Dubai: More than 250 Islamic finance industry leaders gathered in Dubai to hold discussions on charting a new growth path for the regional Islamic finance and investments industry at a major industry conference.
The Ernst & Young World Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report, which was launched last December at the 19th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC Global), noted that Islamic banking industry is growing 50 percent faster than overall banking sector in several core markets.
With the global Islamic banking assets with commercial banks now surpassing the $1.5 trillion mark and estimates projecting the industry to hit the $2 trillion mark by 2015, it is undoubtedly one of the fastest growing components of the global financial system.
According to recent estimates by E&Y’s Global Islamic Banking Centre, the Islamic banking assets with commercial banks in the GCC reached $445 billion at the end of 2012, up from $390 billion in 2011, with the outlook for the industry remaining relatively positive in 2013.
Globally, the industry continues to record robust growth with reports indicating Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and the UAE, as the top three markets for Islamic assets.
In 2012 the Islamic banking industry in the GCC registered a 14 percent year-on-year growth, which represents a slight deceleration in the average growth rate over the past 5 years of 19 percent.
The 3rd Annual Middle East Islamic Finance and Investment Conference (MEIFIC 2013) was held in Dubai on April 17.
The conference was co-located with the 8th annual World Takaful Conference (WTC 2013) held under the theme “Building the Islamic Economy: Strengthening Islamic Finance’s Links to the Real Economy.”
MEIFIC 2013 was opened by a special inaugural address by Ahmed Bin Sulayem, the Executive Chairman of Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), followed by a special keynote address by TayebAbdulrahman Al Rais, the Secretary General of the Awqaf& Minors Affairs Foundation in Dubai, who discussed the role of Awqaf in supporting the Islamic economy.
Ahmed Bin Sulayem said, “Islamic products have always been a major focus of the DMCC’s growth plan. We have built strong credentials as an Islamic trading center, especially within the commodity trade finance sector.”
“Our core product, DMCC Tradeflow, which operates as a web-based ownership registry, now offers Shariah-compliant commodity Murabaha as well,” he added.
A key highlight of the conference was the high profile keynote power debate that focused discussions on boosting growth and the value of Islamic finance by further strengthening linkages to the real economy and mainstreaming products.
EVP, the Head of Islamic Banking at ADCB Islamic Banking, AmrAl Menhali, said that the Islamic finance industry is currently witnessing rapid transformation and continues to undergo significant change as the market moves from its niche status and gains a stronger foothold as an integral part of the financial system.
“With the rapid internationalization of Islamic finance and new jurisdictions – even non-Islamic, now embracing Islamic finance, the industry is experiencing even stronger growth momentum, especially given the increasing awareness of Islamic finance and its benefits of being more closely linked to real economic activities,” he concluded.