the Arab transition processes, given by Olivia Orozco, Casa Árabe’s Training and Economic Coordinator and the editor of this issue. It will be followed by a debate with the participation of Luis Orgaz, head of the Country-Risk Service of the Bank of Spain’s Adjunct Directorate General of International Affairs, and Gonzalo Rodríguez, the general coordinator of the Spanish-Saudi Center for Economics and Islamic Finance (SCIEF), at the IE Business School. The event will be presented by the General Director of Casa Árabe, Pedro Villena.
Islamic Finance in North Africa: Development and prospects for growth in Morocco
7:00 p.m.     Opening Ceremony Pedro Villena, General Director of Casa Árabe.

7:10 p.m.    Islamic finance in the Arab transition processes - Presentation of issue 14 of Awraq given by Olivia Orozco, Training and Economic Coordinator and the editor of this issue.

7:30 p.m.    Participatory banking in Morocco: development and growth prospects
Mohammed Zougari Laghrari, head of Research and Participatory Financial Relations for the Banking Oversight Department at Bank Al-Maghrib.

8:00 p.m.    Debate with the participation of Luis Orgaz, head of the Country-Risk Service of the Bank of Spain’s Adjunct Directorate General of International Affairs, and Gonzalo Rodríguez, the general coordinator of the Spanish-Saudi Center for Economics and Islamic Finance (SCIEF), IE Business School.
Mohammed Zougari Laghrari has worked at Bank Al-Maghrib (Central Bank of Morocco) since 2011, where he has been the head of research and relations with participatory financial institutions since January 2013. At the bank, he is also responsible for the secretariat of the Committee on the Sharia for Islamic Finance (the CCIF, by its abbreviation in French). He has represented the bank at the different events organized by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Islamic Development Bank and the Arab Monetary Fund.

With a PhD from the University of Perpignan, after completing a thesis on Islamic finance, Zougari also has an M.A. in “Financial markets and risk analysis,” as well as a bachelor’s degree in “Money, Banking and Finance” from the University of Montpellier I, having completed a thesis on religious identity and economics.

He has several certificates in Islamic finance from Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan.

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