Agro industrial processing zone in Nigeria is set to receive new line of funding to the tune of $150 million from Islamic Development Bank (ISDB). ISDB Vice President, Country Operations and Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, Dr Mansur Muhtar, confirmed this on Tuesday at the 5th African International Conference on Islamic Finance held in Abuja. The event had in attendance the 14th Emir of Kano and a former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi. The conference theme was “Infrastructure financing, sustainability and the future of African markets 2.0.” Speaking on mileage and advantages offered by Islamic financing, the former minister of finance described Islamic financing as a viable instrument for interinfrastructure development.
“Islamic banking is asset backed and based on participation and risk sharing. We have to look at other elements, which are the social and environmental sustainability that are consistent with Islamic principles of supporting Infrastructure. “At ISDB, we focus on projects relating to social and fiscal infrastructure. To implement these projects, we place a lot of emphasis on regional connectivity.
“For example, in Nigeria in the next couple of days, the ISBD will be making a contribution to a project that is aimed at supporting the development of special agricultural processing zones and we will be committing $150 billion “We have also been involved in several other projects in Nigeria,” he said.
On his part, Sanusi noted that Nigeria could tap significantly into the over $2.7 trillion global Islamic finance market by developing more Islamic financing instruments and deepening awareness. He said Nigeria was blessed with huge market for Islamic finance, adding that the government could leverage the cheap funding options available in Islamic finance for infrastructure. However, he said that, “despite the potential for growth of the Islamic financial services industry in Africa, promoters need to be encouraged to establish more Islamic financial institutions, so as to create the needed critical mass that is essential for the growth of the industry in the continent, and these institutions need to come together and support each other for advocacy and growth of the industry.