Latest from GIFC

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Islamic finance & management events in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia



Date: 17-18 March 2015
Event: KL Conference on Islamic Finance
Event site: www.islamic-finance-conference.net
Register

Date: 21-22 April 2015
Event: KL Conference on Islamic Wealth Management
Event site: www.islamic-wealth-management.net
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Date: 9-10 June 2015
Event: KL Conference on Shariah & Legal Aspects of Islamic Finance 2015
Event site: www.shariah-legal-islamic-finance.blogspot.com
Register
To register or reserve a seat online, please go to:

Organizer: Alfalah Consulting
www.alfalahconsulting.com

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Kremlin moves to attract Islamic funds

Russia may amend its financial regulations to allow Islamic banking in abid to attract funds from Muslim countries, as its economy struggles with a recession and Western sanctions.


The move comes as economists, including those at the International Monetary Fund, say U.S. and European sanctions are having a significant negative impact on the Russian economy by blocking important Russian companies from accessing global financial markets.
Officials have created a task force charged with implementing Islamic banking in the country, including amending the country’s banking laws, said Dmitry Savelyev, deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee on Financial Markets and the leader of the task group, the TASS news agency reported.
Islamic law, known as Sharia, places restrictions on certain types of financial transactions, such as interest payments. Over the years, a sophisticated field of banking practices compliant with Sharia has arisen to facilitate financial activity among pious Muslims, including the issuance of Islamic bonds, known as “sukuk.”
The market for Islamic finance is expanding rapidly and should reach a total size of $2.6 trillion by 2017, according to a report by global consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. Another estimate by the IMF said totalglobal Islamic assets would reach $3.4 trillion by the end of 2015.
Russia has a significant Muslim minority, estimated at about 15% of the population, which could make the practice attractive here.
Konstantin Baymukhashev, an attorney at UFS IC, said the changes in Russian legislation should help attract investment into the Russian economy from Arab countries.

Attracting Islamic assets

Rustam Minnikhanov, the president of Tatarstan, one of Russia’s predominantly Muslim regions, has been one of the most vocal proponents for bringing Islamic finance to Russia.
“The Muslim countries have not taken part in the attempts to isolate ourcountry on the international stage, and the latest developments in the world economy have shown that Islamic banks can withstand variousglobal crises and complement the global financial system,” Mr. Minnikhanov said in a speech in June at the KazanSummit Economic Forum.
Islamic finance will help Russian companies compensate for the lack of funding caused by the recent deterioration of relations between Russia and the West, he argued.
In July, Mr. Minnikhanov concluded a cooperation agreement with the president of Russia’s largest lender, state-owned retail banking giant Sberbank, involving the development of Islamic banking in Tatarstan.
Ahmed Mohammed Ali Al-Madani of the Islamic Development Bank, a multilateral Islamic lending organization based in Saudi Arabia, told RIR that Sharia-compliant bonds have also been issued by entities based in non-Muslim countries, including the United Kingdom, and that the worldwide amount of such assets has reached $120 billion.
“The republic of Tatarstan could be promoted as an Islamic finance hub within Russia,” Mr. Al-Madani said. Tatarstan’s largest bank, AK Bark, has already attracted some funds based on Islamic investment. Furthermore, in January 2015, local insurance operator Alliance began selling a specialized insurance product called“Halal Invest” that is compliant with Islamic norms.
“This kind of business is gaining momentum around the world, and by developing it in this country, we will diversify sources of funding and increase confidence in the banking system,” said Semyon Nemtsov, an analyst at Russ-Invest investment company.
However, analysts said Russia is unlikely to see a sudden surge of investment from Islamic countries.
“Islamic banking is first and foremost a religious and ideological concept. Its actual financial significance is secondary. This is why there are in fact a great deal of obstacles that hamper its implementation within Russia’s legal and financial system,” said Konstantin Korishchenko, deputy director of the Department of Capital Markets and Financial Engineering at the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
According to Mr. Korishchenko, there are numerous factors that will significantly complicate the alignment of Islamic finance and standardized Western banking, including the facts that Islamic regulations require that assets be sorted according to their source and deny explicit interest payments or futures transactions.
Moreover, Russia is likely to have more difficulties introducing Islamic finance than do common law countries like the UK. The introduction of Islamic banking will require deep, fundamental changes to Russian law.
According to Mr. Baymukhashev, Islamic and Russian banking systems are radically different from each other. “Islamic banks do not provide their clients with loans in the classical sense, but rather sell actual products or act as partners (co-investors) in some kind of a project, thus bearing all the associated risks with the client,” Mr. Baymukhashev explains, adding that Islamic banking also precludes the financing of companies that produce or sell alcoholic drinks.
“The difference between those two financial systems is significant. Amending the law is only a part of the ground we will have to cover while implementing Islamic banking in Russia,” says Mr. Baymukhashev.
(Russia And India Report / 23 August 2015)
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Alfalah Consulting - Kuala Lumpur: www.alfalahconsulting.com
Consultant-Speaker-Motivator: www.ahmad-sanusi-husain.com
Islamic Investment Malaysia: www.islamic-invest-malaysia.com

The huge potential in Islamic Finance

SANDTON – Responsible investing is becoming a major theme across the global industry. And one of the most significant areas within this sphere is faith-basedinvesting.

Speaking at the Money Expo 2015 at the Sandton Convention Centre, investment analyst at 27Four Investment Managers Nadir Thokan said that the Islamic Finance industry is still in the early stages of growth, but the potential is significant.
“The conventional financial services industry is more than 400 years old,” Thokan said. “But Islamic finance only dates back 40 years.”
While there has been substantial innovation over that time, the market remains relatively small.
“Currently the global market for Islamic finance is $1.5 trillion and its growing at 30% per annum,” Thokan said. “But penetration levels are still very low. Twenty-six percent of the world’s population is Muslim, but just 1% of banking assets globally are Shari’ah compliant. Given the huge pools of wealth in the Muslim world, this is poised for massive increases over the next few years.”
Thokan believes that the biggest potential for growth is in asset management, which still makes up a very small part of the Islamic finance industry as a whole.
“Of the $1.5 trillion in Shari’ah compliant assets, only $64 billion sits in fund management,” he said. “Only $25 billion of that is in equity mandates. But this is a multi-trillion dollar industry in the conventional asset management space.”
He argued that as penetration of products increases and as more people take a greater interest in Shari’ah compliant finance, this will also be a platform for very attractive returns moving forward. As flows into these products increase, returns will move upward.
In particular, he highlighted the global Sukuk market as one in which 27Four sees huge potential.
In simple terms, Sukuk can be described as a Shari’ah compliant bond product. With a bond, an issuer will receive capital from a pool of investors and in return will pay them an interest coupon over a set period and return their capital to them at the end of it.
Sukuk works in a similar way, but it is structured differently in that it gives ownership in a particular product. It therefore does not pay interest, but rather a share of the issuer’s earnings.
“With a conventional bond you take very little risk because unless the company goes bankrupt you are guaranteed the interest and your money back at the end of the term,” Thokan explained. “With Sukuk, however, you participate in profit and loss of that company. Typically what we’ve seen happening though is that it finances fairly low risk projects where cash flows are reasonably certain.”
Thokan said that there is huge potential in this market as it is tapping into a huge source of potential funding that is looking for good rates of return.
“In the Sukuk market there has always been more demand than supply,” he said. “So people have been willing to pay up. And as the industry grows and more people realise the benefits of issuing Sukuk we are likely to see the depth and liquidity of the market increasing.”
A significant benefit of Sukuk is that it shows very low correlation to other asset classes, including global bonds. It is therefore a great tool for diversification, making it appealing not only to investors looking for Shari’ah compliant products, but any investor looking for alternative sources of return.
The market is already showing signs of expanding out of its traditional base, with increasing numbers of issuers coming from outside of Asia and oil-producing nations. Recently Sukuk has been issued by the likes of investment bank Goldman Sachs, multinational conglomerate General Electric, and the German state of Saxony-Anhalt.
“We are going to continue to see rapid rates of growth because it is an attractive avenue for issuers to look at in terms of diversifying their funding base,” Thokan said. “And as the market gets bigger it will attract larger pools of money, bigger issuers and more attractive returns.
(Money Web / 25 August 2015)
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Alfalah Consulting - Kuala Lumpur: www.alfalahconsulting.com
Consultant-Speaker-Motivator: www.ahmad-sanusi-husain.com
Islamic Investment Malaysia: www.islamic-invest-malaysia.com

Friday, 21 August 2015

‘Zakat’ brings hope for poor kids who want to study

RAIPUR: Chhattisgarh Zakat Foundation (CZF), is focusing on educational support for families in need and has created corpus fund from the obligatory charity money 'zakat' to extend assistance for the academic needs of children. 


'Zakat' is paid at the rate of 2.5% on assets, on which one year has lapsed. Take the case of Afsha Bano, who lost her father when she was a child. She was all smiles after her hope to accomplish her studies was rekindled by the foundation. Bano is now a student of Pandit Ravi Shankar university

Another recipient Abdul Haque, who is a labourer and resident of Chirmiri, felt reassured by zakat assistance which will help in shaping the destiny of his two sons. "It was tough for me to support my son who is doing engineering and another who is aspiring to become a doctor," he said. 

As many as 149 students received the zakat amount through cheques for their school fee and books at a simple function organised at G N Pandey government school auditorium in Raipur on Tuesday. Syed Akil and Mohammed Tahir of the CZF said that the selection and short-listing process of students was judiciously undertaken to ensure only deserving students remain beneficiaries. About Rs 7 lakh zakat fund was given away as scholarship to 149 students, most of them girls. 

(The Times Of India / 20 August 2015)
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Alfalah Consulting - Kuala Lumpur: www.alfalahconsulting.com
Consultant-Speaker-Motivator: www.ahmad-sanusi-husain.com
Islamic Investment Malaysia: www.islamic-invest-malaysia.com

Saudi Arabia’s Almarai to issue 2 bln riyal sukuk

Saudi Arabian dairy producer Almarai will issue a senior sukuk of up to 2 billion riyals ($533 million) to help finance investment plans, it said on Tuesday in a statement published on the bourse website.


The sukuk will be offered to local investors and is subject to market conditions, it said in its statement, adding it had mandated HSBC Saudi Arabia and Samba Capital and Investment Management Co to act as joint lead managers.
(Al-Arabiya News / 18 August 2015)
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Alfalah Consulting - Kuala Lumpur: www.alfalahconsulting.com
Consultant-Speaker-Motivator: www.ahmad-sanusi-husain.com
Islamic Investment Malaysia: www.islamic-invest-malaysia.com

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Malaysia: Time dotCom to raise RM1b Sukuk to expand fibre footprint

KUALA LUMPUR: Time dotCom Bhd plans to raise RM1bil under its proposed Sukuk programme 2015-2035 which would be used to expand its fibre footprint and for other operations.


RAM Ratings said on Tuesday it had assigned a preliminary rating of AA3/Stable to the Islamic medium-term notes (MTN) programme.

“The rating reflects Time dotCom’s sound business position in the fixed-line space and the earnings diversity from its international bandwidth business as well asdata centre. 

“Nonetheless, the rating is constrained by Time dotCom’s small market share compared to its larger rival’s which commands the lion’s share of the wholesale and enterprise fixed-line market,” it said. 

RAM Ratings said the proceeds would be used to expand its fibre footprint, further develop its data operations, refinancing of credit facilities and working capital requirements. 

“As such, the group’s balance sheet and debt-servicing indicators are envisaged to moderate in line with its increasing debt load over the next few years – its funds from operations debt coverage ratio and gearing ratio are expected to come in at an average of 0.3 times over the next three years,” it said.

RAM Ratings said Time dotCom is a data-centric, fixed-line telecommunications provider based in Malaysia. The group delivers fibre optic-based telecommunication solutions to wholesale, enterprise and retail customers within Peninsular Malaysia

Since 2012, the group has also been involved in the international bandwidth business (via GT Group) and data-centre operations (via the AIMS Group of Companies).  

The fixed-line division will remain the linchpin of the Group’s earnings, supported by the strong performance of the enterprise and wholesale segments. 

RAM Ratings’ co-head of infrastructure and utilities ratings Davinder Kaur Gill said: “Sturdy demand for bandwidth capacity and higher Internet usage remain a boon to the fixed-line segment.” 

She noted that Time dotCom was increasing its network presence by expanding the retail (mainly mutli-dwelling units) and enterprise segments. 

On this note, Time dotCom’s revenue and OPBDIT show CAGRs of a respective 19.3% and 28.5% for the past three years, recording highs of RM596.28mil and RM219.18mil in fiscal 2014.

Time dotCom’s international bandwidth business has been registering strong revenue and earnings growth over the past 3 years, underpinned by improved capacity utilisation for the trans-Pacific Unity North Cable System (UNITY), which reached approximately 90% in 2014. 

Prospects for its international bandwidth business remain bright pending the completion of the construction of three new international submarine cables – FASTER, Asia-Africa-Europe (AAE-1) and Asia Pacific Gateway (APG). 

Time dotCom recently inked a MoU to explore constructing a submarine cable from Peninsular to East Malaysia in collaboration with Telekom Malaysia, although details are scant at this juncture. 

Time dotCom’s data-centre business, meanwhile, has also been enjoying strong top-line growth, although margins have been trending downwards amid the more competitive operating environment.

(The Star Online / 18 August 2015)
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Alfalah Consulting - Kuala Lumpur: www.alfalahconsulting.com
Consultant-Speaker-Motivator: www.ahmad-sanusi-husain.com
Islamic Investment Malaysia: www.islamic-invest-malaysia.com

Monday, 17 August 2015

Judge Islamic Structures on their Merit

Speaking to CCTV News Africa, Jeremy Awori, MD Barclays Kenya stated the bank would be expanding its range of Sharia compliant products based on feedback received from customers. He hinted such products would be aimed at business banking customers and would build upon the banks current asset financing strategy within the industrial sector.


PERCEPTION ISSUES

Mr Awori further commented, as Islamic finance structures continue to mature; Sharia compliant products will be seen in the context of the merits of their structure as opposed to being seen from a faith based perspective. He added risk management is easier when dealing with Sharia compliant structures due to core assets being used within the financing framework.
These comments echo those made by Deputy Turkish Prime Minister Ali Babacan who speaking at an IMF discussion emphasised the universality of Islamic finance for all of man-kind irrespective of faith. He added Turkey has been pushing for asset and equity based finance and was happy to see such structures adopted by the United Kingdom, and Luxembourg in the issuances of their respective sovereign sukuk.

BARCLAYS AND ISLAMIC FINANCE

Within the retail-banking environment, Barclays Kenya offers the La Riba Bank account which it started in 2006 to provide Islamic Finance and Banking services for Kenya’s 8 million Muslims who represent 25% of the population. Barclays Kenya is part of the British Barclays Bank group which through its investment-banking arm Barclays Capital has helped arranged a number of high profile sukuk in the UAE and Malaysia.
(Islamic Finance.Com / 16 August 2015)
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Alfalah Consulting - Kuala Lumpur: www.alfalahconsulting.com
Consultant-Speaker-Motivator: www.ahmad-sanusi-husain.com
Islamic Investment Malaysia: www.islamic-invest-malaysia.com

Funding of SMEs and Islamic Banking Option

With the age-old funding challenges that Small, Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs) have to contend with and the steady ascendancy of non-interest banking, analysts x-ray the possibility of Islamicbanking bridging the funding gap in the SME sector, writes Olaseni Durojaiye


Against the backdrop of the importance of Small and Medium scale Enterprises (SMEs) to the growth of per capital income and the economy of any country as a whole, the funding challenges faced by the sector, especially with the seemingly prohibitive lending rate from conventional banks, the issue of alternative and friendly funding have again returned to the front burner of discourse amongst economists and analysts alike.

According to Director General, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Alhaji Muda Yusuf, “The SMEs sector contributes over 70 per cent of the jobs in the economy and yet enjoys less than 10 per cent of total credit in the financial system.  This is critical issue that needs to be addressed if the economy must be inclusive,” he told THISDAY.
THISDAY findings indicated that funding is a major problem for many small businesses.  Most small business owners finance their businesses through personal savings, support from family and friends and suppliers credit. This challenge, findings revealed, is one of the major impediments to job creation in country.

It will be recalled that the International Organisations of Securities Commissions (IOSCO) had among others stated that “Capital Markets therefore have a role in bridging this financing gap for SMEs by providing alternative funding sources,”
Reacting to enquiries on capital markets as a source of access to fund by SMEs, Chief Executive Officer of Global Analytics Derivatives, Tope Fasua, had contended that the Nigeria Capital Market was not accustomed to providing financing for SMEs at the present and argued that this may be due to issues bordering on sharp practices on the part of some of the listed corporation and companies in the bourse.

According to Fasua “At present, our Capital Market is not very much attuned to helping SMEs raise money, chiefly because we have issues with the big companies already listed and if we should concentrate on SMEs raising money at the stock exchange, things could get pretty messy. There are strict rules, and global best practices that must be adhered to for a company to raise money in the capital market. What we have seen is a situation where even the large companies cut corners, present fake accounts, and perpetrate a lot of schemes and scams that have reduced confidence in capital markets”.

This, among other factors, has caused industry watchers to look the way of Non-Interest bankingmore popular as Islamic banking as a possible route for accessing funds by SMEs. Proponents of this line of thought argued that besides that Islamic banking is open to Muslims and non-Muslims alike, it presents a win-win situation for the borrower as it helps to shoulder the risks involved in the eventuality of loss. They also added that some SMEs may not be able to access funding from Islamic banking by virtue of the kinds of business they do.
Background
Islamic banking has the same purpose as conventional banking except that it operates in accordance with the rules of Sharia, known as Fiqh al-Muamalat (Islamic rules on transactions). The basic principle of Islamic banking is the sharing of profit and loss and the prohibition of riba´ (interest). Amongst the common Islamic concepts used in Islamic banking are profit sharing (Mudharabah), safekeeping (Wadiah), joint venture (Musharakah), cost plus (Murabahah), and leasing (Ijarah).

However, Islamic banking in Nigeria received the nod from the central bank in 2011 after several years of attempts by different groups and organizations. A framework, released in the same year by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), spelt out guidelines for the establishment, operations, Shari’ah governance and supervision of Islamic banks which can be standalone full-fledged institutions, subsidiaries or windows.

Both Jaiz Bank Plc and Stanbic IBTC were granted licenses to operate based as a full-fledged Islamic bank and window respectively in the same year and both began operations in 2012. Sterling Bank Plc joined the market in April 2013 as a window.

THISDAY findings revealed that Jaiz bank, which was licensed to operate as a regional bank, is already eyeing a national license to enable it to penetrate the southern part of the country. The bank’s balance sheet grew to about 36 billion naira as at the end of 2012 and its branch network increased from an initial three in 2011 to 14 as at May 2013 and 30 by June 2015. The other two operators that operate as Islamic windows offer Islamic banking products and services in all their branches nationwide. This has helped expand the reach to prospective clients even in the southern part of the country where the majority of the population are not Muslims.

Islamic banking operators collectively provide several Shari’ah-compliant products and services to cater for the diverse needs of their clients. These include products based on murabaha, mudaraba; musharaka, ijara WA iqtina and kafala, the products provided include current, term deposit and savings accounts on the liability sides using qard, wadiah and mudaraba contracts. Financing of automobiles, household equipment, housing, and import financing have been the major focus of the Islamic banks, using murabaha, ijara wa iqtina and istisna contracts.

As part of efforts to extend its tentacles to the South-West of the country, the South-West Zonal Committee for the operations of Jaiz Bank recently held a stakeholders forum in Ibadan, Oyo State where it drummed up awareness for the concept of Islamic banking.
Speaking at the forum, an economist with specialization in banking operations, Professor Abdul-Hakeem Mobolaji, condemned what he described as exploitative interest rates charged by Nigerian banks and urged the apex bank to relax its regulations for Islamic banking to grow adding that “Islamic bank grows at an annual rate of 17.6 percent . The bank is not only for Muslims. In Britain, 73 percent of those who patronize the bank are non-Muslims,“ he stated.
Analysts’ reactions
Reacting to THISDAY enquiries, Head, Intelligence and Research, BGL Securities, Femi Ademola, explained tha,t “If we use the performance of the Jaiz Bank over the years, it shows that the specialised bank has grown quite impressively in the last three years, increasing total assets from N14.11 billion in 2012 to N44.5 billion in 2014. Muharaba receivables which represents loans and advances in traditional banks also grew from N1.1 billion to N10.28 billion over the period; leading to increase in profitability from a loss of N728m in 2012 to a profit of N691m. This can be taken as a sign of good performance of non-interest banking over the period.

“With the increase in the amount of financing by the Jaiz Bank, it can be inferred that SMEs would benefit from funding from Islamic Banking. The fact that most of the financing granted by Jaiz Bank is to corporate customers also shows that the bank is ready to finance any organised SME,” he stated.

However, in a telephone interview with THISDAY, an economist and Chief Executive of EZ Comms Resources, Ezeh Wordu, contended that before SMEs approach Islamic bank for funding it is important that the bank and the firm understand how the operations of the SMEs runs. He added that being an interest free banking makes it all the more suitable for SMEs to approach for funding compared to conventional banking considering the current exchange rate.

“Even though I am not a Muslim I wouldn’t hesitate to approach Islamic Banking for funding to execute a project; the fact that it is interest free makes it more convenient for any SMEs; however, it is important that the bank understands the kind of business that the SME is into to forestall issues cropping up in future,” Wordu stated.

Meanwhile, an economist and banker with a third generation bank with head office in Victoria Island Lagos who spoke to THISDAY under the condition that he is not named stated that Islamic Banking or non-interest banking was a good source of funding for SMEs, however noted that not all SMEs can access funding from the bank due to its strict compliance with Islamic law adding that the business line of the SMEs must however be Islamic compliant

” Islamic banking is restricted to islamically acceptable deals, which exclude those involving alcohol, pork, gambling. Unfortunately, this is a limitation on the kinds of SMEs that can approach the bank for funding. That said, it still remain a veritable source of funding for serious and well organized SMEs,” he stated.

But speaking further, Yusuf stressed that, “Interestingly, the most difficult funding challenge of small business is the problem of credit access rather than cost of credit.  Many SMEs cannot meet the credit risk assessment criteria of the banks, especially with regard to collateral.  This is why they fall back on finance companies and the informal financial markets where they pay atrocious interest rates, sometimes as high as 80 percent per annum.

“The Islamic banking model has not gained much currency in the Nigerian economy because of its peculiar framework and possibly because of perception.  The concept of Islamic banking forbids interest charges and payments.  This implies that debt financing is ruled out.  What is allowed is profit sharing. Not many SMEs are comfortable with this model of financing. Most small business owners and indeed many indigenous businesses would rather own 100 percent of nothing, than say 50 percent of something.   This is a major issue. The failure of the Small and Medium Enterprises Equity Investment Scheme [SMEIS] for SMEs was largely as result of this disposition of small business owners.

“The second key principle in Islamic finance is that there should be no reward without taking risk.  Capital can only be rewarded if it is exposed to risk.  This comes to the primacy of partnership.  This again could be a limitation to the growth of Islamic finance.  In partnership, trust is very critical; and in this environment, trust deficit is very high.  Therefore, a financing concept that would be driven principally by character and integrity of players may be difficult to sustain.  The risk management challenges in Islamic finance are enormous. This is why debt financing seems to be holding sway in the Nigerian economy.”
(This Day Live / 16 August 2015)
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Alfalah Consulting - Kuala Lumpur: www.alfalahconsulting.com
Consultant-Speaker-Motivator: www.ahmad-sanusi-husain.com
Islamic Investment Malaysia: www.islamic-invest-malaysia.com

Sunday, 16 August 2015

New markets for Islamic finance emerging

JEDDAH — New markets for Islamic finance are emerging, with African countries launching debut sovereign sukuk and East Asian countries enabling their domestic markets to tap into Islamic financing, a glimpse of the 2015-2016 edition of the ‘State of the Global Islamic Economy’ said ahead of the Global Islamic Economy Summit that will run in Dubai on Oct. 5-6, 2015 said.


The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have formally launched a $500 million grant facility to address poverty and diseases in IDB member countries. Meanwhile, European banks in Russia and Germany, for example, are also investing in Islamic finance through debut sovereign sukuk and Islamic banking windows.

Besides, as the demand for safe, wholesome and humane food grows around the world, producers of halal food who truly adhere to the concepts of ‘halal’ and ‘tayyib’ foods have an opportunity to become the global standard for this segment. 

The report cited Saffron Road as a leading premium US brand in the halal and all-natural market. The company is ranked as the fastest growth brand of natural entrées in the US, among all frozen entrées, not just halal. The brand will achieve over $40 million in retail sales this year, and is expected to grow over 50% next year.

Moreover, there have been many success stories in the ever-burgeoning halal travel sector. HalalBooking.com, a travel search and booking website for halal-conscious travelers, has achieved tremendous success. The website’s booking for Turkey-based hotel clients has exceeded millions per resort, and hopes to reach 10 million per hotel for many of its properties by end 2015 and through 2016. This is in addition to other success stories such as Yamsafer, a hotel booking start-up from Palestine that raised $3.5 million from Global Founders Capital.

Furthermore, the report noted a new frontier in the Islamic economy, that is the digital component. This segment has woven itself into the lives of many Muslims worldwide as an integral part of their lifestyle. From Qur’an and halal travel mobile apps to online Islamic education services and tools for locating the nearest halal restaurants, the Islamic Digital Economy has emerged as a high growth segment. Success stories include Zabihah.com, a leading location-based guide to halal restaurants and markets with a digital reach of 10 million unique users, MuslimPro, a prayer, and the ‘qibla’ tracking mobile app with over 10 million Android downloads in 16 different languages.

In addition,  pharmaceuticals & cosmetics sector offers several success stories and opportunities for growth. The halal cosmetics sector in particular is growing quickly in the Asia Pacific through smaller brands, forcing large companies such as Unilever to start looking at halal cosmetics to ensure they maintain their strong presence in this region. South East Asia is leading the development of halal vaccinations for meningitis, hepatitis and meningococcal for Hajj pilgrims. 

To boot, in stark contrast to the pressures the mainstream fashion industry faces in the aftermath of the global recession, the modest fashion space continues to expand. Muslim fashion e-commerce platforms such as Hijup and Modanisa are receiving further investments to grow their user base, while mainstream fashion players such as Uniqlo, Mango and Tommy Hilfiger are following the lead of haute couture houses such as DKNY in tapping into the modest fashion market, the report said.

The report is released ahead of the Global Islamic Economy Summit 2015, organized by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) and Thomson Reuters.

Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO of DIEDC, said “the launch of this year’s State of the Global Islamic Economy report reiterates the commitment of Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, along with Thomson Reuters and DinarStandard to nurture a knowledge-based Islamic economy within the emirate and wider UAE as part of our continued priority to develop Dubai as the Capital of Islamic Economy. We are confident the report will inspire and empower entrepreneurs, industry leaders and investors from within the Arab world and beyond to evaluate and develop an actionable, practical and high impact market strategy focused on growing the opportunities for Islamic economy in their own geographies.

(Saudi Gazette / 16 August 2015)
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Alfalah Consulting - Kuala Lumpur: www.alfalahconsulting.com
Consultant-Speaker-Motivator: www.ahmad-sanusi-husain.com
Islamic Investment Malaysia: www.islamic-invest-malaysia.com
Upcoming Events on Islamic Finance, Wealth Management, Business, Management, Motivational Alfalah Consulting, KL-Malaysia: www.alfalahconsulting.com