Algeria’s Islamic finance plan still faces huge barriers. REUTERS/Ramzi Boudina
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When experts in Islamic banking gathered earlier this year at a state-run hotel in Algiers to share their experiences on Shariah-compliant finance, no one from the government showed up. But despite this hesitancy – government officials are reluctant even to refer to Islamic finance by that name – Algeria is edging slowly toward offering banking services to suit more religiously conservative investors. Now six state-run banks plan to start Islamic financial services by the end of the year or in early 2018, and a national Shariah board that would oversee Islamic banking is also planned by the end of 2017, banking and government sources told Reuters.A government source told Reuters three of the banks would launch Islamic products in the summer and a fourth may join them at the end of the year.Al Salam Bank Algeria and Al Baraka Bank Algeria, local units of Bahrain-listed Islamic banks Al Salam Bank and Al Baraka Banking Group, are also already operating in Algeria.
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