Islamic finance has largely been a priority area in Malaysia for three decades and it is not about to slow down. The World Bank's recent Global Report on Islamic Finance highlighted Malaysia as having the largest Islamic banking assets in the region with US$156.7 billion (RM697.15 billion) as at 2013. Malaysia is also the second-largest economy in terms of total syariah-compliant financial assets. However, the report also suggested the need to address several challenges like the need for alternative investments. On a positive note, the report said the syariah governance framework was advanced in Malaysia. Within Asia, Malaysia has been dominating the sukuk issuance market. The US dollar-denominated sukuk have been growing, but sukuk denominated in Malaysian ringgit are growing even faster and dominate the market.
More than 100 participants participated in the World Bank-Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) High-Level Seminar on Islamic Finance and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on October 6. The Seminar was highlighted by a keynote address by his Royal Highness Muhammadu Sanusi II, the Emir of Kano and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The Emir stressed the potential of Islamic finance to mobilise much needed capital to achieve the SDGs. Ms. Arunma Oteh, the Vice President and Treasurer of the World Bank, similarly stressed the importance of Islamic finance as an agent for financial inclusion and for mobilising private investment in infrastructure. The panel discussion examined how countries are increasingly using Islamic finance to support developmental goals, and innovative sukuk structures supporting both physical and social infrastructure.
The important role of the Republic of Turkey in the global Islamic finance industry as well as its distinct standing both at the official and popular levels, the steady growth both of Islamic banks and financial institutions operating there, in addition to the parallel evolution of its regulatory and supervisory framework, the AAOIFI has been keen to strengthen professional and technical ties with this country. This was translated into an official visit by AAOIFI to a number of banking regulatory and supervisory bodies as well as a number of Islamic banks and financial institutions, professional entities and academic institutions.
The financial services industry is a highly-regulated industry due to the mobilisation of investors, depositors and policyholders, that is, public funds. Significant public trust demands proper supervision and monitoring of financial services and, hence, the promulgation of statutes, statutory provisions, guidelines and circulars with direct supervision from financial authorities. Soundness and stability of the financial system are the universal concern of all financial authorities, as specified by World Bank Financial Soundness Indicators (FSIs). With regards to regulation of Islamic financial institutions and services, various jurisdictions present different forms of regulatory framework. Variations of such framework are attributed to a country’s specific approach to the adoption of Islamic financial institutions, in particular, and embracing of the Islamic financial system, in general. A social choice to regulate significantly depends on the types of government financial systems and their perspectives on financial liberation, as well as either having a banking (such as Germany) or capital market (such as the United States) orientation.
Leaders of the World Bank, United Nations, and Islamic Development Bank Group pledged to work closely together in the region. They recently launched the new financing initiative to support the MENA region aimed at uniting the international community to face the region’s immense challenges, including flow of refugees, and to launch of the process of growth, recovery and reconstruction. This approach aims at completing the massive humanitarian effort through strengthening the capacities of individuals and local communities. The plan needs forming broad alliances as the objectives of the new strategy and the resources necessary to achieve them exceeds the capacity of any single organization.
The Vice President of the World Bank for the Middle East and North Africa Hafez Ghanem confirmed that the World Bank aims to give $20 billion to the Middle East to help ease the Syrian crisis within the next five years. The figure is three times what the World Bank has spent up until now, and Ghanem added that his institution has given $4.9 billion to the Middle East and North Africa since July last year and most of this went to Iraq, Egypt, Jordan and, to a lesser extent, Lebanon. The increase had already started before the Syria crisis, when $1.6 billion was given to the region every 12 months. With regards to the monitoring of loans, Ghanem said that the World Bank helps the government design a project and provides technical assistance. Then a team of experts supervises it every six months.
Recognizing the huge economic opportunities of Islamic financing, the Peace and Equity Foundation (PEF) in partnership with Al Qalam Institute, Cordaid and World Bank (WB) Philippines, is gearing up for drafting of the 21-year roadmap to attain compliance to Sharia'h-based financing industry.
Islamic Financing is touted as a growing "$2 trillion" global industry,
The roadmap will be patterned from the Southeast Asian countries like Indonesia, one of the leading countries in adopting Islamic Finance in the global scale. It will be divided into three stages with seven years each of realization.
Ricardo Torres, PEF's Partnerships and Program manager, in a press conference Wednesday, told reporters this 21-year journey will commence next year.
Torres was in Davao City for the three-day Sharia'h conference dubbed as “Islamic Financing in the Philippines: A Step towards the First Seven years,” at the Ritz Hotel and Garden Oases, "The first seven years will be the first step and we intend to implement it starting 2016. After this Sahria’ah conference which will be attended by some 200 stakeholders we intend to craft fully the whole roadmap,” Torres said.
Five year 150 billion CFA issuance sukuk priced at a profit rate of 5.75%
The Ivory Coast is to become the latest state to issue a Sovereign Sukuk as it today launched its debut five year 150 billion CFA issuance sukuk priced at a profit rate of 5.75%. The addition of the Ivory Coast displays the continued growth of the Islamic finance market into Africa and represents a highlight in quiet year for sukuk issuance’s with total issuance volumes down considerably due to tightening of liquidity in traditional Islamic financial markets of the Gulf and South East Asia.
The sukuk is being arranged by the Islamic Corporation for Private Sector Development (ICD). The ICD signed an agreement in April 2015 for the implementation of a five-year Sukuk programme for 300 billion CFA to be issued in two equal phases of 150 billion CFA each. A road show was held in Saudi Arabia from 14 to 19 November and followed a recent upward revision of the Ivory Coast’s sovereign rating by Moody’s from B1 to Ba3.
A new international bond and grant scheme to help countries dealing with the fallout of war and instability in the Middle East and North Africa should be in place by spring, a senior World Bank official said.
In a Reuters interview, Hafez Ghanem, the World Bank's vice president for the Middle East and North Africa, said the type of investment targeted by the plan - education, infrastructure and jobs - was vital to addressing the region's refugee crises. He said that humanitarian aid alone was not enough and the alternative was “one or two lost generations” in a region with 15 million refugees or internally displaced people.
The Islamic Development Bank wants to use Islamic bonds to help finance the reconstruction of countries ravaged by conflict, with the World Bank as a potential joint issuer, the head of the multilateral lender said.
Refugee and reconstruction financing is a priority for the Jeddah-based IDB, which last month launched an initiative with the World Bank and United Nations to help more than 15 million people displaced across the region.
Work is now underway to identify specific projects for the initiative, with a priority on war torn Yemen, which could see the IDB and World Bank as issuers of the sukuk.
"We need to finalize this with the World Bank, but most likely it will be a joint issuance", IDB president Ahmad Mohamed Ali said on the sidelines of an industry conference in Kuwait.
The IDB, which operates to promote economic development in Muslim communities, has 56 member countries including Saudi Arabia, Libya and Iran as its largest shareholders.
Bold new ideas for helping Syrian refugees and their overburdened Middle Eastern host countries are gaining traction among international donors, shocked into action by this year's migration of hundreds of thousands of desperate Syrians to Europe.
Rather than struggling to gather humanitarian aid for refugees, the plans center around investing billions of dollars, much of it to be raised on financial markets. The money would go for development in countries such as Jordan and Lebanon to improve lives for both their own populations and refugees.
More controversial is a demand by some in the aid community that, in return for such a "Mideast Marshall Plan," Jordan and Lebanon must allow Syrian refugees to work, integrating them more into society. The host countries, however, point to high domestic unemployment in arguing they cannot put large numbers of refugees to work legally.
"We need to be ambitious," the regional chief of the World Bank, Ferid Belhaj, told The Associated Press. "Development is the key."
The International Finance Facility for Immunisation Co. (IFFIm) has hired banks for a return to the Islamic bonds market, a funding exercise that has helped add Muslim countries to the donor base of its immunisation programmes. This year, the governments of Saudi Arabia, Oman and Qatar have pledged to donate a combined $38 million to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI), the first Muslim nations to so. This follows the debut issuance of sukuk from IFFIm, which raised $500 million in November after attracting bids of $700 million. The second sukuk from IFFIm, for which the World Bank acts as treasury manager, has a three-year tenor and could raise $200 million to $250 million, said IFFIm Board Chair Rene Karsenti.
The International Finance Corp (IFC), the World Bank's lender to the private sector, has received a preliminary AAA rating from Standard & Poor's for a proposed $100 million issuance of sukuk. Proceeds of the sukuk would be used to purchase a portfolio of diversified sharia compliant receivables and other assets, the credit rating agency said in a statement. The transaction would match the size of the last sukuk issued by IFC in 2009, a five-year deal which was listed on the Dubai and Bahrain bourses. The latest sukuk from IFC would rank on the same level as other senior unsecured financial obligations from the multilateral lender, S&P said.
International Finance Corp (IFC), a unit of the World Bank, plans to meet fixed income investors starting on Monday ahead of a potential issue of U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk. IFC, rated Aaa/AAA by international rating agencies, has picked Dubai Islamic Bank, HSBC, National Bank of Abu Dhabi and Standard Chartered Bank to arrange the investor meetings. The meetings will be held in the Middle East, with a possible sukuk issue to follow subject to market conditions. No details about the size of the issue or maturity were given. The sukuk will be listed on Nasdaq Dubai and an application will also be made for a subsequent listing on the London Stock Exchange.
The General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI) and the World Bank are pleased to announce their joint international conference on "Corporate Governance for Islamic Financial Institutions: Lessons from Recent Global Developments", which is due to take place in Amman, Jordan on 15th and 16th September 2015. The one and half day conference aims to bring together various stakeholders from the private sector, multilateral development institutions, international and national regulatory bodies, policy-makers, and academia to discuss the issue of corporate governance in the Islamic financial services industry (IFSI).
The General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI), the global umbrella of Islamic financial institutions, and the World Bank have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU). The MoU will help foster the development of Islamic finance globally and expand its use as an effective tool for financing development worldwide, including in non-Muslim countries. The MoU serves as the foundation for future cooperation in the areas of knowledge generation and dissemination; distilling and sharing lessons of experience; encouraging research and promoting awareness; and enhancing capacity in the Islamic financial services industry.
The International Finance Corp (IFC), the World Bank's lender to the private sector, has started work on a return to the market for Islamic bonds, with plans to issue sharia-compliant debt after summer in the Gulf region. Details such as currency, tenor and size were not yet available. The IFC, which aims to spur private investment in developing countries, last sold a $100 million five-year sukuk in 2009, listing it on the Dubai and Bahrain bourses. Its first sukuk came in 2004 in Malaysia, a 500 million Malaysian ringgit ($134 million) three-year deal. In December, the International Finance Facility for Immunisation Co (IFFIm), for which the World Bank acts as treasury manager, issued a $500 million debut sukuk.
Last week, an immunisation programme secured a $500 million (£319.4 million) issuance of sukuk, in the largest debut issue ever by a global non-profit organisation. The sukuk from the International Finance Facility for Immunisation Co (IFFIm), for which the World Bank acts as treasury manager, is part of a broader trend to use bond markets to fund development and humanitarian projects. IFFIm, backed by nine sovereign donors including Britain and France, will use the proceeds of its sukuk to finance projects for the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunisation (GAVI). The sukuk could encourage other non-profits to consider this funding tool.
World Bank and IMF annual meetings began in Washington. IMF Managing Director Christine Lagardes opening remarks addressed inclusive growth for the MENA region. The growth is projected to average 4.2 percent in 2015, up from 3.5 percent this year. The World Bank adds though, that violent conflicts in the region in countries such as Syria, Iraq, Gaza, Yemen and Libya, as well as their effects into neighboring countries like Lebanon and Jordan, were seriously hampering regional growth. The region is said to thus have “great potential”.
The International Finance Facility for Immunisation Co. (IFFI), for which the World Bank acts as treasury manager, has picked four banks for a potential U.S. dollar-denominated sukuk. Rated AA by Standard and Poor's and AA+ by Fitch, IFFI has mandated Qatar's Barwa Bank, National Bank of Abu Dhabi, and Standard Chartered to arrange investor meetings in the Middle East, Europe and Asia. A potential sukuk offer may follow the roadshows - for which a schedule has not been given - subject to market conditions before the end of the year.