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Saturday, 19 March 2016


Jeddah—Leading global experts have stated that Islamic finance would provide a key solution against fragility in Islamic Development Bank’s (IDB) member countries and beyond. The experts stated this during a high level meeting at theheadquarters of IDB in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, under the umbrella of IDB President’sAdvisory Panel (PAP).

PAP is an advisory body of global experts who work with the IDB President to provideindependent advice on the overall strategy of the IDB, as well as give input into the policydirection of the Bank for the benefit of member countries. The theme for the panel this year is“Digital Development for Resilience.” According to the IDB President, Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali in his opening remarks of the PAP, IDB is interested in creating awareness on the potential role of Islamic finance for fragilecommunities.

“Fragility threatens human development. We therefore have to find innovative means to addressfragility by increasing levels of resilience in our communities,’ Dr. Ahmad Ali stated. “Our member countries are in a real danger of being left behind. Currently 24 of the 50 most fragile countries are OIC member countries.” He concluded. During his remarks, former President of Turkey, Dr. Abdullah Gul commended IDB in its effort to use Islamic Finance to address the challenges outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which includes fragility. He suggested that IDB can help member countries to achieve digital development by sharing experiences and providing financing. Dr. Gul cited the exampleof a good practice from the Republic of Turkey where the use of e-government (i.e. e-visaservices) served 30 million visitors within three years.

Dr. Abdullah Gul added that we have not fully exploited the industrial revolution, but we can still take advantage of the digital wave.In his intervention during the panel discussion, Nobel Laureate, Professor Muhammad Yunusstated that the leading technology firms in the world are using technology for profit making. Therefore IDB should work with member countries to use digital technology and Islamic microfinanceas a social driver, so that people will create jobs by themselves. Professor Abbas Mirakhor, former Executive Director and Dean of the Executive Board of International Monetary Fund (IMF), encouraged IDB to work with member countries by addressing fragility through a policy framework that will integrate Islamic finance in national budgets. On his part, Dr.Jobarah Al-Suraisry, former KSA Minister of Transportation called for the establishment of a “Digital Fund” in order to address the imbalance between the developed and developing countries. In her contribution, Madam Bintou Sanogoh, former Minister of Finance of Burkina Faso stated that digital development can help low income countries to become middle income if we can improve connectivity.

(Pakistan Observer / 17 March 2016)
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SEC positions Nigeria for $2trn global Sukuk market

LAGOS— The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has initiated moves to position Nigeria for a big role in the emerging global market for Islamic or non- interest finance valued at over $2 trillion. 

Director General of SEC, Mounir Gwarzo, said this in Sokoto at a regional roundtable on Non-Interest Capital Market. He said: “In Nigeria, the SEC has implemented a number of reforms aimed at deepening the non-interest capital market.

 The global Sukuk market continues to witness remarkable growth since after the 2008 global financial crisis. Annual issuances have grown from $15 billion in 2008 to almost $120 billion in 2014.” SEC has issued regulatory framework, reviewing the rules and introducing new ones on Islamic Fund Management and on Sukuk issuance. 

The legal frameworks have encouraged Islamic product innovation with the registration of five ethical/shariah compliant funds and the issuance of Nigeria’s first ever sub-national Ijara Sukuk by the Osun State government in 2013 which was oversubscribed. 

“We are also considering modalities for setting up a Sharia Advisory Council as a body of experts to advise SEC and the market on non-interest product and their applications,” Gwarzo said. Investors worldwide are increasingly allocating their resources into Islamic finance products. 

Hong Kong, with only about 270,000 Muslims, raised $2 billion from Sukuk sales in 2014 and 2015, which attracted $6.7 billion in total orders, while Indonesia plans to tap investors for the sixth year running and Malaysia is returning for its seventh offering this year. 

Last year was widely considered a landmark year for Islamic finance, especially with landmark debut Sukuk issuances by countries such as the UK, Hong Kong, Senegal, South Africa, and Luxemburg. 

A Sukuk is part of Nigeria’s strategic framework through 2017, the Debt Management Office (DMO) said recently.

(Vanguard / 15 March 2016)
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