Uganda Launches Interest-Free Islamic Banking Services

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda on Wednesday officially established the country’s first interest-free commercial Islamic bank, allowing it to operate in accordance with Islamic principles.


Museveni stated during the Salaam Bank’s inaugural ceremony in the capital, Kampala, that Islamic banking has the ability to greatly contribute to the development of Uganda’s financial sector and entice more Muslims to invest in the economy. He stated that the government does not believe in discrimination and treats all Ugandans equally, regardless of religion or tribe, and that this mentality has enabled the country’s social and economic development.

“I encourage you to fight poverty and create wealth,” he said.

“Some people were initially opposed to the creation of Uganda’s Islamic University. I said no, let it work. It has now generated a considerable number of graduates in numerous fields, including non-Muslims,” he stated.

Salaam Bank Uganda, a subsidiary of a Djibouti-based bank, received its first Islamic banking license in September last year, following the passage of legislation legalizing Islamic banking by parliament, which Museveni signed into law.

Sheikh Erias Kigozi, a Ugandan cleric from the Wakiso district of central Uganda, who spoke on behalf of Muslims at the bank’s debut, praised the president for being a decent leader who cared about Muslims and enabled them to establish a financial system based on Islamic principles. On the occasion, Salaam Bank Chairperson Ibrahim M. Abdirahman stated that the population, even non-Muslims, has embraced Islamic banking due to its values.
According to S&P Global Ratings, the global Islamic finance industry is predicted to rise by approximately 10% in 2023-2024, despite the economic slowdown, following a similar expansion in 2022.

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