Interview of Cheikh Fall, Managing Partner Cabinet Cheick Fall - Senegal
Tuesday, July 17, 2012 - 11:55
Islamic Finance in Senegal
1. What are the opportunities for Islamic finance to spread in Senegal?
As an emerging market with a political stability stressed by the 95% Muslim population out of over 13 000 000 inhabitants, Senegal represents a potential market for ISFIN. Besides, Senegal is experiencing its first SUKUKS investments between the Government and ICD and Citi under the local legal guidance of our firm. This will certainly influence more similar transactions and therefore effect the spread of Islamic Finance in Senegal especially as conventional finance systems have shown their inefficiency.
2. Do you see retail products developing as well for the local population?
Senegal being a predominantly Muslim country, consumers are very apt to purchase products with an Islamic influence, though the market is not very much furnished with especially Islamic related products apart from the introduction of some pharmaceutical products such as Habbatou Sawda which has gained its place of choice in the market and Halal products. Thus, it is my opinion that any sector of retail geared towards Islam can find success in Senegal.
3. How do you see the developments of Islamic Finance in Senegal? Which will the investors consider as priority?
The issuance of credit under Sharia principles, the investment in Real Estate sector as well as pharmaceutical and food industry and microfinance, seem to present a bright future in Senegal. The order of priority for investors in these sectors being in descending order.
4. You were the first lawyer to implement a SUKUK under Senegal law, what were the main challenges?
The main challenges were adapting the Sharia principles with the local law, as there were often subtle conflicts with regards to the provisions of each legal rubric, and also make such adaptations meet the requirements of the Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO).
5. Would you say that Senegal is more advanced than its neighboring countries in the area of Islamic finance?
Yes, as the choice of Senegal to launch the SUKUK transaction in West Africa clearly highlights its position as leader in the pack as compared to its neighboring countries.
Me Cheikk Fall
Attorney at Law