Over the last decade, trade between African countries and the rest of the world has grown significantly and, in particular, charting a 170 per cent increase in trade with the GCC.
The ongoing shift by African countries from being aid-dependant to increasing trade and investment ties with the Middle East has positioned Islamic finance to play a key role in facilitating further increases in trade and investment flows between Africa and the Middle East.
This is even more significant given the inherently strong linkages between Islamic finance and real economic activity and the potential to provide funding for key areas such as small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and project finance. Increased interest from Gulf investors in terms of agricultural land acquisitions combined with a growing Asian investor base, particularly in manufacturing, is expected to provide further impetus to the growth of the continent's economies.
Speaking ahead of a high-profile conference addressing the opportunities for Islamic finance in Africa, David McLean, chief executive of Islamic Banking Summit Africa (IBSA 2012), said "as a result of the recent policy revisions, regulatory changes and economic reforms in key markets on the continent, Africa has now been re-positioned as the third fastest growing region in the world.
Times Of Oman