Bank Al-Maghrib, Morocco’s central bank, has approved five applications to start shariah-compliant banking operations in the country and has also allowed three foreign banks to sell Islamic products in the market.

The banking regulator has allowed CIH Bank in partnership with Qatar International Islamic Bank; BMCE Bank of Africa jointly with the Saudi/Bahraini group Dalla Al-Baraka; Banque Centrale Populaire with the Saudi group Guidance – a financial firm specialising in real estate financing; Crédit Agricole Du Maroc jointly with the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), a subsidiary of the Islamic Development Bank (IBD) to launch Islamic banking operations.

Attijariwafa Bank, which is still negotiating with possible partners has also been given the nod.

The Credit Institutions Committee has also allowed Banque Marocaine du Commerce et de l’Industrie, Crédit du Maroc and Société Générale to sell Islamic banking products, according to a statement from Bank al-Maghrib.

The launching of participative finance products in Morocco complements and expands the range of products offered by the domestic banking sector and opens it on new financing capacities. It will also strengthen Casablanca as a leading financial hub in Africa, the statement added.