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Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Minister calls for centres to boost Islamic banking services

Doha • The Minister of Finance and Minister of Economy and Commerce H E Yousuf Hussein Kamal has called for setting centres for studies and development to boost Islamic banking services.

Addressing the 2nd Annual World Islamic Infrastructure Finance Conference which opened here yesterday, Yousuf Hussein said that with assets estimated at $500bn, Islamic banking has been witnessing between 15 per cent and 20 per cent annual growth in a short span of time and its presence is also fast increasing throughout the Islamic world.

However, there is a need to exert more efforts to overcome certain shortcomings facing Islamic banking, like its ability to make available short-term financial tools, a goal that can be achieved through such development centres, he said.

The two-day conference, which is focusing on innovations in Islamic project finance and the next wave of mega deals, brought together over 200 senior executives representing international banking, finance, investment and key infrastructure sectors.

Yousuf Hussein said that in Qatar a large portion of its expenditure has been channelled to infrastructure development projects with QR22.9bn allocated in the 2007-2008 budget or 35 per cent of the total expenditure, while QR70bn allocated for development projects in the last five years.

The first session of the conference focused on ‘the next wave of opportunities and sources of finance for large-scale infrastructure projects’. The opening presentation was made by Dr Ali Mohieddin Al Qurrah Daghi, Deputy Chairman of the Shari’ah Advisory Board for QNB Al Islami.

Other speakers included Dr Ahmed Jachi, first governor, Central Bank of Lebanon; Mumtaz Khan, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Energing Markets Partnership; and Nazim Elzein Omara, Chief Executive Officer of Borouj Capital. The second session on ‘managing complex transactions: innovation in Islamic project Finance’ featured an opening presentation from Doha Bank CEO R Seetharaman. - (The Peninsular, 5 Nov 07)

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