The Arab World’s Social Accountability - From Shouting to Counting

With the help of social accountability, citizens in the Arab world are holding public institutions accountable for delivering public services and improving the welfare of citizens. The citizens therefor work with governments in a productive, meaningful way by using evidence-based analysis and advocacy.
The World Bank and CARE Egypt helped organizing the Affiliated Network for Social Accountability (ANSA)-Arab World Regional Strategic Planning and Social Accountability Workshop in Amman, Jordan from June 5-9, 2011. At the the five-day workshop in Jordan there were over 40 representatives from government, CSOs, media, and private sector from seven Arab countries – Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon, Yemen, West Bank and Gaza, Morocco and Tunisia that attended.

UAE insurer sees premiums quadrupling in 2011

Takaful Emarat wants to launch new products and as a result it expects gross written premiums to surge to Dh65 million ($17.7 million) in 2011.
Ghassan Marrouche stated that the new savings products, combined with the expectation that medical insurance will become compulsory in the United Arab Emirates would help the rise of written premiums. He added that demand is already increasing for Islamic insurance, or takaful, products in markets such as India, Pakistan, Jordan and Syria.

Jordan to Send Sukuk Law to Parliament in June, Minister Says

The newest purpose of Jordan is to submit a draft law helping the sale of sukuk to parliament in June. The statement was given by the country’s finance minister.
The kingdom sold $750 million of five-year bonds in November to help finance the budget gap.

Al-Rajhi Cement – Jordan Issues the First Islamic Sukuk in Jordan Managed by Capital Investments

Capital Investments – the investment banking arm of Capital Bank - succeeded the first issuance of Islamic Sukuk in Jordan for the benefit of Al-Rajhi Cement – Jordan.
It was signed by a number of leading Islamic and commercial banks, including Capital Bank, Cairo Amman Bank, Islamic International Arab Bank, Union Bank, Jordan Kuwait Bank, Bank of Jordan, and Arab Islamic Bank.

Rajhi announces groundbreaking sukuk issuance

Al Rajhi Cement Company became on Tuesday the first company in Jordan that provides Islamic sukuk to finance its operations in the Kingdom.
The declaration of the sukuk issuance, the first in the Kingdom’s history, was made during the signing ceremony that was attended by heads and directors of the participating financial institutions in the issuance.

Gulf bankers to attend Islamic finance confab in Luxembourg

The attenders at the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) will be, among others, central bank governors, representatives from Bahrain, the UAE, Jordan, Malaysia, Nigeria, and Bahrain, and many international finance and economic experts.
The host of the conference will be the Central Bank of Luxembourg and the theme is "Enhancing Global Financial Stability. Challenges and Opportunities for Islamic Finance".

S&P Report Comments On Middle East Unrest's Credit Impact On Banks And Insurers In The Region

Standard & Poor's commented today about the negative rating actions it has taken on several banks and insurance companies following sovereign rating actions in the Middle East and Africa since the unrest began: four banks in Tunisia, two banks in Egypt, two banks and one insurance company in Jordan, and four banks and three insurance companies in Bahrain.

Saudi King's $15 Billion Housing Grant Won't Eliminate Shortage

Saudi King Abdullah’s pledge to increase spending on housing by 55 billion riyals ($15 billion) probably will do little to relieve the country’s home shortage unless it’s coupled with long-delayed changes in mortgage financing laws.
The kingdom’s 86-year-old monarch last week announced plans to spend about 110 billion riyals on programs aimed at boosting housing, education and social welfare. Governments from Jordan to Yemen have offered concessions to quell public discontent after popular uprisings toppled leaders in Tunisia and Egypt last month and sparked protests across the Middle East and North Africa.

Dow Jones Islamic Markets commentary: Lessons from the turmoil

Dow Jones Islamic Market Index (DJIM) suffered the largest losses in February. Political crisis and civil unrest in Egypt, Jordan, Bahrain, Yemen, Morocco, escalating even to a civil war like in Libya, weighed on the markets.
The turmoil led the DJIM Kuwait Index to drop 8.64% . DJ Dubai Financial Market (DFM) Titans 10 Index lost 4.83%.These declines stand in stark contrast to the rise in energy prices, which usually lift Middle Eastern markets.

Islamic Microfinance Network instituted in Pakistan

To assemble international Islamic Microfinance organizations under one platform, Islamic Microfinance Network (IMFN) has been established in Lahore – Pakistan. The initial member countries of Islamic Microfinance Network are Iraq, Jordan, Yemen, Ghana, Mauritius and Kazakhstan.
The objective of this network is to provide best methodologies of Islamic microfinance, Shariah guidelines, and lasting relations and manpower to the industry.

Malaysia pushing for Islamic finance legal framework

Many jurisdictions are interested in Islamic finance and have taken initiatives to develop the industry through reviewing their legal framework to facilitate the introduction of a range of Islamic financial products, including more recently France, Ireland, Australia, Jordan, Japan, Hong Kong, Korea and Lebanon.
One of the key determinants for the successful development of Islamic finance in any jurisdiction is the existence of a conducive legal framework that supports the operations and growth of the industry.

Jordan sovereign sukuk law almost ready

Jordan's first ever law covering the issuance of sovereign Islamic sukuk has been finalised and bankers and officials hope it will let the kingdom tap the fast-growing Islamic banking industry's huge pool of liquidity.
Prominent Islamic bankers, along with members of a top-level ministerial committee mandated with drafting the sukuk law, said the legislation removes legal uncertainties and would be submitted to the cabinet in as little as two weeks.
It should be passed by year end, widening Jordan's borrowing options beyond conventional public debt instruments and helping finance a growing deficit, worsened by the global downturn and a fall in foreign aid that traditionally covers budget shortfalls.
Jordan has not had special laws relating to Islamic finance, but as Islamic financing expands pressure is mounting on the monetary authorities to apply sharia compliant legislation.
Assets of the three existing Islamic banks in Jordan alone amount to around 12 percent of the total banking system and their financing accounts for over 16 percent of total credit.

New opportunities on horizon for JIB

From being a small and unimportant Islamic bank established in 1978 and under the loyal and unbroken stewardship of the seasoned General Manager Musa Shihadeh, Jordan Islamic Bank (JIB) has, over the last three decades transformed itself into the largest Islamic lender and the third largest domestic bank in Jordan. This is by all standards impressive given that JIB's main competitor in the market is the mighty Arab Bank Group, one of the largest banks in the Middle East and which has its own dedicated Arab International Islamic Bank.
The Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Jordan have given the go-ahead for Al-Rajhi Bank in Jordan to explore the possibility of issuing a sukuk. Assuming that the Treasury and the central bank are working on introducing enabling legislation for sukuk origination and listing in Jordan, this would open up new avenues of raising finance and investments for the likes of JIB.

Cabinet allows Al Rajhi Group to issue Islamic Sukkuk

The Cabinet has recently allowed Al Rajhi Group to issue Islamic Sukkuk (bonds) to expand its investments in the Kingdom. The government requested the group to coordinate with the Iftaa Department and to sell the bonds to local banks in order to obtain the approval.
Al Rajhi group has previously asked the government to work on procedures for issuing Islamic sukuk in order to be able to finance the establishment of two factories for manufacturing glass and steel on the basis of Islamic Shari? principles.

Solidarity names Bseisu group chief executive

The Solidarity Group Holding board has appointed of Ashraf Bseisu as group chief executive officer. Mr Bseisu is a long-standing Solidarity executive and a prominent member of the region's insurance industry. Solidarity Group Holding, one of the largest takaful companies in the world, includes the Solidarity Family Takaful Company and Solidarity General Takaful Company in Bahrain as well as subsidiaries and associates in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Malaysia and Luxembourg. Mr Bseisu is currently Bahrain Insurance Association chairman and the General Arab Insurance Federation vice-president. He has been with Solidarity since his appointment as general manager - finance and corporate management in July 2006 and has held several senior posts within the organisation. He has more than 20 years of experience in the insurance and financial services sector, where he held several executive positions.

Islamic Finance Must Harmonize Practices to Grow

Islamic banking must speed up standardization in order to grow while monetary authorities should enact laws that allow expansion into new Sharia-based products in domestic markets, industry experts said on Wednesday.

Fitch affirms Jordan Islamic Bank for Finance and Investment at 'BB-'; outlook stable

Fitch Ratings has today affirmed Jordan Islamic Bank for Finance and Investment's (JIB) ratings at Long-term Issuer Default (IDR) 'BB-' (BB minus) with stable outlook, Short-term IDR 'B', Individual 'C/D' and Support '3'.

Dubai Islamic Bank sets up JV in Jordan this year

Dubai Islamic Bank is set to implement this year its joint-venture with Jordan Dubai Capital and Dubai International Capital to invest in Industrial Development Bank and convert it to the Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank.

Industrial Development Bank becomes Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) announced the official re-launch of Jordan-based Industrial Development Bank (IDB) following the completion of a private placement of 26 million shares of IDB, valued at USD 100 mn. As part of the re-launch, IDB has been transformed into an Islamic financing institution to be known as Jordan Dubai Islamic Bank (JDIB).

The parties involved in the private placement transaction include Jordan Dubai Financial (JD Financial), the investment arm of Jordan Dubai Capital, DIB and Dubai International Capital. The private placement was valued at JOD 2.750 per share, based on the pricing equation adopted by the bank's Shareholders General Assembly, wherein the strategic partner, Mesc Investment, covered the entire placement.

Global Investment House: Dispute with Housing Bank, Jordan

Rania El Gamal reported on 12 February on Arabianbusiness that the operations of Global Jordan unit were halted by court due to a dispute over a financing by Housing Bank by a Jordanian court. An agreement reached allowed the court to revert its ruling. Housing Bank was no longer willing to a accept a guarantee of Global Kuwait in favour of Global Jordan unit.

The size of Global's portfolio in Jordan in September was about USD 900 mn and included investments in real estate, financial services and industry. Global also opened a brokerage business for Amman's financial markets.

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