More than one-third of small and medium enterprises in the Middle East and North Africa are out of the purview of banking sector and there exists a funding gap of up to $13bn for SME Islamic financing in the region.
Moreover sukuk, or Islamic bonds, have gained real momentum with many non-Muslim countries raising funds through these instruments, said Malaysian Premier Dato Sri Mohamad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak at the 11th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), which got underway here yesterday and attended by more than 3,000 delegates from 98 countries.
“35% of SMEs in the Mena are excluded from the formal banking sector. Indeed, there is a financing gap of up to $13bn for SME Islamic financing in this region,” Razak said, quoting a study by International Finance Corp (IFC).
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 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.