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Michael Saleh Gassner

Putting Children At The Center Of Africa-China Poverty Reduction Agenda

According to UNICEF, investing in children is the fundamental solution to end child poverty and inequality and set the foundation for sustainable and inclusive economic growth. The statement was made during the Africa-China Poverty Reduction and Development Conference at the 10th Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). The 10th FOCAC Africa-China Poverty Reduction and Development Conference, co-hosted by China’s State Council Leading Group Office of Poverty Alleviation and Development (LGOP) and the Uganda Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries, had the theme of "Partnership for Transformation in Africa". Delegates expressed the urgent need to invest in social policies and infrastructures which combat child poverty in Africa, where around three out of every four children are affected by multi-dimensional poverty.

MICROFINANCE EVENT: 2nd African Islamic Fintech Summit; November 29 – 30, 2019; Dakar, Senegal

Focusing on "African financial inclusion in the digital era", this event is a continuation of a similar summit held in Tunisia in March 2019. The event in Dakar will address the topics of Islamic finance, financial technology and economic empowerment. Panel discussions will focus on the next generation of fintech and the outlook of Africa, the social impact of fintech and the challenges Islamic finance faces in the era of fintech. Workshop sessions include analysing big data in Islamic banking and understanding how digital payments can support sustainable development. This event is jointly organized by the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and the International Islamic Finance Training Institute (IIFTI).

Expert identifies growth path for Islamic finance in #Nigeria

The Senior Director of the African Finance Corporation (AFC) Mr. Banji Fehintola spoke on the Proshare WebTV programme "Islamic Finance Weekly". He emphasised the need for Nigerians to understand the value of Islamic banking, which is geared towards deepening financial inclusion and driving economic prosperity. He commended the Federal Government for taking the lead in adopting the Islamic Finance product in the country. He said that Nigeria has taken a great step in terms of issuing Sukuk, and they are planning to issue the third one. He also added that with time the country will see corporate issuances in the Sukuk space.

Al Baraka bank announces second #Sukuk issuance to raise R400m

Al Baraka bank announced the raise of R400m via its second Sukuk issuance. The Sukuk issued by Al Baraka will pay a variable return over its 10-year life and qualifies as tier 2 capital for the bank. Al Baraka SA financial director Abdullah Ameed said the intention is to raise the R400m in tranches of R100m. The first tranche should be completed by the end of the year, then the lender will look to raise R300m over the course of 2020. Al Baraka CEO Shabir Chohan says the proceeds will allow the bank to continue growing its advances book, despite the weak economy.

AFN To Participate In African Islamic #Fintech #Summit on 29th and 30th, November 2019 In #Senegal

The Africa Fintech Network will take part in "The African Islamic FinTech Summit (SAIFI)" as a Community Partner. The event takes place at the Radisson Blu Plaza, Dakar (Senegal) on the 29th & 30th of November. The summit will host the POC and the launching of innovative FinTech Solutions and will include Keynote Sessions and Regulatory discussions between Government Agencies, Financial Institutions and Startups. In addition, a certified training session on "Compliance and Anti-Money Laundering (AML)" will be organised and facilitated by international experts from West African Financial institutions.

Sanusi Calls For Robust Regulatory and Legal Framework To Deepen Non-Interest Finance In #Nigeria

The Emir of Kano HRH Muhammad Sanusi II has called for robust regulatory and legal framework to deepen non-interest finance in Nigeria. He made this assertion as keynote speaker at the 4th African International Conference on Islamic Conference hosted in Lagos. As Africa faces a $360bn infrastructure gap, Sanusi was of the view that Islamic Finance offered an opportunity for addressing the deficit. Since the blueprint for Islamic Finance was rolled out in the country in 2013 it took 4 years for the issuance of first set of Sukuk bonds in 2017 and 2018 respectively. He commended the organizers of the conference and believed that it served as a platform for creating awareness on Islamic Finance as a vehicle for driving Alternative Financing in Nigeria and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Mo Ibrahim Foundation to launch first ‘African Governance Report’ in 2019

The Mo Ibrahim Foundation has announce the launch of the first comprehensive African Governance Report. Based on IIAG data, the report will focus on: Governance and Africa’s implementation of the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It will highlight the importance of using data to analyse the growing governance challenges and opportunities that must be addressed to drive sustainable development in Africa.

Islamic finance contracts estimated to reach $2.5trn

The Qatar International Center for Conciliation and Arbitration (QICCA) has participated in the 7th East Africa International Arbitration Conference (EAIAC) held on 29 - 30 August 2019 in Nairobi. As QICCA’s Board Member, Sheikh Thani bin Ali bin Saud Al Thani attended the event and delivered a research paper on Islamic finance. During the sessions of the conference, Sheikh Thani informed attendees on the expertise of Qatar in Islamic finance as well as Malaysia’s experiment, in addition to experiments of non-Islamic countries such as Singapore. The conference which was held under the theme "Government Contracting and Investment Disputes: Lessons for States and Investors" saw a participation of more than 250 attendees from Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda and Ghana. QICCA General Counsel Minas Khatchadourian said that the world’s Sovereign Wealth Investments will reach $15trillion by 2020, which represents 25% of the total value of assets that are managed over the world.

Source: 

https://www.thepeninsulaqatar.com/article/08/09/2019/Islamic-finance-contracts-estimated-to-reach-$2.5trn

Islamic finance taking shape

In #Ethiopia, Muslim members of the business community are and had been severely underserved by the nation’s financial industry. This seemed to be changing in 2011 with the enactment of the nation’s first interest-free banking directive by the National Bank of Ethiopia. However, the directive only authorized interest-free banking window in the setup of a conventional banking system and not a full-fledged Islamic bank. Exactly six years later, three potential full-fledged Islamic banks have been established. The three have officially started selling shares while unofficially at least two more banks are said to be in the pipeline to take part in the interest-free banking game. This will bring the total number of new entrants to five.

Use arbitration to solve Islamic finance disputes

With the growing number of the Islamic financial service providers in Kenya, a proportionate increase in Shariah-related commercial and financial disputes is also expected. In Kenya there is no comprehensive legal and regulatory framework that governs the application of Shariah principles. Arbitration as a form of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) mechanism is gaining in popularity owing to the time and cost it takes to resolve disputes. The disputing parties can select the arbiters and the proceedings can be held in private away from the media glare and therefore does not damage reputations and destroy brands. Islamic financial providers need to ensure that arbitration clauses are factored in their contractual documentations to take care of the need to seek sound Shariah determination of commercial disputes.

Jaiz bank grows half-year profits by 295%

#Nigeria's Jaiz Bank has recorded an impressive performance in the first half of this year. Gross earnings rose by 41% while pre and post-tax profits increased by 292% and 295% respectively. The half year report indicated that Profit Before Tax increased to N907 million from N231 million, while Net Profit after tax rose to N816 million from N207 million. The bank also grew its total income by 41% from N4.47 billion as at June 2018 to N6.31 billion at June 30th 2019. The balance sheet was further strengthened during the period with Total Assets rising by 33% from previous year end position of N108.46 billion to N144 billion. The above results further consolidated the growth trajectory of Jaiz Bank with a promise to end the year positively.

Gulf African Bank inks IFC advisory deal for SME lending

The International Finance Corporation (IFC) is offering technical advisory services to Gulf African Bank to help it lend more to small and women-owned enterprises. The advisory will cost $368,016 (Sh37 million) and is the latest such undertaking with local banks. Other banks that have signed similar deals include Co-op Bank and Equity Bank. IFC says the project will focus on competency assessment, opportunity sizing and product programme development for SME banking. The institution defines SMEs using various measures including firms having between 10 and 300 employees or annual sales of Sh10 million to Sh1.5 billion. The loan size per borrower usually ranges from Sh1 million to Sh200 million.

Experts meet on Islamic finance

Experts from the private and public sectors are meeting today in Lagos to discuss the progress of Islamic finance in Nigeria. The inaugural edition of the IFN Nigeria Forum "Harnessing the Islamic Finance Sector for Infrastructure Development and Economic Growth" takes place on June 18th. The IFN Nigeria Forum 2019 features a mix of panel sessions, onstage interviews and interactive sessions on a number of themes in Islamic finance, including Corporate Financing and Capital Raising in Nigeria. Speakers include Director-General, Debt Management Office of Nigeria, Ms Patience Oniha; Acting Director-General, National Pension Commission, Hajia Aisha Dahir-Umar; Divisional Head, Trading Business, NSE, Mr Jude Chiemeka; Managing Director, Lotus Capital, Hajara Adeola; Partner, Udo Udoma & Belo Osagie, Adeola Sunmola, and Head, Debt Capital Markets, FBNQuest Merchant Bank, Oluseun Olatidoye.

Islamic Banking already in #Uganda, says Kasaija

According to the Minister of Finance, Mr Matia Kasaija, no amount of opposition will stop the operationalisation of Islamic Banking in Uganda because it has already kicked off. He is the one who signed the instruments operationalising it and he said Ugandans should stop associating it with terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism. During their annual general meeting last Saturday the Uganda Joint Christian Council (UJCC) resolved to lobby against the implementation of Islamic Banking. The Christian bishops speculated that Muslims could be using Islamic Banking as a bait to lure Christians into Islam. This drew a backlash from Muslim leaders, who warned the bishops to refrain from mobilising against Islamic Banking and advised them to seek knowledge from Ministry of Finance or Bank of Uganda rather than undermining it through the media.

#Nigeria Should Develop Policies To Enhance Islamic Estate Planning – Awojobi

In this interview FBNQuest Trustees managing director Kunle Awojobi speaks about the benefits of Islamic Estate Planning. Islamic Estate Planning is considered an act of purifying or cleansing the individual, which involves voluntary and compulsory distributions made after death. Islamic Estate Planning is a relatively new area in Islamic Finance in Nigeria. In 2017, FBNQuest Trustees began educating Muslims through its flagship programme the Legacy Series, both on radio and in press. They also established partnerships with key players in the Islamic Finance space. FBNQuest Trustees helps with the management of Islamic Wills, but also other instruments like Zakat, Wakaf, Hibah, etc.

Medina Islamic Finance Boost Financial #Inclusion in Africa

Medina Islamic Finance, an Africa-focused digital Islamic microfinance platform has announced a strategic partnership with United Labs, a New York-based data science venture studio. The announcement was made by the founder and CEO of Medina Islamic Finance, M. Wagane Diouf, at the 44th Annual Meeting of the Islamic Development Bank Group. United Labs will initially provide Medina Islamic Finance with access to Artificial Intelligence technology and automated local language customer support systems that will accelerate Medina’s underwriting while improving customer support. United Labs CEO Bachir Diagne said he was proud to support Medina's inclusive ecosystem with data science technology solutions and to boost financial inclusion in Africa. Medina Islamic Finance plans to roll out its suite of ethical banking solutions in key targeted African countries in partnership with established financial institutions later this year.

Experts Urge Nigerians to Embrace Islamic Estate Planning

At the Islamic Estate Clinic held on April 28, 2019 in Abuja, different speakers highlighted how Nigerians, both Muslims and non-Muslims can benefit from the Islamic Estate Planning system. The event was put together by FBNQuest Trustees, with Managing Director, Adekunle Awojobi, hosting it. The clinic featured sessions facilitated by Dr. Bashir Umar, a renowned Islamic Financial Scholar. The sessions covered Waqaf, Wasiyyah, Zakat, Hibah and Takaful, among other asset preservation and wealth transfer principles. FBNQuest Trustees said it remains committed to pioneering critical conversations such as this and helping Nigerians make sense of assets accrued in the course of their lives, without compromising their faith or values.

FBNQuest Trustees to Host Islamic Estate Planning Clinic

FBNQuest Trustees is set to host an Islamic Estate Planning Clinic, on the 28th of April, 2019 in Abuja, Nigeria. This forum aims to educate Muslims about the importance of Estate Planning in line with Islamic laws. The Islamic Estate Planning Clinic will be hosted by Mr. Adekunle Awojobi, Managing Director FBNQuest Trustees and facilitated by the renowned Islamic financial Scholar, Dr. Bashir Umar, Imam at Al- Furqan Mosque in Kano. The session will address topics on Islamic Trust (Waqaf), Islamic Will (Wasiyyah), Zakat, Hibah, Takaful, and Sukuk; underscoring the importance of an Islamic plan to Muslims, as highlighted from the Qur’an and its interpretations in the Sunnah and Hadith. FBNQuest Trustees will also share insights on managing conventional Estate Plans, which is targeted at ensuring the preservation of legacies.

Will Global Fintech top guns help #Nigeria achieve 80% Financial Inclusion ?

Nigerian Fintech company Paystack has received an investment of $8 Million from Stripe, Visa, Y Combinator and Tencent. Over the last three years, Fintechs in the country have received funding, and that has increased steadily. Including Flutterwave’s $10 Million there was roughly $100 Million deployed into Fintechs. SureRemit, another Fintech raised $7 Million in an ICO this year. Over the last couple of years, more Nigerian Fintechs are being chosen for Y Combinator. All this activity and traction is also suitably backed by ecosystem players, policy makers and regulators. The rationale behind the investment from the Visa, Stripe and Tencent into Paystack is to help their expansion within Nigeria and to bring financial services to people who have so far been denied the opportunity.

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