Stanbic Bank Tanzania, a member of the Standard Bank Group, the leading emerging markets bank with the largest presence in Africa, has launched Shariah banking products in Tanzania.
Shariah banking is a system of banking that is consistent with the principles of Islamic law.
In practice, it prohibits the payment or acceptance of interest fees for the lending and acceptance of money.
It also prohibits Muslims from investing in businesses that provide goods or services that are considered contrary to the Islamic principles. Islam prohibits the charging of interest; there should be no gambling (speculation) and no investments in prohibited industries.
The company's headquarters in Johannesburg, South Africa, issued a statement, saying the first products that would be offered under this proposition would be a transactional product ‘TransactPlus’ and current account, which is 100% Shariah compliant and provides the same convenient features of conventional accounts, including internet banking, Visa electron or Maestro debit card, and prepaid airtime services.
"Tanzania is an important market for Standard Bank as the gateway to East Africa and we are proud to be able to offer our first Shariah banking product in this market, where about 50% of the population is Muslim," said Bashir Awale, Managing Director, Stanbic Bank Tanzania.
Terry Moodley, Chief Executive, Personal and Business Banking, Standard Bank Africa, said: "We believe that if we are to contribute to the economic development of Africa, we need to provide innovative banking solutions that are consistent with the needs and beliefs of all our customers.
"There is a substantial untapped market among Muslims, who make up a large portion of the population in Africa, and Standard Bank is mindful of the fact that to be truly an African bank, it needs to ensure that there are products in the market that cater for them."