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Islamic finance grows twice as fast as traditional banks


The Islamic finance industry…boasts $1.6 trillion in banking
system assets

Islamic finance grows twice as fast as traditional banks

MUSCAT, 2 days ago

Islamic finance is growing at twice the rate of the traditional banking industry in its core markets, which include Malaysia, Indonesia, Turkey and the GCC countries, according to an expert.

The industry currently boasts $1.6 trillion in banking system assets, said Mohammed Mahfoodh Al Ardhi, chairman of the National Bank of Oman, while speaking at an interactive session in London Business School.

“The GCC countries have committed to actively strengthening their positions in the Islamic finance market, with Saudi Arabia currently in the lead,” he said.

“We, at the National Bank of Oman, have been doing significant work in the Islamic finance domain and achieved considerable success as part of the broader plans to diversify Oman’s economy. Bahrain and Dubai are also emerging as notable offshore centres.”

He drew out distinctions between conventional and Islamic economic models by highlighting the practical implications of Islamic finance, current industry scenario, as well as opportunities, challenges and criticisms the sector faces.

“Islamic finance is based upon the fact that money is not a source of potential capital or a commodity in itself but rather a medium, a facilitator, for trade and investment,” said Al Ardhi.

“Islamic finance is consequently built around the principles of risk sharing and shared investment, outlawing speculative activity and behaviors while discouraging debt to ensure the sanctity of contractual undertakings,” he explained.

The Islamic finance system is emerging as the more prudent, non-risky and ethical alternative to its conventional counterpart, he added.

Professor Sir Andrew Likierman, dean, London Business School, said: “London Business School, through its Executive MBA in Dubai and its close links with leading companies in Oman, Qatar, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia is committed to working with organisations in partnership to ensure world class leadership and enhance the prosperity of the region.

“We are delighted that our links with the National Bank of Oman are so strong and appreciate Al Ardhi coming to London to talk to our students here.” – TradeArabia News Service

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