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ISSUE 107

ISSUE 107 ANCHORING ISLAMIC FINANCE IN AFRICA HE Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti and Head of Government

ANCHORING ISLAMIC FINANCE IN AFRICA HEE IIsmail H smail O Omar mar G Guelleh, uelleh, PPresident resident ooff tthe he R Republic epublic ooff D Djibouti jibouti aand nd H Head ead ooff G Government overnment sspeaks peaks about about tthe he iindustry ndustry aand nd tthe he ccontinent’s ontinent’s ppotential otential ttoo ggrow row ttogether ogether

A CPI Financial Publication

PLUS:

20 BANKING:

GCC Islamic banks weather 2018

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42 SUKUK:

Gold-backed Sukuk in East Africa

44 INSIDE STORY: Increasing the role for women in the industry

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CONTENTS

ISSUE 107

REGULAR SECTIONS

EDITOR'S LETTER

12

Greetings, all

W

elcome to Islamic Business & Finance. This is the 107th issue of the longest-running Islamic finance magazine in the world. We have a lot of excellent content here as 2018 rushes forward. We were honoured to speak with the President of Djibouti and the head of the Government HE IsmaĂŻl Omar Guelleh about the future of Islamic finance in Africa, as well as HE Ahmed Osman, Governor, Central Bank of Djibouti about the progress that the country has made in achieving that goal. Africa has the most potential out of any market for Islamic finance, and leaders such as these are vital in realising that potential. Beyond that, there is plenty to peruse. I hope you enjoy digging into another great issue. Until next time,

NEWS ANALYSIS

6

16

News & Analysis

OPINION

8 OPINION 10 THE LONG VIEW

Embracing the extraordinary

COVER STORY

12 ANCHORING ISLAMIC FINANCE IN AFRICA

20

AFRICA

16 HE AHMED OSMAN,

GOVERNOR, CENTRAL BANK OF DJIBOUTI

William Mullally Log on to www.islamicbusinessandfinance.com for news, polls, events, analysis, blogs, features, commentary and more.

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CONTENTS

ISSUE 107

FEATURES

CHAIRMAN

SALEH AL AKRABI CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

TONY LONG tony.long@cpifinancial.net Tel: +971 4 391 4681 EDITOR - ISLAMIC BUSINESS & FINANCE

WILLIAM MULLALLY william@cpifinancial.net Tel: +971 4 391 3718 EDITORS

NABILAH ANNUAR nabilah.annuar@cpifinancial.net Tel: +971 4 391 3726 MATT AMLÔT matt@cpifinancial.net Tel: +971 4 391 3716 WEB EDITOR

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SUKUK

38 ANALYSING SAUDI

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ARABIA’S LANDMARK MUNICIPAL SUKUK DECREE

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CAROL BASA carol@cpifinancial.net Tel: +971 4 391 3709

40 MARKETWATCH 42 GOLD-BACKED SUKUK

42

THE WAY FORWARD FOR EAST AFRICA

ISLAMIC BANKING

20 SEIZING OPPORTUNITY 24 GCC ISLAMIC BANKS WILL

THE INSIDE STORY

46 INCREASING THE ROLE

WEATHER A DIFFICULT 2018

FOR WOMEN IN ISLAMIC FINANCE

30 ISLAMIC FINANCE’S

DIARY

TOP INSTITUTION

50 DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

ISLAMIC TECH

34 ISLAMIC FINANCE,

BLOCKCHAIN, AND THE FUTURE OF TRADE

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ISSUE 107 Dubai Technology

and Media Free

Zone Authority

Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority

Dubai Technology and Media Free Zone Authority

ISSUE 105

ISSUE 106

President of the Republic

ANCHORING CE AN ISLAMIC FIN IN AFRICA

of Djibouti and Head

GCC Islamic weather 2018

Gold-backed East Africa

PLUS:

20 TAKAFUL: Takaful’s value proposition

42 SUKUK:

A focus on Saudi Arabia

44 INSIDE STORY: ‘Halal is awesome’

A CPI Financial Publication

A CPI Financial Publication

PLUS:

: 42 SUKUKSukuk in

CHANGE IS HERE TO STAY David Power, Chief Executive Officer, KFH Malaysia

A CPI Financial Publication

of Government

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David Power, Chief Executive Officer, KFH Malaysia

overnmenntt Governme ead ooff G Head nd H jibouti aand Djibouti epublic ooff D Republic he R resident ooff tthe ogether row ttogether uelleh, PPresident Guelleh, mar G Omar potential ttoo ggrow smail O HEE IIsmail H continent’’ss potential he continent nd tthe industry aand the industry about the speaks speaks about

G: 20 BANKIN banks

CHANGE IS HERE TO STAY

CHANGE IS HERE TO STAY David Power, Chief Executive Officer, KFH Malaysia

HE Ismail Omar Guelleh,

Islamic Business & Finance | ISSUE 107

ISSUE 105

FINANCE IN AFRICA

@IBFMag on Twitter for stories as they're being told

PLUS:

26 TAKAFUL:

Kenya’s challenges

34 SUKUK:

KSA’s Sukuk Program pushes forward

46 INSIDE STORY: Halal tourism in South Africa

STORY: 44 INSIDE the role for Increasing industry women in the

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CHANGE IS HERE TO STAY David Power, Chief Executive Officer, KFH Malaysia

ANCHORING ISLAMIC

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ISSUE 106

ISSUE 107

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NEWS & ANALYSIS

Dubai Islamic Bank launched a $1 billion Sukuk issued with a five year tenor, maturing on 6 February 2023. This is the second time that DIB has raised a billion dollar senior Sukuk in as many years effectively leading with the first deal of 2018 and re-opening the market in the GCC. The tremendous investor interest from across the globe is clearly exhibited by the strong and widespread subscription demonstrating not only the continued attraction of DIB as a quality credit, but also the resilience of the Sukuk market in general. 2018 will see us continue to progress on our growth 2.0 strategy highlighted at the start of last year.” - DR. ADNAN CHILWAN. Group CEO DIB

The global Sukuk market will continue to rebound from a sharp drop in volumes in 2015, supported by a range of factors, including rising sovereign issuance, product innovation, increasing demand from retail banks and a narrowing of spreads over conventional bonds. "Sovereigns have underpinned a recovery in the global Sukuk market this year, with their issuance increasing by 50 per cent in the first eight months of 2017. We expect sovereign sukuk issuance volumes will continue to grow in 2018 as governments look to diversify their financing mix and satisfy the liquidity needs of Islamic retail banks." - CHRISTIAN DE GUZMAN, Moody's Vice President -- Senior Credit Officer

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) launched two new modules on the IFSB’s FIS E-learning Portal for IFSB-8: Guiding Principles on Governance for Takaful Undertakings and, IFSB-9: Guiding Principles on Conduct of Business for Institutions offering Islamic Financial Services (IIFS). With the addition of two new modules, the FIS E-Learning Portal now offers borderless learning experience for nine IFSB Standards covering the Islamic banking, Takaful and Islamic capital market segments. Participants from more than 13 countries are already benefiting from the E-Learning Portal, which is an initiative made possible by the continued support of the Asian Development Bank.” - ZAHID UR REHMAN KHOKHER, Acting Secretary-General of the IFSB

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WTC18_210x270.pdf

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OPINION

How to avoid playing catch-up

I

n the pages of this publication, we have again and again promised that ‘blockchain’ would not be a term that would go away any time soon. In fact, blockchain technology promises to be the at the forefront of finance for the forseeable future, with nearly every conversation about finance involving the technology and its myriad applications. At the Middle East’s biggest yearly Islamic finance event, the World Islamic Banking Conference in Bahrain, blockchain became a part of its biggest speeches. The closing keynote address came from Alex Tapscott, CEO NextBlock Global, Co-Author of Blockchain Revolution & Founding Member, IMF’s High Level Advisory Group on Fintech and Xen Baynham- Herd, Head of Strategy and Lead Economist – Blockchain who spoke about embracing new technologies like blockchain in the changing face of financial services due to the advent of the digitisation. “I believe that in the future, money will enable a huge explosion in innovation, and people who are currently unbanked and underserved by the judicial financial industry will be able to utilise some of these benefits. It is not surprising that on our platform we see some of the largest adoptions and growth in developing countries, because here financial inclusion is going to be driven by technology leap-frogging, existing financial infrastructure and going to things such as mobile-first technology, as individuals become increasingly mobile savvy, connected and comfortable with digital technology. Soon, using their smartphones people will be able to store, transact and secure their digital assets for identity and their personal data all at one place, probably on their phone. The next wave of digital actors are not people but machines. The internet of things already consists of over one billion connected devices and in the years ahead this is going to grow to hundreds of billions. However, as this happens centralised solutions are exposing us to greater and greater risks”.

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While this is hard to argue with, the question that I can’t help but ask myself is, ‘are Islamic banks doing enough to address this?’ The Islamic economy is growing at a remarkable rate. Halal businesses are popping up on every continent, and Islamic fintech start ups are currently making waves in Dubai and Bahrain’s incubators. Islamic banks must embrace those start ups, as they must the rest of the Halal businesses in the landscape. These technologies will affect Islamic finance either way—but if those changes are coming with Islamic finance in mind from the start, as they do from Islamic start-ups, then Islamic finance will not be playing catch up—it will be leading the way.

William Mullally

Editor

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PROFILES IN LEADERSHIP An important new series from CPI Financial, the Middle East’s leading financial and business publishing house. In challenging times, clear and dynamic leadership is the key to business success. CPI Financial’s new series Profiles in Leadership will identify and define those qualities necessary to succeed, profiling successful individuals and their businesses.

CPI Financial TV CPI Financial TV is proud to launch a new online Leadership series. We are conducting a series of in-depth, on-camera, face-to-face interviews with the key players in the Middle East banking and financial services sector.

Dubai Islamic Bank The longest-established modern Islamic bank is one of the leading financial institutions and our interview with its Group CEO launched our Leadership series on 10 September 2017. You may watch the full interview online or alternatively view key segments of the interview individually.

Who’s next? Our Leadership series launches with Dr. Adnan Chilwan of Dubai Islamic Bank. Look out for more great interviews in the coming weeks. We already have Patrice Couvegnes, CEO of Banque Saudi Fransi, and HE Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair, CEO of Mashreq, lined up with even more to come…

Unparalleled insight Understand how the region’s top bankers view the challenges and opportunities their institutions face… and the plans they intend to implement.

Identify ambition Whether in the domestic, regional or international arena you will be able to see for yourself just what is in store in the evolution of one of the world’s most dynamic economic arenas and for the institutions helping to bring economic dreams into successful reality.

Bookmark CPI Financial TV Bookmark CPI Financial TV now to make sure you stay in touch and on top of these unique insights into the region’s banking and financial services industry.

IN-DEPTH INTERVIEWS

Dr. Adnan Chilwan Group CEO Dubai Islamic Bank

HE Abdul Aziz Al Ghurair CEO Mashreq

Michel Accad Group CEO Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait

To learn more, contact: OMER HUSSAIN +971 4 391 5419 omer@cpifinancial.net

CPI Financial FZ LLC • PO Box 502491 Al Shatha Tower, Office 1209 Dubai Media City, Dubai, U.A.E. Tel: +971 (0) 4 391 4681 • Fax: +971 (0) 4 390 9576 • www.cpifinancial.net

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THE LONG VIEW

A new horizon

TONY LONG, CPI FINANCIAL’S NEW CEO, SHARES HIS THOUGHTS ON THE FUTURE OF BANKING

T

he future. It’s always interesting to imagine new possibilities and how things might change tomorrow, or many years ahead. My first and only time in Dubai before joining CPI Financial a few months ago was back in 2005. The Burj Khalifa was still not above the foundations and construction of the Dubai Metro had not yet begun, but the vision for Dubai was already well under way. Arriving here a few months ago from London, it seemed impossible to imagine just how much of a transformation had taken place so quickly, and the plans for the future here and throughout the region are every bit as ambitious and exciting.

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TONY LONG

Islamic Business & Finance's sister publication Banker Middle East recently celebrated its 200th edition, recalling the events and progress that has been made over the last 18 years, and beyond the challenges of what life was like post the 2008 crash and the more recent collapse in oil prices, it is incredible to think what the economies and the banking sectors of the Middle East have been through and achieved in such a relatively short period of time. As we look towards the next 200 issues, it seems equally impossible to predict quite how much life will change again, other than to say that the pace of change will inevitably continue to accelerate as we speed towards new horizons. The challenges facing the Islamic banking industry globally, and particularly in the GCC region, where some of the youngest populations in the world are shaping the digital economy are hugely exciting, if not a little daunting for some. As the disruption of technology continues to disintermediate traditional banking services across the world, the evolution of new products and services will depend as much on the visionary leadership of our most progressive banks, as the demands of clients and consumers. Innovation is completely our responsibility and our sole means of survival. There are two people in particular who have done more to drive true innovation than almost any others in the post-industrial age. As Henry Ford allegedly said, “If I had asked my customers what they wanted they would have said a faster horse”, and Steve Jobs went further in his belief that “It’s not the consumers job to know what they want”, when asked, “How much market research went into the iPad?” So, as we enter the fourth industrial revolution, it is encouraging that as banking

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THE LONG VIEW

systems across emerging and developing markets leapfrog the legacy infrastructures of established economies, new products, services and routes to market are continually being created as vast swathes of unbanked populations move into the new digital economy. Yet within all this frenetic development and disruption there is an even greater need to regulate a technology driven industry faced with all the challenges that rapidly advancing digital economies present. fintech meet regtech. Artificial Intelligence (AI), robotics, blockchain, cryptocurrencies and cashless societies are simply the beginning of what will be an unrecognisable future much sooner than we think.

Traditional banks are being threatened from all quarters in ways that have not been possible for the last 500 years. TONY LONG

These are the biggest challenges in the history, and to the future, of banking. Traditional banks are being threatened from all quarters in ways that have not been possible for the last 500 years and the agility with which the industry is able to develop and respond to these opportunities and challenges will have a profound and lasting impact of the future of banking as we know it today. The media industry was one of the first to feel the full impact of the democratisation that the internet and digital technology has brought to people on a global scale, and publishers faced similar challenges to those which banks are facing today; how to stay relevant and add value in a market where barriers to access have got so low that everyone believes they can compete and new entrants are appearing from every direction. Needless to say, we’ve seen a lot of these businesses find out just how challenging it is to build new brands and establish trust with new customers and many have disappeared as quickly as they arrived.

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But some will survive and flourish as they find the right products and approach to consumers who are looking for a new relationship with their bank, and the future most certainly belongs to those who are able to adapt best (not necessarily fastest) to the changing dynamics of the global economy and the local markets they serve. Our vision for CPI Financial is very straight forward. We have a single-minded approach to be the most respected financial media company in the region by adding tangible, unique value to the relationships we have with our clients and customers. We will develop our media brands in whichever way best serves our customers’ needs to become a more valued strategic partner and we are proud to be headquartered in Dubai and share in its vision as we seek to expand our reach and influence into new markets throughout the Middle East. There’s no doubt that we are all living truly digital lives these days and whilst we will continue to invest in developing the platforms and channels that our readers are using and moving towards, we also believe that print is far from dead. The question is, ‘what is the role for paper?’ There is certainly a new-found interest in print media, as witnessed by the recent resurgence in book publishing and the number of new authors that continue to launch their work in print as the lead medium, albeit often purchased online. For magazines, quality journalism, authority and integrity (along with the simple tactile pleasure of reading a magazine) will always attract readers who wish to reflect on what they are reading in a way in which the consumption of digital media is not always best suited. There is much to be excited about in the future for Islamic banking in the GCC and the opportunities are there for all. As media-owners we have learned one simple truth; that we have to develop products that serve our customers in the way in which they want to be served, when they want to be served, and where they want to be served. It’s not exactly rocket science, but then once upon a time, neither was banking.

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COVER INTERVIEW

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COVER INTERVIEW

ANCHORING ISLAMIC FINANCE

IN AFRICA HE ISMAÏL OMAR GUELLEH, PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF DJIBOUTI AND HEAD OF GOVERNMENT SPEAKS ABOUT THE INDUSTRY AND THE CONTINENT’S POTENTIAL TO GROW TOGETHER

The President of Djibouti, Mr. Ismaïl Omar Guelleh during the joint press point with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen

W

hat is your main aim in hosting the International Islamic Banking Summit Africa each year? Our aim is to move forward this noble project, and advance our shared vision of economy and social progress by advancing the development of Islamic finance in Africa. The present edition of the summit is of particular significance for Djibouti, as this is in the year when this country and I were awarded the prestigious Global Islamic Finance Award, a recognition of our modest contribution to the development of Islamic finance in Djibouti, and the result of the work of this summit, which year after year brings us greater international visibility. That is why I would like to share this award with all the eminent experts who have accompanied us in this project. This award is for our international contribution, and brings us all respect, and involves the challenge of going above and beyond to permanently anchor Islamic

finance as a vector of the economy and social progress in our countries. What are your thoughts on the development of Islamic finance in Africa at its current stage? Islamic finance owes its success to its very foundations, its principles drawn from Shari’ah which shelters it from shocks and crises. In addition, its strong link to with the real economy and the competitive nature of Islamic banks, as well as the noted inventive financial products, explain the remarkable performance of the Islamic finance industry. It is these two values that are intrinsic to Islamic finance and have helped it spread beyond its natural sphere. This tremendous global breakthrough of Islamic finance and its immense unexplored potential certainly fills us with hope for rapid and sustainable development. A question arises: why is our continent struggling to attract the important resources cont. on pg 12

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of Islamic finance? It is clear that the penetration of Islamic finance in Africa is still very weak, as assets allocated to the continent are estimated at one to two per cent, depending on the source. Yet, Africa is home to half of the world’s Muslims. Gone are the days when Africa was a spectator of international development and relied sorely on official development assistance for its supply. Today, Africa is a continent of strong growth far from having expressed all of its potential. This bodes well for future growth prospects and business opportunities for any investment. How has Djibouti’s GDP growth been in 2017, and what do you expect for the future? The Government of Djibouti has experienced strong growth over the past decade. With real GDP growth of six per cent in 2016 and 2017, and projected seven per cent growth in the next few years, this performance is the result of our vision of development based on highvalue service economy, totally open to upside growth. We made the bet to make Djibouti a strategic, commercial and financial hub with a vision. To that end, we have dedicated over $10 million to ports, rail, energy and telecommunications infrastructure. These infrastructure projects are fueling economic growth of our country while consolidating the foundations of this development. In this strategic region, Djibouti has focused on its financial sector to support its growth and development. Major reforms in recent years in improving the business climate and financial regulations have begun to bear fruit.

The President of Djibouti, HE Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, during the International Islamic Banking Summit Africa 2017.

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How important is Islamic finance to Djibouti? Islamic finance in Djibouti was born in 2006 with the establishment of the first Islamic bank. Today the number of operators and financial institutions continues to grow and diversify while continuing to attract new investors. Therefore, in order to fully support the expansion and influence of our financial sector, we pay particular attention to the periodic revision and updates in line with international standards. Islamic banks have a specific legal framework supported by the establishment of a national Shari’ah committee.

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COVER INTERVIEW

HE IsmaĂŻl Omar Guelleh greets attendees at the International Islamic Banking Summit Africa 2017.

The anchoring of Islamic finance in Djibouti is well established, and it is contributing to the development of our financial sector. What is the next step for Islamic finance in East Africa? African countries have made a lot of progress, but there is still much to overcome. Economic growth is not an end in itself, but a means to build a just, equitable and prosperous society where people are at the centre of all concerns. To do this, we must double our efforts and invest heavily in various key strategic areas such as infrastructure, energy, education, health, water, and so on. The question arises about the appropriate and sustainable financing of these investments, and the financing of small and medium sized enterprises, the main providers of jobs and a factor in wealth creation.

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As such, the current strong growth of Islamic finance around the world provides an effective and appropriate response to our financing needs. However, while seeking to mobilise international resources, the focus should be on mobilising locally available resources. In this regard, it is clear that the contributions of local banks to the financing of the economy is at an insufficient level despite the reforms undertaken to improve the business environment. The banking community must become more involved in financing the economy, including Islamic banks. The solutions provided by are not just incidental or complementary, but real and adaptive to our needs. It is crucial to focus on ways and means to remove all things that hinder its rapid development. I remain confident that the work of experts will provide the insight necessary to achieve this goal.

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AFRICA

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AFRICA

Sharing knowledge HE AHMED OSMAN, GOVERNOR, CENTRAL BANK OF DJIBOUTI, DISCUSSES HOW ISLAMIC FINANCE TRAINING HAS IMPROVED HIS COUNTRY’S HUMAN CAPITAL AND IS FUELING PARTNERSHIPS ACROSS THE CONTINENT

W

hat progress have you made in terms of issuing a Sukuk? We have worked with the Islamic Development Bank concerning the Sukuk and the possibility for the country to use that vehicle and enhance the capacity for the state to mobilise resources for infrastructure projects. We have many infrastructure projects planned, including two airports. We are ready now. We have made a study that it is possible to put a Sukuk in place for the airport, and at the same time, when you put a price for the Sukuk it has to be linked to a return of the asset, which makes the airport viable. But the income requested by the market is still high. The country is not getting the right rate yet, so we have to make an assessment first to decide that this is in the best interest of the country. For example, last year, Senegal issued a Sukuk, and the price that they took from the market was high, at around seven per cent. In Djibouti we have the possibility to get the finance at a better rate with international institutions such as the Islamic Development Bank, the World Bank, or more, as longer-term loans with lower rates. We’ll make an assessment for the country, but we have the skills, support and know-how to issue it.

HE Ahmed Osman

Who else is open to finance these projects? There are Chinese, French, and American groups that are interested in investing. Just today I was informed that there is a Malaysian

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group that is interested in vesting in the airport. We’ll have tho take all of this into consideration and choose the best way. The Silk Bank opened in Djibouti in 2017. What was the rationale behind its foundation in Djibouti? It is a financial institution that follows the investment that have been made on the port that we are building, particularly in the industrial trade zone that we aren’t building only for Chinese investors, but that Chinese investors are interested in participating in. The agreement that we give them allows that bank, since they have the capital required, to work without segregation. They will follow the activities in that area. Everything is ready— they have the financial capacity, technical skills, and will follow their segment markets. What is the most important step you’ve made in the development of Islamic finance in the last year? Training is the main issue for us. The people that work in Islamic finance in Djibouti have become much more efficient in their capacity skills because of training that we have implemented. Those that work in the Islamic bank here are very young, so they need the assistance of those who have experience and knowledge of those from our Commercial Bank, so the knowledge and expertise continues to spread. The Islamic bank already has 20 per cent

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of the market in terms of assets, but the Musharakah numbers are still low, so they have to work harder and increase training in order to increase the numbers in that regard.

activity of the bank and vice versa with Morocco. We are also looking into ways of how we can work together, and exchange knowledge and further our activities in the future.

What is the potential for GDP growth in Djibouti? It’s expected to be around seven per cent for the next two to three years. If we realise projects such as the proposed Djibouti Airline or the new Djibouti Airports or another five-star hotel, these investments could help to drive up GDP growth higher than seven per cent in the next three years and beyond. It’s a good time to be in Djibouti, to work on these projects, and to see the results immediately. We have a mutual relationship with the Central Bank of Ethiopia. They have started the law to establish Islamic banks, so we will make an agreement to discover how we can work together on that. We have also recently made an agreement with the Government of Morocco, as there are banks such as the Bank of Africa who operate in both of our markets, to allow us to send supervisors to follow the

Is Islamic finance an important part of that partnership? Islamic banking is newer there than it is here, so we have not explored the possibility yet, but we are planning on discussin possibly allowing Moroccan Islamic bank representatives to come here and share knowledge as well. We have much in common—we are French-speaking Africans, and we can find a lot of reasons to work together.

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HE Ahmed Osman greets HE Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti and Head of the Government.

Is Islamic finance driving the relationship with Ethiopia? It’s a 50 per cent Muslim market. If you look at that, it shows a lot of potential for Islamic finance, but it still untapped. We are planning to work closely with the Governor of their Central Bank and seeing their roadmap for Islamic finance to see how we can work together on it.

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ICD helps private sector businesses to finance projects by providing a wide range of Sharia compliant services

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Seizing opportunity ARIF ABDULLA ALHARMI, MANAGING DIRECTOR & CEO, AMLAK FINANCE PJSC SPEAKS WITH ISLAMIC BUSINESS & FINANCE TO DISCUSS HIS INSTITUTIONS FOCUS IN 2018

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hat does the win for best Islamic Home Finance mean for Amlak Finance? We are proud to have been recognised by the Islamic Business & Finance Awards in the category “Best Islamic Home Finance” category. This Award is a testament to our hard work and Amlak’s commitment to constantly delivering superior and ethical products and services in compliance with Shari’ah and global standards. We will continue to focus on our strategy and look forward to providing innovative and leading products and services to our customers.

Arif Abdulla Alharmi, Managing Director & CEO, Amlak Finance

What were Amlak Finance’s biggest accomplishments in 2017? We have had quite a few accomplishments in 2017. We launched the first-of-its-kind ‘Double Your Property’ product, which allows customers who own a fully paid-off residential or commercial property in the UAE to purchase another duplicate property with no additional investment. Its launch ensued in a number of strategic business partnerships with key industry players such as with the Dubai Land Department (DLD). Through these partnerships, we aim to boost real estate transaction activity in the market by allowing us to serve a wider customer base in the UAE

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and provide a channel for non-residents to invest in the Dubai market. One of the main highlights for Amlak was also the completion of our first fully-owned residential development project in Mirdiff, Dubai. This project was truly a testament to our forward thinking approach while further strengthening our leadership position in the market. Through such developments we hope to continue to enhance the value of the real estate market in addition to fulfilling our commitments to our shareholders. Furthermore, through the successful execution of our corporate strategy and efforts to develop our real estate investments, Amlak was able to further redeem AED 100 million of the Mudharaba Instrument in 2017 (reaching AED 309 million in total), and thereby strengthening our shareholder equity. In addition to this, Amlak was awarded with the prestigious CSR Label by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry for our CSR efforts. We received this award for the second consecutive year in a row. Tell me about the property financing products and solutions that Amlak offers. At Amlak, we are committed to providing our customers with innovative Shari’ah compliant products and services. We strive to constantly

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enhance our services in order to keep up with our growing market. With this in mind, we are always looking at how we can expand our product portfolio and enhance our customer service. We also offer a wide range of customised financial solutions and products to investors for both ready and off-plan properties. Some of our most popular products include Istithmari (Buyto-Let Property Finance), Ijarah (basic home finance), and Tatweer (off-plan financing product for investors as well as end-users). These continue to see high demand from our customers. The ‘Double Your Property ’ product provides non-residents and UAE residents

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with the same key benefit: the ability to further increase their property portfolio in the UAE market by virtue of already owing a fully paid-up property. This platform provides residents and non-resident investors with easy-entry into the market as well as leveraging their existing investments to grow their portfolio. Our ‘Private Construction Finance’ product provides financing to private investors carrying out private construction as an investment in the UAE. The customer is free to appoint any Contractor (subject to Amlak’s consent) for the construction. And finally, our ‘Platinum Lifestyle Takaful’ product is our comprehensive

Dubai, where Amlak Finance is based.

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ISLAMIC BANKING

What are the main challenges that you face, and how are you overcoming those challenges? Low oil prices, tight liquidity conditions and other geopolitical difficulties are some of the prevailing challenges in the region—this also means that, at least for the short-term, liquidity will be tight and market activity and financing more cautious. Having said this, I am proud that Amlak Finance delivered yet another resilient performance against this challenging back drop. We remain confident in the UAE and the local market as progress in economic diversification will help reduce market volatility and bring about more stability and efficiency to the market in the long run, as everyone adjusts to the new market realities. It will also further strengthen the resilience of the UAE’s economy. What opportunities do you see for the future? Our long-term goal is to continue sustainable growth for Amlak. We will continue to focus on what we do best and build on the momentum generated over the past years. We will do this by developing viable business strategies, attracting suitable funding and offering innovative products and services designed specifically for our target markets. We also recognise that growth requires exploring potential business opportunities as well as investing in our people, infrastructure and customer service delivery platforms.

Takaful product which is available to customers at competitive prices. What differentiates Amlak from its competition? At Amlak we are focused on providing exceptional customer service and continually expanding our product offerings. With a rapidly growing market like UAE, it is crucial that we grow with the market and enhance our offerings to ensure we can meet our customers’ needs. We believe as long as we continue to offer innovative and superior products and put our customers first, we can continue to lead the market.

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What do you have planned for 2018? In 2018, we will carry on building capabilities around our strategy and drive improvements across the organisation. We will also continue to focus on core business development, product & service differentiation, boosting operational efficiencies, driving profitability, and enhancing value for our shareholders. This year, we look forward to seeing some of our key projects and initiatives come to fruition. Our long-term focus at Amlak continues to be on growing our business and positioning the company as one of the leading specialised real estate financiers in UAE and the Middle East. While there may be challenges ahead, I am confident that Amlak, with continuous support from its financiers, liquidity support providers and shareholders, will be well-positioned to capitalise on the improving economic backdrop in the UAE. We look forward to seizing these opportunities.

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(Digital Saint/SHUTTERSTOCK)

GCC Islamic banks will weather a difficult 2018

WHILE THE STORY IS NOT THE SAME ACROSS ALL GCC NATIONS, ISLAMIC BANKS ARE WORKING TO OVERCOME SLOWER GROWTH, ACCORDING TO INDUSTRY EXPERTS

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t has been a challenging few years for the GCC’s Islamic finance industry, as it has been for the entire financial industry globally, and 2018 promises to be no different. “We saw a difficult operating environment for the industry, which we expect to continue in 2018,” Mohammed Damak, Head of Islamic Finance, S&P Global Ratings told Islamic Business & Finance. “We saw a drop in the growth of the industry, which we estimate will be around five per cent for 2017 and 2018 both.”

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But according to Bashar Al Natoor, Head of Islamic Finance, Fitch Ratings, most of the GCC is weathering the storm well. It is Qatar that is struggling the most. In a recent report, Fitch Ratings stated 17 per cent of all rated Islamic banks in the GCC have a negative outlook, with all the negative outlooks being in Qatar. “This is driven by driven by the Qatari political dispute, which is affecting Qatar’s ability, but not propensity, to provide support its banks,” said Natoor. While the outlook for Qatar remains uniformly dire due to its ongoing due to the ongoing Qatar Crisis, the rest of the GCC is more mixed. “ Th e 2 0 1 8 s e c t o r o u t l o o k fo r G C C Islamic banks is negative as weaker economic growth feeds through to credit fundamentals and with lower financing growth. As a result, asset-quality metrics will continue to see a mild deterioration. Nevertheless, liquidity is improving with government issuance and lower financing growth,” said Natoor. Damak of S&P agrees. “If I talk specifically about the GCC and the issues that we face there, the region is looking at slower growth. While we also saw some pressure on liquidity last year, this is something that Islamic banks share with their conventional counterparts. If you look at the structure of the deposit base in the GCC, it’s dominated by government and government-related entities,” Oil generates about 60 per cent of government revenue in the GCC. Oil price expectations indicate that the fiscal deficits will continue to be large in Bahrain, Oman and Saudi Arabia, according to the report by Fitch Ratings. In Saudi Arabia in particular, deposit growth has struggled, according to Moody’s Investor Service. “Since the oil price shock, Saudi banks’ deposit growth has been sluggish, averaging one per cent since 2015 (versus a 12 per cent average during 2011-14). The decline in deposit growth was led by a decline in government balances amid a fiscal deficit stemming from lower oil prices and a contraction in deposits from the private sector because of government spending cuts, payment delays and weakening

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economic growth. Combined with increased government domestic borrowing, these developments tightened banking system liquidity,” said Jonathan Parrod, Associate Analyst, Moody’s. Although access to funding remains tight, lower credit growth prevented liquidity challenges, according to Moody’s. During 2017, Saudi banks’ loans contracted one per cent (versus an increase of around three per cent in 2016), resulting mainly from the government’s fiscal consolidation measures, which affected economic growth (we estimate that real GDP contracted 0.7 per cent in 2017), credit demand and banks’ lending appetite. Loans for sectors highly dependent on public spending were lower, such as the building and construction sector, where loans declined 15 per cent in 2017. As a result, the reported loan-to-deposit ratio was broadly stable at 86 per cent as of year-end 2017, after increasing to 87 per cent in 2016 from 79 per cent in 2014, according to Moody’s. “In the context of limited growth opportunities, Saudi banks have built liquidity buffers. Following a 25 per cent decline in 2015, the stock of domestic liquid assets in Saudi banks increased by 29 per cent in 2016 and 11 per cent in 2017. This growth was mainly driven by a significant increase in banks’ holdings of domestic government bonds, which was SAR 254 billion as of year-end 2017, up from SAR 86 billion at year-end 2015, and equal to 11 per cent of banking assets, up from four per cent, over the same period. Successive sovereign debt issuance in 2017, notably Sukuk issuance, allowed banks to transfer their excess liquidity into high-quality government investments. As of year-end 2017, government bonds comprised 56 per cent of Saudi banks’ domestic liquid assets, up from 27 per cent in 2015,” said Olivier Panis, VP-Sr Credit Officer, Moody’s. Across the GCC, Fitch forecasts mild GDP growth of 1.5 per cent in 2018 after a 0.1 per cent contraction in 2017 due to oil output cuts. However, fiscal adjustments are unlikely to be sufficient to close gaps in sovereign budgets in 2018, so GCC government spending, a major source of growth in the GCC, will continue to be muted. Nevertheless, Fitch expects non-oil to grow two per cent to three per cent

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Half of all GCC sovereigns have a negative rating outlook, as of 15 January 2018

Source: Moody's Investors Service

in 2018 and continue to be the main driver of growth. “Fitch expects financing portfolios to season quicker with low financing growth, resulting in mild deterioration in impaired financing ratios. Deterioration in certain corporate segments, particularly contracting and SMEs, is starting to filter down to other segments, including retail. Financing concentration remains a key risk. High levels of reserve coverage are likely to be sufficient to meet IFRS 9 requirements,” said Natoor. Withdrawn sovereign-related deposits have generally been replaced as a result of government issuance and subsequent liquidity injections back in the banking systems. However, lower deposit growth will put pressure on the ability to finance, but this will be partially matched by lower demand, according to a report by Fitch Ratings. “Funding costs have eased as a result of improved liquidity, but are not expected

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to return to 2014 levels. However, low GDP growth, low financing growth in the banking sector, combined with more expensive funding costs, will continue to put pressure on banks’ financing portfolios and revenue. Nevertheless, GDP will rise in 2018 and banks have been able to reprice their financing books. Islamic banks are also well placed for further interest rate rises due to high levels of non-remunerated deposits,” said Natoor. “We expect capital levels to be largely unchanged in 2018 due to lower financing growth. Ratios are above international peers’, but buffers are only adequate given high concentration (single borrower and sector) and therefore event risk.” Fitch also recently revealed in a report that Islamic banks in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have weaker standalone credit profiles than regional conventional banks, with only 33 per cent of Viability Ratings (VRs) being investment-grade compared with 49 per cent

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for all GCC banks. A high risk appetite and weak asset quality are GCC’s Islamic banks’ main shortfalls, according to Fitch. “While the average VR on Islamic banks in Saudi Arabia is a strong ‘bbb+’, it is a weak ‘bbb-’ in Qatar (after being downgraded by one notch in the past 12 months) and all VRs are on Rating Watch Negative. The VR for the UAE and Kuwaiti banks is in the ‘bb’ category,” said Natoor. All Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) assigned by Fitch to Islamic banks in the GCC region are investment-grade and 82 per cent are driven by potential sovereign support. “The sovereign ability to provide support has diminished in Saudi Arabia and Qatar, and this has reduced the average IDR by one notch in these countries since last year. The IDRs are on Negative Outlook in Qatar. Nevertheless, the sovereign willingness to provide support has remained extremely strong throughout the GCC and virtually no progress towards resolution has been made,” said Natoor. The two largest Islamic banks are in Saudi Arabia, which has the largest GCC banking system but a modest number of banks. The third-largest bank (Kuwait Finance House) is well behind (about half the size of the two largest banks by asset and by financing). If the proposed merger between Qatar’s Masraf Al Rayan (Islamic), Barwa Bank (Islamic) and International Bank of Qatar (not yet Islamic) goes ahead, aggregated assets and financing would be equal to Dubai Islamic Bank’s, which ranks fourth by asset and third by financing, according to Fitch. “Islamic banks benefit from strong demand for Islamic banking products and growth at Islamic banks can be very strong. Nevertheless, not all Islamic banks are growing fast,” said Natoor. “In the UAE, some Islamic banks have structured products to enhance Shari’ah compliance, and therefore increased their ability to finance, and others are still in the start-up/growth phase and are looking to gain market shares.” Profitability was affected in 2016 by higher funding costs and financing impairment charges. Despite this, profitability remained strong in all countries. The most profitable banks are those that have the lowest financing

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impairment charges. Large markets (such as Saudi Arabia) are supportive of stronger performance as competition is less fierce. This does not extend to the UAE because of high financing impairment charges. Islamic banks’ asset quality deteriorated in most GCC countries in 2016, but this did not translate into higher impaired financing ratios due to large restructuring and write-offs. Nevertheless, financing impairment charges jumped in the UAE and the impaired financing ratio for UAE banks remains well above others. The average financing-to-loss reserve coverage ratio is at least 100 per cent in all countries except Qatar, according to Fitch’s new report. “The Islamic banks’ average Tier 1 ratio is adequate in all countries. Issuance of additional Tier 1 capital has boosted Tier 1 ratios. Kuwaiti and Saudi Islamic banks enjoy a financing-to-deposits ratio comfortably below 90 per cent. Only Qatar has an average ratio above 100 per cent and this could worsen given that some deposits from other GCC countries that are in dispute with Qatar may not be rolled over,” said Natoor. Saudi Arabia’s Islamic banks are expected to recover, according to Moody’s. “We expect that economic activity in Saudi Arabia will recover over the next 12-18 months, in line with the spending increases planned in the government’s 2018 budget. In particular, we expect that Saudi banks will benefit from the government’s private-sector stimulus of SAR 72 billion to support private-sector growth over the next four years. As a result of improved liquidity, we believe banks are in a better position to absorb a pick-up in lending in 2018, which we expect will grow by around four per cent,” said Parrod.

FOCUS ON KUWAIT Asset-quality metrics for Kuwaiti Islamic banks improved in 2016 and 1H17, with only one exception, according to a new report from Fitch Ratings, which also finds that concentration risk remains the biggest risk. Impaired financing ratios have been improving since the global financial crisis as Islamic banks have been cleaning up their financing books; nevertheless, the average impaired financing ratio rose slightly in the first half of 2017. Financing impairment

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Banks’ domestic ilquid assets grew 11% in 017 2 s( ee exhibit) and equ alled 20% of banks’ s assets at year-end 017 2 v( ersus 14% as fo year-end 015). 2 Similarly, Saudi banks’ ratio of 2 2 its highest since year-end 012. 2 reserves to total deposits was 14.8% as fo year-end 017, n Parrod +971.4.237.9546 e Analyst ISLAMIC BANKINGThe positive trends were achieved amid mu ted 0.1% deposit growth in 017 2 and w as mainly n.parrod@moodys.com driven by a ntraction co of 1.0% in bank s’ ol ans and a 3% 4 increase inhet banks’ holdings of Panis +971.4.237.9533 domestic government bonds.

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Saudi banks' liquid assets increased amid slowing credit and deposit growth Saudi banks’ liquid assets increased amid slowing credit and deposit growth

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Since the oil price sh ock, Saudi banks’ deposit growth has been uggish, sl averaging 1%since 2015 v( ersus agross 12 % average du ring 2011-14). ne in depo sit growth growth, was el d by a financing issuance of charges/average financing ratios have The decliSlowing decline in go vernment bal a nces amid a fiscal deficit st e mming fr o m o l wer o il prices and additional Tier 1 Sukuk, reduction of higherbeen falling due to better underwriting riskseassets and reasonable internal standards, but also aom slight a contraction in showed depo sits fr the increase private sector becau of government spending cu ts, capital generation have helped Islamic in payment 1H17 due del toays provisioning of some non-growth. Combined with increased go and w eakening economic vernment banks maintain adequate capital ratios for their domestic exposures and strict Central Bank of domestic bo rrowing, t h ese devel o pments t i ghtened bank i ng syst e m i l quidity. risk profiles. The equity/assets ratio was one Kuwait (CBK) provisioning requirements, but remain lower than at conventional banks,” said Natoor. Operating profitability metrics have improved due to lower financing impairment charges and remain slightly above conventional banks’. The average cost/income ratio has also slightly improved due to tight cost control but is higher than at conventional banks’. Islamic banks had a 41 per cent market share of total domestic banking system assets at end-1H17. The Islamic market share increased rapidly between 2005 and 2010 and has since stabilised, according to the report from Fitch Ratings. The Fitch-calculated sector average gross financing/deposits ratio has been almost flat (about 81 per cent at end-1H17), below conventional banks’ (87 per cent) as Islamic banks tend to have strong retail Islamic franchises (Kuwait Finance House and Boubyan Bank in particular). Term corporate customer deposits remain the main source of funding. Deposit concentration remains high, except for Kuwait Finance House. Islamic banks typically rely less on market funding than their conventional peers.

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per cent higher for conventional banks at end-1H17. Nevertheless, Islamic banks tend to have higher capital ratios than conventional banks because they typically have lower risk weighting on their assets due to a higher proportion of real estate-related exposure, according to Fitch. “While the CBK is the supervisory authority for Islamic and conventional banks, there is a specific regulatory framework for Islamic banks. CBK regulations are comparable between conventional and Islamic banks, but they take account of Islamic banks’ specificities, such as the 50 per cent Alpha factor used to calculate specific real estate riskweighted assets. Islamic banking activities are only undertaken by Islamic banks,” said Natoor. “Asset quality will remain sensitive to concentration risk and volatility in the real estate sector. Financing growth is expected to remain above that of conventional banks as Islamic banks build their franchises. We expect financing growth in the high-single digits in 2017, compared with the mid-single digits for conventional banks.”

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Islamic finance’s top institution FRESH OFF THE TOP OF IB&F’S LEADERS IN ISLAMIC FINANCE LIST OF TOP 100 SHARI’AH-COMPLIANT INSTITUTIONS, STEVE BERTAMINI, CEO OF AL RAJHI BANK, TALKS ABOUT THE BANK’S PERFORMANCE IN 2017 AND ITS PLANS IN THE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA IN A CONVERSATION WITH ROBIN AMLÔT, CONSULTANT, AT CPI FINANCIAL

A

l Rajhi has had nine quarters of growth now; Islamic banks in the GCC have in general been more profitable than their conventional peers over the last couple of years. Is this a trend that is going to sustain? Yes, I think we’ve seen Islamic banks now outperform conventional banks globally for the better part of the last 10 years, and every indication seems to appear to be that will continue. One of the big advantages Islamic banks have is much slower cost of funds and by definition they take a lower risk profile which obviously worked quite well particularly during the turbulent period many of us had to face a few years. What are your views on the Al Rajhi Bank’s performance in the last 12 months? Well I think the last 12 months have been very good for Al Rajhi Bank. We’ve seen double digit net income growth for the first nine months of the year. Our asset growth has been in excess of three per cent, which compared to the market which is actually down 1.8 per cent. We’ve also been able to achieve quite a few critical initiatives which I’m happy to talk about a bit later in the interview. So how is Al Rajhi shaping the Kingdom’s financial landscape, what’s your focus for 2018,

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and how does that fit in with the general economic thrust of the Kingdom’s agenda? We’re very aligned with the national transformation programme and the 2030 vision. When that first came out we spent quite a bit of time as a team analysing that and finding areas that we thought made the most sense to us. For example, housing plays very well for our focus as

Steve Bertamini, CEO, Al Rajhi Bank

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a retail bank, we thought SME financing would be a great opportunity for us to also participate. Of course, with the increase of females in the workforce, we thought that was also a great opportunity for our bank. Moody’s says that Al Rajhi is ‘best positioned in the Kingdom’ thanks to the Islamic franchise and the low-cost deposit base. Having said that, do you have any concerns about the corporate sector? Well actually we’ve done quite well in the corporate sector, as you might be aware we’ve been underrepresented for many years. We grew our share from 2015 we were 6.1 per cent share, as of the third quarter of 2017 we are at 7.6 per cent, which is quite a significant increase over a relatively short period of time. We’ve also seen quality of our book improve, so we now have market leading indicators in terms of non-performing loans and our level of reserves is substantially higher than the market. I think we built the book well. Is this going to continue to the future? Where’s the competitive position for the bank? For us, obviously retail is the area that we excel in. As you know, we’ve got basically a fourth of everything: a fourth of the branches, a fourth of the ATMs, a fourth of the point of sales, and we are very much focused on automation. Having said that, as I mentioned, in SME, corporate and treasury, we believe we have been underperforming for some time. So we’ve been putting more focus on those businesses and we’ve seen good gains over the last 18 months and we expect that to continue. Are those the key areas for growth potential or are there other areas as well? The number one growth potential for us is mortgage, if you think about the country wanting to increase the percentage of home ownership, we’re in the prime position to take advantage of that. Our share of mortgages has also grown quite substantially—we’re at 20.4 per cent I believe, at the end of 2015, and we’re now at 24 per cent. Roughly 42 to 45 per cent of every mortgage written in the last 18 months we’ve been able to have occur at Al Rajhi bank. Strategically, growing this part of the business will position the bank for long-term success. The IMF projected GDP growth in Saudi Arabia to be close to zero for 2017, and looking to the whole of 2018 they’re talking about a softening of credit demand, which is partly on the back of

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reduced Government spending. Is that going to impact your prospects for the year? You must look at what’s occurring in the economy, but we are really focused on continuing to grow our position and proving our products. For example, in 2017 we launched 10 new products. We’re heavily investing in our digital agenda, so we still think there are a lot of opportunities. Everyone expects the new expansionary budget announced last year to have a positive impact on the economy, so we remain relatively optimistic about 2018. There is a framework being put together to allow more foreign investment in the Saudi market. How important is that? I think it is critical—if you think about the country’s ambitions to transform the economy, it needs both foreign technology as well as investment. I think you will see the Kingdom increasingly leverage that, and this is partly why there has been so much focus in making changes to foreign investment rules, to how quickly trades get done—the T+2-1 etc. All the changes that are taking place to enable and to increase confidence for foreign investors to come into the market, and of course Aramco is expected to be a game changer, not only for Saudi Arabia, but for the Middle East. The bank has deployed several new products and implemented new technology in the last 12 months. How are customers reacting to that? Has it helped in customer acquisition? Look there are two broad measures that we look at to really see and understand how our customers view us in the marketplace, the first one we use is something called Net Promoter Score which really is a measure of customer advocacy. And effectively we’ve seen our Net Promoter Scores— and this is externally benchmarked by a third party—go from number seven in the Kingdom to number two. We’ve therefore seen a huge improvement over the last 18 months. The second area is market share. We monitor market share across a broad range of areas and we’ve seen our market share increase in virtually every category over the last 18 months as well. There have been changes within the bank that the customer themselves will not necessarily see, such as the payment service hub in collaboration with Accenture. What does that mean for the bank and for the services that you can offer?

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Well, ultimately the more you can automate and modernise your infrastructure, the better your cost, the simpler your procedures, the lower a chance of anything going wrong and therefore service levels tend to go up, so we’ve been investing heavily in that area. Another area, for example, has been robotics. We believe we are one of the leaders in implementing robotics across the Middle East. We’ve got over 200 bots in the bank dealing with, I believe, something like 15,000 transactions per day, so we think this is another area that will allow us to not only automate but also improve service at the same time, and lower our cost. Some of the changes that banks make are things that customers do not see but should make their journey easier, more efficient and quicker. What are the key challenges for the bank now and in the future, are they all going to be focused on delivering that service as seamlessly as possible, and if you are going to do that kind of automation what does that mean for levels of employment in the bank?

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Banks are increasingly not dissimilar to many other industries. I think as automation and technology becomes a bigger and bigger part of your business, that requires different skills and different mixes. For example, this year, despite our growth, our employment has remained relatively flat. So, I think we will end up with the same or fewer jobs but with better paid people, and increasing automation and digital technology will make it much easier for customers to selfserve and get better levels of service. The competition is not other banks, the competition is going to be the likes of Amazon and Apple, because companies like them are leading the digital charge as this comes down to what the future of banking is? What’s driving the operational change? And how are you as Al Rajhi Bank going to be able to keep ahead of that or keep on top of it? I think the companies that you mentioned as examples are exactly the right ones to look

Robin AmlÔt, Consultant, CPI Financial and Steve Bertamini, CEO of Al Rajhi Bank

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ISLAMIC BANKING

at because they are changing the customer experience. They do not have any legacy and they are able to redesign processes, so in many ways we must do that to ourselves and this is an area we’ve been spending quite a bit of time. For example, we now have an Innovation Centre—so we can see how customers interact with technology, what they like and what frustrations they have, because increasingly it’s the experience that really makes a difference. People expect a bank to work like Amazon so therefore when that experience isn’t the same they find it very frustrating and I think in many ways it felt like the industry recognises that they need to move faster otherwise they’re going to be at a competitive disadvantage. It’s about quality of customer service and the experience around everything you try to do. What excites you about the coming 12 months? What are you looking forward to most? I think as we digitise our bank faster, it actually opens up resources and capacity to invest in the business, so we are constantly changing our business model. For example, the way that we used to have a branch and open a new branch two years ago is materially different to the way that we are opening branches today. You still need some type of physical environment and many times simply because of regulatory preference restrictions that require an employer to physically sign a document or have a wet signature take place—even that will change over time. But you still need to have an environment that is technology friendly and this is where we are evolving and trying different models, so I think there is a lot of new exciting formats, products and experiences that we can create for customers, not only in the next 12 months but, quite frankly, for the next three to five years. If we can look specifically the faith-based side of things, you are certainly one of, if not the largest Shari’ah-compliant bank in the world. In that lens, what are the bank’s top priorities going forward? For us we always want to make sure that we are constructing products in a compliant manner, and this is where we are very fortunate to have in many ways quite a conservative Shari’ah board. This is one of the differentiators that I think has really helped to inspire confidence in our customers and one of the reasons that we continue to do well.

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For example, you might be surprised to learn that our share of current accounts today is the highest that it’s ever been in the bank. And as you know having a very strong current account deposit base, particularly when you are a Shari’ah-compliant bank, is a huge competitive advantage. So we always make sure we stay focused on that and we’ve been able to see that happen over the last extended period, but in particularly the past 18 months as well. Talking about the growth in your corporate banking business, this is one of the major challenges facing Islamic banking and the Islamic finance sector in terms of developing that market segment and its products for the future. Obviously, you have the retail deposit base to be able to leverage, but what is the best way forward for the industry in terms of creating a vibrant corporate finance sector? Well, it comes back to product development. For example, about three months ago, we had a FX forwards for the first time—which may not sound like a big deal—but for us as a bank and for the industry, it was quite helpful. You have many conventional banks that will create an Islamic product but many times that doesn’t quite appeal to everyone. So we work very hard to innovate at a faster pace than we have, and we think that over time, the gap between conventional and Islamic banking will continue to narrow, which is, I think one of the reasons why you continue to see Islamic banking continue to outperform conventional banking. You’re a big bank in the biggest market in the GCC. Stepping back and looking at the region as a whole, what is your outlook for the finance markets and the GCC economy overall for the next year? We believe the GCC economy will do better this than it did in 2017, obviously given all the difficulties and the fact that even places like KSA were basically zero growth or even 0.1, we believe next year should be better than that. I think the IMF is forecasting 1.1 per cent, and this is before the announcement of the expansionary budget. I think UAE will do better, Kuwait will do better, so you think about some of the biggest markets in the region the future seems to be a bit brighter than it was in 2017.

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ISLAMIC TECH

Islamic finance, blockchain, and the future of trade

(Visual Generation/SHUTTERSTOCK)

MUFID SUKKAR, GROUP CHIEF STRATEGY OFFICE, NEST INVESTMENTS, WRITES ABOUT THE BLOCKCHAIN FUTURE

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alk of blockchain is everywhere. Top insurers including Allianz, Swiss Re and AIG are collaborating on a technology initiative focused on blockchain in the insurance market. The Islamic Development Bank and SettleMint have agreed to build a blockchain-based financial product designed to support the development of the IsDB’s 57 member countries. Attendees at the most recent World Islamic Banking Conference considered how innovative uses of blockchain could improve customer satisfaction. Blockchain provides businesses with a single ledger that records all transactions in a chain and is shared by a network. Users can transfer value without the need for a third party. The motivation for establishing these private chains in Islamic finance is clear: a company becomes able to record all corporate profiles and provide a full and accurate audit history of transactions themselves, cont. overleaf

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ISLAMIC TECH

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ISLAMIC TECH

removing the middle man by bringing the buyer and service provider closer together. The technology represents a giant leap towards reducing operating costs and maximising efficiency. By cutting out the middle man, blockchain allows for increased financial autonomy for the companies that use it. Large and powerful transaction providers are replaced with internal data chains and therefore unable to profit unduly from weaker entities, creating a fairer and more ethical system. Crucially, blockchain also provides a solution to a truly global threat—the cyber threat. With blockchain, there is no central database to hack, no obvious ‘weak link’ to exploit. If financial information contained within a particular ‘block’ is tampered with, it is immediately obvious because the code associated with other blocks would not match. However, for all the promise blockchain holds, there is a need to separate hype from implementation reality. What still needs to happen for the blockchain dream of more trust and less admin burden to come true? A recent Berkeley University blog described the technology as being “a bit like a web browser in 1994: an intriguing tool with promise, but no real utility.” There is certainly a great deal to be excited about. And therein lies part of the challenge. The promise of blockchain and its likely impact is so far-reaching that it will take time for the opportunity to be fully understood. Consumers could see great benefit from it but how many really understand how blockchain really works today, let alone how they might interact with the technology in the future? In order for blockchain’s potential to be fully realised, several things need to happen. First, businesses need to work together much more closely to define international standards for blockchain use. The forums for such collaboration already exist in different sectors; indeed, we at Nest Investments have some direct experience of how they work in the insurance/reinsurance space through one of our group companies, Trust Re. The right basis for constructive dialogue is there but leaders must overcome their guarded approach to one another as competitors to make real progress. Government regulators also need to get their act together and cooperate with the various

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industries as well as with each another more effectively. For the foreseeable future at least, blockchain is not at a stage where it can render traditional regulation obsolete. This means we need to understand where it fits into existing regulatory and legal frameworks, not to mention Shari’ah compliance. What happens if things do go wrong? What data protection and liability considerations come up? Is the system flexible enough to deal with some of those unforeseen real-world challenges that will inevitably spring up to complicate the best-laid plans? The costs associated with blockchain adoption will also be a factor. Systems and processes will need updating to make them blockchaincompatible; staff will need retraining. Over a certain transitional period, both old and new systems might need to run, meaning additional expense and effort. There is also the challenge of governance. Blockchain is being billed as completely secure, a system that prevents any possibility of malicious intervention, abuse or playing politics once and for all because of its highly mathematical nature. That would seem to imply that it could be the answer to all governance problems. However, Prof. Vili Lehdonvirta, a senior research fellow at the Oxford internet Institute points out that blockchain may be a perfectly impartial enforcer of rules but who exactly sets those rules? How much do we know about the way governance works in the bitcoin world? In short, the benefits of blockchain technology does explain and justify the hype. However, the technology is less than ten years old and much remains to be worked through in terms of practical implementation and governance, particularly as the Gulf continues along its rapid economic and regulatory development trajectory. The blockchain revolution will have its advocates and its sceptics. Some have argued that blockchain’s real value will be in forcing organisations to take a long hard look at their current digital systems. That would be no small achievement in itself. The real question businesses will have to answer is—do they want to invest in being a pioneer or do they want to wait and learn from others’ early mistakes? The benefits of being an innovator and leading from the front are obvious but there are also upsides to being the second mouse that gets the cheese, after the first mouse got caught in the mousetrap.

www.islamicbusinessandfinance.com

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Organised by

Under the Patronage of

CIBAFI Global Forum 2 - 3 May 2018 | Istanbul, Turkey

The New Face of Financial Services: Disruptions, Opportunities and the New Normals

Join us at this Global Forum and be part of the most important transformation agendas of the Islamic finance industry

We look forward to meeting you in Turkey!

Strategic Partner

For registration contact us at events@cibafi.org for partnerships contact us at sponsorship@cibafi.org or + 973 17 357 380 bleed guide.indd 1

22/02/2018 10:42


SUKUK

Analysing Saudi Arabia’s landmark municipal Sukuk decree 38

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SUKUK

An aerial view of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital.

(Fedor Selivano/SHUTTERSTOCK)

MOHAMMED KHNIFER, A SENIOR ASSOCIATE (DEBT CAPITAL MARKET) AT ISLAMIC DEVELOPMENT BANK GROUP LOOKS CLOSELY AT THE CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES THAT THE MOVE PRESENTS

B

efore the end of last year, Saudi Arabia issued a royal decree that public institutions and municipalities will henceforth be able to issue bonds and Sukuk with sovereign guarantee. The initiative by itself is a landmark as it has the potential to deepen and develop the Saudi debt capital market. Whether Saudi municipalities ready or not, that’s another question. Currently, there are at least two issuers of Islamic municipal bonds or Sukuk, Saxony Anhalt Municipal Sukuk (2004) in Germany and Sukuk Pasir Gudang in Johor Malaysia. The Kingdom’s decree is perhaps the biggest development yet for municipal Sukuk. While this process will be managed and regulated by the Debt Management Office (DMO), there are some challenges. The first concern is the crowded effect impact of the local market. I don’t think the government will let municipalities issue a lot locally, as this will have an impact on the SAIBOR (Saudi Arabian Interbank Offered Rate). Although the market will be able to absorb them, if the SAIBOR increases, there is a huge

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implication on retailers and corporates, as most them have floating rate debt. The second challenge is that they need to price correctly, and there is a lack of specialists in this area. They shouldn’t leave the pricing fully in the hands of debt arrangers, because there is no use of having a guarantee from the government and then getting a non-competitive or mispriced deal. We need to understand what sort of guarantees they are. Are they full, partial, just for debt instruments or bank loans? By issuing a guarantee then, this will not be considered part of the debt to GDP. The government will be better off issuing guarantees than issuing bonds. This will be better for their balance sheet and then they can channel some of proceeds to the municipalities. It is far superior to let the municipalities and other government bodies do the issuing.

Mohammed Khnifer can be reached at mkhnifer@gmail.com and on twitter @mkhnifer

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SUKUK

OUTSTANDING SUKUK MAP OUTSTANDING SUKUK MAP

THE SIZE OF THE OUTSTANDING SUKUK MARKET GLOBALLY AS OF 15 FEBRUARY 2018 The size of the outstanding Sukuk market globally as of 06 Nov 2016

SOURCE: Zawya Islamic

ANNOUNCED/OPEN SUKUK IN FEBRUARY 2018 STATUS

ISSUER NAME

SUKUK NAME

SUKUK STRUCTURE

COUNTRY

CURRENCY

SUBSC. DATE

ISSUE SIZE ($M)

MARGIN

TENOR

ARRANGER/ADVISOR

Open

Apicorp Sukuk Ltd

Apicorp Sukuk Ltd 3.141 01-Nov-2022

Ijarah

Cayman Islands

USD

01-Nov2017

500

-

Five Years

-

Announced

Godlen Group

Golden Group 6.5% 2-212023

Ijarah

Oman

OMR

21-2-2018

518

-

Five years

-

Announced

ICD Funding Limited

ICD Funding Ltd 4.625% 21 May 2024

Unknown

Saudi Arabia

USD

18-Oct-17

200

-

Seven years

ICD

Announced

IDB Trust Services Ltd

IDB Trust Services Ltd 2.261% 26 Sept 22

Unknown

Saudi Arabia

USD

22-Sept-17

1,250

-

five year

IDB

Open

DIB Sukuk Limited

DIB Sukuk Limited 3.625% 06 Feb 2023

Ijarah

UAE

USD

06-Feb-18

1,000

-

five year

DIB

Open

Emirates Reit

Emirates Reit 5.214% 12-05-2022

Unknown

UAE

USD

05-Dec-2017

400

-

five year

Standard Chartered

Open

IMSKK

IMSKK 4.570 17-Oct 2022

Ijarah

Malaysia

MYR

17-Oct-2017

110

-

5 year

-

Open

Third Pakistan Intl. Sukuk Co. Ltd.

THINT 5.625 05-Dec-2022

Unknown

Pakistan

USD

05-Dec-2017

1,000

-

5 year

-

Open

IDB Trust Services Limited

IDB Trust Services Ltd 2.393% 12 April 22

Unknown

Saudi Arabia

USD

12-April 17

1,250

-

10 year

IDB

Open

Perusahaan Penerbit

PPSIB 3.3 21-Nov-2022

Ijarah

Indonesia

USD

21-Nov-17

1,000

5 year

-

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26/02/2018 15:57


Celebrating

the best of the best in East Africa!

AWARDS 2018

STARTS Preparation and research is underway for the Banker Africa Awards. The Awards are grouped in four regional categories: North Africa, Southern Africa, East Africa and West Africa.

APRIL 2018

To learn more about the Awards process, please email events@cpifinancial.net

CPI Financial The professional face of financial media CPI Financial is Africa and the Middle East’s leading financial publisher with a portfolio of market-leading products educating and informing readers about the latest trends and developments in banking and finance as it affects them.

CPI Financial FZ LLC • PO Box 502491 Al Shatha Tower, Office 1209 Dubai Media City, Dubai, U.A.E. Tel: 4681 391 4 )0( 971+ • Fax: 9576 390 4 )0( 971+ • www.cpifinancial.net

BA awards 2018_EA AD.indd 1

22/02/2018 17:39


SUKUK

(corlaffra/SHUTTERSTOCK)

Gold-backed Sukuk the way forward for East Africa

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SUKUK

PROF. LUQMAN ABDI AHMED, SENIOR ADVISER & CONSULTANT, AL AMANAH CONSULTANCY SPEAKS TO ISLAMIC BUSINESS & FINANCE ABOUT HIS PLAN TO HELP AID IN EAST AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT

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Using satellite technology and Sukuk, East African countries can tap their enormous resources easier than ever before.

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here is a challenge of a lot of African countries of a cycle of poverty. This has a lot to do with development, and development is very much connected to governance and transparency. The question is where to start? You’re not going to fix corruption unless there is business. The continent of Africa has many natural resources. What I propose is to utilise the natural resources and, before you get them out of the ground, to get an in-grown asset certificate. There are some organisations that will issue a bankable document to say that you own these resources, whether it’s gold, platinum, iron or whatever it may be. It goes through a lot of verification through geological companies. They can even say the volume, saying you have however-many tonnes of this metal, with a certain market value. There are mining companies that are looking for proven gold. They will invest. You can say where it is, how much there is, and how much it is worth. I then propose Sukuk issuance at that stage. The Sukuk’s purpose is to either get the resources out, or to partner with the mining company in a public-private partnership. The end result is to get continuous sales out of the mine. This producing mine can have a 20-year lifespan in which every year they will produce a set number of tonnes which will meet the conditions of the fixed income of every year. Once we structure that, you would be able to pay back the investors, and the majority of the money will go to infrastructure development. The whole idea of this is to finance the mining, get paid, and to give money to two areas that normally do not get funding.

Who benefits? One area in dire need of funding is SMEs. They are a high-risk group, not a good place to

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SUKUK

Ethiopia may be best suited for the project, according to Ahmed.

invest money, but they are 70 per cent of the economy. The entire economy rests on the SMEs but they do not qualify for any kind of loans from the banks—everybody doesn’t like them. This government-supported funding will aid the SMEs and aid the infrastructure that is a made up of huge projects that are very difficult to get funding for because of the credibility of the governments themselves. But once the government says they have, for example, 300 tonnes of gold in one site with a market cost to go along with it, this conversation will get easier. Sukuk means an ownership of the underlying asset, so the owner of the Sukuk owns a share of the product. Many investors will be attracted to a gold-backed Sukuk. That is why we’re going to pitch this. Once you unlock the in-grown asset, then you unlock a lot. The overhead to get this process started is so high that many people are scared off. No one wants to look for gold and not find it. That is where we found a solution. But there is a novel

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technology—a breakthrough—that is satellite imaging. This will make it possible to pinpoint the deposit, to an accuracy of 90 per cent. This study hasn’t been accepted because it is new, but in correlation with the hard science, I expect it to be accepted. The cost of doing this is less than five per cent the real cost of doing it, and timewise, instead of three years, it can be done in three months. You can go to the area now, and because it is so arid, you can dig holes in these areas with real knowledge. This time, you will not go to the wrong place and mess with the environment. This can make the process so much more streamlined. Instead of digging thousands of holes, you can dig maybe 100 holes. It reduces spending, reduces risk, and is something that any government can afford to do.

How to set up the Sukuk Instead of granting loans to a country to pay for something, part of Shari’ah compliance is governance. The Islamic Development Bank

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(Homo Cosmicos/SHUTTERSTOCK)

SUKUK

(IDB), for example, can come in and oversee the whole process. This would make the entire process transparent. At the moment, money to do projects is disappearing. This would make all involved comply. The World Bank has also gotten very good at checking for these sorts of things.

Global collaboration The good thing about Sukuk is that the arranger of the Sukuk can be in Arab countries, the deposit can be in the Congo, and the buyers can be in London, for example. You do not have to have the asset, buyer and issuer in the same place. The IDB can issue it on behalf of the Somali Government. The IDB, then, has lots of channels to sell. People will then buy all of the world, but the assets are in Ethiopia, Somalia, or other countries that really need to raise funds for the projects. Once the gold is out, buyers in other countries are going to generate sales as well. The assets can be sold anywhere. In terms of the Sukuk, when buyers looking for a long-term

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secure vision hear that it is gold-backed, they will buy it.

Where to begin In most countries, if this model kicks in, the central banks and the mining department of the companies will be the first ones interested. Once this asset becomes a guarantee then it becomes something in their coffers. Having $20 billion in assets is like having $20 billion in their safe. Next it will be the ministries of infrastructure. I have talked to many countries. The country that is the closest to adopting it is Ethiopia. I just spoke to the ambassador. Ethiopia would love to be a part of this, but Ethiopia is not a member of the IDB. IDB would be very good for this, but this can be intermediated by the African Development Bank or the World Bank. Ethiopia is the closest to this because they are the most transparent country in East Africa, they have the fastestgrowing economy and they need to raise capital to fund the world’s largest dam for hydropower. Ethiopia would be ideal in East Africa.

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THE INSIDE STORY

Fostering an inclusive policy towards women 46

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THE INSIDE STORY

Women must be a bigger part of Islamic finance’s future, according to Maya Marissa Malek of Amanie Advisors.

MAYA MARISSA MALEK, CEO OF AMANIE ADVISORS OFFERS THOUGHTS ON HOW TO INCREASE THE NUMBER OF WOMEN IN ISLAMIC FINANCE

(UfaBizPhoto/SHUTTERSTOCK)

T

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hough women are not excluded from Islamic finance, the fact remains that women are not a big enough part of the Islamic finance industry. “They have not been undervalued, but underrepresented,” Maya Marissa Malek, CEO, Amanie Advisors, told Islamic Business & Finance. According to Malek, there are two reasons that women have traditionally not played a larger role in the Islamic finance industry. “First, Shari’ah advisory services and Shar’iah scholarship has traditionally been in the realm of men. It’s more from the traditional or olden days. Most people associate Shari’ah with the classic Imams or clerics in mosques. But when you get into Islamic commercial law, it’s open for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you're Muslim or non-Muslim, man or woman, you can be part of Islamic commercial law. In some countries, it’s more of the lack of participation of Muslim women. They feel that this industry is not for them. Because of this, there have not always been that many potential opportunities for women to be part of the industry,” said Malek. Shari’ah advisory in particular, which Malek is involved in personally, has even fewer women. “You can count with one hand how many women Shari’ah advisors there are in the industry. But for middle management and human resources in Islamic banks, you can find women, but when you go up the corporate ladder, you do not see as many women in Islamic institutions,” says Malek.

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(Odua Images/SHUTTERSTOCK)

THE INSIDE STORY

How do we change this in the industry? Since there are more women studying Islamic finance, Shari’ah advisory is a great route for them to take. Shari’ah advisory’s role in Islamic institutions as well, however, must change. “We need to have an inclusive policy. We need to open doors. Shari’ah advisory is the heart of Islamic finance. Everything that is done in Islamic finance has to comply with Shari’ah principles. As a vocation, however, it’s still new.

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It’s not like becoming a lawyer or an accountant, it’s new and niche. As it is new, there is a gap between theory and practise. If you come from a Shari’ah background in school, and what you face in the real market, can be very different. Because of this, banks and financial institutions have clustered people from Shari’ah backgrounds into Shari’ah departments. “One solution is to bring all Shari’ah experts into all different business aspects within a

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THE INSIDE STORY

financial institutions, as all these departments need Shari’ah knowledge. This would also let Shari’ah experts to understand more about how the entire business operates on the ground. The other team members will also understand more what Shari’ah is looking for, and how to integrate it into their business discipline. There is no clear career path as it stands for a Shari’ah advisor to become a CEO of an Islamic bank. This could allow that,” said Malek. Muhammed Ikram Thowfeek, Founder and Managing Director, MIT Global agrees that women must play a greater role in the industry. “We want to make sure women also have a role to play, apart from being a mother at home, they can nurture other women to take leadership roles. When these ladies come forward and share their thoughts, other women become inspired and think ‘if this person can do it, why not me?’ and normally people look for a role model or inspiration and they build from there,” Thowfeek told IB&F. The underrepresentation of women, according to Thowfeek, is related to the lack of awareness of what Islamic finance is broadly. “Now, if you look at Malaysia there are so many ladies who have taken up leadership positions in many of the banks. So it is coming up and what is needed is to create a platform that is non-competing to bring like-minded people together for future collaboration or partnerships with the objective to sharing their knowledge to ensure the Islamic financing industry can be uplifted from all corners. People think Islamic finance is confined to the Muslim community, which is a misunderstanding. Islamic finance is for all mankind, irrespective of your colour, religion, ethnic group you belong to. People suffered a lot after the financial crisis, their hard-earned money and life savings were lost, overnight. So they want a banking system of banking model that will protect their money which is transparent and ethical. But the message has to be brought to the general public that today the Islamic finance industry is largely untapped due to lack of awareness as to what Islamic finance is actually all about,” said Thowfeek. Tapping young talent, however, is an issue that banks and financial institutions can start working harder on immediately.

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Maya Marissa Malek, CEO, Amanie Advisors, accepts an award from Muhammed Ikram Thowfeek, Founder and Managing Director, MIT Global.

“If you’re a fresh graduate, no matter what your discipline is, you need opportunity to show your capability, specifically for women in this industry. The banks need to have an inclusive policy for gender equality within the organisation. Women also need to know that there is potential. It’s worthy to wade into this industry and take the bull by the horns and go with it. It’s a mix of both,” said Malek. The only solution to raising awareness and the representation of women, according to Malek, is to keep the conversation going on an individual level. “Keep on talking about it. The more people that are aware of this, the more the mindset will change, and the more people will be receptive of women leaders. It’s the same with women in any industry—it takes a while for people to see that it’s not a competition, it’s something better for the business. Propogating and encouraging women’s empowerment in Islamic business is a good step,” says Malek. “What we need to think of first and foremost, as women, is how we can contribute. Put gender on the backburner. Put ourselves in the forefront, and know that we can have good ideas, we can be committed, and push forth together with the men. In the Islamic industry, it doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman, you play different roles. You serve the same industry. Every little bit counts. It’s a new industry, it’s just building up it’s foundation and infrastructure. It’s a wholistic thing. Every contribution for the betterment of the industry is good.”

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DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

9-10 April 2018

6-7 March 2018 (Homo Cosmicos/SHUTTERSTOCK)

AFRICAN TAKAFUL FORUM

(shutterlk/SHUTTERSTOCK)

13TH WORLD TAKAFUL CONFERENCE

As one of the most developed countries in Africa, Nigeria has clear and strong economic potential. The African Takaful Forum explores Takaful and its potential to become a strong segment of Nigeria’s life insurance sector. AlHuda CIBE is the organiser behind the forum, which aims to play a pivot role in capacity building, attracting investors and developing a robust financial system for a vibrant economy.

This events aims to connect Takaful markets by uniting the leaders in those markets on one platform, equip Takaful leaders with actionable insights to aid in their strategic decision-making, and explore and analyse the latest trends in the industry. The event will also facilitate dialogue between regulators and Takaful practitioners, providing a road-map for the future course of the industry to achieve its growth agenda.

VENUE: Sheraton Abuja Hotel, Abuja, Nigeria http://www.alhudacibe.com/ATF2018

VENUE: Dusit Thani Hotel, Dubai, UAE http://wtc18.com/

13-14 March 2018

24-25 April 2018 (Bill Kret/SHUTTERSTOCK)

GLOBAL FORUM ON ISLAMIC FINANCE (GFIF) 2018

50

(Sopotnicki/SHUTTERSTOCK)

EAST AFRICA ISLAMIC ECONOMY SUMMIT 2018

The recent global financial crisis and the hardships it imposed on many people have raised many questions about the stability and sustainability of the conventional financial system. There are calls for alternative systems that could serve the long-term interests of average citizens around the world while adding value to the real economy. This forum will explore Islamic finance’s potential benefits for Pakistan with this in mind.

East Africa’s fairly-developed infrastructure and communication sector, a young, educated, tech savvy population and its ability to capitalise on technology development provides a great opportunity for the region to lead in the Islamic finance digital economy. The East Africa’s Islamic Economy Summit 2018 is themed around fintech as a driver for Islamic economy in East Africa as well as financial inclusion in the region.

VENUE: Pearl Continental Hotel, Lahore, Pakistan http://gfif.ciitlahore.edu.pk/2018/index.aspx

VENUE: Nairobi, Kenya https://www.eaifs.com/

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26/02/2018 16:01


Dubai Technology and Media

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ISSUE 101

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FINDING GLOBAL SUCCESS Fadi Al Faqih, CEO, Bank of Khartoum

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Islamic Business & Finance #107 - February 2018  
Islamic Business & Finance #107 - February 2018