Barclays, Absa to extend Islamic Insurance service into Africa.

By bne IntelliNews September 11, 2012
South African banking group Absa and its 56.4% owner, UK-based Barclays, plan to extend the offering of their Islamic Insurance service Takaful into Africa as they see a strong growth opportunity on the continent, which has a Muslim population of more than 500 million, Fin24 reported, quoting Takaful South Africas CEO Uwaiz Jassat. Barclays launched its Takaful product in South Africa in 2003 and sold the business to Absa in 2011. Takaful has shown a robust growth of an average of over 40% y/y since its launch, which proves the strong appetite for Islamic financial products, according to Jassat. We already launched a Takaful product in Tanzania the first of its kind in the region. We have also seen real appetite for this type of insurance and the growth has been beyond our expectations Jassat was quoted as saying. Absa and Barclays plan to leverage on their experience in Africa to provide Shariah-compliant products that are specially designed for each country. "Furthermore worldwide experience of Takaful and Islamic Banking has shown that financial products that adhere to this strict criteria is becoming more and more attractive to non-muslim customers. There are various reasons for this with the most common being the elimination of interest and other unethical business practices Jassat said. Barclays operates in 10 African countries and Absa operates in three countries on the continent outside South Africa.

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