Bank Al-Maghrib, the central bank of Morocco, expects to issue permits for Islamic finance institutions by the end of 2016, its director general Abderrahim Bouazza told local press.
This would allow the first Islamic banks to begin operations in 2017.
Ten local and international bank have applied for licenses. They include Attijariwafa bank, owned by the Moroccan royal family, which will set up a freestanding Islamic bank.
Other banks are bringing in foreign capital and experience to set up Islamic banks. Frances Credit Agricole is partnering with the Islamic Development Bank, Banque Marocaine du Commerce Exterieur (BMCE) with Bahrains Al Baraka Islamic Bank, local Banque Centrale Populaire with Swiss Guidance Financial Group, local CIH Bank with Qatar International Islamic Bank and Caisse de Depot et de Gestion (CDG) Maroc, according to Reuters.
Frances Societe Generale, local Credit du Maroc and Banque Marocaine pour le Commerce et lIndustrie (BMCI) are planning Islamic windows.
Bank Al-Maghrib has now set up a Sharish board. The development of Islamic finance in Morocco will also require a framework for Takaful, or Islamic insurance, and legislation allowing the government to issue sukuk, or Islamic bonds, according to a central bank official.
The complexity of the legal frameworks has caused delays in approving permits.