Kazakhstan sees first Islamic bond by year-end

After a lengthy delay, the government is on track to issue Kazakhstan’s first sovereign sukuk, or Islamic bond, before the end of this year – a key step in the country’s desire to become a regional financial hub, says Arken Arystanov, head of the Regional Financial Centre of Almaty City (RFCA).
Amendments to Kazakhstan’s law on Islamic finance and banking, currently being considered by parliament, are due to be adopted within the next two months, Arystanov says, paving the way for the government to issue its debut sukuk - most likely in the $500m range - by the end of 2010.
It’s certainly true that for some Kazakh companies there has been no difficulty in raising money by traditional means recently. State nuclear company Kazatomprom’s debut Eurobond in May 2010 was eight times oversubscribed; the issue by national rail operator Kazakhstan Temir Zholy in September was seven times oversubscribed.

Sukuk Entice Canada Issuing $2 Billion to Spread Funding: Islamic Finance

The growing demand for securities that meet Islamic religious principles may lead Canadian governments and companies to start issuing Shariah bonds.
HSBC Bank Canada may offer $500 million and three government-related borrowers from one Canadian province may issue $1.5 billion of sukuk, Omar Kalair, chief executive officer of Toronto-based UM Financial, said in an Oct. 14 interview. A “handful” of Canadian companies may sell C$1 billion ($980 million) of Islamic debt by 2013, said Daud Vicary Abdullah, global Islamic finance leader at Deloitte Corporate Advisory Services Sdn. in Kuala Lumpur.
Egypt, Nigeria, the Philippines and Thailand have announced plans to sell their first sukuk in the past three months, partly to tap Persian Gulf oil wealth.

Why should a democracy block Islamic banking?

Although efforts have been made over the past twenty years to bring Islamic banking into India — a country that has more Muslims than Pakistan — as yet the Reserve Bank of India and its master, the Union Finance Ministry, has not given permission for the same. The reason is simple. Across the financial establishment in India, the influence of US and EU financial interests is overpowering.
Several senior civil servants have their close relatives working in such institutions, and therefore accept the advice given by them. Certainly, banks in foreign countries will not want the Indian government to clear the way for the establishment of Islamic banking centres, for that may result in funds flowing from Zurich, London, Frankfurt and New York (all major “Islamic” banking locations) to Mumbai or Kochi. Acting on cue, the monetary and finance authorities in India have continued to block access to Islamic banking avenues, thereby denying millions of observant Muslims in India a chance to keep their assets in safety.

Pak-Qatar Family Takaful inks deal with Dawood bank

A key joint venture of Qatar Islamic Insurance Company in Pakistan has in collaboration with a local bank and FWU AG launched lucrative Shariah-compliant long-term savings schemes.
Pak-Qatar Family Takaful Limited has inked a deal in Karachi with Dawood Islamic Bank Limited and FWU AG to provide bank customers long-term savings plans enabling them to secure their future financially.
According to the strategic agreement, Dawood Islamic Bank would distribute Shariah compliant Bancassurance (BancaTakaful) products across its branch network.
The agreement was signed by CEO Pak-Qatar Family Takaful P Ahmed, and Pervez.
These products will provide DIB’s customers with Long term Savings plans specifically catered to fulfil their future financial needs.

IDB board approves over $772m for new projects

Nine member countries have been approved to receive financing. They are Indonesia, Uzbekistan, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sudan, Turkmenistan, Gambia, Mauritania and Albania.
The financing includes technical assistance in the form of grants for development projects in Benin, Chad, Togo, the GCC and grants and concessional loans for Sudan.
The approved financing also includes health and educational projects directed towards communities in non-member countries including Congo, Fiji, India and South Africa.


Women and Islamic Financing

Fozia Amanulla has grown accustomed to the pressures of negotiating multi-million-ringgit deals during her career in Islamic finance.
At a meeting with a client in Saudi Arabia, where men and women are commonly segregated in public life, she was the only woman in the building -- a fact reinforced by the absence of any toilets for women.
Fozia, one of the first women to lead an Islamic bank in Malaysia, has had no shortage of reminders that her industry -- in which investments are made according to Islamic principles -- is a male-dominated one.
But the number of female faces is multiplying.
Jamelah was appointed managing director of RHB Islamic Bank in Malaysia in 2007 and is believed to have been the first woman in the world to head an Islamic bank.
Linda Eagle, president of the Edcomm Group Banker's Academy, a consulting firm based in New York, said that while branches for women only had existed in Saudi Arabia for decades, such branches had opened in Dubai and Iraq in recent years.

IDB raises sukuk size issue plans, to aid Pakistan

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) will more than double the size of bonds, or sukuk, issued under an ongoing programme to $3.5 billion to help meet financing needs mainly from flood-ravaged Pakistan.
In 2009, the Saudi-based triple-A lender issued an $850 million sukuk which was the first tranche of a $1.5 billion bond. The issue was part of the $6 billion programme it established to soften the impact of the financial crisis on its member countries.

IDB to double Sukuk issues to $3.5 billion

IDb will more than double the size of bonds, or Sukuk, issued under an ongoing program to $3.5 billion to help meet financing needs mainly from flood-ravaged Pakistan.
In 2009, the Saudi-based triple-A lender issued an $850 million Sukuk which was the first tranche of a $1.5 billion bond. The issue was part of the $6 billion program it established to soften the impact of the financial crisis on its member countries.
Pakistan, Afghanistan and Senegal, among the world's 50 poorest nations, are turning to Islamic banking to spur economic growth by encouraging people to take out loans and open savings accounts.


Local Banks Capturing African Market

Africa’s reputation as a viable and profitable investment destination has grown in leaps and bounds and, importantly, its population presents a new market for many products and services.
Although it is sometimes narrow minded and naïve to consider the African economy as one entity or one whole, it can also be useful to consider the continent as an evolving organism, with many lessons learnt in one country, providing useful information for evaluating and doing business in another country. The ability to learn these lessons and adapt new strategies to new markets has been one of the greatest strengths of the major South African Banks in expanding their operations into other African countries.
Africa’s growth prospects are very positive. With the exception of 2009, the African economy has grown at about 5% or more every year for the last decade.

The IFSB to hold two awareness programmes in December 2010

The Islamic Financial Services Board will be organising two awareness programmes in December 2010. The first one is a seminar on legal issues in the Islamic financial services, while the other is a seminar on the role of Islamic finance in the development of Africa.
The two awareness programmes are open for participation by the IFSBIFSB member organisations, which currently stand at 195 organisations from 41 countries, and other interested parties. The events are described below. The details of both programmes and their registration forms are available on the IFSBIFSB website (
Bank Indonesia is hosting the Seminar on Legal Aspects of Islamic Asset Securitisation and Insolvency Regimes. The Workshop will cover the following topics; 1) Concept and contracts of Islamic finance; 2) Structures of Islamic financial products; and 3) Overview of the IFSBIFSB Standards and Guiding Principles.

Crisis and opportunity

Afghanistan seems like a country which is tailor-made for Islamic finance, but it still doesn't have a single Islamic bank. However, moves are afoot to bring it to the country. Afghanistan has rarely been out of the news over the past nine years, as around 40 countries have been endeavouring to turn the country from one of the poorest to something more stable and prosperous. The economy, after years of desperate hardship has been growing at around 10 per cent a year, admittedly from a very low base.
The banking system has been created virtually from scratch and the Central Bank of Afghanistan or Da Afghanistan Bank (DAB), as it is better known, is at the forefront of the change, although the transformation not has been without its challenges.
The country has 17 (mostly private) banks including a number of foreign banks such as Standard Chartered, Punjab National Bank, National Bank of Pakistan, Habib Bank (also from Pakistan) and Bank Alfalah.

Nigeria will be the Islamic hub by 2020

The hub, that is, for Sharia finance -- and with Sharia finance comes Sharia, which doesn't give something good for the country's non-Muslims. The country in a "few weeks" will issue guidelines to allow conventional banks to open so-called Islamic windows and subsidiaries.

Nigeria Plans Sukuk Debut Targeting Role as Shariah Hub: Islamic Finance

Nigeria, Africa’s second-largest economy and home to 75 million Muslims, plans to sell its first Islamic debt within 12 months as part of a bid to become the continent’s center for Shariah-compliant financing.
The West African country is seeking to diversify the economy by developing its finance industry.
Issuance is rebounding after Dubai World, one of the emirates’ three main state-controlled holding companies.

Pak, Afghanistan pushing Islamic banking for growth

Islamabad —Pakistan, Afghanistan and Senegal, among the world’s 50 poorest nations, are turning to Islamic banking to spur economic growth by encouraging people to take out loans and open savings accounts. Outstanding domestic bank lending accounted for 3.5 percent of Afghanistan’s gross domestic product in 2008, 25 percent in Senegal, 27 percent in Nigeria and 46 percent in Pakistan, according to data compiled by the World Bank. The rates compare with 224 percent in the U.S. and 115 percent in Malaysia, a global hub for finance that conforms with Shariah principles.
Developing Islamic nations have shunned banking in part because of the religion’s ban on interest, limiting access to funds for project financing and stunting business growth, according to the International Monetary Fund. Governments should improve regulations, products and institutions that comply with Shariah law to accelerate the industry’s development, Patrick Imam and Kangni Kpodar, economists at the IMF, said in a telephone interview from Washington on Sept. 14.

Winds of change in S. African tax laws for Islamic finance products

The South African government's recent confirmation that it is in the process of introducing tax neutrality laws for Mudaraba (trust financing), Murabaha (cost-plus financing) and Diminishing Musharaka (diminishing shared ownership) contracts is a long overdue recognition of the potential Islamic finance has for the country and the region. Financial services industry sources stress that the proposed tax neutrality measures are just the start and the wider objective is to introduce a comprehensive regulatory and legal framework to facilitate Islamic finance in the country both for financial inclusion and market liberalization and development reasons.
It may also have something to do with the ambition of the country to develop Cape Town into an international financial hub, an ambition which was confirmed by Alan Winde, the finance minister of the provincial government of the Western Cape; and South Africa's aim of attracting inward foreign direct investment (FDI) from the Middle Eastern countries and others such as Malaysia and Brunei.

East Africa catching up with Islamic finance

The perceived sustainability and attractiveness of Islamic finance as an alternative financial management model in a post global financial crisis continues to flourish in new regions and countries trying to change banking regulations and laws to facilitate the introduction of such institutions and products in their respective jurisdictions.
The latest region which is trying to open up to Islamic finance is East Africa, including Ethiopia, where local reports suggest that the National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), the central bank, is in the process of finalizing a banking regulation and business directive that would allow the authorization of a bank operating under interest-free (Islamic finance) principles.
At the same time the government of Kenya is studying the possibility of issuing the country's debut sovereign sukuk issuance, while the First Community Bank (FCB), Kenya's second Islamic bank, has launched FCB Capital, which plans to issue a series of local currency sukuk plus other Islamic capital market products for a growing market segment.

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Islamic Finance Group on ResearchGATE, the largest social network for scientists!

ResearchGATE is the largest social network for academic research globally. Dedicated social profiles of researchers allow to enter academic careers, published articles in journals and books, announce fields of research for international exchange just to name a few of the features. took another effort to create a dedicated group and invite researchers globally to use this platform and foster research in Islamic finance. The last academic initiative taken was to sponsor and start a full fledged platform for the Islamic Finance WIKI, the online encyclopedia.

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H.E. Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu Secretary General Of The OIC on Poverty Alleviation

Poverty is a complex issue and needs to be tackled on a range of fronts including, but not limited to, improving economic growth. Poverty remains one of the big challenges to socio-economic development of majority of developing countries, especially in Sub-Sahara Africa and South Asia. Besides, this phenomenon has brought about problems such as illiteracy, malnutrition, disease and even crime. Global food crisis further worsened the already precarious conditions of poor people in these countries.

To cope with the bane of poverty, the OIC has to reinvigorate its machinery for economic growth and cooperation among member countries through comprehensive mobilization of the resources, within and outside the OIC community. A new approach to economic cooperation was, therefore fashioned out to ensure that all stakeholders are sensitized on the need for the accelerated transformation of the economies of OIC Member-States and the welfare of their peoples.

Nigeria: Cornerstone Introduces Islamic Insurance

Cornerstone Insurance Plc, Lagos, has established Islamic Insurance (Takaful) division to offer insurance products and services to the huge Moslem population in Nigeria, the chairman of the company, Adetokumbo Sulaiman, has said. The managing director of the company, Livingston Magorimbo, noted that the life insurance businesses of Cornerstone grew by 136 percent last year. He attributed the growth to product innovation, channel diversification and service excellence.

Africa Re Group Launches Africa Retakaful

African Reinsurance Corporation has launched a new subsidiary called African Takaful Reinsurance Company (Africa Retakaful). The new company is a subsidiary of African Re to give the much needed back up to takaful insurance companies around the globe. Africa Retakaful is wholly owned by Africa Re and licensed in Egypt under the Investment and Free Zone Law. It was decided that the clients will decide to place the business with either Africa Retakaful or Africa Re exclusively. In all cases Africa Re, which enjoys the A- rating from S&P and AM Best respectively will provide all the required support for Africa Retakaful. Meanwhile, Mr. Omar Gouda has been appointed Managing Director of African Reyakaful. Omar, a seasoned and respected reinsurance expert who is well known at home ( Egypt ) and in the Middle East was the Regional Director of North East Africa and Middle East of Africa Re before his appointment.

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