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Sunday, 25 October 2015

FNB targets Islamic banking on continent

FIRST National Bank (FNB) says it is looking to expand its Islamic banking offering to Zambia and Tanzania before the end of its financial year in June next year.
FNB, which has been on an expansion phase in select countries in the rest of Africa, is looking to use the Islamic banking offering to capture clients, especially in those countries that have big Muslim communities.
"The two countries that we are focused on are Zambia and Tanzania," Amman Muhammad, the CEO of FNB Islamic Banking, said on Monday.
"We are hoping by the next financial year, we will be active there." Mr Muhammad said about half of the 1.1-billion people in Africa were Muslim.
He said that in sub-Saharan Africa there were about 280-million Muslim people and the FirstRand group had a presence in countries that had about 200-million Muslims.
The bank already offers Islamic banking in Botswana.
As governments look to raise Islamic bonds, known as Sukuks, FirstRand is looking to position itself through its franchise, Rand Merchant Bank.
Last year, SA sold its first Islamic bond and raised $500m with the debt carrying a coupon as low as 3.9% over a five-year period.
Mr Muhammad said there was now demand for Islamic banking.
Islamic banking does not invest depositors’ money in what is considered "sin stocks" involved in activities Muslims frown upon.
Absa, the other company which offers Islamic banking in SA, said that as part of Barclays Africa group, it had the opportunity to team up with Barclays Bank Kenya and NBC in Tanzania to enhance their Islamic banking offering.
(Business Day Live / 20 October 2015)
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Malaysia poised to become global hub for Islamic finance, says central bank governor

Malaysia is on course to becoming a global centre for Islamic finance, in tandem with the industry's projected consistent growth, according to the chief of Malaysia's central bank.
"It (the industry) is set to grow. Its international dimension will continue to increase because we are becoming an international hub for Islamic finance," Tan Sri Zeti Akhtar Aziz, governor, Bank Negara Malaysia, told reporters in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday.
She was speaking to them after the convocation at the International Centre For Education In Islamic Finance (INCEIF) at the Malaysian capital after presenting certificates to graduates, reports the
The INCEIF was established in 2005 by Bank Negara Malaysia, as part of its initiatives to create a talent pool, under the Malaysia International Islamic Finance Centre (MIFC). Tan Sri Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz is the chairman and chancellor of the INCEIF.
The global profile of the student community at the INCIEF will provide the much-needed talent to drive global Islamic finance, an industry whose assets were valued at about $2.1 trillion in 2014, according to the MIFC.
Students from Germany, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Indonesia, Brazil and the US comprised about 45% of the graduates who passed out, the rest being Malaysians.
"This would be a tremendous boost for the industry that has always complained that they don't have enough talent. That's why we established Inceif. This is an investment by Bank Negara. It achieved everything that we wanted in developing talent and in carrying out reserach," Tan Sri Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz said.
The INCEIF is increasingly being seen as providing leadership to Islamic finance industry in many ways, be it independent reporting, making laws, developing human resources or governance, according to its president and CEO Daud Vicary Abdullah.
"Malaysia is probably twice as far ahead as the next competitor in terms of its infrastructure to grow and support Islamic finance," he said.
In all, 248 graduates from 40 countries were awarded scrolls during the convocation.
According to a MIFC report, the industry's assets are expected to reach $2.4 trillion by the end of this year, having grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 17.3% between 2009 and 2014.
The INCEIF offers three post-graduate programmes in Islamic finance – Masters in Islamic Finance Practice (MIFP), Master of Science in Islamic Finance (MSc) and PhD in Islamic Finance.
(International Business Times / 24 October 2015)
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