The Guardian

'We've been badly served by banks': the small firms seeking #ethical #banking

Dave Fishwick, the founder of Burnley Savings and Loans, put millions of pounds behind the belief that there’s a demand for ethical banking. He aims to link local savers with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in need of finance, run by a locally based bank manager who makes lending decisions based on deep personal knowledge, rather than an algorithm. Fishwick believes that ethical banks are needed: small, simple, honest banks run by the community to serve the community. While SMEs often can’t get loans from major banks, Conrad Ford, CEO of Funding Options, notes that a wave of challenger banks are offering help. They include Metro Bank, Civilised Bank and Greater London Mutual, all with an emphasis on integration with a defined community or locality.

#Zakat requires Muslims to donate 2.5% of their wealth: could this end poverty?

Zakat is a powerful source of good with untapped potential for contributing to sustainable development. There are some striking commonalities between the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and zakat. Zakat is mandatory giving; all Muslims eligible to pay it must donate at least 2.5% of their accumulated wealth for the benefit of the poor. But despite its tremendous potential for contributing to the SDGs, zakat organisations have been overlooked by development organisations. Between $3tn and $5tn is estimated to be needed per year to achieve the goals, but current investment falls short at around $1.4tn. By working together with religious organisations, development bodies can fill the $2.5tn investment gap, while also promoting peace and development. A shift in the public mindset is needed so that zakat is seen as a programme needing professional management for positive change, rather than simply charity.

#Nigeria May Become IsDB Regional Hub for Africa

Nigeria may become the regional operational hub of the 43-year old Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in Africa. IsDB is considering a proposal to expand its existing country gateway office in Abuja to serve as a key regional office. The office will coordinate the operations of the Bank in its West and Central African member-countries. According to the Ministry of Finance, the Abuja gateway office will serve Nigeria, Gabon, Niger, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, the Republic of Cameroon, Uganda, Senegal, Djibouti and Guinea Bisaau, among others. IsDB President Bandar Mohammed Hajjar said the Bank would enhance the development impact of its projects through comprehensive development solutions that integrate services and products in its member-countries.

‘Islamic finance is not religious, but ethical business’

Professor Binta Tijani Jibril is the Director of International Institute of Islamic Banking and Finance, Bayero University, Kano State. In this article she talks about Islamic finance and its role in Nigeria. She believes that Islamic findance will help Nigerians in general in the sense that it will increase financial inclusion. The main challenge in Nigeria is how to educate the people to create awareness of this financial model. Bayero University has now short training programs, a masters degree in Islamic finance and very soon a doctorate programme we will start. There is also a special programme for journalists. According to Professor Jibril, Nigeria may soon raise sukuk, just like Osun state has done. It’s going to be about providing for infrastructure development as well as empowering the citizens. So Nigeria would be expanding and widening its reach into Islamic finance.

Government’s move for Islamic financing reaches advanced stage

The #Nigerian government’s move for sukuk has reached an advanced stage. As work continues on the process of the planned sovereign sukuk, the size of the possible deal has not been determined. The Debt Management Office (DMO) had opened its door for expression of interests from entities, including banks and issuing houses, needed in the process, with deadline for bids submission slated for January 9, 2017. This came a few days after the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, was elected Chairman of the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation (IILM). His mandates include the facilitation of effective cross-border liquidity management instruments. Meanwhile, the African Development Bank Group (AfDB) has approved the $250 million loan for the Federal Government for the development of a youth-oriented initiative called ENABLE Youth Nigeria. According to the bank, the scheme would contribute to job creation, food security and nutrition, rural income generation and improved livelihoods for youths.

Indian law requires companies to give 2% of profits to charity. Is it working?

India is the first country in the world to enshrine corporate giving into law. Following a change in company law in April 2014, businesses with annual revenues of more than 10bn rupees (£105m) must give away 2% of their net profit to charity. Areas they can invest this money in include education, poverty, gender equality and hunger. Two years on, overall charitable spend by companies has increased. Yet fears that companies would find ways of avoiding shelling out for good causes appear equally well-founded. A survey found that 52 of the country’s largest 100 companies failed to spend the required 2% last year.

The microfinance delusion: who really wins?

What’s so fascinating about the microfinance craze is that it persists in the face of one unfortunate fact: microfinance doesn’t work. As David Roodman from the Center for Global Development put it in his recent book, the best estimate of the average impact of microcredit on the poverty of clients is zero. A comprehensive DFID-funded review of extant data comes to the same conclusion: no clear evidence yet exists that microfinance programmes have positive impacts. In fact, it turns out that microfinance usually ends up making poverty worse. The reasons for this are fairly simple. Most microfinance loans are used to fund consumption – to help people buy the basic necessities they need to survive.

Jaiz unveils non-interest products at Kano Fair

Jaiz Bank Plc has introduced some specific small and medium enterprise (SME) products to empower small-scale businesses and teeming customers in the grassroots. Unveiling its corporate products and services at the on-going 35th Kano International Trade Fair at the weekend, Jaiz Branch Manager, Mallam Mansur Imam pointed out that besides its conventional products like savings account (Mudaraba), lease and acquisition finance (Ijara-Wa-Iqtina) and corporate and trade financing (Murabaha), the SME was uniquely conceived to finance market driven products and encourage growth of local enterprise.

Propagating Islamic housing model

Muslims in Nigeria have canvassed a good government policy that would promote affordable housing for the citizenry.ome group of Muslim businessmen and other professionals who gathered at the 2014 National Conference organised by The Companion, in Ibadan recently, advised Muslim organizations to join hands in tackling their peculiar challenges and assist members to secure affordable shelters. The gathering resolved that Nigeria’s massive housing deficit may further degenerate until governments and real estate private developers turn their focus to mass housing as a sector priority rather than the present proliferation of luxury estates.

Saudi Arabia's green decree brings hopes of sustainability

In early March, the Saudi Presidency of Meteorology and Environment (PME) announced a decree giving all companies five years to meet new air, water and noise pollution standards. All projects must fit into Saudi's plan for international development, and must meet international benchmarks standards as part of the PME's environmental plan to protect Saudi's health and natural resources. The new regulations are wide-reaching, addressing soil and land preservation, noise pollution from operating machinery, hazardous and radioactive waste that enters Saudi Arabia's coastal waters and other harmful pollutants. Companies refusing to comply with Saudi Arabia's new standards within five years will see their projects shut down and suspended for three months.

Could principles of Islamic finance feed into a sustainable economic system?

Islamic finance can be seen as part of a wider movement towards the promotion of sustainability as a key element of economic life. The basic premise under sharia law that no one should profit purely from money leads to a shift in both parties' perspective away from the short-term transaction and towards the longer-term relationship and its consequences. Islamic finance is becoming an important part of important emerging economies in the Middle East and Asia – high-growth markets where American businesses will want to compete and succeed. And the Muslim population in the United States is continuing to grow and can be an engine for further growth here at home. Ignoring these developments will be harmful to American banks and investors, as well as to the American economy itself.

Sustainable banking in Nigeria: a strategy or a mindset?

In September 2012, the Central Bank of Nigeria launched the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles. The adoption and implementation of these principles are compulsory and require Nigerian financial institutions to develop a management approach that balances environmental and social risks. Since its launch, there have been a series of initiatives and dynamism towards embedding sustainability in the Nigerian banking sector. However, sustainable banking in Nigeria could be abandoned if it is not pursued by subsequent Central Bank governors. Unfortunately, the Nigerian business environment is particularly characterised by poor governance and weak consumer voice, which will in turn have implications for the success or failure of the longevity of the Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principles.

Jeffrey Sachs' Millennium Villages to expand with £67m loan

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) is to provide $104m (£67.3m) in loans to African governments to fund an expansion of Millennium Villages, the controversial project led by Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University's Earth Institute. About $40m of the money will go towards a flagship sustainable villages programme (SVP) in Chad, Mozambique, and Sudan. In addition, $29m will support the extension of existing Millennium Village projects (MVPs) in Mali, Senegal and Uganda, while $35m will be used for a drylands initiative in Djibouti, Somalia and Uganda. Governments will team up with the IsDB, the Earth Institute, and its partner, Millennium Promise, to carry out the projects. The Millennium Village project covers more than 500,000 people in 14 areas of 10 countries in different environments across Africa. Each site was considered a "hunger hot-spot" at the time the project began in 2006. The concept works on the principle of interventions across several key areas – health, education, enterprise and agriculture – over a 10-year period.

How Islamic finance and a more ethical capitalism go hand-in-hand

Muslims live their lives in accordance to the teachings of their founder, Muhammad, whose business dealings were strongly linked to humanitarian values. Therefore, today’s Muslims are encouraged to keep their wealth in constant circulation, either into the business, or into local communities. Comparatively, a social enterprise is an organization, which focuses on environmental, social and economical well-being with a profit-making business model. These two types of businesses have community interests in common and are also faced with similar issues due to the constant circulation of money.

Takaful help Prudential to make as much profit in Asia as in UK

The Guardian reported on 17th March about the takaful business of Prudential. Prudential is looking to expand into Egypt as the executive who runs the insurer's fast-growing Asian business seeks other markets with scope for rapid growth, like before Indonesia, where 25% of all sales in the fourth quarter of 2007 were sharia-compliant products.

Figures on Friday showed that profits of the Pru's Asian operations broke through £1bn for the first time in 2007 and now match the profits achieved by the insurer's traditional UK operations.

Stowe is already responsible for 13 countries. In India, he believes Pru can soon overtake the state-owned insurer that occupies the number-one slot in the country.

Source: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2008/mar/17/islamicfinance.insurance?gus...

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