Chicago Tribune

Money transfer business under threat in Somaliland

Since there are no banks in some parts of Somaliland, the money-transfer industry in the Horn of Africa is important due to its pragmatic versatility. Remittances to the Somali region alone are estimated at $1.3 billion each year. But these transfers now risk becoming impossible: Long-standing Western worries that remittance flows serve as a cover for money laundering and the funding of armed Islamist groups mean the taps could soon be turned off. Somaliland's uneasy transition from informal coping mechanisms to the formal systems of a conventional state remains deeply incomplete. This is one reason for the absence of an internationally recognized banking sector, which makes Somaliland particularly reliant on remittances.

Dubai's Nakheel in talks to extend $2.2 billion loan: report

Developer Nakheel is in talks to extend 8 billion dirhams ($2.18 billion) in loans due in 2015, according to its chairman Ali Rashid Lootah. The bank loans under consideration include 6.76 billion dirhams in secured facilities provided by, among others, Dubai's biggest bank Emirates NBD as well as 470 million dirhams in unsecured facilities, all due in 2016. Nakheel reported a 57-percent rise in annual profit in January. It also made interest and profit payments of around 800 million dirhams to lenders last year and has paid around 10 billion dirhams to various trade creditors and contractors since the start of its debt restructuring.

Islamic finance struggles toward mainstream in Azerbaijan

Until recently, sharia-compliant deals in Azerbaijan had to be conducted secretly, hidden under the appearance of conventional banking. Now, on the other hand, there are a couple of banks which openly offer a limited range of services compliant with Islamic principles. These include bans on interest and pure monetary speculation. However, the government still has not created a law in order to regulate the Islamic financial industry in the country. Such a law would enable expansion of operations of commercial banks and allow sukuk issuance.

Seminar for Charities held in USA

Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah reported on 12 June in the Tribune about a seminar for charities to comply with US provisions in their country.

The Internal Revenue Service, the MacArthur Foundation and a group of lawyers called Muslim Advocates instructed Chicago-area leaders in proper ways to report the collection of foreign funds, keep bookkeeping transparent and otherwise reassure U.S. officials that the money they raise never will end up in the hands of terrorists. The initiative has been inspired by a new generation of leaders and by what many Muslims perceive as a new climate under President Barack Obama, who mentioned the issue of charity, or zakat, during his landmark speech to the Islamic world from Egypt last week.

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