As part of efforts to modernise the banking system of Mauritania, the country’s central bank is planning to develop Islamic finance.

"A strategy for the development of Islamic finance is currently being prepared. It will identify the key levers to promote and revitalise the sector to its full potential," Reuters quoted central bank governor Sid’Ahmed Ould Raiss as saying.

Raiss added that plans to modernise the financial system will be rolled out over a five-year period, starting in the first quarter of 2014.

He did not divulge any further details.

Islamic finance, which follows religious principles such as bans on interest and gambling, is making inroads in several sub-Saharan countries including Nigeria and Djibouti.

Last year, two new Islamic lenders Banque Al Muamalat As Sahiha and Maurisbank started operation in Mauritania.