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Bahrain ‘can lead growth of industry’

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Points of Essence:

  • Bahrain offers itself as a conduit to spur the global growth by riding on its knowledge, expertise and success in the Islamic finance industry.
  • It is willing to initiate cooperation with governments and other financial centers to bring about this plan.
  • Bahrain seems to be on the right footing considering its numerous world’s ‘firsts’.

MANAMA: Bahrain’s knowledge, expertise and success within the Islamic finance industry are there to be used as a channel to facilitate its growth globally.

That was the message from Economic Development Board (EDB) chief executive Shaikh Mohammed bin Isa Al Khalifa in a keynote address at the Euro World Islamic Banking Conference (Euro WIBC) in London yesterday.

“This may mean working with governments or in the wider context of financial centres like the City of London as its institutions develop their Islamic finance expertise. We can, and do, help,” he said.

He praised the development of the UK’s Islamic finance sector and encouraged further co-operation between the UK and Bahrain’s already mature Islamic finance industry.

“The success of the World Islamic Banking Conference, held in Bahrain for the last 15 years inspired the Euro World Islamic Banking Conference to be established, the first being this year, in London,” he said.

He acknowledged the rapid and sustained growth of the UK’s Islamic finance sector noting that there are currently over 20 banks providing Islamic financial services, more than the rest of Western Europe combined.

The City of London is home to Europe’s only stand alone Islamic institutions, including investment banks, retail banks and a takaful provider, he said.

“Bahrain is recognised as the world’s centre for Islamic finance with more Islamic finance institutions than anywhere else in the Middle East and Norther Africa region.

“Bahrain was the first to market, in 2001, with Prudential – PIRI regulations specific to the Islamic banking industry and, also in 2001, the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) was the first to develop and issue sukuk products.

“In 2005, Bahrain again led the field and created the first ever comprehensive regulatory framework specific to takaful and re-takaful companies.

“This year the CBB is implementing the new international regime on capital adequacy and risk management, Basel II, with specific changes for Islamic banks. This is a global first led by Bahrain,” he said.

Source: Gulf Daily News

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Written by Suapi Shaffaii

July 10, 2008 at 2:25 am

Posted in Financial Centres

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