Islamic Banking in the Middle-East and North-Africa (MENA) Region
Islamic Economic Studies, 2012, vol. 20-1, 1-44
Islamic finance has now become an important element in the development agenda of the Middle East and North African (MENA) countries. It is also gaining significance in the financial landscape of the region as well as of the individual countries. As a growing business it caters to the financial needs of the people without conflicting with their social and religious values. Despite this reality, little systematic and consistent analysis exists in the literature on the asset and liability structure of Islamic banks in the region and across individual countries. Even lesser is known on what drives Islamic banking growth. This paper addresses this gap and explores how the structure of the Islamic banking sector has been evolving in the MENA region in recent years, and how it is growing in terms of assets, liabilities, financing and funding structures within the region and across different countries. It also provides an exploratory analysis of relative importance of the various factors responsible for the growth of Islamic banking in the region. The financial crisis provided us with a natural experiment to evaluate the contribution of Islamic banking towards resilience and inclusiveness of financial sector by analyzing the performance of these banks during this period.
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