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Apply for Islamic Development Bank undergraduate scholarship by 21 August

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) announced the availability of scholarships for Muslim Community in India to pursue undergraduate studies in India. The scholarship may cover tuition fees and/or monthly stipends, books & clothing allowance and medical coverage through public or university sponsored hospitals. Major fields at undergraduate level include Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Nursing, Engineering, Agriculture, Information Technology, Economics, Education, Psychology and Learning, Education Policy and International Development.

#Maldives launch first Islamic finance magazine: ‘Laaba’ to act as a platform to engage regional & global industry developments

Maldives Center for Islamic Finance (MCIF) has launched Laaba, the first publication in the archipelago dedicated to Islamic finance. The magazine aims to be the first platform in South Asia to bring together regional hubs with global partners in engaging knowledge and sharing ideas. The first issue has embraced the theme of responsible and ethical finance and how this is aligned with Islamic finance. Laaba also includes exclusive interviews with CEOs across Maldives financial institutions, including the Maldives Islamic Bank, Maldives Capital Markets Development Authority and Amana Takaful.

#Saudi securities regulator awards first two #fintech licences

Saudi Arabia's securities regulator approved its first two financial technology licences on Tuesday. The Capital Market Authority (CMA) approved licences allowing Manafa Capital and Scopeer to offer crowdfunding investment services on a trial basis. Individual investors will use electronic platforms operated by the companies to fund small and medium-sized enterprises in exchange for shares in those enterprises. The CMA said it would receive applications for more fintech licences later this year. The Saudi central bank has also thrown its weight behind fintech, as it signed a deal with U.S.-based Ripple in February this year.

$3 trillion sovereign wealth funds agree framework for vetting asset managers climate credentials

Sovereign wealth funds (SWF) from Norway, New Zealand and the Middle East have drawn up a framework to better target their collective efforts on climate change. The agreed principles advocate integrating climate considerations into their investment processes, as well as make recommendations for manager selections and participating in financial markets. The One Planet SWF Group consists of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, Kuwait Investment Authority, the New Zealand Superannuation Fund, Norges Bank Investment Management of Norway, the Public Investment Fund of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the Qatar Investment Authority, who collectively manage over $3 trillion in assets.

Why #Malaysian bonds are set to attract investors despite emerging-market jitters

With the improving quality of issuances, Malaysia is set to attract more investments into its growing bond market, say panellists at The Asset Malaysia Issuers and Investors Leaders Dialogue in Kuala Lumpur.

#Germany and Islamic Development Bank support Augusta Victoria Hospital in East Jerusalem

Cancer patients from the Palestinian territories can soon benefit from a new modern diagnosis apparatus, financed by Germany and the Islamic Development Bank. The Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH) in East Jerusalem received a PET/CT scanner which allows modern cancer diagnosis. Mr. Peter Beerwerth, the German Representative in Ramallah praised the valuable work the AVH is doing. AVH, managed by the Lutheran World Federation, is the first and only hospital to provide special therapies in the Palestinian territories. Here, about 1.800 patients are treated yearly. Germany contributed an amount of 1,2 million USD for the PET/CT system. The Islamic Development Bank contributed some 400.000 USD.

ACC sues Al-Arafah Islami Bank director

The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) filed a case against an incumbent director of Al-Arafah Islami Bank for allegedly laundering Tk 1.68 crore in Singapore. ACC filed the case against Badiur Rahman, who was also chairman of the bank's board of directors between 2008 and 2016. Badiur set up the company Ariel Maritime in Singapore with three directors. Badiur's invested capital was SGD 25,000 in 2003 and he has been operating the company since then. His investment increased to SGD 0.5 million, equivalent to Tk 1,68,38,800. According to ACC, Badiur could not show any acceptable documents to prove legitimacy of the source of income that he invested in the company. To conceal the source of income, he misused his power as a director and secretly transferred the money.

Executive #education : Dauphine #Tunis se lance dans la finance islamique

L’Université Dauphine Tunis lance un executive master intitulé "Principes et pratiques de la finance islamique". La première promotion se déroulera de janvier à juillet 2019 pour 420 heures de cours, en anglais, en français et, pour partie, en arabe. Le programme se divise en cinq modules: principes de la finance islamique, principes et pratiques de la banque commerciale islamique, principes et pratiques de l’investissement et du financement de projets en finance islamique, principes et pratiques de la gestions d’actifs islamistes et de l’assurance Takaful et enseignements complémentaires. Les enseignements seront dispensés par l’équipe pédagogique de l’Université Paris Dauphine, menée par les co-directeurs Kader Merbouh et Kaouther Jouaber-Snoussi.

Green finance to fund #Indonesia’s new development projects

Indonesia, one of the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitters, is turning to green finance markets to fund new development projects. In February, the Indonesian government issued $1.25 billion as the first sovereign green sukuk in the world. The first corporate green sukuk was issued by a Malaysian company in July last year. The Indonesian Tropical Landscapes Finance Facility (TLFF) issued a $95 million sustainability bond to finance rubber plantations in Sumatra and Indonesian Borneo. However, Indonesia did not provide investors with a specific list of projects it was seeking to fund through the green sukuk. The opacity in implementing sustainable criteria is not uncommon in the global green bond market.

Islamic Development Bank seeks tie-ups for infrastructure investments

Islamic Development Bank president Bandar Hajjar said the bank was exploring joint opportunities with other multilateral development banks to invest in India’s infrastructure sector. India plans to invest as much as ?5.97 trillion in creating and upgrading infrastructure in the current financial year. The National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government is setting in play a new integrated infrastructure programme that involves building of roads, railways, waterways and airports. For this, India has sought project financing totalling $2.4 billion from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Also, the Asian bank will invest $200 million in India’s National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF).

Deloitte Islamic Finance insights series

This series of Islamic finance insights discusses social infrastructure trends and the value proposition of an alternative Sharia’- compliant funding model, which resembles sustainable finance, shares guidelines of responsible investment and sound governance practices. The study emphasizes and reflects on the collective views of an industry forum organized by Deloitte Middle East and supported by Deloitte UK, held last November in London. The paper defines the key enablers and influencers of building an effective Islamic finance. It also analyses the impact of this model in light of regulatory, market practice and governance requirements.

Opinion: Why there's no better time for GCC's #fintech revolution

As financial technologies continue to develop, one region in particular stands to benefit: the Gulf. This isn’t a revolution that is far off, it is happening today. For the countries of the GCC, fintech couldn’t arrive at a better time. The countries of the Gulf are all working to diversify their economies away from a dependence on fossil fuels. Bahrain has already launched its FinTech Bay, which has the mission of accelerating local early-stage fintech companies, as well as foreign companies to establish regional offices in Bahrain. In September this year DIFC’s FinTech Hive will launch the second edition of its accelerator programme for fintech innovators. The 2018 edition has also been expanded to include "insurtech", as well as Islamic finance and regulatory technology ("regtech") solutions.

Better late than never? #Brunei and its role in the #Fintech revolution

Singapore battles with Australia and Hong Kong to be the region’s leading Fintech hub. She has moved ahead of her Southeast Asian neighbours, including newcomers like Brunei. Brunei launched its Fintech office in 2017 and at the same time put in place regulatory guidelines. However, Brunei’s Fintech ecosystem remains underdeveloped. Brunei has good reasons to pursue Fintech, it must start to reduce its economic dependence on gas and oil. The country has already made progress including collaboration with South Korea. Both countries provided US$30 million. They planned to set up a Fintech innovation centre. In return, South Korean companies gained access to the Islamic market. Brunei also signed a Fintech agreement with Singapore, Hong Kong and Great Britain.

#Australia should consider Islamic finance to bridge infrastructure gap

According to Crescent Wealth managing director Talal Yassine, Australia should consider Islamic finance to bridge its infrastructure gap. In his opinion, if super funds continue to spurn local infrastructure investment in favour of offshore assets, Islamic finance could provide a solution. Australians who think it may be hard to source Islamic debt need only look at the UK, which in 2014 became the first Western country to issue sukuk. Yassine believes that the Australian Government is equally well placed to issue sukuks. Local financial institutions, such as National Australia Bank and Crescent Wealth have expertise in building compliant Islamic debt structures and could be used in these funding initiatives.

INTERVIEW-How can new crowdfunder GlobalSadaqah improve transparency, impact of Islamic social finance?

In this interview Umar Munshi, the founder and CEO of Ethis Ventures talks about the Islamic crowdfunding sector. Ethis Ventures is a pioneer in the sector centred in Southeast Asia, in Singapore, as well as in Malaysia and Indonesia. Ethis Ventures is behind Ethis Crowd, the first Islamic real estate crowdfunding platform that raises funds for social housing development projects in Indonesia. Ethis is also behind Kapital Boost, which crowdfunds financing for small and medium-sized enterprises. The company’s latest project is a charity-based crowdfunding platform called GlobalSadaqah. It aims to match high-impact charity campaigns to donors who give either zakat or sadaqah.

Regulations are hindering growth of Islamic finance

The steady growth in Islamic banking in Kenya was unexpected when Islamic finance started in Kenya in the last decade. The Finance Act of 2017 made amendments to the Co-operative Societies Act to facilitate shariah compliant products and enhance financial deepening. It also amended the Public Finance Management Act to recognise Sukuk as one of the national government securities. Despite this growth, there is still much to be done in developing regulations. Kenyan Islamic banks have tried to embed shariah governance within their governance frameworks. However, the mechanism lacks to ensure parity in shariah interpretations, product development and advisory and regulations at an industry level. Islamic capital markets remain hugely untapped in Kenya.

The evolving landscape of Islamic finance: regulatory developments

The Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has taken a number of measures for the effective regulation of Islamic finance in the country. The SECP has constituted a Shariah Advisory Board, consisting of renowned scholars and has established a dedicated Islamic Finance Department (IFD) to embed Islamic finance in the corporate sector and capital markets. New regulations have been issued under the provisions of the Companies Act. The SECP issued Draft Shariah Governance Regulations, 2018, a comprehensive set of regulations for governance of Shariah-compliant companies, Shariah-compliant securities and Islamic financial institutions. In order to encourage Sukuk issuances, the Sukuk Regulations, 2017, have been notified, and tax neutrality has been provided through an amendment to the Income Tax Ordinance. In February 2018, the SECP adopted three AAOIFI Shariah standards while in April 2018, the SECP issued draft notification for adoption of seven more AAOIFI Shariah Standards.

#Kuwait Bank Adopts Ripple for Instant Cross-Border Payments

The Kuwait Finance House (KFH) has joined RippleNet, an enterprise blockchain network for international remittance payments. RippleNet is a SWIFT-replacement global blockchain network that sees over 100 financial institutions including banks, payment providers and remittance operators. KFH underlined its intention to use Ripple’s unique tool for cross-border payments for its retail customers. With this, KFH can provide instant and secure cross-border money transfers within seconds, with end-to-end visibility over the journey of the payment. Elsewhere in the region, UAE-based RAK Bank became a RippleNet member in September. The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), the defacto central bank of Saudi Arabia, has also partnered with Ripple. The SAMA also became the first central bank in the world to join RippleNet.

Dana Gas receives $40mn from #Egyptian government

UAE based natural gas producer Dana Gas has now received almost $90mn so far this year from the North African nation.

Call for promoting role of Islamic Waqf

Qatar's Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs organized a forum on waqf where participants called for the advancement of the waqf to regain its role in the Islamic economy. Qatar has made great steps in the advancement of the waqf, starting with the enactment of the laws regulating it, and taking all measures to ensure the governance and transparency of waqf operations. The four-day forum discussed current vital issues including the responsibility of scholars, the renewal of Islamic jurisprudence, the reform of religious education, and the Islamic waqf and its role in development.

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