MENA

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.

#Fintech News from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

Here’s a round up of recent fintech news from the MENA region. Saudi Arabia’s central bank has signed a deal with Ripple to use distributed ledger technology to settle payments. Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC) reports that gold trader Regal RA DMCC is the first company in MENA to gain a licence to trade cryptocurrencies. Honeywell launches Middle East industrial cybersecurity center. International Data Corporation reports that MENA spending on blockchain technology will grow to $80 million this year compared to $39 million in 2017. By 2021, regional blockchain spending is expected to reach $307 million. Monami Tech introduces digital payment service, Lendme, while Monetary Authority of Singapore and Central Bank of Egypt forge fintech partnership.

Amen Bank se positionne sur la finance islamique

L’arrivée de la troisième banque tunisienne sur le segment de la finance islamique pourrait encourager d’autres grandes banques à se lancer sur ce marché. Ahmed Karam, président du directoire du groupe, a indiqué que Amen Bank a déposé une requête à la Banque centrale tunisienne pour ouvrir une filiale spécialisée dans les produits financiers islamiques. La Tunisie compte déjà deux établissements bancaires à vocation islamique: al-Baraka Bank Tunisia et banque Zitouna. Amen Bank possède 154 agences, contre 76 agences pour Banque Zitouna et une vingtaine pour al-Baraka Bank. Amen Bank est la propriété du groupe familial Ben Yedder, qui rassemble une cinquantaine de sociétés présentes notamment dans les banques, l’assurance, l’agroalimentaire, l’hôtellerie et la santé.

#Tunisia: Islamic development bank could withdraw from Zitouna bank’s capital

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has decided to sell its 21% share in Zitouna Bank’s capital. The origin of this decision is supposedly a disagreement of specifications. The withdrawal could benefit Triki Group, which could disburse 80-90 million Tunisian dinars for this acquisition. IDB entered in Zitouna Bank’s capital in 2014, with TND37.5 million. Since its inception in 2009, Zitouna Bank has become a leading Islamic financial instituion in the local market.

Islamic Development Bank to Launch Multimillion Dollar Fund in Rabat

On the 4th of February, Rabat will be the host city for a workshop introducing a multimillion-dollar fund from the Islamic Development Bank called Transform to Morocco. The fund is intended to stimulate growth in science, technology and innovation and its first undertaking is an online platform called Engage. This venture will help match businesses with innovators and will fund scientific initiatives. The February workshop will be presented by Dr Hayat Sindi, who will meet with chief Ministers and Government Agencies during her tour in Morocco. She will meet spokespeople from the Ministry of High Education, Ministry of Economy and Finance and the Ministry of Industry, Investment, Trade and Digital Economy.

Unicom Formation flies the flag for Islamic financing

Unicom Formation, which specializes in professional training, is to organise Algeria's first trade fair dedicated to Islamic financing in partnership with the Sahel Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the wilaya of Boumerdes.

CIBAFI and The World Bank presenting study on "Corporate Governance Practices in Islamic banks 2017"

It is well established that good corporate governance strengthens institutions and financial sectors, and in so
doing contributes to building strong economies and economic growth.

Deficiencies in corporate governance were among the factors that contributed to the global financial crisis
(GFC) of 2007–08. As a result, global standard setters such as the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision
(BCBS) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have been updating and
strengthening their guidelines on good governance practices.

The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), which sets standards for Islamic financial institutions, published its
Guiding Principles on Corporate Governance in 2006 as its standard IFSB-3. The Principles address, within the
context of corporate governance, the distinct features of Islamic banks, such as the different relationship that
they have with some of their stakeholders.

More:

#Turkey: Lease Certificates As #Sukuk Financing Model In Turkey

Although Turkey had its first sukuk issuance in 2011, Sukuk has not been used as a financing model due to deficiencies in its legal framework. In 2013 new types of lease certificates have been introduced. Lease Certificate is defined as a security which is issued by an asset lease company (ALC) for the purpose of financing all kinds of assets and rights. Lease certificates may be issued by sales through or without public offering or in the form of private placement or sales to qualified investors. The lease certificates may be issued by ALCs, which have to be formed as joint stock companies. Lease certificates, sale of movables, immovable and intangible assets to ALC, sale back of these assets to the originator, all the hypothec transactions, the papers issued due to the lease of such assets are exempted from the stamp tax. Gains from the sale of the asset by Originator to ALC, and later by ALC to Originator, are exempted from corporate tax, regardless of the holding period of the asset.

INTERVIEW-#Bahrain's Salam Bank to launch Islamic #insurance products in #Algeria in 2018-CEO

Bahrain's Salam Bank will launch Islamic insurance products and Visa credit card services in Algeria this year. Salam Bank CEO Hideur Nasser said the lender would open 10 more branches in the country as the market for Islamic products was growing. He added that Islamic banking made up only 15.5% of the private sector in Algeria. The government wants to develop the sector, as the country looks for more ways to offset the sharp fall in oil prices and its energy revenues. For this, technical expertise and new legislation is needed in a country where powerful elites have resisted changes. Nasser said the legal framework had to be amended and sukuk could not be sold under current laws despite great appetite for them.

IIRA rates Al Baraka Bank #Syria strong for second year in a row

Al Baraka Bank Syria was granted a BBB investment grade rating by the International Islamic Rating Agency (IIRA). The bank was also assigned a sufficient credit capacity, with a rating of (71-75) as a total credit score. It also earned a strong credit rating, with a rating of 76-80 for the Asset Quality Management. The Bank’s corporate governance was assessed in the range of 66-70, and the Shari’a governance within the range (71-75). Mohammed Abdullah Halabi, CEO of Al Baraka Bank Syria said this result confirmed the accuracy of the strategy adopted by the Bank and the high quality performance of the management team.

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