The legislative challenges of Islamic banks in South Africa

Suleman, Yasser (2011-12)

Thesis (MBA)--Stellenbosch University, 2011.


The Islamic Banking industry has been one of the fastest growing industries worldwide with a compound annual growth rate of 28% between 2006 and 2009(Reuters, 2010). These growth rates were experienced amidst the worst economic meltdown the world has seen in decades. This is a clear indication that there is a high level of confidence in the industry. Although the industry has existed for centuries, the past few decades have brought about a revival in Islamic banking. Many Western countries are recognising the industry’s importance and have taken various steps in supporting the establishment of it. South Africa has also taken such steps and has a vision of becoming a hub for Islamic banking on the African continent. This mini thesis examines the differences in nature of the underlying principles of Islamic and conventional banking which then brings to the fore the various challenges that exist in the unhindered functioning of Islamic banks within Western countries. These challenges revolve around institutional and legal frameworks, regulatory and supervisory bodies, South African Reserve Bank requirements, interest, taxation and conceptual understandings. In order to provide recommendations to address these challenges, case studies of Islamic banking in both, Islamic and Western countries were conducted. These case studies provided insight into how countries have addressed similar challenges and to what degree were they successful. This provided the basis from which recommendations were made for Islamic banking to function efficiently and effectively in South Africa and for the country to achieve its goal of becoming a hub of Islamic banking on the African continent.

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