The Global Islamic Economy Summit announces title sponsors

Thomson Reuters and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the organisers of the upcoming ‘Global Islamic Economy Summit’ (GIES), announced their partnership with ADIB and Dubai Islamic Bank, who are taking on the role of Title Sponsors of the event.

The Global Islamic Economy Summit announces title sponsors

The Global Islamic Economy Summit announces title sponsors

In addition, the leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness company, Nestlé Middle East, signs up as Diamond Sponsor, while Emirates NBD, Qatar First Bank and the Global University of Islamic Finance (INCEIF) have also signed on as Gold Sponsors, while the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), Afridi & Angell Legal Consultants, Société Générale and MasterCard have signed on as Silver Sponsors.
GIES is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. While in line with Dubai’s Islamic Economy Strategy announced by His Highness on October 5, the conference also seeks to addresses the challenges and opportunities the industry faces and its contribution to the global economy.
Russell Haworth, Managing Director – Middle East & North Africa, Thomson Reuters, said, “The calibre of sponsors supporting GIES is testament to the local and international interest in the opportunities that the Islamic Economy presents. From leading local, regional and Islamic banks that aspire to become international players, to a European bank that sees a huge opportunity in this sector, to a global food producer, education, consumer credit and legal services providers and the largest free zone in the UAE, our sponsors will be invaluable to the success of GIES.”
Tirad Al Mahmoud, CEO at A DIB said, “At A DIB, we hold an unwavering commitment to playing a role in the development of the Islamic finance industry. We are very excited to be lead supporters for The Global Islamic Economy Summit – an ideal platform to share our core values as an expanding Islamic financial services institution with the wider community in the UAE, region and beyond.”
GIES, Dr Adnan Chilwan, Chief Executive Officer of DIB said. “Being the first Islamic bank in the world, Dubai Islamic Bank is proud to play its role in the Global Islamic Economy Summit. As pioneers of Islamic banking, DIB has been at the forefront of developments in the Islamic financial sector over the past four decades. We have consistently added value to the franchise and contributed to the growth and development of all sectors of the UAE economy. Our vision of becoming the most progressive financial institution in the world is fully in line with the vision of the leadership of this great country. Today, with our rich heritage, unrivalled expertise and tradition of innovation, we are perfectly positioned to play a key role in Dubai becoming the global capital of Islamic economy.”
GIES aims to initiate critical dialogue on the development of the integrated sectors of the Islamic Economy, covering Islamic financial services, Halal food, Halal Lifestyle, Halal Travel, SME Development and Islamic Economy Infrastructure such as standardization and research.
Yves Manghardt, Chairman and CEO Nestle Middle East FZE, commented on the company’s role as a sponsor: “As the leading Nutrition Health and Wellness company, Nestlé is proud to be a partner of the Global Islamic Economy Summit. We have been pioneers in providing a wide range of Halal food options for Muslim consumers around the world, and we are delighted to be part of Dubai’s initiatives to highlight the importance of the Halal sector as a key component of the Islamic economy and culture.”
The Summit will also feature ground-breaking market studies and other announcements such as the winners of the ‘Islamic Economy Award’ which recognises a mix of regional and global leaders from 14 Islamic economy sectors.
GIES will take place on 25th – 26th November, 2013 at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. GIES will gather leading thinkers, policy makers and stakeholders from around the world to lead a discussion on the future of the Islamic economy.

The rise of Islamist political economy: the new capitalists

In the aftermath of the Arab uprisings, Islamists or religious-based activists are poised over coming years to take ownership of the seats of power in the Arab heartland. They have already won majorities of parliamentary seats in a number of countries, including Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco, and will likely make further gains in Libya and Jordan (and maybe even in Syria after the dust settles on the raging battlefield there).

In the last four decades, centrist or modernist Islamists, most of whom accept the rules of the political game, brilliantly positioned themselves as the alternative to the failed secular “authoritarian bargain”. They invested considerable capital in building social networks on the national and local levels, including non-government professional civil society associations, welfare, and family ties. In contrast to their secular-minded opponents, Islamists have mastered the art of local politics and built a formidable political machine that repeatedly has proved able to deliver the vote. Islamists’ recent parliamentary victories are not surprising, because they had paid their dues and earned the trust of voters. These results show that they are cashing in on social investments made under authoritarian rule in their local communities.

Although Islamists did not trigger the revolts that shredded the Arab authoritarian order to pieces, their decades-long resistance to autocratic rulers turned them into shadow governments in the peoples’ eyes. A vote for the Islamists implied a clean break with the failed past and a belief (still to be tested) that they can deliver the goods – jobs, economic stability, and transparency. Thus the political fortunes of rising Islamists will ultimately depend on whether they live up to their promises and meet the rising expectations of the Arab publics.

The rise of Islamist political economy: the new capitalists

The business agenda

Islamist parties are increasingly becoming “service” parties: an acknowledgment that political legitimacy and the likelihood of re-election rests on the ability to deliver jobs, economic growth, and to demonstrate transparency. This factor introduces a huge degree of pragmatism in their policies. The example of Turkey, especially its economic success, has had a major impact on Arab Islamists, many of whom would like to emulate the Turkish model. The Arab Islamists have, in other words, understood the truth of the slogan, “It is the economy, stupid!” The Turkish model, with the religiously observant provincial bourgeoisie as its kingpin, also acts as a reminder that Islam and capitalism are mutually reinforcing and compatible.

It is notable that the Islamists’ economic agenda does not espouse a distinctive “Islamic” economic model. This is unsurprising, however, as an Islamic economic model does not exist. Islamists suffer from a paucity of original ideas on the economy and have not even developed a blueprint to tackle the structural socioeconomic crisis in Arab societies.

Nevertheless, what distinguishes centrist religious-based groups from their leftist and nationalist counterparts is a friendly sensibility toward business activities including wealth accumulation and free-market economics. Islamism is a bourgeois movement consisting mostly of middle-class professionals, businessmen, shopkeepers, petty merchants and traders.

If there is a slogan that best describes Islamists’ economic attitude, it would be: “Islam-is-good-for-business”. Many Arab Islamists admire and wish to imitate the example of Turkey, even though they know little about the complexity of the country’s economy and lack Turkey’s strategic economic model. What impresses them is Turkey’s economic dynamism, especially the dynamism of the religiously observant provincial bourgeoisie who have turned Anatolian towns such as Kayseri, Konya and Gaziantep into industrial powerhouses driving the growth of the Turkish economy.

For example, the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt has assured the western powers of its commitment to free-market capitalism. The architect of the Brotherhood’s economic policy, the millionaire businessman Khairat al-Shater, has silenced voices within the organisation that call for a more egalitarian, socialist approach. Although he does not hold elected office, in April 2012 he met the International Monetary Fund team which is negotiating a $3.2-billion loan facility with the Egyptian government. The IMF has said it wants broad political backing for the deal.

After the Brotherhood confirmed al-Shater as a presidential candidate (and prior to his disqualification by Egypt’s election commission), the group intensified its contacts with western states; al-Shater himself offered direct reassurance to diplomats and economists from the United States during their visits to Cairo (see Ramadan Al Sherbini, “Broherhood Courts the West,” Gulf News, 5 April 2012).

In an interview with Al-Jazeera, al-Shater said that economic development would be the most pressing priority for his administration and would be based on structural reforms and growth (see Anas Ziki, “Al-Shater: We are competing for president because of a plot to make us fail”, Al-Jazeera [in Arabic], 12 April 2012). Mohamed Habib, a former deputy supreme guide of the Brotherhood, said that “[the Brothers] tightened the screws on anyone who had different ideas about economics” (see David D Kirkpatrick, “Keeper of Islamic Flames Rises as Egypt’s New Decisive Voice”, New York Times, 12 March 2012).

The “Islamic” economy

Yet if centrist-Islamists are generally for free-market economy and have always been, they are also likely to seek religious legitimation for their economic policies. For example, Islamist parties have publicly vowed to promote social justice and have stressed their long record of social work among the poor. Most have chosen names like “Justice and Development” or “Freedom and Justice”, a choice which shows their concerns, if not their priorities. In this sense, some Islamist-specific economic measures and ideas will be introduced to complement free-market capitalism (for a detailed account of the Brotherhood’s economic plan and the projects it intends to launch, see Hani al-Waziri, “Al Masri Al Youm publishes details of the ‘Brotherhood’s renaissance’ plans: Economic restructuring according to Islamic principles…and 100 national projects”, Almasry-alyoum [in Arabic], 26 April 2012).

The Muslim Brothers, along with the Salafists, who are religiously ultra-conservative but are less enamoured with the free market than the Brothers, have already called for the introduction of an index of companies that comply with Sharia law, as part of a wider move toward an “Islamic” economy. The idea is designed to appeal to their base and to attract investments from the Gulf Arab region, where a Sharia-compliant economic system exists, but does not alter the basics of Islamists’ preference for free-market capitalism (see Heba Saleh, “Egyptian officials look to set up Islamist index”, Financial Times, 1 February 2012).

Similarly, according to one of the architects of Ennahda’s economic programme in Tunisia, Ridha Chkoundali, “The banking system will be diversified and the Tunisian financial market will therefore be made up of traditional and Islamic banks… As a result, there will be more competition between the banks.” In Morocco too, the newly designated prime minister Abdelilah Benkirane ackowledged the importance of addressing economic issues: “We will do everything to encourage foreign and domestic investment to create a climate of prosperity” (see “Morocco Embraces Democracy as King Mohammed VI Appoints New Cabinet ↑ “, Morocco News Agency, 3 January 2012).

The dual challenge

There is nothing in Islamists’ current statements and ideas that show them to be socialist-oriented, though most readily accept the Keynesian model of active state intervention in the economy. Among Islamists, the interventionist approach appeals most to Salafists, who forcefully call for the adoption of distributive measures to address rampant poverty yet the dominant Islamist approach to the economy, with minor variations, is free-market capitalism. In Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco, the Brotherhood, Ennahda and the Justice & Development Party have sufficient interests to deal with global financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank; they do not have the luxury or ideological sensibility to be insular because their countries do not have access to huge rents and raw resources, especially petroleum.

These Islamists also face a huge challenge: to deliver critical economic improvements in the short term, while devising a long-term comprehensive reform agenda that lays the foundation of a productive economy. The dismal socioeconomic conditions in transitioning Arab countries – abject poverty, double-digit unemployment, the absence of a competitive private sector, against a background of rising expectations – mean that the new governments will be hard pressed to focus on distributive policies and urgent short-term needs.

Yet like other political groups, Islamist parties have their sights on the electoral map and want to be re-elected. Will they have the time, space and vision to invest in innovation, technology and the knowledge economy in order to engineer sustainable development; or will they succumb to instrumentalist political temptation by pursuing short-term electoral gains?



Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank targets more than 50% Emiratisation rate in 2012

At Careers UAE 2012 in Dubai, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), a top-tier Islamic financial services group, confirmed that it was on course to exceed its targeted Emiratisation rate of more than 50% at the end of 2012. The bank leads in Emiratisation across the UAE banking sector with a rate of 48% achieved last year. This is up from 34% that was reached in 2008.

As Platinum Sponsor of the Careers UAE 2012, the bank has utilized its involvement in such events over the years to drive the identification and recruitment of the UAE national talents.

Waheeb Khazraji, Head of HR at ADIB, said, “We are encouraged by the enthusiasm shown by the UAE national talent that visited our stand at the Careers UAE 2012 and expressed their desire to work in the Islamic Banking industry. It is evident that they are increasingly viewing the banking sector as an employer of choice and are aware of the exciting growth opportunities that it provides. We are committed to recruit and train UAE national talent from across UAE and to provide them with opportunities and guidance to take on leadership positions in the banking sector.”

ADIB hosted a Power Lunch at the Careers UAE 2012 where senior executives of the bank answered all questions put forward to them by the attendees.

“We have launched many training initiatives to encourage Emiratisation and enhance our Emirati workforce qualifications. Our Tatweer initiative, that was launched recently, provides complete tuition and other education related expenses for employees who decide to upgrade their qualifications and professional degrees at any institution of higher education,” added Waheeb.

ADIB’s continued commitment to Emiratization has been recognized by the Emirates Institute of Banking and Financial Studies (EIBFS) that has presented the bank with their Human Resource Development Award in the first category for two years running.

Bringing Islamic Finance to Africa: How one Training Company Does it

DUBAI, UAE, March 6, 2012 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ — How do you bring training in interest-free finance to a vast continent historically crippled by interest-based lending? Ethica Institute of Dubai may have solved the problem.

Already in 11 African countries, Ethica is now the most heavily enrolled Islamic finance training and certification institute in the world with over 20,000 paying users in 44 countries and over 100 institutions.

But what makes Ethica different? Part of its success comes from a 100% online platform accessible from any corner of the globe, requiring only 4 months to go from newcomer to advanced. And part of it comes from being fully AAOIFI-compliant, the Islamic finance industry’s leading standard-setting body.

What makes Ethica quite different from other training institutes is its readiness to go on the ground in Africa. Ethica has licensed resellers in North Africa and West Africa and has delivered face-to-face sessions to African bankers in both Africa and the Middle East.

Dr. Binta Jibril of the International Institute for Islamic Banking and Finance in Nigeria said about her recent Ethica training, “I really enjoyed every hour of the training. It has added immensely to my little knowledge about Islamic finance and increased my interest in it.” She was trained by one of Ethica’s AAOIFI-certified scholars Sheikh Ashraf Muneeb.

Ethica’s spokesperson said, “We are very fortunate that our recent growth across the continent coincides with Ethica’s plans to launch specially discounted pricing for African countries.

Africa has too long been on the receiving end of failed interest-based lending programs and we are delighted to be part of a new Africa based on sustainability and self-sufficiency.” Ethica’s core product is their 4-month Certified Islamic Finance Executive (CIFE) program, the only 100% AAOIFI-compliant, 100% online Islamic finance certificate in the market today.

AAOIFI stands for the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions, the leading Islamic finance standard in the world and the de facto standard for over 90% of the world’s jurisdictions.

About Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance

Winner of “Best Islamic Finance Qualification” at the 2011 Global Islamic Finance Awards, Ethica ( ) is chosen by more professionals and students for Islamic finance training and certification than any other organization in the world. With over 20,000 paying users in 44 countries, the Dubai-based institute is accredited by leading scholars and serves banks, universities, and professionals across over 100 organizations.

To watch an Ethica training video click here . For more information about this article, or to schedule an interview with Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance

Dubai Islamic Bank's shares fall further

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) fell for the third time after the UAE’s largest Sharia-compliant lender said it will cut its dividend payment in accordance with Central Bank advice.

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) fell for the third time after the UAE’s largest Sharia-compliant lender said it will cut its dividend payment in accordance with Central Bank advice.

The DIB shares declined 1.4 per cent to Dh2.19 in Dubai. The benchmark DFM General Index dropped 1.64 per cent. The dividend for last year will be 10 fils a share instead of the 15 fils the bank proposed last month, it said in a statement to Nasdaq Dubai yesterday.

Gulf Finance House

Gulf Finance House, a Bahraini investment bank, yesterday reported a narrower year-on-year net loss in the fourth quarter of last year of $3.76 million (Dh13.79 million). The loss compared to a $186.6 million net loss in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Gulf Finance House has restructured and paid down debt and shored up its capital in recent years as it transitions to a new business model focusing on the development of Islamic financial institutions in the region.

The company’s Dubai-based unit, G Capital, last year partnered with Gurmen Group to buy Turkey’s Adabank for $75 million. GFH said full-year net profit last year reached $381,000, compared to a loss of $349 million in 2010.

Egypt telephony

Mobile telephone subscribers in Egypt grew 18 per cent year-on-year to 83 million in 2011, the Egyptian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology (MCIT), said on its website Thursday.

Subscribers of Egyptian mobile telecom operators Vodafone Egypt, Mobinil, and Etisalat Misr, a unit of etisalat, reached 36.7 million, 32.9 million, and 13.8 million respectively by the end of 2011, the MCIT data showed.

“This represents a penetration rate of around 104.4 per cent, up from 90 per cent at end-2010,” said Ahmad Adel, a telecom analyst at Cairo-based Naeem Brokerage.

“We forecast 15 per cent subscriber growth in 2012 to 96 million, which would take penetration to 116 per cent.”

National Electricity

Saudi Electricity Co’s unit National Electricity Transmission Co plans to tender local power transmission projects this year worth more than 12 billion Saudi riyals, pan-Arab daily Al Hayat reported yesterday citing an executive. National Electricity Transmission is currently implementing, in cooperation with contractors, more than 200 projects valued at more than 25 billion riyals, Saleh Al Onaizan, the company’s chief executive, told the paper.

Equate Petrochemical

Kuwait-based Equate Petrochemical Co, whose two major shareholders are the local state-run Petrochemical Industries Co and US-based Dow Chemical Co, said on Wednesday its 2011 full-year net profit rose 20 per cent to $1.05 billion compared with the previous year.

“These profits were realised due to operational excellence at all production units, as well as the increase in prices of petrochemical products globally as a result of stability in demand,” Hamad Al Terkait, the company’s president and chief executive, said in a statement.

Sales exceeded $2.5 billion last year which is unprecedented in Equate’s history, he added. In other news, Equate said in the statement that in April Terkait will be succeeded by Mohammad Husain as its CEO.


Abu Dhabi National Takaful Company yesterday announced financial results for the year ended December 31, 2011. Takaful posted a net profit of Dh24.4 million for 2011 compared to Dh21.0 million for 2010, an increase of 16.2 per cent.

Total cash and bank balances for the year were Dh170.2 million compared to Dh159.0 million for 2010, an increase of seven per cent.

United Arab Bank

United Arab Bank Thursday approved the distribution of a cash dividend equal to 20 per cent of the paid up capital. The bank said that the dividend reflected its strong financial performance, which was Dh330 million for 2011.

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank PJSC : ADIB Launches Education Finance Promotion Aligned to Customer Needs

ADIB Launches Education Finance Promotion Aligned to Customer Needs

Abu Dhabi, 21 February 2012 – Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, a top-tier Islamic financial services institution, announced today a reduced profit rate for ADIB Education Finance in a promotion that lasts till 31st March 2012.

Customers can apply for ADIB Education Finance of up to AED 250,000. They can also benefit from a flexible repayment period of up to 48 months, no processing fees, free postponement options and a free Visa Covered Card.

Education finance is widely seen as a good finance and the best investment a person can make because a degree will usually result in a person earning more money. With this promotion, ADIB demonstrates its commitment to raising levels of knowledge and qualifications of the community. The promotion is part of the bank’s community oriented initiatives, such as ‘Smart Money’ financial education booklet.

The promotion is expected to encourage more students to pursue a university education as the bank goes beyond financing tuition fees. ADIB Education Finance takes care of a range of education expenses, including books, transportation, library fees and more.

The ADIB education finance promotion is aligned to government objectives as education is one of the key sectors identified by the Abu Dhabi 2030 Plan. The bank brings the education finance promotion at crucial times in the scholastic year and will facilitate the Plan’s aim to build UAE’s upcoming human capital. It comes at the right time as it provides students with finance customized to their immediate needs.

About ADIB:

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) was established on 20th May 1997 as a Public Joint Stock Company following the Emiri Decree No. 9 of 1997. The Bank commenced commercial operations on 11th November 1998, and was formally inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan on 18th April 1999.

ADIB’s vision is to be a top-tier, global Islamic financial services group and its mission is to provide Islamic financial solutions to the global community.

The Bank carries out all contracts, operations and transactions in accordance with Islamic Shari’a principles.

ADIB’s core values, reflected in all its activities are: Simple and Sensible; Transparent; Mutual Benefit; Hospitality and Tolerance; and Shari’a inspired. It brings to its customers banking as it should be.

ADIB – 2011 Awards

ADIB was named the “Best Overall Bank in the UAE in customer service” for 2011 by Ethos Consultancy

ADIB won the” Best Branch Award in the UAE” for 2011 by Ethos Consultancy

ADIB was named the “Best Islamic Bank in the UAE” for 2011  by Global Finance Magazine ADIB was named Best Islamic Bank for 2011 by Business Banking and Finance Magazine

ADIB won Best Corporate Bank  for 2011 by Business Banking and Finance Magazine ADIB was named “The Best Islamic Bank” in the Middle East region for the second year running at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards 2011.

ADIB was nominated as “Fastest Growing Bank in the UAE” by the awards jury at the Banker Middle East Industry Awards 2011.

ADIB won the Best Islamic Bank in the UAE by EMEA Finance magazine

ADIB won the Best Islamic Bank in the UAE by Islamic Finance News Magazine

ADIB won Syndicated loan of the year by Islamic Finance News Magazine

Egypt Prepares to Sell $2 Billion Islamic Bonds – Scholar

DUBAI – The Egyptian government, seeking to head off a funding crisis, is preparing to raise about $2 billion through its first issue of Islamic bonds, an Islamic scholar familiar with its planning said on Tuesday.

“The Egyptian government is convinced that a foreign currency sukuk will fund the country’s development projects and can also bridge the gap in its currency reserves,” Sheikh Hussein Hamid Hassan told Reuters.

“The sukuk will be in dollars or euros or maybe a combination. It will be around $2 billion, issued in several tranches targeting mainly Egyptians living outside Egypt.”  Sheikh Hussein is one of the leading scholars in the Islamic finance industry, which is built around religious principles such as the avoidance of interest payments. Based in Dubai, he chairs a series of boards which evaluate Islamic financial instruments.

He is not an official adviser to the Egyptian government but has been discussing the possibility of a sukuk issue with it. Sheikh Hussein said he had proposed four structures for the sukuk and the government would choose one.

Asked when the debt might be issued, he said: “The date of issue is not final yet but Egypt is in urgent need of funding.”  Hit by declines in foreign investment and tourism, the Egyptian central bank’s foreign reserves fell $1.77 billion to $16.35 billion in January and are down by more than half since the uprising which ousted Hosni Mubarak in February last year.

That threatens a sharp slide in the value of Egypt’s currency. The government is also grappling with a large budget deficit that it is financing at high cost by issuing short-term Treasury bills to local banks at yields above 15 percent.

Last month Egypt said it was asking the International Monetary Fund for $3.2 billion in emergency loans; a deal could encourage other foreign donors to aid Cairo. But the IMF said it expected talks on an agreement to take two or three months.

Islamic finance was not encouraged under Mubarak’s secular government but it is expected to grow in Egypt after Islamist parties won well over half of the seats in parliamentary elections last month. The government has drafted legislation that would facilitate issues of sukuk.

Because they attract pools of conservative Islamic investment money, sukuk have often proved to be more stable than conventional bonds during the global financial crisis, and they might be an effective way to attract some of the savings of millions of Egyptians living abroad. They might also be bought by Islamic investment funds in the wealthy Arab Gulf

A Saudi Arabian newspaper, Asharq Al-Awsat, reported this week that Egypt’s finance ministry had asked National Bank of Egypt, the country’s largest bank, to study ways in which a sovereign sukuk could be issued in the near future. Marketing could start as soon as next week if the government approves, the newspaper said.

Economy: Morocco, first Muslim banks soon



Morocco might soon create its first Islamic banks. The issue is indeed one of Benkirane government’s priorities: the Parliamentary group of PJD, the moderate Islamic party having won November’s elections, has already finished writing the draft bill to be presented at the Chamber of Deputies, drafted by a team of Party’s experts led by the General Affair and Governance Minister Mohamed Najiib Boulif. On the financial instruments’ market, the so-called “Islamic” instruments were already partially available, but the institutes managing them had never expressed their interest in the creation of specialized banks. However, PJD’s victory changed many things, since the model has proved to resist the crisis and showed a large potential for growth. The draft bill begins with classification of the general principles underlying products currently traded by banks, grouping them into halal (allowed) and haram (forbidden) by Sharia and specifies that lending must not be the source of profit. Imposing interests is therefore prohibited and lending is not considered a form of trading anymore: “Funding agreement with banks imply participation of the bank itself in both profits and losses”. Actually, Islamic banks do not merely propose financial brokering services as in traditional banking regimes; they play an active role in wealth generation, transformation and trade processes. The draft bill proceeds to determine which financing models are allowed. In general, they are “contracts compliant to Sharia regarding the use of funds aimed at generating profits”.

The institutes allowed to work within this system are grouped in three categories: Islamic banks, financial institutions similar to Islamic banks and Islamic financial institutions.

Today, any moral entity allowed to collect funds, manage and invest them according to the Islamic law might be labelled as Islamic bank. These institutes would be subject to Sharija, not to current laws regulating the credit institutions and similar bodies, except the provisions that are already compliant with the Sharia. This would not prevent Islamic financial institutes from entering today’s bank system: they would act under protection of Bank Al-Maghrib, the Moroccan Central Bank and by the National Council of Money and Savings, according to provisions of the Central bank, both as far as monitoring and prudential principles are concerned. The PJD project would also allow traditional banks to convert into Islamic banks, either totally or partially, creating branch offices, local cash desks or investment funds specialized in this kind of activity.

According to La Vie Eco, the total amount of funds currently circulating in the world’s Islamic finance is estimated at more than USD 1000 bln in 2011, that is, a growth by 50% over 2008 and by 21% over 2010. About one fourth of the world’s population is Muslim, so the system has significant potential for growth; experts estimate that Islamic finance might absorb between 40 and 50% of savings in this group.

BankDhofar set to launch Islamic banking

MUSCAT BankDhofar has appointed Deloitte and Touche for a market assessment and feasibility study into launching of Islamic window services at the bank, a press release said.

The bank has also appointed a new head of Islamic banking to prepare it to handle the new service.

BankDhofar is planning to implement Islamic financial services and has already invested in training programmes for executives, providing them with insights into planning and executing Islamic banking products and services.

This study is in response to the Royal Decree issued last year by His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said.

“At BankDhofar we are planning to offer customers Sharia compliant products and services through dedicated service channels,” said Mohamed Redha Jawad, general manager, Wholesale Banking.

“The feasibility study will enable us to offer customers the best services possible and to ensure that we are abreast of all new regulations and standards for Islamic financial services,” he said.

With assets worth around 1.5 billion rials, BankDhofar, is ranked number 1, as the “Best Bank in Oman 2010” by the Oman Economic Review-Gulf Baader Capital Markets, Business Today’s ‘Banks & NBFCs’ survey conducted by Ernst & Young and “Best Bank in Oman” by the pre-eminent international finance magazine Euromoney.

BRUNEI – EDUCATION – Centre for Islamic Banking, Finance & Management launched – Her Royal Highness Princess Hajah Hafizah Sururul Bolkiah yesterday attended the official launching of the Centre for Islamic Banking, Finance and Management (CIBFM) and its first flagship, the Fiqh Mu’amalat Professional programme.

Held at the Indera Kayangan Ballroom of The Empire Hotel and Country Club, the launch opened with recitations of surah al-Fatihah and doa led by Pehin Orang Kaya Paduka Seri Raja Dato Paduka Seri Setia Ustaz Hj Awg Suhaili Hj Mohiddin. (source)

On hand to officiate the launch of the centre and the programme was Acting Minister of Finance II at the Prime Minister’s Office Dato Paduka Awg Hj Bahrin Abdullah.

In his opening remarks, Permanent Secretary (Policy) at the Ministry of Finance cum Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Centre for Islamic Banking, Finance and Management c, in his capacity as chairman of the event, highlighted the objective of the establishment, function and roles of CIBFM, as well as the unique features of the Fiqh Mu’amalat Professional programme.

He emphasised on the centre’s role towards providing continuous learning and development programmes through a balanced mix of Islamic and conventional focus including the required soft skills.

He also shared future plans of the centre, which expects to offer and conduct some 50 programmes targeted for about 800 participants this year.

The launch saw the attendance of members of the Syariah Financial Supervisory Board, senior government officials, CEOs, managing directors and representatives of financial institutions and the first batch of the flagship.

In conjunction with the launching, a seminar in the form of special presentations and penal discussions by both local and well-known Syariah scholars and speakers were also held.

Following the opening ceremony, a special presentation was presented on Syariah Advisors for Islamic Financial Institutions – ‘Expectations and Challenges’ by a leading shariah scholar in Islamic Finance, Dr Mohamed Ali Elgari.

This was then followed by panel discussions on ‘Effective Human Capital Development – Mitigating the Gap on Applied Syariah Knowledge and Finance’ and another special presentation on ‘Value Propositions of Syariah Board in Contemporary Islamic Financial Market.’

The presentation delivered by founder and chairman of Amanie Advisors (Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Luxembourg and Cairo), Dr Mohd Daud Bakar, concluded the morning event.

Later in the afternoon the event saw a continuation of panel discussions on Development of Islamic Investment Products and Services – A Local and Global Perspective and ‘Syariah Compliance Review – An Art or Science?’