Islamic Economics & Finance in East Africa
This study traces East Africa’s journey in an effort to embrace Islamic economics and finance. For each of the four countries covered, the study presents a discussion of the history of Islamic economics and finance, the Islamic financial institutions and their status in relation to the conventional sector, the status of Islamic finance education and research activities as well as highlights on the Zakat and Waqf sector. In general, Islamic economics and finance in this region is mainly visible through the Islamic banking sector. The study identifies the key drivers for Islamic economics and finance in the region. These include; a significantly large Muslim population and the demand for ethical investment opportunities. On the other hand, there are challenges which include; the absence of a supporting legal framework in some countries, lack of qualified human resources, non-compliance with Shariah principles and stiff competition from the more dominant conventional sector. The study makes a comparative analysis based on the identified common features. Results show that each country has a comparative advantage over the rest in one or two areas. It is concluded that the countries are interdependent and that they should harness their relative strengths for effective growth and development of Islamic economics and finance in the region.