PORT LOUIS (Reuters) - Mauritius's first Islamic bank will be operational by the end of the first quarter of 2011, the central bank governor said on Thursday.
The palm-fringed island's growing offshore financial sector pitches itself as a financial platform bridging Africa, the Indian sub-continent and Asia.
Mauritius is seeking to tap into the $1 trillion Islamic finance industry, and the central bank also plans to offer sharia-compliant short-term liquidity tools.
The Bank of Mauritius granted its first Islamic Banking licence in October 2009 to provide an alternative mode of financial intermediation to bank customers, central bank Governor Rundheersing Bheenick said
"We expect the bank to be operational by the end of the first quarter of 2011," Bheenick said in his annual end-of-year letter to stakeholders.
No further details about the new bank were immediately available.
Islamic banking is one of the world's fastest growing financial sectors, WITH industry estimates putting annual growth at 15-20 percent.