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New Growth Opportunities for Islamic Finance in Africa to be Explored at the 2nd Annual Islamic Banking Summit Africa (IBSA 2013)

islamic-banking-summit-africaNew Growth Opportunities for Islamic Finance in Africa to be Explored at the 2nd Annual Islamic Banking Summit Africa (IBSA 2013)

More than 25 high-profile international speakers including H. E. Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti, to share critical insights on overcoming the challenges and capturing the growth potential for Islamic finance in Africa

Djibouti, 22nd October 2013: More than 250 leading players, key regulators and thought leaders in the international Islamic banking and finance industry will be gathering on the 6th & 7th of November 2013 at the Djibouti Palace Kempinski, Djibouti, for the 2nd Annual Islamic Banking Summit Africa (IBSA 2013). Held under the theme “Islamic Finance and Takaful: Capturing the Africa Opportunity”, IBSA 2013, which is held under the official patronage of H. E. Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti and Head of Government, and supported by the Central Bank of Djibouti, will provide a high-profile platform to specifically focus on the opportunities and challenges that are forging the Islamic banking, finance, Takaful/ReTakaful, and investment landscape in Africa. IBSA will also provide a powerful platform for industry players seeking to further build their presence in the dynamically evolving African markets for Islamic finance and to explore emerging opportunities which will further increase the momentum of growth.

Speaking ahead of the event, David McLean, Chief Executive of the Islamic Banking Summit Africa (IBSA) noted that “Africa has now been re-positioned as the third fastest growing region in the world, after the Middle East and Asia and is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for investments that are Shari’ah compliant”.

Mr. McLean also said that “over the last decade, trade between African countries and the rest of the world has grown significantly, with economic linkages, in particular with the Middle East, strengthening further.” Mr. McLean went on to say that “increasing strong trade ties with the key nerve centres of Islamic finance such as the Middle East and Asia, a growing Muslim population, the need to finance large-scale infrastructure and manufacturing projects, as well as a large unbanked population and the funding needs of a burgeoning SME market, all provide tremendous growth opportunities for Islamic finance in Africa.”

The two day event will be officially inaugurated on the 6th of November 2013 with a special keynote address by H.E. Ahmed Osman, Governor of the Central Bank of Djibouti. The inaugural session, also featuring H. E. Dr. Mohamed Khair Ahmed El Zubair, Governor of the Central Bank of Sudan, will review the Islamic finance landscape in Africa and will discuss key government and regulatory initiatives to support the further development of Islamic finance in Africa.

Confirming his participation at the event, H.E. Ahmed Osman, Governor of the Central Bank of Djibouti noted that “there has been growing interest in Islamic financial services across the African continent, which has been further boosted by the support from various African regulatory and supervisory authorities and financial institutions to implement Islamic finance. Recent reports indicate that key African economies have posted exciting growth rates in recent years, second only to Asia, drawing increasing inward investment and creating a strong platform for further opportunities for economic growth and resilience. Africa is now in the spotlight as a new investment destination.”

“The challenge, and opportunity, in Africa is to diversify funding sources and the investor base, as markets look for new investment opportunities to maximise returns on capital; and Islamic finance has a potentially major role to play in this context”, H.E. Ahmed Osman said. “Islamic finance undoubtedly offers a major opportunity for diversifying the investor base, and raising investor interest in Africa – given Africa’s strong trade links with the Arabian Gulf and increasing ties with Asia. Backed by continued strong growth projections in key markets in Africa, Islamic finance, with its link to supporting real economic activities has enormous growth potential on the continent”, he added.

H.E. Ahmed Osman also said that “with a number of key initiatives, the Central Bank of Djibouti has already established Islamic finance as a key component of the economic system in Djibouti, and we are working towards further strengthening Islamic finance’s role in our financial system. We are once again delighted to host the Islamic Banking Summit Africa (IBSA) here in Djibouti. Since its inception last year, the event has already become an important platform for supporting the growth and development of Islamic finance in Africa.”

“We look forward to the high profile discussions at this year’s IBSA 2013 focusing on capturing the potential for Islamic finance in Africa”, he said.

H. E. Ismail Omar Guelleh, President of the Republic of Djibouti and Head of Government will be delivering a special presidential address at the 2nd Annual Islamic Banking Summit Africa (IBSA 2013) on the 6th of November 2013.

A key highlight of IBSA 2013 will be the high-powered industry leaders’ keynote debate. The session will feature Amman Muhammad, Chief Executive Officer of First National Bank (FNB) Islamic Banking, South Africa; Hirsi Dirir, Chief Executive Officer of Dahabshil Bank International; and Ehsaan Ahmed, Head of Global Transaction Services and SME, Noor Islamic Bank, Dubai. This interactive session will led by Adnan Halawi, Product Manager, Zawya Islamic Finance and will discuss key strategies to strengthen Islamic finance’s links to the real economy in Africa and connect Africa to the broader world of Islamic finance.

IBSA 2013 will also feature a special keynote address by H.E. Khaled Mohammed Al-Aboodi, Chief Executive Officer of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector, the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB), Saudi Arabia, who will discuss key initiatives for capacity building to position Islamic finance as a catalyst for a new wave of economic development in Africa. H.E. Tayeb Abdulrahman Al Rais, Secretary General of Awqaf & Minors Affairs Foundation, Dubai, will also be delivering a special address at IBSA 2013 on innovative new approaches to better align the role of AWQAF with Islamic finance.

Commenting on their participation at the event, Hussain AlQemzi, Chief Executive Officer of Noor Islamic Bank and Group Chief Executive Officer of Noor Investment Group said that “Islamic finance has now become a major player on the world stage and is spreading rapidly across the globe, and Africa is set to be the next growth frontier for the industry. Though global Islamic banking assets have been on a steady rise hitting USD 1.3 trillion at the end of 2012, the industry in Africa is still in its infancy stage. Recent reports indicate that by the end of this decade, Islamic banking and finance could account for up to 10% of the total banking assets in the sub-Saharan countries. The significant liquidity pool available in Islamic finance is undoubtedly a major funding source for crucial infrastructure development projects across the continent. Moreover Africa also has a significant domestic demand for Islamic finance given the continent’s huge Muslim population. As a key player in the global Islamic banking and finance industry, we are delighted to be a part of this important event which focuses on tapping the enormous growth potential for the Islamic finance industry in Africa.”

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