Environment, Social, Governance

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Nominations: Middle East Philanthropy Awards 2013

Nominations are now open for Campden’s second annual Middle East Philanthropy Awards, which celebrate exceptional philanthropic contributions by individuals and organisations in the Arabic region of the Middle East and North Africa. The finalists and winners of the awards will be recognised in an award ceremony in Abu Dhabi to be held on December 10. To nominate an individual, foundation or initiative that is worthy of such recognition, please submit details through the online forms on the website. Nominations will close on November 10.

A big question mark on Islamic finance: Industry ignores its social or religious responsibilities

Islamic Banking and Finance has been nearly confined to the rich people and as per the ideology of capitalism, the profit urge has captured the Islamic Financial Industry and discriminated the underprivileged people and letting them deprived from Islamic financial services. The commercialism has captured Islamic Finance institutions in such a way that business with and financing to the poor has gone astray from their agenda. The share of Islamic Microfinance is less than 1% from the overall volume of $ 1.3 trillion of Islamic Finance Industry. Islamic Microfinance can be energized by utilizing available charity amount of Islamic Banking and Finance industry to reduce poverty and fuel social development. Islamic Financial Institutions have to execute and promote Islamic Microfinance otherwise there is a definite chance of rumors that Islamic Banking and Finance services are only for rich people.

Most employees prefer to work for CSR focused firms

Just above 95 per cent of employees in the Middle East Africa region believe corporate social responsibility (CSR) is very important and are keen to engage in more community service work, according to Bayt.com survey. Almost 90 per cent of the respondents in the survey consider CSR to be a moral responsibility for corporations. The survey found that respondents across the Mena region are eager to dedicate themselves to CSR work, with 73 per cent preferring to give time and effort towards charitable causes rather than merely donating money. According to the survey, respondents would like their company to be involved in helping the poor or those with special needs (51.2 per cent), providing free education and scholarships (20.4 per cent) and saving or protecting the environment (11.2 per cent).

USD21.7bn finances provided by Islamic Development Bank and Saudi Fund for Development

The Islamic Development Bank and Saudi Fund for Development have provided finances amounting to $ 21.7 billion for 90 projects in the Bank's Member States in Africa, Asia, and Middle East. In its annual report for the year 2012, the Islamic Development Bank pointed out that the projects were in fields of infrastructures, agriculture, rural development, health, education, transport, energy, and water.

Islamic Development Bank disburses $32.6 million to eradicate polio

The Islamic Development Bank recently allocated $32.6 million to stop children in Pakistan from suffering paralysis or death at the heads of polio. The disbursement was the first of the $227 million the IDB approved for polio eradication efforts in Pakistan. The disbursement was made through the WHO on August 3. The contribution will be used to help train and support more than 200,000 health workers and volunteers to immunize 33 million children in Pakistan with the oral polio vaccine. The money will also be used to improve immunization services for other vaccine-preventable diseases and to strengthen disease surveillance throughout Pakistan.The WHO expressed its appreciation to the IDB and the OIC as important partners in the growing global effort to eradicate polio.

Millennium Development Goals in Rural Africa Get $100 Million Boost

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and its poverty reduction arm, the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), have now extended more than $100 million in financing to help eight African nations combat extreme poverty, improve public health and achieve more sustainable development. In each of these projects, host governments will partner with the IsDB, the Earth Institute and Millennium Promise to carry out the projects. The combined $104 million will finance three major programs: The ISFD’s new flagship Sustainable Villages Program (SVP) in Chad, Mozambique, and Sudan ($40 million), Scale-ups of the Millennium Villages Project in Mali, Senegal and Uganda ($29 million), Implementation of the Drylands Initiative in Djibouti, Somalia and Uganda ($35 million). The $104 million will be provided in the form of Islamic finance to the recipient countries, except in the case of a grant provided to Somalia. All of these countries are members of the bank.

Jordan Islamic Bank leader in solar electricity generation

Jordan Islamic Bank began some time ago to develop a plan to provide alternative energy in its branches through the use of electric power generation using solar cells. The Bank seeks to disseminate to all branches and offices which achieves savings and a reduction in the electricity bill incurred by the bank, and contributes to the alleviation of high electrical loads in the Kingdom, thus contributing to the national economy and environmental protection. The Jordan Islamic Bank is one of the main Islamic banks in Jordan and the Arab states, where it has a proven track record of excellence successes. The Bank has a branch network of 80 branches and offices, employing about 2,000 employees, which embodies the vital role played by the Bank in the Jordanian economy.

Jeffrey Sachs' Millennium Villages to expand with £67m loan

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) is to provide $104m (£67.3m) in loans to African governments to fund an expansion of Millennium Villages, the controversial project led by Jeffrey Sachs, director of Columbia University's Earth Institute. About $40m of the money will go towards a flagship sustainable villages programme (SVP) in Chad, Mozambique, and Sudan. In addition, $29m will support the extension of existing Millennium Village projects (MVPs) in Mali, Senegal and Uganda, while $35m will be used for a drylands initiative in Djibouti, Somalia and Uganda. Governments will team up with the IsDB, the Earth Institute, and its partner, Millennium Promise, to carry out the projects. The Millennium Village project covers more than 500,000 people in 14 areas of 10 countries in different environments across Africa. Each site was considered a "hunger hot-spot" at the time the project began in 2006. The concept works on the principle of interventions across several key areas – health, education, enterprise and agriculture – over a 10-year period.

British University in Dubai leads the way in sustainability school

The British University in Dubai (BUiD) organised and successfully concluded its second Sustainability Summer School (SSS)end June where over 50 undergraduate and post-graduate students from various universities across the region participated in a week-long professional development programme on sustainability.The theme at the event this year was “Greener Hands for a Greener Community’. It was aimed at the participating students imparting knowledge on how to reduce the ecological footprint not only as individuals but also as campaigners who would enthuse other members of the community in developing greener communities for a greener future.Members of the five competing teams were proactive in coming up with innovative eco-conservation ideas and making field trips to organisations such as Masdar City, Dubai Metro, DEWA and the Platinum Pacific Control’s building that uses solar energy.

Emirates Islamic Bank supports key social activities during Ramadan

Emirates Islamic Bank has tied up with a number of organisations to promote activities and charity campaigns to mark the spirit of Ramadan. The bank is the main sponsor for the Zakat Fund Ramadan Campaign, which aims to emphasise the importance of Zakat during Ramadan. In another major initiative, Emirates Islamic Bank is the Gold Sponsor for the Dubai International Holy Quran Award which aims to encourage young Muslims to memorise and understand the Holy Quran. The bank is also the main sponsor for the Al Ajer Initiative, to encourage people to understand the importance of forgiveness. Moreover, Emirates Islamic Bank is also supporting the Ramadan activities of Emirates Foundation for Youth Development that facilitates public-private funded initiatives. Emirates Islamic Bank has also teamed up with Dar Al Ber Society to provide vouchers worth Dhs500 to 100 underprivileged families during Ramadan.

UAE- Dream come true courtesy of Noor Islamic Bank

In September last year, Noor issued an invitation to the world to help shape the future of banking, with the launch of its Bank of the Future initiative, aimed at creating innovative ways of banking. As part of the initiative, Noor created an online Shape Your Bank competition to solicit people’s expectations of banks in the future, with prize money of $20,000 for the best idea on enhancing the banking experience. Nurul Iksan from Malang, Indonesia, won the first prize in Noor’s online competition. With the $20,000 in cash, plus an iPad he can begin pursuing some of his business ideas. He will use part of the money to open a fashion shop in nearby Bali. Iksan’s suggestion was to introduce a family account that is held by the head of the family with supplementary cards and limited budgets assigned to all family members. Such a concept has not been implemented in the region yet.

Call for common definition of sustainability and what it means in the UAE

According to a recent focus group held in Dubai by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), a common definition of what sustainability is and what it means in the UAE would help to encourage more companies to invest in creating their own corporate sustainability reports on a regular basis. The UAE focus group brought together 11 high level delegates representing a range of organisations. Whilst the level of sustainability reporting is currently low in the UAE, it was felt that sustainability reporting should play an important role in the development of the UAE in the years to come. Represantatives of the ACCA hope that these discussions will make a difference in helping to change perspectives and show just how important corporate sustainability reporting is to helping the UAE’s growing economy maintain its momentum.

Flurry of philanthropic works in memory of Shaikh Zayed

Ramadan 19, named as “Emirati Humanitarian Work Day”, is an annual event in memory of the late Shaikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and aims to inculcate the spirit of giving and philanthropy nationwide. As many as 1,500 charitable activities will be organised across the country by 270 local and federal departments to mark the day. The activities will feature presenting refrigerators and air conditioners to the needy families, setting up a chocolate factory to offer jobs to people with special needs, workshops for needy families, a day for orphans and distribution of Ramadan rations and Eid Al Fitr gifts. Moreover, the UAE has launched the “Egypt in Our Heart” campaign, which will contribute to infrastructure development in Egypt, Besides, other initiatives have been launched, to help Syrian refugee children and to combat blindness and visual disability, among others.

MICROCAPITAL BRIEF: Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Create “Geospatial Mapping of Financial Institutions” Program to Reach Unbanked Nigerians

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reportedly has partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) to form a new initiative called “Geospatial Mapping of Financial Institutions” that aims to increase the financial inclusion of low-income Nigerians. The new service will map all financial access points in Nigeria, including every microfinance institution and off-site ATMs, that Nigerians will be able to see online or on their mobile phones. The program reportedly will also enable the government and banks to determine whether certain regions of the country lack access to an appropriate number of financial services. BMGF will provide a monetary grant of an unspecified amount in order to pursue this goal. This new project is part of CBN’s initiative, the Nigeria Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS). The amount of monetary support that CBN has contributed to NFIS is unavailable.

Ajman Bank Supports 'Ramadan Aman' Campaign Launched by Al Ihsan Charity to Help Curb Speeding during Ramadan

Ajman Bank partnered with Al Al Ihsan Charity Association as a main sponsor in its 'Ramadan Aman' Campaign. The objective behind this effort is to prevent drivers from speeding during the Ramadan rush hour before Maghreb prayer that often increases the risk of accidents. As part of the campaign Ajman Bank employees will serve as an active volunteer distributing some of the 100,000 iftar kits through the Holy Month in the emirates of Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain and Ras Al Khaimah at selected areas. Every year there is a sharp rise in road accidents in the UAE during Ramadan. A considerably large number of these occur shortly before iftar primarily due to speeding.

Jaiz Bank Donates Relief Materials To Boko Haram Victims

Jaiz Bank yesterday donated relief materials to the Governor of Borno State for onward distribution to victims of the Boko Haram insurgency. While presenting the items, Dr. Abdulmutallab expressed his sympathy with the people of the state over their travails and donated rice, spaghetti and textile materials to cushion their sufferings. In his remarks, governor Shettima thanked the bank for the donation and pledged to judiciously utilise the items. The governor promised to partner with the bank towards harnessing the full potentials of the state. In order to to further demonstrate his support, the governor also promised to open a personal savings account with the bank.

Barwa bank backs charity project

Barwa Bank has signed a cooperation agreement with Qatar Charity to provide QR500,000 for its Ramadan projects in the country. The deal was signed by Steve Troop, Chief Executive Officer of Barwa Bank, and Yousef Al Kuwari, Qatar Charity Executive Chairman, at the charity headquarters. Troop said that Barwa Bank aims to support projects which provide assistance to the needy in the Qatari community in various ways, including forging partnerships with charities such as Qatar Charity. One of Qatar Charity’s projects is Al Baraha which has been extended from 10 days to one month. Around 24,000 people will benefit from the QR950,000 project during the holy month.

Islamic Finance Industry Development Challenge

The shift in global banking is not a trend, and the challenge for all of us is to bridge the gap in financial practice and seize the opportunities that lie ahead, bringing ethics back into finance.

Thomson Reuters and Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) are partnering to launch the world’s first Ethical Finance Innovation Challenge and Awards (EFICA). In the dawn of a new economic world, these awards are designed to inspire and recognise a fresh way of thinking by promoting some of the most dynamic, innovative ideas and solutions around integrity and growth.

Thomson Reuters and ADIB launch global awards for ethical and Islamic finance innovation

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB), in partnership with Thomson Reuters, have launched global awards to recognize and reward innovation in ethical and Islamic finance. Presented in three categories: Islamic Finance Industry Development Award, Ethical Finance Initiative Award, and Lifetime achievement award; these awards are designed to inspire real change in the financial services industry by recognizing and rewarding innovation that can be put into practice. Entries will be accepted from any institution, research centre, group of individuals or individual interested in shaping the financial industry within an ethical framework, with prizes of up to US$100,000 offered. A short-list of nominees for three award categories will be announced in November this year.

Deloitte launches Humanitarian Innovation Program to enhance crisis preparedness and emergency response worldwide

Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (DTTL) and its member firm network have launched the Humanitarian Innovation Program, which will deliver two global pro bono projects for humanitarian organizations. The program launches at a time when humanitarian organizations are increasingly responding to a variety of disasters, requiring an immediate response with limited resources. Deloitte’s Program aims to deliver solutions to humanitarian agencies to help them during the preparation and readiness phases, which could ultimately help to strengthen the response of the local and international community, sustain livelihoods, and save more lives. The Humanitarian Innovation Program will be open to any humanitarian organization worldwide and DTTL will receive applications through July 2013. A panel will review the applications and select two pro bono projects which Deloitte member firms will begin work on in late 2013.

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