Niger's government will establish an Islamic bond programme worth 150 billion CFA francs ($260 million), permitting its first issue of sukuk, with assistance from the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank , the Jeddah-based body said.
African markets are gradually opening to Islamic finance, encouraged by governments' debut sales of sovereign sukuk and legislative efforts to make the sector more attractive for companies across the region.
Niger would follow Senegal and South Africa, which issued sovereign sukuk for the first time last year; Ivory Coast has been considering a 200 billion CFA franc sukuk issue. Tunisia plans a debut sukuk issue in the third quarter of this year.
Niger's sukuk would be issued over the next five years in two separate transactions worth 75 billion CFA francs each, the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) said in a statement.
The government already has a number of projects that could be financed through sukuk, Amadou Boubacar Cisse, Niger's planning minister, was quoted as saying in the statement.
In November, the government said it had secured 100 billion CFA francs to build a hydroelectric project that would cost around $1 billion. Money for the project would come from donors including the Islamic Development Bank, the World Bank and France's AFD development agency.