MENA

#Morocco to Issue its First #Sukuk Islamic Bonds in 2018

Morocco will finally launch its first sukuk in 2018. According to Hicham Talby, head of the financial sector department at the Ministry of Finance, the new financial instruments that will be operational this year will include four different formulas: Ijara, Wakala, Musharaka, and Murabaha. First, the government must complete the operational, legal, and regulatory aspects of Islamic finance. As Morocco’s first sovereign debt is taking some time to be issued, Talby expects the process to be much faster for the next three planned sukuk issues. The government originally adopted legislation allowing Islamic banking and insurance in January 2014, but there was a delay in authorization.

Iyad Asali, General Manager, Islamic International Arab Bank: Interview

In this interview, Iyad Asali, General Manger of Islamic International Arab Bank speaks about the future of Islamic banking in Jordan. The Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) reported that 69% of the population in Jordan are financially excluded. This gives Islamic banks an opportunity to develop new financial services for this segment. Jordan’s Islamic banks are currently trying to take advantage of this situation to raise awareness of their services. They are also working to improve financial literacy through media, events, social networks and conferences. Over the past five years Islamic International Arab Bank has developed a new framework for sharia-compliant SME financing in coordination with the CBJ. This cooperation led to the founding of an Islamic tool for mobilising funds to SMEs at subsidised costs and the establishment of a sharia-compliant fund to guarantee start-ups financing. This programme empowers a large segment of SMEs across various sectors, especially those owned by young entrepreneurs and women, and those located outside Amman.

La Francaise launches sharia-compliant #real estate account

La Francaise Forum Securities (FS) has launched its sharia-compliant real estate securities separately managed account. The account has been developed for an unnamed Islamic investment manager based in Kuwait. La Francaise FS will select securities with an above average risk adjusted total return to form a portfolio of 30 to 50 stocks. According to Jana Sehnalova, managing director of La Française FS, the account is designed for institutional investors with an Islamic finance focus. She said that La Francaise FS was investigating the viability of developing a fund based on the same strategy as part of the existing product line managed by Groupe La Francaise.

#Morocco to issue its first #Sukuk this year

Morocco will issue its first bonds on Islamic market this year. According to Hicham Talby, head of the finance ministry’s treasury department, the country plans to issue four dirham-denominated sovereign sukuk. While the first issuance would take much time due to the implementation of a legal framework for the operation, authorities expect the process to be faster for the three other issuances. Mali has already launched its first sukuk issuance for 2018. Likewise, South Africa and Sudan have recently announced their intention to follow the move in 2018. The Moroccan government also wants to establish a sovereign sukuk fund, ahead of an increase in dirham-dominated Islamic bonds, over the coming years.

Al Baraka Turk to exercise call option on $200m #sukuk

Albaraka Türk Participation Bank has sent a notice of redemption to its certificate holders on 06 April 2018 for its US$200,000,000 outstanding sukuk. Albaraka General Manager Meliksah Utku said the early redemption of the sukuk before its maturity in 2023 reflects the bank's partnership-centric approach to sukuk investors. The redemption date of the sukuk will be 07 May 2018 and will be redeemed at the aggregate of the outstanding face amount plus accrued but unpaid periodic distribution. Issued in May 2013 as a Tier 2 subordinated and USD-denominated sukuk al murabaha, the certificates were rated CCC+ by S&P and carried a coupon of 7.75% per annum.

MENA #fintech sector to attract US$2.5bn in deals by 2022, study finds

According to MENA Research Partners (MRP), the current MENA fintech market is estimated at US$2bn and expected to witness an annual growth of US$125mn until 2022. MRP CEO Anthony Hobeika said that the funding of fintech changed a lot in the last 6 years. While in 2010 funding was provided exclusively by venture capital firms, new funding vehicles such as accelerators, private equity institutions, corporation, banks and angel investors are showing interest. Up until recently, banks considered fintech as a competitor. Now banks are acquiring, partnering and also sponsoring fintech companies. As an example, some GCC banks collaborated with specialised fintech startups to implement the new VAT regulations.

Islamic bank to meet business world in Izmir this month

Turkey's Aegean province of Izmir will host an Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB) event between 26-27 April. The announcement was made by Turk Eximbank CEO Adnan Yildirim, who said that Turkey aims to boost trade relations with the IDB's 57 member countries. He added that Turk Eximbank wants to raise Islamic countries' 10% share of world trade to 20%. Turkey's current trade with IDB member countries is around $45 billion and the bank hopes to raise it to $100 billion within 10 years. Turk Eximbank aims to double its support to companies in IDB member countries. The lender ranks second globally after South Korea's Eximbank in terms of financing exports.

#Saudi- Finance Minister heads the Kingdom's delegation to the 43rd Islamic Development Bank board of governors Annual Meeting in Tunis

Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed Al-Jadaan will head the Kingdom's delegation to the 43rd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Islamic Development Bank between April 4-5 in Tunis. The Saudi delegation will include Dr. Ahmad Al-Khulaifi, Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA), Dr. Hamad Al-Bazie, Vice Minister of Finance, Eng. Yousef Al-Bassam, Vice President and Managing Director of the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD). The IDB annual meeting's agenda will comprise of discussion sessions about the 2017 IDB activities report, IDB's institutions annual report and the establishment of the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD). The ISFD aims to alleviate poverty, develop capacity, and eradicate illiteracy, diseases and epidemics in member countries via funding various productive, social and service projects and programs.

Islamic Development Bank aims to empower women

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) aims to improve women’s access to infrastructure that will offer economic opportunities through Islamic microfinance. IDB president Bandar Hajjar was speaking at the "Partnerships for Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment" session at the 43rd annual IDB meeting in Tunis. He said the empowerment of women was at the core of the Bank’s development strategy. He announced that to achieve this, the bank would launch a new initiative called "SheCan". He also stressed the bank continued its regular operations to empower women in priority sectors, such as energy, education, transport, health and Islamic finance. Representatives of 57 member states, senior government officials and ministers of finance, economy, planning and international development are attending the five-day meeting in Tunis.

Tunisia to host Islamic Development Bank annual meeting

The annual meeting of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group will be held in the first week of April in the Tunisian capital, Tunis. Fifty-seven ministers of economy and finance of member countries and about one thousand experts, economists and financiers will attend the meeting, which takes place between April 1 and April 5. There will also be a signing ceremony of financial partnership agreements between the IDB Group and some member states, including Tunisia. The IDB Group formally opened in 1975 and currently has 57 member states.

Call for Good Practices on Islamic Finance and Impact Investing Activities

Click here to apply http://bit.ly/2tN5RAZ

Purpose of this call is to invite private and public sector to share their good practices on
•Islamic finance funded impact investments and dedicated vehicles
•impact investment vehicles in the OIC region
•Islamic social finance vehicles

for the mapping study that is being carried out under the Global Islamic Finance and Impact Investing Platform (GIFIIP). The selected cases will be analysed by the research team managed by IICPSD and IRTI. Subsequently the good practices, information on vehicles and further findings will be published as part of the study.

Investment Focus

Turkiye Finans gets regulatory nod for $450 mln #sukuk

Turkish Islamic lender Turkiye Finans has been granted regulatory approval to raise $450 million via dollar-denominated sukuk. It previously issued dollar-denominated sukuk in 2013, a $500 million five-year deal that matures in May. The bank has been a frequent issuer of sukuk in the domestic market and has also tapped investors in Malaysia through ringgit-denominated deals.

#Tunisia: buyer of Zitouna bank and #Takaful will be known in July 2018

The sale of Zitouna bank and Takaful continues and is expected to end in July 2018, by which time we should know the identity of the final buyer. The bank had posted a net banking income of 101.748 MD, an operating profit of 19.411 MD and a net profit of 12.630 MD at the end of the 2016. For its part, the Zitouna Takaful posted a net profit of 2.490 MD in the same year. The company will have more than doubled its result compared to 1.054 MD in 2015. This, in connection with the high level of imports which have been on an upward trend in recent years, reaching 12.8 billion dinars in 2017.

'#Turkey can play a leading role in Islamic finance'

According to Abdelilah Belatik, secretary-general of the General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI), Turkey can play a leading role in Islamic finance. Belatik sees Turkey as a bridge between the Muslim world and the West. He said through Turkey's support Islamic finance was discussed among G20 countries, which was a milestone. Belatik added that Turkey had a key role to play in raising awareness about Islamic finance. CIBAFI expects the volume of the sector to reach $4 trillion by the end of 2020.

#Kuwait Finance House to split shareholding of Turkish asset manager

Kuwait Finance House (KFH) will divide the ownership structure of its Turkish asset management firm between local and Kuwaiti units, as the Islamic lender continues to build on its Turkey franchise. KT Asset Management will transfer 5 million shares representing a 50% stake to KFH Capital. Both Kuveyt Turk and KFH Capital are subsidiaries of KFH. KFH Capital is the main investment arm of KFH, which has restructured activities in recent years to streamline operations and focus on growth markets such as Turkey.

Is bitcoin permissible in Islam? Muslims disregard clerics’ warnings and invest

#Turkey has witnessed a rise in interest in bitcoin and the hundreds of other cryptocurrencies that have been modeled on it. Bitcoin trade here has gone from about 9,000 transactions a month in May 2017 to 42,000 in December 2017. A handful of companies in construction, education and the food industry have begun accepting cryptocurrencies for payment. The value of bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies fluctuates widely, leading some to caution against investment. Diyanet, Turkey’s religious affairs directorate, said in December that bitcoin and Ethereum had no intrinsic value like gold, nor were they backed by a government, so they did not meet the standards of reliability to make them a currency. Another ruling in January said the factors driving the value of cryptocurrencies were too shrouded in secrecy, exposing investors to fraud and use by criminal networks. According to Onur Baran Caglar, a FinTech consultant and lecturer at Istanbul Aydin University, the debate over bitcoin misses the real potential of the underlying technology. That real potential is the blockchain, a digital ledger that keeps track of all bitcoin transactions worldwide.

#Bahrain Islamic Bank partners up with the largest dedicated #FinTech hub in the MENA region

Bahrain Islamic Bank (BISB) has announced its partnership with the Bahrain FinTech Bay (BFB). As the first dedicated FinTech hub and corporate incubator in the Middle East and Africa region, it will be located in the Arcapita building overlooking Bahrain Bay. The venue comprises state-of-the-art facilities, co-working spaces and a variety of other shared infrastructure. BISB CEO Hassan Amin Jarrar said that with the strong support provided by the Government and the Central Bank of Bahrain Bahrain FinTech Bay would further strengthen the Kingdom’s financial position. Bahrain FinTech Bay aims to develop and accelerate financial technology in the region by creating a platform to fuel the growth of the industry.

#Turkey mulls 'national' bitcoin

Turkey's Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is proposing to develop a national bitcoin called "Turkcoin". According to MHP deputy chair and former Industry Minister Ahmet Kenan Tanrikulu, missing out on blockchain would be a serious mistake. The politician stressed that cryptocurrencies were already in use in Turkey, despite the lack of a legal framework, so there is a clear need for regulation. Tanrikulu's report also proposes the creation of a state-controlled bitcoin bourse. Though the government maintains its stance toward bitcoin and other digital money, the idea for a national cryptocurrency seems to have better prospects. A Turkish company has already invested in a project to create a local cryptocurrency and is reportedly planning to make the money available soon.

Albaraka Turk raises $205 million via Tier 1 #sukuk

#Turkey's Albaraka Turk has raised $205 million via Tier 1 perpetual sukuk. It has a 10% profit rate, is sold as a private placement and issued through an Irish-domiciled special purpose vehicle. Albaraka Turk previously secured a $213 million murabaha-based loan syndication in April of last year. Malek Temsah, assistant general manager of treasury at Albaraka Turk said the latest transaction could serve as an example for other banks, which had previously issued sukuk as Tier 2 capital only. The lender appointed Standard Chartered Bank as global coordinator for the deal with Bank ABC, Emirates NBD, Qinvest and Noor Bank as lead managers.

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