Ivory Coast’s $244m Sukuk largest in West Africa

Ivory Coast’s  CFA 150 Billion ($244 million) Sukuk al-Ijara, which closed on Dec. 21, 2015 is the largest Islamic bond ever issued in West Africa.

The cocoa-producer’s inaugural local currency sukuk, which has a five‐year maturity, was subscribed by regional and international institutional investors, as well as retail investors from the eight member West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), who were impressed by the economic prospect of Ivory Coast. Region-wise, 56 percent of Sukuk was allocated to West Africa and 6 percent to North Africa while Middle-Eastern buyers snapped up to 38 percent.

This landmark transaction recently won two awards: Sukuk Deal of the Year (2015) and Africa deal of the year (2015) presented by Islamic Finance News.

Lead Arranger of the deal, Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), a subsidiary of the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank, says it will do its best to contribute in the transformation of the WAEMU Capital Market.

“ICD is committed to promote and increase substantially the volume of Islamic financing transactions toward the economies of the Union,” CEO of ICD, Mr Khaled Mohammed Al Aboodi said.

Ivory Coast had mandated ICD to structure a Sukuk Program, appoint and coordinate with other consultants, liaise with Government officials and oversee the entire process of the Sukuk offering.

The development agency has  been playing a major role in helping African countries enter the Sukuk market. With its assistance, Senegal issued WAEMU’s debut Sovereign sukuk to the regional market, a development which paved the way for other Western African countries to consider Sukuk as alternative financing tool.

With increasing demand from governments, organisations and individual investors for Shariah compliant equity, the global market for Sukuk has expanded rapidly, and Africa is not left behind in this growth.