Bridging Islamic Finance and Impact Investing

The 2017 Annual Impact Investor Survey from the GIIN showed that respondents committed more than $21 billion to impact investments in 2016 and planned to commit 17% more in 2017. Geographically, however, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) only makes up 2% of assets under management. Islamic finance is largely concentrated in three markets, Iran, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia, but it spans nearly every part of the world. Globally there are largely untapped markets that show immense potential for Islamic finance, such as sub-Saharan Africa. There, the primary driver of the region’s Islamic economy is the need for quality infrastructure. For example, the Nigerian government recently announced the sale of a N100 billion ($326 million) debt sovereign sukuk on the local market, meant to fund road infrastructure in the country. The principles of Islamic finance and impact investing have many areas of overlap. Islamic finance can be a strong source to finance sustainable development in many areas around the world.