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Islamic Microfinance Experience in a Secular State: Case of Benin

Ousmane Seck ()
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Ousmane Seck: The Islamic Research and Teaching Institute (IRTI)

No 2017-5, Policy Papers from The Islamic Research and Teaching Institute (IRTI)

Abstract: Islamic finance has gained interest in Muslim as well as non-Muslim countries as financial markets are trying to attract capital from investors in search of investment opportunities in accordance with Islamic principles. While the industry is growing on fertile grounds in countries such as Malaysia, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, a mix of other countries such as the United Kingdom, Luxemburg, Hong Kong, Senegal, South Africa etc., have tapped into that market by issuing Sukuk or Islamic bonds, although their regulatory frameworks are not designed for their specificities. In 2010, Benin, a former French colony, which inherited its secular constitution has introduced Islamic microfinance without modifying its regulatory framework. The objectives in this paper are three-fold: review the microfinance policy, the regulatory framework and its relevance to the effective functioning of Islamic microfinance. The paper also presents the experience of Benin in Islamic microfinance, and the evaluation of its impact in a policy environment characterized by secularism that implies exclusion of religious specificities. Using a combination of evaluation studies, survey of stakeholders and experts in Islamic microfinance in Benin, and complementary interviews, this research finds that the impact of Islamic microfinance is not separable from the impact of the overall microfinance sector in which it is blended. The impact appears to be positive in terms of contributing to the improvement of living conditions, and loosening the financing constraints on households and small and medium enterprises through additional financial resources.

Keywords: Islamic microfinance; Poverty alleviation; Financial Inclusion; SMEs; Africa (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 15 pages
Date: 2017-05-30
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-fle, nep-isf, nep-mfd and nep-sea
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