More than 250 Islamic finance industry leaders will gather at the 3rd Annual Middle East Islamic Finance and Investment Conference (MEIFIC 2013) to be held on April 17, 2013 at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Dubai.
The theme of this year’s conference is, Building the Islamic Economy: Strengthening Islamic Finance’s Links to the Real Economy and will include strategic discussions for mapping a new growth path in the regional Islamic finance and investments industry.
According to the Ernst and Young World Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report launched last December at the 19th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC Global), the Islamic banking industry is growing 50% faster when compared to the general banking sector in several core areas. The growth of this sector can be gauged by the numbers, global Islamic banking assets with commercial banks now surpass $1.5 trillion and estimates project the industry to hit the $2 trillion mark by 2015.
According to recent estimates by Ernst & Young’s Global Islamic Banking Centre, Islamic banking assets with commercial banks in the GCC reached $445bn at the end of 2012 (up from $390bn in 2011) with the outlook for the industry remaining relatively positive in 2013. Reports indicate that in 2012 the Islamic banking industry in the GCC registered a 14% year-on-year growth, which represents a slight deceleration in the average growth rate of 19% over the past 5 years. Reports also indicate that profitability is now stabilizing — though Islamic banks have experienced a mixed recovery across major Islamic banking markets.
The top three markets for Islamic banking include Saudi Arabia, Malaysia and the UAE.
MEIFIC 2013 will be opened by a special inaugural address by Ahmed Bin Sulayem, Executive Chairman of Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC). Confirming his participation, Ahmed Bin Sulayem noted,
“Islamic finance is playing an ever-increasing role in the global economic system. The substantial growth witnessed by the Islamic finance industry and its steady progress from niche to mainstream indicate a growing demand for financial products and services that are Sharia compliant. Islamic products have always been a major focus of the DMCC’s growth plan. We have built strong credentials as an Islamic trading centre, especially within the commodity trade finance sector. Our core product, DMCC Tradeflow, which operates as a web-based ownership registry, now offers Sharia compliant commodity Murabaha as well. We have identified asset-backed transactions, particularly the Islamic interbank liquidity market conducted through Murabaha mechanisms as a key growth sector. I look forward to attending MEIFIC 2013 and sharing our experience with DMCC Tradeflow and other developments within the Islamic finance industry.” — Ahmed Bin Sulayem
The inaugural address will immediately be followed by a special keynote address by Tayeb Abdulrahman Al Rais, Secretary General of the Awqaf & Minors Affairs Foundation in Dubai, who will discuss AWQAF’s role in supporting the Islamic economy.
A main highlight of MEIFIC 2013 will be the keynote, high-profile power debate that will focus discussions on boosting the growth and value of Islamic finance by further strengthening linkages to the real economy and by mainstreaming its products. The power debate session will be chaired by Dr. Sayd Farook, Global Head Islamic Capital Markets at Thomson Reuters and features Harun Kapetanovic, Economic Adviser at the Department of Economic Development, Government of Dubai, Moinuddin Malim, Chief Executive Officer of Mashreq Al Islami, Amr Al Menhali, EVP, Head of Islamic Banking at ADCB Islamic Banking, and Anouar Adham, Head of Asset Management at QIB – UK, will assess new growth opportunities for Islamic finance and will analyse how Islamic finance institutions can scale-up to better meet the needs of the real economy.
Commenting on their participation at the event, Amr Al Menhali, EVP, Head of Islamic Banking, ADCB Islamic Banking, said,
“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. The Middle East has been at the centre of Islamic finance activity and the region is viewed as one of the more mature markets. With a young, fast-growing population; robust macroeconomic factors and the boost in government spending and large infrastructure projects, major economies in the region, particularly the UAE, are witnessing promising signs of economic growth and it is now time for the region to further grow their Islamic finance capabilities. In addition to developing sophisticated products, improving distribution channels, which would certainly assist in increasing the market share of Islamic finance, the real opportunity is to create an integrated Islamic economic system by further strengthening the linkage of Islamic finance to real economic activities.
As a leading industry player, ADCB Islamic Banking is delighted to support the annual Middle East Islamic Finance and Investment Conference and we look forward to discussing new growth opportunities for Islamic finance in the region.”