AN ANALYSIS OF PUBLIC PERCEPTION OF ISLAMIC BANKING IN THE GAMBIA
Keywords:Islamic banking, public perception, the Gambia, Analysis
Modern Islamic finance has grown from a mere complement to conventional finance into a more viable and competitive form of financial intermediation in the world. It has received remarkable patronage from many Muslim majority countries since the advent in 1963. The Gambia is a Muslim majority West African nation where Islamic banking began in the country since 1997. However, the patronage of Islamic banking in the Gambia is quite insignificant compared to many Muslim countries. Hence, this paper seeks to analyze the perception of the Gambian public towards Islamic banking. A sample size of 459 respondents collected through questionnaire survey was used to collect the research data and the methodology adopted was quantitative with descriptive-cum-exploratory research design. SPSS version 25 and Microsoft Excel 2010 were used to analyze the data. Findings indicated that the perception of the Gambian public towards Islamic banking is generally positive and awareness about the existence of Islamic banking was high. However, knowledge about Islamic banking principles and understanding of Islamic banking products and operations were quite poor. Results also suggest that the Gambian public is willing to patronize Islamic banking, however, religion although important, but it is not the main patronage factor for Islamic banking in the Gambia. Results of Multiple Regression indicated that two of the independent variables namely, awareness and understanding of Islamic banking principles and products were not statistically significant in influencing public perception of Islamic banking while independent variables such as bank selection criteria and willingness to patronize were statistically significant.
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