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Sustainability and Islamic Finance in the United Arab Emirates

The targets set by the UAE to prepare the country’s economy for a post-hydrocarbon era have been very ambitious. As part of its economic diversification actions, the UAE has undertaken to increase the clean energy contribution to the total energy mix from 0.2% in 2014, to 24% by 2021. In the UAE Energy Strategy 2050, a target is set of cutting carbon dioxide emissions by 70% by 2050 and increasing the use of clean energy to meet 50% of the country’s energy needs by the same year. The Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 similarly sets out the emirate’s aim of transforming Dubai into a global clean energy centre. These goals will require considerable capital investment. However, while other centres for Islamic finance have seen a growing number of responsible finance sukuk issuances, there have been noticeably fewer issuances in the UAE. Mobilising private sector finance through responsible financing activities will be critical in helping the UAE government to meet its extensive sustainability targets.

Millennium launches worldwide operations in Dubai to help $2.5 trillion international Islamic finance sector

Islamic banks have emerged stronger after each monetary disaster which uncovered the weaknesses of the traditional banking methods. Millennium Info Answer FZ-LLC (MISL) launched its operations on the Dubai Worldwide Metropolis to assist Islamic banks to migrate to their new-generation core banking solution called Ababil. Ababil is an end-to-end superior core-banking solution covering Company and Retail Banking, Funding Banking, Financing Origination System, Buyer Info File (CIF), Commerce Finance, Treasury Administration, Agent Banking, Offshore Banking, Revenue Distribution, Accounting & MIS, Payroll, Drilled Down Reporting, and so on. Along with Ababil, MISL is offering its newest human resources solution Sylvia and risk-based auditing solution Tahqiq.

Registration deadline for Ma’an third Social Incubator extended to 12th September

The Authority of Social Contribution, Ma’an, is urging all social entrepreneurs in the UAE and wider MENA region to complete the online application, as the Authority announces an extension for registrations until 12th September. The teams shortlisted for the Social Incubator programme will aim to strengthen the interactions and create stronger emotional bonding between parents, children, relatives, the elderly and couples across the Emirate and highlight the importance of family values. Ma’an will shortlist and support 10 winning social start-ups, who will then undergo a 90 day training programme and develop their ideas into business ventures. Ma’an will invest more than AED 2 million in total in this cycle with the successful applicants also having access to milestone-based funding, mentorship, office space, business expertise and investors.

Why Islamic Finance And Impact Investing Should Join Forces

The Islamic finance sector is growing, and as the global community responds to the COVID-19 pandemic, key stakeholders are working together to address the challenges. Islamic finance will continue to grow over the next decade across asset classes and markets, creating a unique window of opportunity to align components of its investments with the UN SDGs. Impact investing and Islamic finance are complementary and compatible. The UAE and the GCC overall are key hubs for Islamic finance. Further awareness is needed to make Islamic finance leaders and GCC governments to align in this movement, and to continue to consider how they can most effectively capitalize on impact investing to generate positive returns whilst making the ongoing positive impact on society.

Inequality, Concentration of Wealth and the Ownership Structure of Islamic Banks: Some Pertinent Issues

An important Islamic imperative is prevention of concentration of wealth among a few so that wealth circulates widely to enhance shared prosperity. In contemporary economic discourse inequality and concentration of wealth have emerged as among key causes of instability and crisis. Unfortunately, while Islamic finance has emerged as a Shari’ah-compliant industry, it does not seem to be connected with the Islamic concern about inequality and concentration of wealth. This research paper illuminates the pertinent issues in light of the experience of Bahrain as one of the hubs of Islamic banking and finance.

Don’t Believe the Hype. Wealth Taxes Are Nothing New

In July, a group of 83 of the world’s richest people calling itself Millionaires for Humanity urged governments to increase taxes on them to help deal with the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. Their idea, the latest version of a wealth tax was received as almost revolutionary. Although wealth taxes may seem bold and innovative, however, the concept is almost as old as money itself. Since the ancient Greeks there have been wealth taxes in various countries right through to the present day. More recently than the ancient Greeks, a wealth tax has been foundational to Islamic practice. The zakat functions as a 2.5% wealth tax on liquid assets. Modern wealth taxes have often failed because they haven’t learned from their historical equivalents.

#Kuwait's Alafco delays delivery of Airbus order

Kuwait-based Alafco Aviation Lease and Finance is to delay delivery of its aircraft order from Airbus as a result of the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic on the aviation industry. Although the number of aircraft impacted is unclear, reports suggest Airbus currently has 43 A320neo and ten A321neo jets on order to be delivered. Future pre-delivery payments between the company and Airbus will be realigned, along with a new delivery schedule, which will result in rescheduling the upcoming pre-delivery payments for this year and the upcoming three years to year 2024 and onward. Earlier this month it was revealed that Alafco had ended a $336 million legal dispute with US aerospace giant Boeing over a cancelled order.

Arcapita and Mumtalakat Sell Stakes in NAS Neuron Health Services

Arcapita Group and Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding sold their ownership stake in Abu Dhabi-based NAS Neuron Health Services. The two companies partnered to acquire an equity stake in NAS United Healthcare Services in 2017. Umair Nizami is the Managing Director of Neuron, as well as CEO of Dubai Wing. NAS Neuron is one of the largest private TPAs of medical claims in the GCC region.

Fund Management: Bridging the gap between ESG and shariah-compliant investing

ESG (environmental, social and governance) investing and shariah-compliant investing share similar objectives in that they promote stewardship and societal value creation. However, the two strategies are often viewed as distinctly separate approaches by investors. According to the president of asset management firm Saturna, Shahariah Shaharudin, bringing together the two investing methodologies can do much to invigorate the Islamic asset management industry. As both ESG and shariah-compliant funds are considered defensive asset classes, they performed relatively well during the recent market downturn triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bitcoin Association sponsors Islamic Fintech Week 2020

Bitcoin Association has joined the inaugural Islamic Fintech Week 2020 as a sponsor and ecosystem partner. The three-day event will bring together stakeholders, regulators and innovators to chart the future of financial technology in the Islamic world. This year’s IFW2020 will be hosted in Malaysia from September 7-10. It will feature a themed series of panel debates, roundtable sessions and masterclasses. Topics on the agenda for the virtual event will include the role of Shariah in Islamic fintech, how Malaysia can become a global finance hub, fintech’s role in the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic and the social impact of Muslim women in finance. Digital currencies and blockchain will also feature heavily in the event, with various guests set to address how they can be integrated into the Islamic finance industry.

Moody's and IFN team up on global Islamic finance expertise

Moody's Investors Service (Moody's) and Islamic Finance news (IFN) have announced their collaboration to provide insights and analysis for Islamic finance worldwide. IFN readers will gain access to Moody's exclusive content covering Islamic finance, ranging from sukuk issuance trends in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to the latest trends in Islamic banking. Moody's is a global integrated risk assessment firm that empowers organizations to make better decisions. IFN is the leading Islamic finance news and solutions provider in the world, housing the largest pool of Islamic finance-related articles and coverage.

Bitcoin Affiliation joins Islamic Fintech Week (IFW2020) as ecosystem accomplice and sponsor

Islamic Fintech Week 2020 organizers revealed Bitcoin Affiliation as its ecosystem accomplice and sponsor. IFW2020 is hosted with the theme “Envisioning Islamic FinTechFuture” and is ready to be a platform for international stakeholders, regulators, tech startups and the Islamic finance fraternity. Bitcoin Affiliation is the Switzerland-based international trade group that works to advance enterprise on the Bitcoin SV blockchain. The week will be a sequence of discussions, roundtable classes, debates and hopes to showcase a brand new expertise for on-line attendees to deal with native and international challenges and uplift humanity.

College of Islamic Studies at HBKU and Qatar FinTech Hub Sign MoU

The College of Islamic Studies (CIS) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Qatar FinTech Hub (QFTH). Through the agreement, CIS and QFTH will engage and contribute actively to the development of the financial technology (FinTech) industry in Qatar. QFTH represents a range of stakeholders in the industry from early-stage firms to large financial services companies and relevant service providers, who stand to benefit from CIS' insights and research. The Fintech Hackathon, which was launched in June 2020, is one of the pioneering areas of collaboration between CIS and QFTH.

#Russia’s Sberbank structures Islamic finance deal to supply wheat to #Egypt

Russia’s Sberbank has structured its first trade finance deal with an Islamic bank to supply Russian wheat to Egypt. The deal with Saudi Arabia’s International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) was implemented through Sberbank’s subsidiary in Switzerland. Egypt’s state-run General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) acted as the buyer in the deal. The Russian bank said ITFC will enable it to significantly increase its share in Russian wheat exports to Egypt.

Islamic law principles applicable to the administration of trusts

Under English Law, a trustee who breaches his duties is exposed to a potential claim for breach of trust; breach of fiduciary duty; and/or negligence, and if he is a professional trustee, e.g. a bank , accountant, or solicitor, will have professional indemnity insurance cover. Unless an exemption clause is valid and exonerates the breach, or the court otherwise excuses the breach, the extent of their potential liability is unlimited, the court issue fees in the English court in a will, trust, and inheritance dispute, are relatively nominal. In exercising the general power of investment, the trustee is under a duty to have regard to the so-called ‘standard investment criteria’. These criteria also apply when the trustee reviews investments.

VP seeks greater digital literacy among Islamic economic actors

Vice President Ma'ruf Amin has appealed to Islamic economic and financial actors to hone their digital literacy skills to survive amid the changes arising from the COVID-19 pandemic. He gave a speach at the virtual opening of the 2020 Sharia Economic Festival and Indonesia Sharia Economic Festival (ISEF) in Jakarta. Amin affirmed that digitalization was conducted in the wake of the changes in the current life order, including shopping for basic necessities online or through social media with the use of the internet. Amin noted that in terms of products, health and hygiene aspects were of absolute importance and offered enormous opportunities for the halal product industry. Not only for sharia economic players, but this year's ISEF was also held virtually to adjust to the current conditions to thwart the transmission of COVID-19.

Fitch Named Best Islamic Finance Rating Agency for Fourth Year

Fitch Ratings has been recognised as the Best Rating Agency for Islamic Finance for the fourth consecutive year by The Asset magazine. Fitch has a dedicated sukuk rating criteria and provides takaful-specific considerations within its global insurance rating criteria. It also provides specific consideration to environment, social and governance factors in its ESG scores in rating Islamic banks. Recent landmark deals in which Fitch participated include the first sovereign green sukuk, issued by Indonesia in 2018, and its follow-up issue in 2019 and 2020.

‘Economies must rely on equity, not debt,’ expert outlines globalization challenges during virtual session

The Western economies have relied on debt has got to stop says former Deputy Governor at the Bank of Canada. Governments and central banks have got to start following more symmetrical monetary and fiscal policies and that the world needs to look at debt reduction options and “needs a wholesale embrace of Islamic finance.”

Tribune/Finance islamique : comment la #Guinée peut-elle saisir les opportunités de l’émission des Sukuk (emprunt obligataire islamique) ?

Plusieurs pays africains se lancent depuis quelques années dans cette finance d’éthique et prometteuse. Présentement, les différents gouvernements de l’espace UEMOA (Union économique et monétaire ouest-africaine) ont déjà élaboré un cadre règlementaire à travers la Banque centrale des États de l’Afrique de l’Ouest (BCEAO) pour réglementer l’émission des Sukuks souverains dans leur zone. Des États de l’UEMOA ont déjà émis des Sukuks à hauteur des centaines de milliards de francs CFA. Il est important que la Guinée emboite les pas à ses pays voisins pour prendre en compte la finance islamique dans son écosystème financier en adoptant ce modèle et l’harmonisant avec les modèles classiques dans le but de mener une politique de pluralismes dans l’attraction des investissements étrangers pour les secteurs privés et publics.

Abdulkader Thomas To Speak on Islamic Trade Finance: Challenges and Opportunities in #Nigeria

WebTV's Islamic Finance Weekly will be featuring a robust conversation with Abdulkader Thomas on Islamic Trade Finance, Challenges and Opportunities in Nigeria and Africa. Key discussion points include: understanding the concept of "Islamic Trade Finance"; how the Islamic Trade Finance Framework is helping to boost Intra-African trade; challenges and opportunities for integrating Islamic Trade Financing to support African businesses and SMEs; how Islamic Finance can be adopted to support the development of the economy and lift millions of people from poverty.

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