Morocco eyes MidEast investor for debut sukuk


By Reuters
25 June 2013
Morocco has won backing from the Saudi-based Islamic Development Bank for its first sukuk as the North African country looks to attract Middle Eastern investors.

“The Islamic Development Bank has proposed us to buy our sukuk rather than offering us another loan,” General Affairs minister Mohamed Najib Boulif said. “But the amount has not been set yet”.

Morocco’s moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party, which came to power in 2011 after protests prompted by the Arab Spring, has paved the way for Islamic finance by reforming its securitisation law to allow sukuk.

Earlier this year, the Morocco agreed a $2.4 billion package with the IDB, under which it will receive $600m each year from 2013 to 2016. It also raised $750m last month in a two-part reopening of its $1.5bn bond.

The North African country is considering other financial reforms, such as that of the pension and tax systems, as it grapples with the fall out from the euro zone crisis and the Arab Spring protests.

It will also deregulate prices for some basic goods in the next two weeks, its first step towards reducing subsidies, the minister said in an interview last week. He stressed, however, that the timing has not been decided.

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