The International Islamic Banking Summit Africa

Djibouti 2017 opened today with more than 250 Islamic finance leaders seeking to capitalize on the surge in new Sukuk opportunities across Africa

Held under the Patronage of the President of Republic of Djibouti and hosted by The Central Bank of Djibouti, the International Islamic Banking Summit Africa 2017 convened global industry leaders to boost economic development and facilitate greater trade and investment flows between Africa, the OIC markets and beyond through Islamic finance.

The Islamic finance industry offers several key value propositions to markets in Africa as government agencies, international Islamic financial institutions, as well as emerging local players and central banks, seek to tap into the opportunities that will drive strategic economic development priorities on the continent.

The International Islamic Banking Summit Africa, held at the Kempinski Palace Djibouti, discussed topics focused on the opportunities provided by Shariah‐compliant financing under the theme: “Unlocking the Economic & Strategic Potential of Islamic Finance in Africa” with a special focus on the role that Islamic finance can play in boosting trade & investment, enhancing financial inclusion through innovation, and harnessing Sukuk for infrastructure finance in key markets across Africa. The Summit was attended by more than 250 industry leaders representing over 75 international organizations and featured a powerful line-up international speakers and industry thought leaders.

The Summit opened with a high-profile session featuring keynote addresses from H.E. Ahmed Osman, Governor of the Central Bank of Djibouti; H.E. Abderrahim Bouazza, Director-General, Bank Al-Maghrib of Morocco; Dr. Hamed Hassan Merah, Secretary-General of leading international standard-setting body AAOIFI; and Paul Muthaura, the CEO of the Capital Markets Authority of Kenya, who deliberated on “Islamic Finance: Global Context, Africa Growth” and how to build the regulatory infrastructure essential to create a strong platform for the future development of Islamic finance in Africa.

The opening keynote session was followed by a Special Presidential Plenary Address from H.E. Ismaïl Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti and Head of Government, who reaffirmed Djibouti’s commitment to the successful development of Islamic finance in the region and outlined a number of exciting new initiatives.

Addressing the media assembled at the Summit, H.E. Ahmed Osman said that:

Islamic finance continues to offer significant potential to African countries who are looking to diversify their sources of funding and deliver strategic economic priorities. This potential is being realised most notably through Sukuk issuances which are enabling infrastructure development on the continent, as well as in the role Islamic banking is playing in boosting international trade & investment flows and deepening financial inclusion. Djibouti is naturally positioned as a gateway for the high-growth markets of East Africa and we are working to build an Islamic finance environment that is even more operational, structured, and efficient. With our recent implementation of a National Shariah Board and progress being made on the road to our first Sukuk, Djibouti is positioning Islamic finance as an important strategic pillar to achieve our goals as outlined in Vision 2035 with a strong focus on modernizing financial infrastructure, strengthening financial inclusion, streamlining the legal and regulatory framework and exploring the potential for innovations such as launching a digital currency.

Building on how Islamic finance is already positively impacting markets on the continent such as Kenya, Paul Muthaura, CEO of the Capital Markets Authority Kenya noted that:

”The global Islamic finance industry is expected to reach an overall value of USD 3.54 trillion by 2021, a remarkable 77% growth when compared to 2015.  This anticipated rapid development of Islamic finance on the global stage is to a degree, being mirrored across Africa. In Kenya, this is exemplified by the support that the country’s financial sector regulators have given to the on-going policy and regulatory reforms aimed at enhancing the penetration of Islamic finance, with the country now getting increasingly well positioned to become a hub for Islamic finance. Kenya’s Islamic finance sector now constitutes three fully-fledged Islamic Banks, four Islamic windows, two credit unions, one Takaful company, one Takaful broker, one Retakaful window and two capital market Unit Trust Funds. Through such developments, Africa’s Islamic finance market continues to witness extensive growth and, with a robust and facilitative environment, Africa is creating a real opportunity to attract investment and capital inflows through Islamic finance, locally, and internationally.”

The special address was immediately followed by the second major keynote session, which featured leading international industry figures, Hassan Jarrar, the CEO of Bahrain Islamic Bank; and Uwaiz Jassat, Head of ABSA Islamic Banking, who provided industry insights into how Islamic finance can better connect the economies of Africa to each other and to the Gulf, the broader OIC markets and beyond from the perspective of boosting investment and innovation.

Another major highlight of the International Islamic Banking Summit Africa 2017 was the Leader’s Dialogue Live! interview session which was a unique opportunity to gain a fresh perspective and first-hand insights into what we can expect from the Islamic finance industry going forward. The live interview session featured renowned industry leader and global Islamic banker, Hassan Jarrar, CEO of Bahrain Islamic Bank, who stressed the importance of innovation and the potential for Sukuk:

Sukuk has become an important instrument in the international Islamic financial markets and it is exciting to see the recent surge in Sukuk issuance in key markets across Africa. This provides global investors with the opportunity to be involved in high-impact projects that not only promote social and economic development across Africa but also generate economic returns for investors. By innovating the range and scope of financial products, Islamic finance is helping to broaden financial access and will also provide greater access to liquidity pools across the Middle East which will result in rising economic and social development in Africa. Bahrain Islamic Bank is at the forefront of developing innovative Islamic financing and investment products, supported by superior retail and corporate banking services.”

This high-profile session was moderated by William Mullally, Editor of Islamic Business & Finance (CPI Financial, Dubai).

The International Islamic Banking Summit Africa 2017 also highlighted global innovations in the industry. Key technology opportunities and IT trends in Islamic banking were the focus of a cutting-edge session featuring Mohamed Magdy Aref, manager pre-sales engagement of Global Financial Solutions at ITS.

Day 2 of the International Islamic Banking Summit Africa 2017 continues on the 9th of November and follows a practical masterclass format focused on the practicalities of Sukuk in Africa, which will be led by leading Islamic finance specialist Brian Kettell, former advisor to the CEO of ICD of the Islamic Development Bank. An additional interactive workshop session on day 2 of the Summit will address how Sukuk can play a more effective role in infrastructure financing as well as support SME development in Africa, which will be jointly led by Ismail Adan Idle, the CEO of Al Amanah Consultancy, and Prof. Luqman Abdi Ahmed, Senior Advisor & Consultant at Al Amanah Consultancy.

The International Islamic Banking Summit Africa 2017 is created in collaboration between the Central Bank of Djibouti and Ethico Live!

Ethico Live Limited is a UK registered company with its corporate headquarters at 110 Queen Street, Glasgow G1 3BX, UK. Focused on the digital transformation of financial services and the role that FinTech is playing in driving positive and profitable change in areas such as finclusion, Islamic banking and smart cities, we serve our clients with high-profile international conferences in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia – with a special focus on the exciting high-growth markets of Africa.

For further details, please contact:

Sanay Lalwani

Marketing & Media: International Islamic Banking Summit Africa

Contact No – +91 124 418 2794/5

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