Here we go...! Posted on Friday 7 May 2010 By Andualem Sisay, AfricaNews reporter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia Sharia banking products have been launched in Tanzania by Stanbic Bank Tanzania, a member of the Standard Bank Group. Shariah banking is a system of banking that is consistent with the principles of Islamic law. In practice, it prohibits the payment or acceptance of interest fees for the lending and acceptance of money. Standard Bank has engaged the services of an independent Sharia council to approve product and ensure that all the banks Sharia activities are fully compliant, according to News Business Ethiopia. It also prohibits Muslims from investing in businesses that provide goods or services that are considered contrary to the Islamic principles. In practice, Islam prohibits the taking and giving of interest, there should be no gambling (speculation) and no investments in prohibited industries. The first products that will be offered under this proposition will be a transactional product TransactPlus and current account, which is 100% Shariah compliant and provides the same convenient features of conventional accounts, including internet banking, Visa electron or Maestro debit card, and prepaid airtime services. Gateway to East Africa Bashir Awale, MD, Stanbic Bank Tanzania is quoted as saying: Tanzania is an important market for Standard Bank as the gateway to East Africa and we are proud to be able to offer our first Shariah banking product in this market, where about 50% of the population is Muslim. We believe that if we are to contribute to the economic development of Africa, we need to provide innovative banking solutions that are consistent with the needs and beliefs of all our customers. There is a substantial untapped market among Muslims, who make up a large portion of the population in Africa, and Standard Bank is mindful of the fact that to be truly an African bank, it needs to ensure that there are products in the market that cater for them, stated Terry Moodley, Chief Executive, Personal and Business Banking, Standard Bank Africa. As the leading bank in Africa, Standard Bank is constantly looking for ways to provide banking products and services that allow all customers in Africa to save and transact. It also aims to demonstrate its confidence in the future of Africa and other emerging markets by making the right connections with its customers and stakeholders across the continent. Standard Bank plans to roll out its Sharia banking value proposition to all other markets in the coming months, concluded Moodley. Standard Bank trading as Stanbic Bank is part of one of Africa's leading financial services groups, the Standard Bank Group Limited, which is based in South Africa and listed on the Johannesburg Securities Exchange. The group trades under the name Stanbic Bank in Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe; and is known as Standard Bank in Angola, the DRC, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, South Africa, Lesotho, Mauritius and Mozambique. The group has the largest presence in Africa with the Group total assets of approximately 182 billion USD as at December 2009 and employing about 35 000 people worldwide. Even NBC: By FARAJA MGWABATI, 2nd May 2010 TANZANIANS will from today experience new waves in the banking sector as they start to enjoy the benefits of Islamic Banking, which forbids earning of interests in the banking transactions. NBC Bank announced over the weekend the introduction of Islamic Banking window, which is consistent with Shariah law, just a day after another bank, Stanbic, introduced the same. According to the NBC Bank Managing Director, Mr Christo De Vries, funds deposited in the accounts would be invested in businesses approved under Shariah Law. He said NBCs Islamic Banking, would start with two products, Cheque Account and Savings Account. The Savings Account will have an embedded funeral cover (Takafol death benefit) included in monthly maintenance fees. The products are built around the Shariah Laws which govern the way in which Muslims live their lives and conduct their daily business including financial affairs, the MD said in Dar es Salaam. The service, according to the bank, starts today and will be available in all their branches across the country and will be free for all people regardless of their religious affiliations. Muslims and non-Muslims globally are choosing to make use of Islamic Banking because it is a service that gives them the assurance investment of their money. All investments made under Islamic Banking are never associated with the traditional sin industries such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling or pornography, said NBC Islamic Banking Board Chairman, Dr Mussa Assad. In terms of account opening, Islamic Banking will be conducted in exactly the same manner as opening a conventional account. However, the product features will differ, based on Shariah principles, said NBCs Marketing Manager, William Kallage. Tanzania is estimated to have over 40 per cent Muslim community. Mufti Shaaban Bin Simba, who witnessed the introduction of the service, said it was a relief for the Muslim community as they have for long suffered from high interest rates. The Almighty God forbids charging of interests. He destroys any economy that depends on interests and blesses offerings, the Mufti said. He noted that interest rates were the reason for the collapse of world markets and subsequently followed by world economic crisis. The Mufti said, as a leader of the Muslim Council of Tanzania (BAKWATA), he would launch a special facility within the NBC Islamic Banking machinery that would enable Muslims to put their savings to accumulate money for the annual Holy pilgrimage of Hajj.