Russia’s VEB development bank plans to announce its first deals with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in the near future. VEB Chairman Sergey Gorkov said the bank may announce particular transactions in the autumn this year. However, there are several opposite viewpoints regarding the partnership. Russia’s Federation Council deputy speaker Yevgeny Bushmin said that the Central Bank and the Russian legislation are not prepared for promotion of Islamic banking in the country.
The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has committed US$5.2 billion worth of loans until 2020 to aid Indonesia’s priority development projects. Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said the prioritized sectors include energy, transportation, urban development, higher education and skills development, private sector development and Islamic financial broadening. The IDB will work with other lenders, including the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and China-backed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). Going forward, the IDB will prioritize efforts to shift away from dependency on commodities.
Nazir Razak, the brother of Malaysian Prime Minister, Najib Razak, has been cleared of any wrongdoing by an independent investigation undertaken by CIMB Group. Nazir voluntarily took a leave of absence to allow an independent review to be carried out after it was revealed that he had transferred cash to the ruling coalition's politicians in the run-up to the Malaysian general elections in 2013. Although he admitted to transferring the money, Nazir insisted he did nothing illegal. Nazir has now resumed his role as CIMB Group chairman and CIMB Bank director.
The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) is planning to establish the Islamic Infrastructure Bank, which would be led by Indonesia and Turkey. Indonesia plans to spend US$300 mn on equity participation in the project. However, Turkey has committed to surpass Indonesia’s capital in a bid to bring the new bank’s headquarters to Ankara. Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla expressed his support for the Islamic Infrastructure Bank. The IDB has recently elected Bandar bin Mohammed bin Hamza Asaad Al Hajjar as its new president, following the retirement of Ahmad Mohamed Ali. Bandar will hold the position for a five-year term.
In the face of plummeting oil prices, Saudi Arabia has announced an economic strategy to shake off Saudi overreliance on fossil fuels. In the 'Saudi Vision 2030' Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman proposed changes to generate $100 bn in additional non-oil revenue by 2020. In order to do that, the 30-year-old monarch plans to restructure Saudi Aramco, the state oil company. Less than 5% of Aramco’s stake would undergo an initial public offering, with an expected value of $2 trillion. The ownership of the rest to the company would be transferred to Saudi’s sovereign wealth fund, known as the Public Investment Fund (PIF). Prince Mohammed also called for the private sector to grow to 60% from the current 40%. Government services like education, health care and airports will be transferred to the private sector. As the country adjusts to the transition, economic growth is expected to slow as private sector expands.
Arian Ardie talks about the burgeoning Indonesian economy, foreign investment opportunities, and how Indonesian companies are coming to terms with anti-corruption compliance. Meeting cultural norms and being compliant with international business practices is a real challenge in Indonesia. As one of the most populous countries in the world, Indonesia shows an inherent 'sloppiness' of implementing decentralization and democracy.
The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) will take part in financing of the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline project. The estimated cost of the project will exceed $10 bn. The annual capacity of the gas pipeline will reach 33 bn cubic meters. It is planned that the total length of the TAPI pipeline will be 1,814 km. Some 214 km will pass through the territory of Turkmenistan, 774 km through Afghanistan, 826 km through Pakistan. The project is expected to be completed in late 2019.
In Uganda the first Islamic Banking and Finance (IBF) conference was held last week. Prof. Ashraf Bin Hashim said in Malaysia, most of the Islamic banks are subsidiaries to conventional banks; therefore, they are not looked at as competitors. They are developing themselves together. IBF will widen the pool of investors and Islamic donor streams to Uganda. Instead of having only conventional investors, there will be several potential Islamic investors in the country.
In March Saudi Arabia announced Vision 2030, a comprehensive reform plan aimed to wean Saudi Arabia off its long-term dependence on oil, sooner rather than later. The timing for these reforms is no accident. Large swings in global oil prices affect Saudi Arabia deeply, as the country’s oil export revenue stream determines its own financial strength. Saudi Arabia also faces other, wider challenges, with implications for the Kingdom have not yet fully been explored, such as its political succession.
Emirates Islamic announced the launch of the Emirates Islamic charity fund, to govern and manage the bank’s strategy for charitable donations and giving. The fund’s activities will be managed by Awatif Al Harmoudi. The fund has been set up with the primary objective of allocation of financial aid to large charities, public and private institutions, as well as individuals in need.
Where UK based students are led to take Islamic finance masters' degrees as a route to an Islamic finance career, mis-selling may be taking place. In world rankings, many UK universities rank relatively highly, and such a UK degree can enhance the promotion prospects of foreign students in their home country. However, many UK origin students are persuaded to take a master's degree in Islamic finance immediately after graduating. Unfortunately, the number of available positions in Islamic finance in the UK is very limited. Also UK Islamic financial institutions are too small to train people, and typically only hire experienced Islamic bankers.
Guyana officially became the 57th member of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) during the opening ceremony of the bank’s annual meeting in Jakarta. According to the finance ministry press release, this membership allows Guyana access to concessionary resources, grants and interest free loans. Finance minister of Guyana, Winston Jordan, is making his debut appearance in Jakarta personally to witness Guyana’s initiation into the group. Suriname, which is also a member of the Islamic Bank, is represented by its Finance Minister Gilmore Hoefdraad and Deputy Governor, Dr Anwar Lall Mohamed. The private sector is expanding economic ties between Indonesia and Suriname and, with the support of the Islamic Bank, rhetoric is becoming reality.
The volume of Islamic Development Bank (IDB)'s investments in Egypt currently amounts to US$3.7 billion. The statement was made by Nazih Al-Nasser, director of asset management and advisory activities of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD). He made his remarks in Cairo on Tuesday during a conference organised by the Egyptian Banking Institute, designated to focus on the role of the small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).
The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group and the World Bank Group have jointly produced a global report on Islamic finance. The full report, titled 'Islamic Finance: A Catalyst for Shared Prosperity?', will be launched during the World Bank/IMF Annual Meeting later this year. Some of the key recommendations include having adequate policy interventions and financial infrastructure to enable Islamic finance serve as a catalyst for poverty alleviation and inclusive prosperity.
ADNOC Distribution and Abu Dhabi Ports signed a Mustaha agreement. The new agreement aims to strengthen ADNOC Distribution's capacity to develop new projects at Khalifa Industrial Zone (Kizad) and provide logistical support. The agreement was signed by Saeed Mubarak Al Rashidi, CEO of ADNOC Distribution and Mana Mohammed Saeed Al Mulla, CEO of Kizad. ADNOC Distribution will set up a lubes and grease plant, as well as strategic storage warehouses. The company will commence its operations in the new location by the beginning of 2022.
The issue of sustainable development goals (SDGs) was discussed intensely at the annual meeting of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in Jakarta. Finance Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro said many aspects of the SDGs were covered by Islamic finance, arguing that most customers served by Islamic micro-finance were poor people who were not in the banking system. Bank Indonesia Governor Agus Martowardojo added the size of Islamic finance is still very small, representing only 1% of total global finance.
Brunei's efforts to expand the scope of the financial sector are aimed at ensuring a greater diversity of public and private sector financing. In April Brunei Darussalam issued two sukuk worth a combined $150m. The first, a $50m bond with a rental rate of 1.03%, has a one-year maturity, while the second offering, a $100m sukuk with a rental rate of 0.78%, will mature in July. In the period from 2001 to 2015 Brunei Darussalam offered 119 short-term sukuk, equivalent to 2.32% of the global market by value. The Sultanate stands alongside Indonesia and Malaysia as major issuers of Islamic financial instruments in the region and is poised to play a growing role in the issuance of sukuk in coming years.
The Thomson Reuters Global Sukuk Index was last at 119.83102 points, up from 116.97354 at the end of last year. The Thomson Reuters Investment Grade Sukuk Index is at 118.12115 points against 115.21206 at end-2015. The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, which completed a debut sale of US$300 mn of five-year sukuk this year as well as two private placements, plans a further transaction in coming months.
The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) has appointed Hani Salem Sonbol as its CEO. As ITFC is an autonomous member of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) the announcement was made at the 41st annual meeting of the IDB in Jakarta. Sonbol expressed his thanks to Ahmad Mohamed Ali, president of IDB’s board of directors. He held several leading positions, including deputy CEO of ITFC, director of the IDB Group Regional Office in Rabat, and director of trade finance and development department at IDB.
Sharia student loans will be set up for the first time in Britain as part of a drive to boost the number of young Muslims applying to university. The government vowed to tackle the issue by creating a Takaful model, which is Sharia-compliant. Although no interest would be charged, the government said that repayments would be structured so that the total paid back would be the same as that paid by a student with a regular loan.