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Al Baraka Bank #Tunisia increases its net income by 256%

Al Baraka Bank Tunisia recently announced its financial results for the year 2019. The results revealed that the bank has moved forward with a net income that increased by 256% and total assets by 20% compared to the end of 2018. The Bank’s financial statements for the year 2019 show that the total income amounted to 133 million Tunisian dinars ($48 million), up 29% compared to the same period last year. After deducting all operating expenses, net operating income went up 54% to 30 million Tunisian dinars (US$11 million). The Bank also increased its shareholders’ equity by 9% to 174 million Tunisian Dinars (USD 62 million) at the end of December 2019.

Fitch Ratings: Coronavirus intensifies pressure on Qatari banks

The spread of the corona virus will pressure Qatari banks' asset quality and funding volatility could recur. As Fitch does not expect any changes in the Qatari authorities' ability to provide timely support all Qatari banks have a Stable outlook. The consequences of the coronavirus and lower hydrocarbon revenues will weaken government capital spending, which will in turn affect the operating environment. Fitch now forecasts Qatar's real GDP growth at minus 2% in 2020, after an estimated 0.6% positive growth in 2019. Qatari banks have adequate capital buffers but an increase in problem loans could erode these buffers quickly.

Islamic Development Bank earmarks $630m for members

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group has set-up a special Strategic Preparedness and Response Facility worth $730 million to mitigate the negative impact of the COVID -19 pandemic. The IsDB Group stated that its entities will support the private sector in responding to the crisis and to minimise its impact on SMEs to sustain economic development. Additionally, the Islamic Cooperation for Development (ICD) shall provide $250 million of emergency funding mainly in the form of medium to long-term financing instruments to help affected sectors. ICD will also be aiding the private healthcare industry of affected member-countries to meet surging need for services, equipment and medicine.

Leaders of world’s most powerful countries come together for Saudi-led virtual summit

Leaders of the most powerful countries in the world will today come together in a virtual summit organized by the Saudi Arabia G20 presidency to tackle the accelerating coronavirus crisis. Among world leaders expected to participate in the meeting are US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The World Health Organization, the UN, the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank are among the international organizations that will take part, as well as other development organizations. Saudi Arabia’s efforts at global coordination will continue after the virtual summit. Another forum of G20 finance ministers is planned for next month, as well as a virtual gathering of G20 health ministers.

Etiqa gives RM1mil to buy ventilators

Etiqa is contributing RM1mil for the purchase of ventilators through Mercy Malaysia’s Pandemic Fund to support strategic preparedness and response plan to the Covid-19 virus. This initiative will also help ensure all communities are well prepared, especially those with the weakest health systems. With the number of people infected with Covid-19 increasing in Malaysia, the number of ventilators available at designated hospitals will be insufficient to deal with the number of critical cases. Etiqa Insurance & Takaful Group CEO Kamaludin Ahmad feels obligated to help the country battle Covid-19 and hopes that this contribution will mean that no patient will have to be denied lifesaving care due to ventilator shortage.

Jack Ma Foundation, Alibaba Foundation donation arrives

The first batch of the much-needed medical supplies donated by the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation has arrived in Pakistan. The shipment is part of the donation of medical supplies to 10 Asian countries announced on March 21. Collectively, the nations will receive a total of 1.8 million masks; kits for testing 210,000 people, 36,000 pieces of protective clothing, as well as essential medical equipment such as ventilators and forehead thermometers. Pakistan's Disaster Management Authority will transport and distribute the supplies throughout the country. The remainder of the donation is expected to reach Pakistan soon.

Covid-19: Saudi delivery app raises funds as virus lockdown boosts demand

A grocery delivery app in Saudi Arabia has raised funds to expand across the Middle East as lockdown measures related to the coronavirus boost demand for online shopping. The Nana app raised $18 million from investors including venture capital fund STV and Middle East Venture Partners. Dubai-based start-up ecosystem enabler Wamda also participated in the investment round, along with Saudi Venture Capital Company (SVC), Impact46 and Watar Partners. Nana founder Sami Alhelwah said the penetration of online grocery shopping in the region is very low and the target is to expand across the region and beyond groceries into other products. Nana wants to become the Amazon of the Middle East and wants to be one of the first technology companies listed in Saudi Arabia.

Covid-19 fund amassed RM8.1m in donations

THE Covid-19 fund, launched by Malaysian Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on March 11, received a RM5 million contribution yesterday. The donations came from Spanco Sdn (RM2 million), followed by DRB-Hicom, MMC Corp and YTL Corp who contributed RM1 million each. Property developer Titijaya Land has contributed 520,000 face masks for frontliners. With the above donations, the fund has amassed a total of RM8.13 million in contributions. The government has launched the Covid-19 fund to help affected Malaysians. Similarly, the Malaysian Department of Islamic Development has also launched another fund to help the Muslim communities affected by the outbreak. Separately, some Malaysians are criticising the setting up of funds and are calling on ministers to take pay cuts instead.

Saudi billionaire's charity adds second donation to help global polio fight

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud has joined Bill Gates and other leading figures to announce the first round of funding to a major global initiative to end polio. Alwaleed Philanthropies’ donation of $2 million to the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) will support the creation of action plans to expand access to polio vaccination and help reach children everywhere. Alwaleed Philanthropies has also worked with key partners such as Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carter Center and UNICEF to tackle Guinea Worm disease, river blindness, measles and rubella, amongst other preventable and treatable diseases. The GPEI pledging event launched a fundraising push to fill the $3.27 billion funding gap. So far, $2.6 billion has been raised.

#Sukuk issuance stalls on subdued economy

Sukuk issuance could potentially take a hit this year, dragged by subdued economic growth. In 2018, when Malaysia’s GDP growth slowed to 4.7%, sukuk issuances fell by 2.6%. In 2019, when real GDP growth moderated further to 4.3%, sukuk issuances slipped by 2.3%. However, the current low interest-rate environment will prevent sukuk issuances from falling too significantly this year. According to Malaysia Rating Corp (MARC) chief economist Nor Zahidi Alias, the downside risk remains especially if the Covid-19 outbreak continues to be unmanageable and lockdown periods across global economies continue. Policymakers globally are using fiscal and monetary tools to soften the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak. The US Federal Reserve’s move to lower its benchmark to a near-zero rate prompted central banks across many sukuk active markets to cut their interest rates.

Khalifa Foundation receives donation from Dubai Islamic Bank

The Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan Foundation received a AED1.2 million donation from Dubai Islamic Bank, to support its efforts to provide laptops to school and university students. The financial support comes as part of efforts to implement remote learning initiatives as part of UAE measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus, COVID-19. The foundation's director Mohammed Haji Al Khouri praised the bank’s donation as well as its timely response to the initiative. He stated that the foundation aims to strengthen its partnerships with government authorities, banks, companies, key sponsors and strategic partners to help mitigate the impact of the pandemic.

Philanthropists in UAE donate millions to fight Covid-19

As the UAE is stepping up its fight against the new coronavirus (Covid-19), the Emirati business community is showing its solidarity and support. Abdul Rahim Al Zarooni, chairman of Zarooni Group, has allocated Dh10 million to support medical and preventive supplies in Dubai. Khalaf Al Habtoor, CEO of Al Habtoor Group, has donated 50 state-of-the-art ambulance vehicles and a medically-equipped building to be used for quarantine purposes. Al Futtaim Group has set up a fund of Dh100 million for retailers at its malls in Dubai. The fund will cover up to three months' rent relief for 'eligible' tenants, who run the risk of being caught in business disruption and slowdown. Another Emirati family business group has donated ambulances and medical equipment worth Dh12 million.

Coronavirus in #UAE: Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group donates Dh13 million

Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group has announced donations worth Dh13 million aimed at supporting the healthcare sector and schools in Dubai to support the country amidst the global coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak. The Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group Charity Foundation announced a Dh3 million donation to support the UAE's distance learning initiative at public and non-profit schools in Dubai. The Group also donated Dh10 million to support the Dubai Health Authority's preventive measures against the novel coronavirus. Furthermore, Al Gurg Group has offered tenants of its residential buildings the option of postponing rent payment for three months.

Islamic Development Bank comes to the rescue of virus-hit members

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has set up an emergency funding line to tackle the coronavirus crisis. The Strategic Preparedness and Response Facility with a volume of $730mn is established in order to support the member countries and to mitigate the negative health and socio-economic impact of the pandemic. The emergency funding includes $280mn from the IsDB’s Bank and Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development to be used for sovereign projects and programmes, $300mn from IsDB’s division International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation to support trade finance among member countries, as well as $150mn to be applied to insurance coverage.

Takaful insurer gets approval for majority stake sale

Egypt’s regulators have approved the sale of 75% of Tokio Marine Egypt Family Takaful Co. for nearly 85 million Egyptian pounds ($5.4 million). Hermes Finance Group and GB Capital will each buy 37.5% of the takaful insurer. Mr Reda Abdel Moaty, FRA vice chairman, said that Cabinet approval is required under the law for investments in Egyptian insurance companies exceeding 10% of the issued shares.

COVID-19 and Islamic Law Roundup (2/2)

Countries and communities around the world are working to contain COVID-19 and mitigate its effects. The following digest represents a variety of sources in which Islamic law was invoked in the decision making process.
Kuwait amends the adhan to urge prayer at home amidst mosque closures. Egypt closes all mosques, nationwide, in light of COVID-19. Mosques from Istanbul to Mogadishu wrestle with decisions to close in light of coronavirus.
Worshippers around the world risk infection with communal prayer, defying orders to pray at home.

BOFIA Act Should Be Reviewed To Enhance Islamic Banking In #Nigeria - Abdul -Wahab Saadudeen

According to Imam Abdul-Wahab Saadudeen, the Banking and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA) should be reviewed to enhance Nigeria's Islamic banking industry. He believes the regulatory bodies must take into cognizance the principles of Islamic Finance to create an enabling environment for its growth in Nigeria. The Islamic scholar noted that over the years, the Islamic Banking legal framework has not been reviewed to reflect the developments taking place now. He made a strong call for a competent Sharia Advisory Board to ensure that Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions are not exposed to avoidable systemic risks. He also called for more clarity in Islamic Banking because it seeks to boost financial inclusion, achieve sustainable development and economic prosperity for all Nigerians.

New Islamic endowment trust seeks to be UK’s first waqf to combine commercial and social investments

A new charitable foundation is being set up in the UK that aims to become a £1 billion waqf fund combining commercial and social investments. Sultan Choudhury, Executive Chairperson of the new One Endowment Trust (OET) said that the vision of the trust is to present Islam in a positive way through contribution to UK civil society. OET’s first investment is a £1.75 million 21 residential apartments with planning for four more in Creative Lofts in the Yorshire town of Huddersfield. The returns generated from OET’s portfolio of assets will cover the Trust’s costs and also be reinvested in designated social projects with partners. OET expects to begin investing in social projects particularly in the area of social care in 2022.

Dubai Islamic Bank shareholders approve 35 per cent dividend

Dubai Islamic Bank (DIB) announced that the Annual General Meeting has approved the bank’s 2019 financial statements and other tabled resolutions. For the year 2019, DIB reported a net profit of over Dh5.1 billion, the highest ever in its history. The shareholders also approved the dividend pay-out of 35 fils per share, increase in the foreign ownership limit in the bank’s share capital from 25% to 40% and the election of DIB Board of Directors. With the recent acquisition of Noor Bank, DIB is set to become one of the largest Islamic banks in the world, with total assets exceeding Dh275 billion ($75 billion).

Bank Nizwa Discusses Growth of Islamic Finace With Local Treasury Dealers and Financial Institutions

Oman's Bank Nizwa recently hosted a special dinner event for local Treasury Dealers and Financial Institution managers. With over 60 guests the gathering was a networking opportunity for industry professionals to share views and discuss the latest trends of Islamic finance. Islamic banking in Oman has shown robust growth with Islamic banking entities providing financing to a record of RO 4 billion by the end of 2019, a growth of 11%. Since its initiation in December 2012, Islamic banking now constitutes 13.9% of the overall Oman banking system assets. Bank Nizwa has been organizing such events to clients with other participant banks and financial institutions on a variety of important topics. The bank has partnered with IFN and Takaful Oman to raise awareness over Islamic finance services by organizing specialized forums and seminars across Oman.

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