Cross-border collaborations and partnerships to drive next phase of growth for Middle East Islamic finance industry
- United Arab Emirates: Thursday, April 19 - 2012 at 11:06
- PRESS RELEASE
The 2nd Annual Middle East Islamic Finance and Investment Conference (MEIFIC 2012) which was held at the Dusit Thani, Dubai, saw more than 250 leaders in the international and regional Islamic banking and finance industry engage in critical discussions that focused on charting a new growth map for the Islamic finance industry in the Middle East.
Delivering his inaugural address, Hussain AlQemzi said, "The Eurozone crisis and the protests against the global financial system, which we have seen across the world, present our industry with a golden opportunity. It is now time to talk about how Islamic finance can contribute to long-term inclusive, equitable and sustainable economic growth not just here, in the Middle East, but in every country across the globe. Though it is true that greater awareness of the inbuilt strengths of Islamic finance has contributed towards increased international participation in Islamic financial markets, awareness alone is not sufficient to ensure sustainable growth for our industry. To remain competitive we have to continually innovate and adapt. If we are to challenge the conventional banks' entrenched position in international financial deals, we must develop the capacity to structure multi-currency and cross border transactions and build scale."
The inaugural keynote address was immediately followed by a keynote industry leaders' power debate. The session featuring Moinuddin Malim, Chief Executive Officer, Mashreq Al Islami; Oscar Silva, Chief Executive Officer, Global Banking Corporation B.S.C. (c) (GBCORP); and Geert Bossuyt, Chief Executive Officer, Dar Al Istithmar, analysed the key steps that the industry leaders must take in order to achieve a sustainable growth trajectory for Islamic banking in the Middle East and strengthen the regional and international connectivity in Islamic finance.
Commenting on his participation at the event, Moinuddin Malim, Chief Executive Officer, Mashreq Al Islami, said, "The global Islamic banking and finance industry has been on a steady and consistent growth path with the Middle East being its nerve centre. Though the industry has built a wealth of opportunities and options for investors over the last decade, a lot more still has to be done in order for the industry to successfully compete with their conventional counterparts. The Islamic finance industry in the Middle East is at a crucial evolutionary phase. Regardless of the current socio-political concerns facing some markets in the Middle East, there is large untapped liquidity available at the disposal of investors in the region and it is critical that the Islamic finance industry realizes this potential and utilizes the opportunity to ensure stronger growth for the industry in the region. The theme for this year's Middle East Islamic Finance and Investment Conference, "Room to Grow", points at this tremendous opportunity and we hope that the discussions at this important event will seek to build a new growth path for Islamic banking and finance in the Middle East."
Speaking to the media on the sidelines of MEIFIC 2012, David McLean, Chief Executive of the Middle East Islamic Finance and Investment Conference, said, "Though Islamic banking assets have grown significantly over the past few years, they still only represent less than 1% of the total global banking assets - with more than 50% concentration in the Middle East region and this represents a unique growth opportunity. Islamic finance represents one of the fastest growing segments in the global finance industry and the Middle East region has been at the forefront of the dramatic and exponential growth. Being a significant source of capital, Islamic financial institutions in the Middle East are significantly contributing towards the global development of Islamic finance with an increasing number of Middle East based Islamic financial institutions now taking a more global perspective. With the growing global demand for Islamic finance, the Middle East region is well positioned to be the global hub of Islamic finance linking key markets of Asia, Europe and Africa."
A similar view was expressed by Dr. Jarmo Kotilaine, Chief Economist of the National Commercial Bank who noted that "global Islamic banks assets have grown considerably from $145bn in 2002 to $1,033bn in 2010".
Assessing the key growth drivers of Islamic finance in the Middle East, Dr. Kotilaine said, "While Islamic banking assets have grown significantly in the past decade, their share of total global banking assets remains marginal. A near-absence of long-term financing tools and a growing importance of long-term capital projects launched in the region have significantly increased the attractiveness of Islamic finance."
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