As the Shariah-compliant Islamic finance sector booms in the GCC region, the President of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group, Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, asked experts in the field to develop new Islamic microfinance structures. Ali says the industry needs to leverage existing technologies and business approaches, such as mobile banking, to start developing microfinance initiatives that would support small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Ali said those actions would help local economies and cement the Islamic finance industry’s place as a leader in the global economy.
Ali’s remarks came at a conference in Kuwait entitled "Islamic Finance: Meeting Global Aspirations." There, Ali told the assembled financial professionals that Islamic microfinance would facilitate the inclusion of more people from various income brackets into the financial industry and provide greater access to financing, grow small local businesses and contribute to financial stability.
There is, however, some risk with lending money to inexperienced business owners. That means that on top of providing Islamic microfinancing, the banking industry needs to help educate and guide SMEs.
Global Islamic finance assets had an estimated value of $1.8 trillion in 2014 and are expected to almost double by 2020 to reach $3.2 trillion, according to the ICD Thomson Reuters Islamic Finance Development Indicator.
The projections come ahead of the 2015 World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC 2015), which will be hosted by Thomson Reuters, the world's leading provider of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, and The Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), an affiliate of the Islamic Development Bank Group.
The head of National Bank of Kyrgyzstan Tolkunbek Abdygulov and the president of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al-Madani had discussed the prospects of jointly opening an Islamic bank in Kyrgyzstan.
Additionally, they had talked about the other relevant things such as the perspectives of Kyrgyz Republic economy development, the establishment of a joint Shariyah compliant commercial bank and the possibility of opening an IDB representative office in Kyrgyzstan. The discussion took place during the International Financial conference “Islamic Finance: Meeting Global Aspirations” in Kuwait, on November 11, 2015.
Tolkunbek Abdygulov also had a meeting with Christine Lagarde, the Managing director of the International Monetary Fund, in which they discussed further course of cooperation between Kyrgyzstan and the IMF and drew a plan on joint actions during the financial crisis. Ms Lagarde also noted the concerted actions of Kyrgyztan’s National Bank and the government on monetary and fiscal policies.
Islamic finance is based on growth of assets, not financial engineering, and this organic growth makes it different from Western debt constructs, Justice and Development (AK) Party parliamentarian and economist has said.
Ibrahim Turhan, member of Turkish parliament for AK Party from Izmir, made the remarks in an interview with Anadolu Agency on the sidelines of the Second International Islamic Finance and Economics conference in Istanbul on Thursday.
Turhan, who is also an economist and former chief executive officer of Borsa Istanbul, said: “One of the principal causes of financial crisis of 2008-2009 was the vast market that had grown up for securitized instruments.
More than 1200 distinguished guests from more than 45 countries and 300 organizations participating this December, Bahrain
Key players from the global Islamic finance industry will be participating with the 22nd annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) 2015, taking place on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of December at the Gulf Hotel, Bahrain. Focusing on 'New Realities, New Opportunities', WIBC will play host to more than 1200 leaders including Central bank governors, regulators, C-suite bankers & asset managers, policy makers, Fintech entrepreneurs and contemporary thought leaders.
WIBC 2015 will host 5 central bank Governors and deputy governors and feature speeches and discussions by the Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain, H.E. Rasheed Al Maraj, the Executive President of the Central Bank of Oman, H.E. Hamood Sangour Al Zadjali, Deputy Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan, Riaz Riazuddin and the Deputy Governor of the National Bank of Kazakhstan, Nurlan Kussainov.
The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) and International Shari’ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA) have successfully organised a Shari’ah Roundtable themed, ‘Financial Safety Nets: Striking a Balance between Shari’ah Requirements and the Soundness of the Islamic Financial System’. The Roundtable was held on 5 November 2015 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The Roundtable aimed to provide a platform to Shari’ah scholars, legal practitioners, regulators and market players for having in-depth deliberations on key aspects of financial safety nets such as Lender of the Last Resort (LOLR) and Deposit Insurance Schemes from the Shari’ah perspective.
Over 70 delegates from nine jurisdictions among the IFSB members and non-member organisations – representatives from market players, regulatory bodies, and international agencies – Shari’ah scholars as well as academia attended this Roundtable.
Luxembourg for Finance and QInvest are hosting an Islamic finance workshop next week in the European country to debate some of the pressing themes in the Shariah finance industry.
The event, which will be held November 24, will bring together investment fund professionals, bankers, corporate houses and industry practitioners to discuss sukuk issuance and ways of promoting the Shariah bond market as well as the emergence of Islamic high yield financing as an alternative.
The workshop will have presentations from several senior officials of QInvest as Hani Ibrahim, head of Debt Capital Markets; Alexander Armstrong, head of Financial Institutions and Structured Finance; and Dr Ataf Ahmed, head of Asset Management.
They will be joined by Luxembourg and international panellists, including the chief executive of Luxembourg Stock Exchange.
The Borsa Istanbul Private Market, a year-old platform for bringing companies and investors together, is a leading example of Islamic finance, the exchange’s CEO Tuncay Dinc has said.
Speaking at the G20 forum on Islamic finance on Wednesday, Dinc said: “The Islamic finance approach to risk- and profit-sharing makes it an important resource for investors who seek the greater security that this kind of finance affords.”
Islamic finance, which does not involve charging or paying interest, uses a model in which trade is backed by real assets and money is merely a medium of exchange rather than a commodity to be traded.
Under this system, the funds invested are used on a profit-and-loss sharing basis under models known as musharakah – a joint enterprise where risk and rewards are shared rather than interest paid on a loan – and mudarabah, where one party supplies funding and an agent manages a specific trade.
Speakers at a conference have urged the financial institutions and civil society to play their role by supporting an inclusive financial sector policy framework for equal access to financial services.
The workshop, which was attended by the scholars of Indonesia, Nigeria, Kenya, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Uganda, Sudan and US, is focused on bringing forth recommendations that will help in devising sustainable strategy for development of inclusive finance.
The two-day moot is jointly organised by International Institute for Islamic Economics of IIUI in collaboration with Islamic Research and Training Institute, Islamic Development Bank, Jeddah.
Speaking on the occasion as the chief guest, Islamic International University Islamabad President Dr Ahmed Yousif Al-Draiweesh stressed on the Muslim economic researchers to work for devising strategies for an interest-free transparent economic system. He was of the view that financial issues be observed in the light of Islamic teachings. The IIUI president hoped that conference would bring beneficial and significant recommendations pertaining to the financial and economic issues.
Organised by the International Centre of Islamic Economy and the Dubai Airport Freezone Authority, the event is part of efforts to encourage innovation and creativity in the development of new products as key additions to the international Islamic economy. The two-day event will be held in conjunction with UAE Innovation Week which was launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, in line with of the directives of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, upon declaring 2015 as the ‘Year of Innovation’. The international platform is poised to attract more than 300 participants including top-notch financial and economic experts, decision makers and representatives from official, supervisory, regulatory, legislative and executive entities to share the latest innovative ideas related to Islamic economic sectors.
On a trip through a Gulf squeezed by low oil prices, the head of the International Monetary Fund repeatedly called on countries to cut back on subsidies, lower government spending and consider levying taxes. But implementing Christine Lagarde's suggestions is easier said than done in the oil-rich countries, even as crude prices have dropped by over 50 percent since last year. Generations have grown used to cradle-to-grave social programs, comfortable government jobs and tax-free living. While Gulf leaders, including those in Kuwait, have begun warning harder times may be ahead, some citizens remain opposed to any cuts.
"Almost every week we hear about Kuwait giving grants left, right and center to other nations that are in need of money. It's as if the government doesn't realize that we, in Kuwait, are also in need," said Abdulaziz Al-Adwani, a Kuwaiti school teacher. "It's not logical to start imposing a tax on citizens when the government can afford to give grants to this country and that country."
The idea of having a common currency and a global Islamic mega bank among the Muslim countries is quite remote at the moment and the focus should be on increasing intra-trade, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Najib Razak.
Najib said while talks of having a mega global Islamic bank have been on the table for some time, the idea has not materialised.
“There have been some attempts to establish a global Islamic mega bank, but it has not materialised yet. I think there are some challenges to be put together, in a serious fashion, for a mega Islamic bank. Effort should continue,” he said at a press conference at the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.
Najib cited the example of the European Union’s (EU) challenges in adopting a common currency as a reason why the idea of a common currency among Muslim countries is remote.
“I think it is quite remote to have a common currency among the Muslim world. I don’t think we should imply to go down the path as EU was also at the point of breaking up at one time. It is not a feasible option but what we can do is increase the intra-trade among Muslim countries.
With Islamic finance entering London’s financial market and billions of dollars of investment in the UK and global real estate coming from Gulf Cooperation Council countries and other Muslim jurisdictions, the UK government was one of the first in the West that started propelling initiatives on Islamic financing vehicles for property purchases as early as in 2013. Meanwhile, Islamic financing facilities have become so popular for real estate transactions in the UK undertaken by Arab investors that the next International Real Estate Finance Summit, the premier real estate event in the UK scheduled to take place on December 1 and 2, 2015, in London, will entirely focus on the opportunities Shariah-compliant finance vehicles entail for property financing.
Kuwait will host the World Islamic Financing Conference, organized by Kuwait Central Bank (CBK) and the International Monetary Fund, with the participation of the IMF Center for Financing and Economy in the Middle East and Thomson Reuters as strategic partner for knowledge.
The conference will be held on November 11, 2015 under the patronage of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. This announcement was made by CBK Governor Mohammad Al-Hashel and said the conference will see high ranking international attendance of decision makers headed by Christine Lagarde, Director General of IMF and senior IMF employers and experts around the world.
Several finance ministers, Central Bank Governors, their deputies and representatives in many countries are expected to attend the event. There will also be presence of International Economic Establishments that belong to the United Nations and Regional Organizations in addition to experts and academics.
From November 16 -15, Suriname will host a meeting of central banks and monetary authorities of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member countries. This will be one of the first meetings of the OIC that Paramaribo will host to enhance its economic standing and raise its global profile. The meeting will bring together economic and financial officials from OIC member states under the theme: "Structural and financial policies to cope with international and domestic economic challenges in the OIC member countries." The first day of the meeting will be dedicated to the experts’ group workshop. On the second day, the meeting of governors will take place.
The General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions and the Association of the Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME) and the Chamber of Commerce of Barcelona are co-organising the 3rd Mediterranean Islamic Finance Forum, themed “Building Bridges” on the 27th of November 2015, at Casa Llotja de Mar in Barcelona, Spain. This 3rd Edition will play a key role in building bridges for capital flows between Europe, the Middle East and beyond. It will bring together business leaders, policy makers and regulators to discuss challenges and opportunities for the Mediterranean region to tap into Islamic finance as a key source for Infrastructure projects and Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) financing.
The International Islamic Banking Summit Africa will take place on November 4-5 in Djibouti. The conference will convene international industry leaders to boost economic development and facilitate greater trade and investment flows between Africa and the OIC markets through Islamic finance. It has a format spread over 2 days and will be officially inaugurated on the 4th of November with special keynote addresses by Ahmed Othman, Governor of the Central Bank of Djibouti; Abdelrahman Hassan Abdelrahman Hashim, Governor, Central Bank of Sudan; and Ijlal Alvi, Chief Executive Officer, The International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM).
Kenya is set to host the first East Africa Islamic Finance Summit (EIAFS2015) that will be held on December 14th at Nairobi’s Villa Rosa Kempinski. The Cabinet Secretary for Treasury Henry Rotich will give a presentation on Kenya’s role in developing East Africa as an Islamic Finance investment destination. The summit themed “Unveiling opportunities”, aims to initiate dialogue, build network between East Africa’s financial institutions, policy makers and the Islamic Finance institutions in the region and the Middle East. Experts in Islamic Finance will discuss the development of Islamic Finance in East Africa, explore infrastructure projects in the region and discuss alternative opportunities for project and trade finance for both public and private sector projects.
Noor Bank is set to support an art and design exhibition at the Global Islamic Economy Summit 2015 (GIES) that will run on October 5th and 6th in Dubai. In partnership with Thomson Reuters, Noor Bank will spotlight new Islamic artwork at the event in its role as the official Arts and Design Sponsor of GIES 2015. Additionally, as part of Noor Bank's participation at the landmark summit, Hussain Al Qemzi, CEO of Noor Bank and Chairman of Awqaf & Minors Affairs Foundation will headline a session on Awqaf as a keynote speaker. GIES 2015 is scheduled to take place at the Madinat Jumeirah.
A delegation from Azzad Asset Management joined representatives from the Saudi Arabian and U.S. business communities in Washington, D.C., for a conference designed to foster trade ties between the two nations. Azzad has investments in Saudi Arabia through its international fixed-income fund. The U.S.-Saudi Investment Forum, organized by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority in conjunction with the Council of Saudi Chambers and the U.S.-Saudi Business Council, served as an opportunity for executives and officials to explore investments in energy, transportation, health, education, and financial services. Signing ceremonies between U.S. and Saudi businesses were a feature of the event.