Environment, Social, Governance

empty Description of term "Environment, Social, Governance"

The Rise of Affordable Housing in the Gulf

According to a 2011 report by Jones Lang LaSalle, the MENA and GCC region was in need of 3.5 million affordable homes. A 2015 update by JLL said that this shortage has in all likelihood increased since then. In Saudi Arabia, JLL estimated the shortage in 2011 to be around 400,000 homes, which has resulted from a rapidly growing population, a limited supply of completed developments and a lack of access to housing finance for middle-income earners, it said. For other Gulf markets, the roots of the problem are in the ground. Governments across the Gulf are being moved to take action.

Ensuing financial inclusion

The Global Islamic Economy Summit, set for the 5-6 October, will heavily stress the importance of financial inclusion to the future of Islamic finance. Financial inclusion is an interesting subject because it has primarily been seen only from the perspective that Islamic finance is able to promote inclusiveness by offering a Shari’ah-compliant offering to people whose exclusion is driven by their reluctance or unwillingness to engage with the conventional financial sector. An infographic from the World Bank in 2013 highlighted the size of the unbanked population estimating it at 2.5 billion people (34 per cent of the global population). That means that while Muslims make up 22 per cent of the world’s population, they account for 46 per cent of the world’s unbanked.

What Happens If We Redistribute Bill Gates Wealth to the Poor?

The Robin Hood Index chart shows the effect of confiscating all of the wealth of each country’s wealthiest individual and redistributing it to the poorest 15 percent of the nation’s population. Consider what happens if we took all of the wealth ($80 billion) of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates and redistributed it to the poor. According to an analysis by Bloomberg News, the poorest 15 percent of Americans would get a one-time payment of $1,736 each. By adding the next billionaires on the list, that payment increases to $20,000. While a one-time payment of $20,000 might be nice for a few weeks or months, it solves precisely none of the long-term problems facing the poorest Americans.

How to hack the mainstream discourse on ending poverty

In less than three weeks’ time, the world’s heads of state will gather at the United Nations in New York to officially adopt the post-2015 development agenda, known as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). According to the campaign group The Rules, there’s so much wrong with the SDG process that its 17 goals and 169 targets are not only misleading and inadequate, but even dangerous. They argue that while the SDGs represent a significant step forward by aspiring to completely eradicate extreme poverty by 2030, the new agenda fails to provide an answer for how to realise its objectives within the means of our shared planet.

IDB To Spend N20 Billion On Nigerian Education

The Islamic Development Bank is set to invest $98 million (N19.5bn) in the educational project which will be implemented in nine Nigerian states. Ahmad Ali, who led the bank executives to host the meeting with the Emir of Kano on Saturday, September 19, in Saudi Arabia, said that this project had been successful in Niger and Chad republics where the Madrasa and Quranic schools were worked upon in such a way that it facilitated the graduates of the schools to enrol in public schools. The establishment of this program will help Nigeria overcome some of its education challenges like illiteracy. He said the board of the bank has approved the investment and is awaiting the final approval from Nigerian authorities.

Interpreting the Financial Inclusion Numbers in Pakistan

Financial inclusion in Pakistan has improved slowly but steadily since 2008 according to most sources. This observation is based upon one topline indicator - percentage of the adult population that is financially included - which is calculated by three different institutions in Pakistan. Depending on what data set you look at, the topline financial inclusion figure for Pakistan in 2014-2015 can be 7% (Financial Inclusion Insights 2014), 13% (Global Findex 2014) or 23% (Access to Finance 2015). Different definitions cause the topline number to vary. The inclusion indexes however do not answer why some remain outside the formal financial sector.

University for refugees launches crowdfunding campaign

Kiron University, a social enterprise company headquartered in Berlin, will offer refugees a two-year online programme in partnership with providers of Moocs (massive open online courses), followed by one or two years at a partner institution. Students will be awarded a double degree, from both institutions. Several universities in Germany have signed up to the initiative. The organisation is in the process of seeking more partners in the UK, before rolling it out to other countries in Europe. It is targeting about 400,000 refugees in Europe, and so far 15,000 have signed up to start the programme in October.

Compliance with ethical norms key to Islamic finance branding

The Global Ethical Finance Forum (GEFF) far exceeded global expectations after the first day of the 2-day gathering engaged the responsible investments industry from across Europe, East Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Over 150 leaders from the Socially Responsible Investing (SRI), Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and faith-based investing sectors participated in historic discussions on various facets of ethical finance with the view of collectively forging the next chapter of the industry through collaboration and convergence. The final panel from the first day included a discussion among distinguished historians on the faith-based roots of ethical finance.

Primary education: IDB to construct 300 schools in AJK

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) will construct 300 schools across Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) to promote primary education in far-flung areas. IDB Programmed Head Shafat Hussain told a meeting of the AJK Planning and Development Department here on Sunday that besides constructing schools in remote areas, teachers of these institutes will also be provided special training. Hussain told the meeting that the project aimed to provide better education facilities to deserving children in far-flung and distant areas. AJK Director Education Syeda Geelani, Director Research Najeebur Rehman and other officials attended the meeting.

Progress and Opportunities for Financial Inclusion in Turkey

Turkey is one of the largest upper middle-income countries with a vast potential to expand financial inclusion. A closer look at the data reveals that the progress regarding account ownership among women has been paralleled by an equally steep (and frankly, perplexing) decrease of account ownership among men (from 82% to 69%). Similarly, while borrowing from a financial institution has more than quadrupled and is more than six times higher for women than it was in 2011 (albeit starting from an extremely low level of 2.4%). What can be said with some confidence, however, is that there is room for improvement, as the overall account ownership remained unchanged.

Muslim scholars prepare call for action to combat climate change

Islamic scholars and religious leaders are preparing a call for action on climate change that will say it's the religious duty of the world's 1.6 billion Muslims to fight global warming. The declaration will be made in Istanbul next Tuesday during a two-day meeting in the Turkish city coordinated by three religious-environmental groups, according to Climate Action Network, a network of non-governmental organisations. A growing list of religious leaders have made interventions on climate change to spell out the moral imperative to reduce man-made greenhouse-gas pollution and prevent the worst effects of climate change. Foremost was Pope Francis, the spiritual leader of 1.2 billion Catholics.

Saudi’s Islamic Development Bank announces Scholarships

The Islamic Development Bank has announced Scholarships in order to improve the socioeconomic
conditions of the Muslim Communities in Non-Member Countries (including India) around the world to promote professional education among the Muslim community. Students must have secured minimum marks in certain subjects and examinations. They may not be older than 24 years and not in receipt of any other scholarship. The scholarship will only be granted if the students or their parents are financially weak and unable to pay for his/her education. Students benefiting from this scholarship must undertake to serve their community and country on completion of their studies.

Women in Banking: GOP Women on Banking Panel; Boardroom Gains

Banks in the Gulf Cooperation Council are starting to realize that if they want to capture more female customers then they need to recruit more female bankers. Samina Akram is helping empower women in Islamic Finance, running a London-based consulting firm based on Shariah-compliant finance after years running Merrill Lynch's Islamic finance wealth management business. The wheels are turning a little faster for women in the boardroom, according to leadership consulting firm Heidrick & Struggles. Its recent Board Monitor report showed that of 339 new directors appointed to Fortune 500 boardrooms in 2014, 99 were women.

The Trillion-Dollar Question: Financing the Sustainable Development Goals

After years of consultation, discussion, and debate, the sustainable development goals (SDGs) that will guide development efforts for the foreseeable future are close to becoming a reality — meaning a global commitment to end poverty in all its forms everywhere and eliminating extreme poverty entirely by 2030. The Financing for Development (FfD) conference met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia earlier this month to try to reach an agreement on the right mix of development aid, taxes, loans, trade, and private investment to pay for the ambitious agenda set out in the SDGs. The trillion dollar question is perhaps if we can most effectively unleash the full potential of the global economy in an inclusive, transparent, and collaborative way.

CIBAFI and World Bank bring Islamic Finance stakeholders together to discuss Corporate Governance

The General Council for Islamic Banks and Financial Institutions (CIBAFI) and the World Bank are pleased to announce their joint international conference on "Corporate Governance for Islamic Financial Institutions: Lessons from Recent Global Developments", which is due to take place in Amman, Jordan on 15th and 16th September 2015. The one and half day conference aims to bring together various stakeholders from the private sector, multilateral development institutions, international and national regulatory bodies, policy-makers, and academia to discuss the issue of corporate governance in the Islamic financial services industry (IFSI).

Crowdfunding the Syrian Refugee Crisis

There is a crowdfunding effort called #ShatilAlive that's designed to raise funds for the Basmeh wa Zeitooneh community organization and arts and cultural center located in the heart of Beirut's Shatila refugee camp. Crammed into one square kilometer of urban space, some 40,000 refugees are now living on top of each other in Shatila camp, all but ignored by the Lebanese government. Basmeh wa Zeitooneh started as a volunteer-run collective, but over the past three years it has bourgeoned into a full-fledged organization, offering everything from art workshops and theater classes for students to day care and medical assistance for refugee families. The organization infuses Shatila camp with artistic energy.

Saudi Takaful Build Houses for Orphans

Struggling to elevate the standard of living among orphans, the Takaful Welfare Society for Orphan Care in Madinah has announced a new project to build residential units for orphans in the holy city. According to the Takaful program, 195 residential units will be built for families of orphans in Madinah and its villages over a period of three years and 300 houses will be repaired. With the cost of around SR40 million, it is estimated that one unit will cost around SR180,000 for construction and SR20,000 for repairs. Besides, the society announced the Madinah Al Munawwara Award for Social Responsibility under the auspices of Prince Faisal bin Salman to support best projects for orphans.

Abdullah Al Ghurair pledges one third of his assets to launch Education Foundation

Abdullah Ahmad Al Ghurair, whose eponymous business group has interests including banking, food, construction and real estate, has unveiled the Abdullah Al Ghurair Education Foundation, a philanthropic institution dedicated to the advancement of young men and women in the UAE and the Arab World. A legally registered entity, the Foundation owns one third of the assets of the Abdullah Ahmad Al Ghurair group of companies, including all revenues and profits. The Foundation will award grants based on a competitive process. It will promote academic subjects that address the needs of the local and global economy and the priorities of nation building. Grants for higher education will be made through a clear and transparent process and awarded based on merit to Emirati and Arab youth in need of financial assistance.

Nigeria: CBN Tasks Stakeholders On Sustainable Finance Practices

Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has advised stakeholders in the financial services sector to adopt sustainable practices to strike a balance between economic development and the protection of the ecosystem. Speaking at a workshop on sustainable finance, CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, represented by his special adviser on sustainable banking, Dr. A'isha Usman Mahmood, tasked the stakeholders to include environmental protection in addition to maximising profit and returns on investments. The apex bank hinged its advice on the positive nexus between environmental, social management and improved economic performance, which it said were being keyed into by financial institutions worldwide.

HSBC Amanah Turns Focus On Social Responsibility In Islamic Unit Trusts

HSBC Amanah Malaysia Bhd has launched its Islamic Socially Responsible Unit Trusts, the first of its kind in the Islamic banking landscape in Malaysia. The company said the unit trusts are tailored for customers who want to invest and at the same time make a difference in the communities they live and work in. A portion of profits earned from the Socially Responsible Unit Trust proposition will be channelled to the Teach For Malaysia foundation. A contribution of RM10 will be made for every customer placement below RM50,000 into selected funds of the unit trusts and will double to RM20 for placement above or equal to RM50,000. Chief Executive Officer Rafe Haneef said the unit trusts may provide a good return on investment for customers while extending the benefit to children who suffer from education inequity in Malaysia.

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