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Jaiz Bank, IDB Sign $20m SMEs Financing Deal

Jaiz Bank and Islamic Corporation for the Development of Private Sector (ICD) have signed a $20 million line of agreement to finance the Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) of Nigeria. The financing deal covers sectors such as industry, communications, technology, health, manufacturing and agriculture. Hassan Usman, Managing Director of Jaiz Bank, signed on behalf of the bank while Okan Altasil, the Regional Office Director of ICD, signed for the corporation. The ICD management said the reason for extending such financing to some Nigerian banks was because SMEs have crucial role to play in a country’s growth and development. The ICD had previously extended a total of $120 million line of financing facility for the development of SMEs in Nigeria.

Islamic bank to meet business world in Izmir this month

Turkey's Aegean province of Izmir will host an Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB) event between 26-27 April. The announcement was made by Turk Eximbank CEO Adnan Yildirim, who said that Turkey aims to boost trade relations with the IDB's 57 member countries. He added that Turk Eximbank wants to raise Islamic countries' 10% share of world trade to 20%. Turkey's current trade with IDB member countries is around $45 billion and the bank hopes to raise it to $100 billion within 10 years. Turk Eximbank aims to double its support to companies in IDB member countries. The lender ranks second globally after South Korea's Eximbank in terms of financing exports.

#Malaysia remains lead in Islamic finance

Malaysia has great potential to broaden its market share and strengthen its leadership in Islamic finance. According to the latest report by the Malaysia International Islamic Financial Centre, Asia’s Islamic financial assets amounted to US$528.7 billion (RM2.05 trillion), or 26% of the world’s Shariah-compliant financial assets as at end-2017. Malaysia continued to be the main driver for both sukuk outstanding and issuance for the year, with a market share of 51% and 36.2% respectively as at end-2017. The country also led in the Islamic wealth management industry with US$28.3 billion (36.5% global share). It also ranked first in terms of number of funds with a total of 394 funds and 27.9% global share, followed by Pakistan with 147 funds and Indonesia with 143. In the banking sector, Malaysia ranked third globally after Iran and Saudi Arabia with a total Islamic banking assets of US$204.4 billion as at end-2017.

#Saudi- Finance Minister heads the Kingdom's delegation to the 43rd Islamic Development Bank board of governors Annual Meeting in Tunis

Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan will head the Kingdom's delegation to the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Islamic Development Bank between April 4-5 in Tunis. The Saudi delegation will include Dr. Ahmad Al-Khulaifi, Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), Dr. Hamad Al-Bazie, Vice Minister of Finance, Eng. Yousef Al-Bassam, Vice President and Managing Director of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD). The IDB annual meeting's agenda will comprise of discussion sessions about the 2017 IDB activities report, IDB's institutions annual report and the establishment of the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD). The ISFD aims to alleviate poverty, develop capacity, and eradicate illiteracy, diseases and epidemics in member countries via funding various productive, social and service projects and programs.

The rise of Muslim #Millennials and what it means for Islamic finance

Millennials are the generational demographic bracket following Generation X, which was a more consumerist, independent-minded age cohort. In the Muslim world, the Arab Spring, the Global Recession and other developments like dropping oil prices had major impact on this generation. A study by credit card firm Visa showed that Millennials make up the fastest-growing consumer segment in the GCC region. Visa estimates that Millennials in the UAE will receive an average income of $40,000 annually by 2019 which naturally makes them an important customer segment for banks. Millennials are generally savvy with digital technologies and the sharing economy. They have a more liberal approach to economics, which means that they are generally not brand-loyal but rather look for the best deal. Muslim Millennials are truly asserting their needs in Islamic finance, as they do in halal travel, food, media and fashion. For Islamic banks, this means that laggards will lose out on this very important customer segment, if they do not invest in their digital banking solutions.

And The Country With The 'Most Expensive' Plate Of Food Is...

A report from the World Food Programme (WFP) analyzed the glaring gap in food costs around the world. The report points out that people living in poor countries have to spend the bulk of their wages on basic nourishment. The research measured the proportion of daily income that people spent on ingredients for a basic bean stew in different countries last year before retro-projecting the ratio on to a resident of New York State. An average person living in New York State would spend about 0.6% of his or her daily income on ingredients for a bean stew, approximately $1.20. Someone living in South Sudan would have to work for a day and a half to afford a basic meal with the cost of the ingredients 155% of daily income. The real price of a plate of bean stew in South Sudan would be $321.70, so many of the country's inhabitants are struggling to feed themselves.

Syed Alwi is Agrobank’s new CEO

Agrobank has appointed Syed Alwi Mohamed Sultan as its new president and CEO. The appointment has received approval from Bank Negara Malaysia and the Ministry of Finance. Previously, he had held several senior management positions with various banks such as Bank Muamalat Malaysia, BNP Paribas, Standard Chartered Saadiq, The Islamic Bank of Asia and HL Bank Singapore. Syed Alwi has a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a first-class master of business administration in Islamic finance from the International Islamic University of Malaysia. Agrobank became a full-fledged Islamic bank in 2015. It provides Shariah-compliant banking products and funding to cater for the halal food industry and agriculture-related activities.

#Qatar central bank backs three-way Islamic bank #merger

Qatar’s central bank hopes the planned merger between three local Islamic banks can proceed this year. Masraf Al Rayan, Barwa Bank and International Bank of Qatar have been discussing a merger, though they missed the target date to complete the proposed deal. Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic and transport ties with Qatar last June. Qatar accused them of trying to sabotage its financial markets and manipulate its currency. Sheikh Abdullah said that since the embargo started, the central bank had been meeting regularly with executives of banks to ensure daily control of liquidity levels and financial transfers. He added that Qatar plans to issue roughly the same amount of riyal debt in 2018 as it did in 2017, when it issued 47.5 billion riyals ($12.3 billion). That included 18.5 billion riyals of bonds and 15.4 billion riyals of sukuk.

Islamic bank IDB officially launches $500M science #fund

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) launched a $500 million fund to strengthen science, technology and innovation in the Muslim World. The launch of the fund was made at the IDB's 43rd Annual Meeting in Tunis. The fund had been announced for the first time in Kazakhstan in September 2017, by the IDB President, Dr. Bandar Hajjar. He said 57 IDB member countries face challenges in development and many of them could not solve their problems on their own. He added that the IDB wants to be a catalyst so that people can lead the process of development. Dr. Hayat Sindi, chief scientific adviser to the IDB president, said the bank would like to give every scientist an opportunity to provide solutions to development challenges. She said the aim of the fund was to give a boost to creative minds.

DFSA hosts accounting standard-setters for Islamic finance

The Dubai Financial Services Authority (DFSA) recently hosted the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB) as part of a consultancy meeting. The Authority's involvement reflects its commitment to developing an effective and supportive regulatory framework for Islamic finance. The DFSA is a member of the Islamic Finance Consultative Group (IFCG), which focuses on challenges that may arise in the application of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). The meeting was attended by IFCG members from Bahrain, Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and the United Kingdom.

IDB Group and World Bank launch second edition of Global #Report on Islamic Finance

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group and the World Bank Group launched the second edition of the Global Report on Islamic Finance. The report is entitled "The Role of Islamic Finance in Financing Long-Term Investments". It presents a global perspective on the need for long-term investments in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and proposes the use of Islamic finance. Despite the huge potential in Islamic finance, the report notes that the Islamic financial sector is a small player in the global financial markets and requires a concerted push for the regulatory and legal changes to take root. It therefore recommends strengthening the Islamic financial system by developing a supportive legal, administrative, and regulatory environment. The biennial Global Report on Islamic Finance is a joint initiative of the Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) of the IDB Group and the World Bank.

Islamic Development Bank aims to empower women

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) aims to improve women’s access to infrastructure that will offer economic opportunities through Islamic microfinance. IDB president Bandar Hajjar was speaking at the "Partnerships for Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment" session at the 43rd annual IDB meeting in Tunis. He said the empowerment of women was at the core of the Bank’s development strategy. He announced that to achieve this, the bank would launch a new initiative called "SheCan". He also stressed the bank continued its regular operations to empower women in priority sectors, such as energy, education, transport, health and Islamic finance. Representatives of 57 member states, senior government officials and ministers of finance, economy, planning and international development are attending the five-day meeting in Tunis.

Gotta Have Faith: A Biblically Responsible #Investment Strategy

There are several ways for financial advisors to diversify an investment portfolio. For example, the James Biblically Responsible Investment ETF (JBRI) tries to reflect the performance of the James Biblically Responsible Investment Index. Indexing methodology screens out or excludes companies engaged in activities that are objectionable from a biblical perspective. This type of indexing methodology is a subset of the broader socially responsible investing branch of investments where investors try to achieve profitable investment goals while still adhering to one's principles. According to James Investment Research, JBRI is constructing a portfolio comprised of the most attractive stocks meeting Christian principles and criteria. The fund can be used as a core equity holding, an ESG option, or as a Smart Beta holding.

Public Mutual launches e-Islamic flexi allocation #fund

Public Mutual has on Tuesday launched an e-series fund called Public e-Islamic Flexi Allocation Fund (PeIFAF). The fund's objective is to achieve capital growth over the medium to long-term by investing up to 98% of its net asset value in Shariah-compliant equities or sukuk. Public Mutual CEO Yeoh Kim Hong said PeIFAF has a flexible fund mandate that enables the fund managers to capitalise on investment opportunities. The minimum initial and additional investment amount is only RM100 and the sales charge is up to 3.75%. The initial issue price for PeIFAF is 25 sen per unit during the 21-day initial offer period from Tuesday to April 23. To coincide with the launch of this fund, it is holding a campaign during the initial offer period. The campaign offers 203 prizes. The grand prize is RM3,000 of money market fund units.

MBSB rebrands AFB as MBSB Bank

Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB) has rebranded its recently acquired Asian Finance Bank Bhd (AFB) as MBSB Bank. MBSB Bank's CEO Datuk Seri Ahmad Zaini Othman said the bank would provide Shariah-compliant products and services, such as consumer banking, business banking and trade financing. He added that the bank would also focus on developing its financial technology capabilities to attract more customers. The lender has already embarked on several digitisation initiatives, including big data projects started in June 2017. MBSB Bank plans to launch its fintech capabilities for wealth management and trade facilities by the third quarter of this year, and to have Internet banking facilities ready by end-2018. MBSB finalised its acquisition of AFB in February for RM644.95 million with the latter becoming a wholly owned subsidiary of MBSB. With the transfer of all MBSB’s Shariah-compliant assets and liabilities to AFB, MBSB Bank is the second-largest full-fledged Islamic bank in the country.

Dubai’s Damac said to hire Barclays, HSBC for possible #sukuk

Damac Properties Dubai hired banks for a possible sale of U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk. Hired banks include Barclays and HSBC and more banks will follow to arrange the debt sale, which may happen as soon as this month. Damac is the latest company in the Middle East looking to tap the bond market amid a busy start to a year for debt sales. Besides sovereigns like Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Sharjah Islamic Bank, Oman Telecommunications and Noor Bank are among those waiting to access capital in the next few weeks. Issuance from the Gulf Cooperation Council climbed to $22.8 billion so far this year, the second-best first quarter in at least 12 years.

Why Is Financial Inclusion in #Nigeria Lagging Compared to Its African Peers?

According to InterMedia’s Financial Inclusion Insights (FII) 2016 Annual Report, the number of adults who are considered financially included in Nigeria has not improved since 2014. Financial inclusion in Nigeria dropped slightly from 37% in 2015 to 35% in 2016, lagging behind the three other African countries of the program. In 2016, 69% of Kenyans, 54% of Tanzanians and 40% of Ugandans were financially included. The 2016 FII data found that more than half of Nigerian adults do not have access to financial services. FII data suggest that even when they have access, many Nigerians lack the basic resources and key skills that facilitate financial inclusion. In 2016, decreases in bank account ownership drove an overall drop in financial inclusion. In Nigeria, the population continues to work in the cash-based informal sector.

Tunisia to host Islamic Development Bank annual meeting

The annual meeting of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group will be held in the first week of April in the Tunisian capital, Tunis. Fifty-seven ministers of economy and finance of member countries and about one thousand experts, economists and financiers will attend the meeting, which takes place between April 1 and April 5. There will also be a signing ceremony of financial partnership agreements between the IDB Group and some member states, including Tunisia. The IDB Group formally opened in 1975 and currently has 57 member states.

DE Asset Management Invests $500K into Hada DBank

HADA Bank has received a $500,000 investment from DE Asset Management as they look to secure a long-term business partnership. DE Asset Management is looking to develop and launch its own cryptocurrency fund through Hada DBank. The $500,000 investment was made by DE through Hada DBank’s current token presale. Hada DBank determines to fuse blockchain technology with Islamic Banking Module. Blockchain technology will ensure security and transparency, while Islamic Banking module will ensure ethical banking and investment.

WGC, IIFM to develop #standards for gold-based Islamic contracts

The World Gold Council (WGC) and the International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM) plan to develop a series of standard templates for sharia-compliant gold contracts. Gold had traditionally been classified as a currency in Islamic finance, but new guidance has opened the door for a wider range of products. The Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) developed a sharia standard for gold in 2016. The proposed contract templates from IIFM would add to those efforts by standardising the operational aspects of gold transactions. Natalie Dempster, managing director of central banks at the WGC, said the new standards would include physical allocation of gold, confirmation of ownership and spot transactions. Allocated gold agreements, consignment agreements, swap product confirmations and other gold-based products were also discussed at the consultation meeting, which was hosted by Borsa Istanbul, Turkey.

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