Egypt-based Islamic finance firm eyes $100 mln investment

Egyptian company Ridge Islamic Capital has announced to have $100 million which it plans to use for raising its capital and investing in funds over the following two years. Thus, it shall take advantage of the growing Islamic financial market. After Dubai-based Ridge Solutions International Holdings, the company for regional investment which provided the money for Ridge Islamic Capital, acquired Egyptian investment banking and asset management firm El Rashad, Ridge Islamic Capital was launched on Wednesday. Even though El Rashad uses conventional financial operations, Ridge will convert its assets in sharia compliant ones over a period of about two years. Future investments are all to be subject to Islamic principles.

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Promising potential and numerous challenges facing Islamic finance in South Africa

Islamic finance has considerably grown in North Africa, with many Middle East financial institutions investing in the region. There has also been significant development in the south of the continent. Though there is a low Muslim population in South Africa, the government has been one of the front-runners to make it a centre for Islamic finance in Africa. South Africa is the most advanced African nation in terms of robust legislative structures, strict governance structures, and regulations. This gives it an advantage in implementing Shariah-compliant financial systems.

Can Political Islam Reform "Islamic Finance"?

The IMF and Egypt continue to negotiate a potential $4.8 billion loan at an interest of 1.1%. The Salafi Nur Party made a statement claiming that this interest is not a forbidden riba. Their statement was followed by one by a another Salafi preacher with similar content.

Al Baraka to provide Shari'ah-compliant finance to small projects in Egypt

Al Baraka shall provide Shari'ah-compliant finance to small projects in Egypt with cooperation with World Bank through the Social Fund and its subsidiary in Egypt. Bank authorities claimed in their statement that small projects hast become the highest priority for countries and international financial instututions due to high unemployment rates.

S&P Indices Launches Shariah Index with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation

S&P Indices made an anouncement that a new Index will be launched due to increase in the demand for a shariah-compliant benchmark in Islamic countries. The new S&P/OIC COMCEC 50 Shariah Index will measure the performance of 50 leading Shariah-compliant companies from members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Eligible countries and territories for the Index are: Bahrain, Bangladesh, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

Egypt Islamic finance plans include boosting waqf

The Freedom and Justice Party has announced it financial development plans which will include waqf. Thus, multiple small subscriptions to a sukuk will make their contribution in form of cash or other assets instead of a single wealthy donor. However, the efficiency of waqf management in Egypt is largely criticized.

Tatarstan/OIC-Economy-Forum: 100 Investment Projects Presented At Kazan OIC-RF Forum

Aproximatly 100 investment projects worth 300 billion roubles have been introduced at the 4th International Summit in Kazan.
The organizers of the forum were the government of Tatarstan, the Islamic Business & Finance Development Foundation (IBFD) with the support of the Federation Council of Russia.
The summit is attended by thousands of guests from over 30 countries of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation including: Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Morocco, Turkey, the UAE, Oman, Pakistan.

Egypt’s Corporate Social Responsibility

The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces seminar titled ‘January Revolution and Horizons of Economic Growth' has the strong oppinion that Egypt’s economy is at risk.
The statement was based on the unprecedented decline of economic conditions in post-Mubarak Egypt: poverty rates at 70%, economic growth sliding to 1 to 2%, and hard currency reserves that have descended to $28 billion from $36 billion.
Egypt finds itself at social, economic and political crossroads. As the post- Mubarak government is still struggling to fulfill the existing societal challenges and fulfill the people’s revolutionary aspirations, socially responsible behavior (SRB) on the othger side, taken on by both individuals and corporations seems to be a real promise.

Al Baraka planning to buy bank stake

Bahraini Islamic bank Al Baraka Banking Group set its purpose for 15% growth in net profit this year and wants to buy a 75pc stake in an unlisted Indonesian bank as part of its global expansion plan.
Adnan Ahmed Yousif, Al Baraka's chief executive, revealed that they are discussing with Chinese shareholders of an Indonesian bank.

Al Baraka had a 2011 full-year profit of $212m, up 10pc on the profit registered in 2010. The bank plans to open 50 more branches this year throughout the world, out of which 20 will be in Turkey and five in Algeria, respectively Egypt.

Egypt preparing to issue Islamic bond

It seems that Egypt is laying the groundwork for a debut sovereign Islamic bond. The statement came from a person familiar with the matter.
The person added that the government is studying a new legal structure that will allow them to launch a sovereign sukuk.
Egypt this week began negotiating $3.2 billion in support from the International Monetary Fund and talks could take 2-3 months.

Dana Gas gets advisers for sukuk

UAE energy group Dana Gas appointed an international firm to advise on its $920 million convertible sukuk maturing in October, adding it won't stop to meet its obligations.
Dana Gas shares were up 5.9 per cent at 0945 GMT, while the sukuk was unchanged at 64 cents on the dollar.
Dana Gas has a 3 per cent stake in Hungarian group MOL, worth around 55.2 billion forints ($225m). Potential sales of businesses in Egypt and Kurdistan are also filled with political risk, which would hit the price.
Dana Gas' chief executive told Reuters in September the company was owed around $200m by Egypt.

UM link-man found – but no gold!

UM Financial Inc and UM Capital Inc the receiver, Grant Thornton, is still continuing to reclaim $1.9 m in gold paid to the financial manager of Multicultural Consultancy Canada, Joseph Adam.
The mystery of the missing gold has moved 5,700 miles away to Egypt where Adam told the receiver through his lawyer that he gave the gold to unnamed scholars before the court ordered its return.

Majid Al Futtaim appoints banks to manage $1bn sukuk

Four banks were chosen by Majid Al Futtaim (MAF) Holding to manage its first Islamic bond issuance programme. The four banks are: Dubai Islamic Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, HSBC and Standard Chartered.
The proceeds are anticipated to fund expansion plans worth $2bn for malls and shopping centres in Lebanon, Egypt and Syria, alongside plans for a hypermarket in Erbil, Kurdistan.

Dana Gas $1b sukuk yield rises to record

Following the failure of the company to supply details on how it plans to repay $1 billion of sukuk maturing in October, Dana Gas Islamic bonds surged to a record.
Dana Gas shares fell 2.2 per cent, the most in more than a week.
It seems that the company's board considered updates on its stake in Mol Nyrt as well as on financing projects in Egypt and the UAE.

Gold Fingers

A man named Omar Kalair was told to rendezvous in the dead of the night in a deserted suburban parking lot and hand over a consignment of gold and silver bullion to achieve recognition on the debts of a secretive organization.
The bizarre payment of $2.1m in gold and silver made by Kalair to Joseph Adam, the finance manager of the newly formed firm Multicultural Consultancy Canada, was for Shari’ah compliance services the MCC supplied to the Canadian Islamic mortgage company.
Kalair and Mufti Yusuf Panchbhaya, chairman of this local Shari’ah board, were deposed by the receiver Grant Thornton to explain the transfer of gold and silver to Adam outside a suburban drug store in early October, three days before the court ordered UM Financial Inc into receivership. A month later, the gold had disappeared and Adam had flown Canada for Egypt. The receiver tries now to get permission from the court to enter Adam’s store, with assistance from the sheriff in order to recover the missing gold.

Demand for Shariah-compliant PRI increases in MENA

Various providers stated that the demand for Shariah-compliant PRI in MENA countries has increased significantly. Ravi Vish, director and chief economist of MIGA, also confirmed that request for political risk insurance (PRI) has increased to unprecedented levels, with PRI supply by members of the Berne Union remaining robust and pricing reflecting a buyer's market.
In the Arab Spring countries investors are waiting to see what the future will bring.
Moreover, a 2011 survey by MIGA-EIU showed that the turmoil in the Arab countries did have a significant impact on investor intentions. Violence and government instability are major factors putting off investors, who confirmed that they have not forseen the events in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya which frankly took them by surprise.

UM Err...

The effects of the ‘Arab Spring’ in North Africa may have presented fantastic opportunities for Islamic finance according to Patrick AbiHabib of Arab Banking Corporation.
He explained that the transitional authorities in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt have expressed their support for the Islamic banking sector, and Libya had set about changing the country’s financial regulation to give permission to the new government to raise money from the Islamic capital markets, taking the country’s Islamic banking regulations to the next level.

Egypt gets $400 mln from Islamic trade financier

It appears that the trade financing arm of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has offered $400 million to help Egypt finance imports of petroleum products, wheat and other foodstuffs.
The funds were given by IDB's International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation.

Islamic Banking and Finance in North Africa

In its new publication, Islamic Banking and Finance in North Africa, the African Development Bank assesses the state of Islamic banking in the region and explains why its use has been limited. The report considers the future potential of Islamic finance, including its possible alignment with North Africa’s development goals, particularly its ability to increase the diversification of funding sources.

The report takes into consideration the effect of Islamic banking’s focus on the equitable distribution of risk and returns between suppliers and users of funds. Islamic Banking and Finance in North Africa goes further by exploring whether Islamic-style finance contracts could contribute to the development objectives of North African countries.

full report for free download:

MENA civil society wins commitments to engage from World Bank officials at 2011 Annual Meetings

BIC/MENA and civil society representatives from Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Yemen among others successfully engaged the World Bank at the 2011 Civil Society Policy Forum of the World Bank/IMF Annual Meetings.
Egyptian civil society representatives met with Egypt’s World Bank country director, David Craig. Tunisian civil society representatives have insisted for engagement with Bank in first meeting with ED, Mr. Javed Talat. Civil society representatives met the Bank’s new Yemen country manager, Wael Zakout.

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