Amjaad announces OIEF in association with Bank Nizwa
In Association with Bank Nizwa, Amjaad Development announced the first Oman Islamic Economic Forum. Amjaad Development L. L. C. was pleased to be organizing the Oman Islamic Economic Forum, 2011 (OIEF). The first international Islamic Finance conference of this kind in Oman was held on 17th and 18th of December 2011, at the Al Bustan Ritz Carlton Muscat Hotel. That was in the press conference which Amjaad has organized in Intercontinental Muscat on Sunday 23rd Oct.
The OIEF brought together leading practitioners, prominent heads of state, opinion making academicians and other important stakeholders to discuss ways in which Islamic finance dealings can have a positive effect on the global economy and more specifically, the Omani economy. It was introduced best practices in Islamic finance to Omani authorities and other relevant players, and discussed key issues in Islamic finance, enabling them to lay the foundations. The ex-Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tun Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi, in his first visit to Oman, was an important keynote speaker at the OIEF. OIEF also provided the opportunity for interested foreign stakeholders to network with key Omani players and establish long lasting relationships.
OIEF received a strong, positive reaction in its first soft marketing from both public and private sector. Amjaad Development has disclosed that major related authorities have confirmed their support and association. As well, the first Islamic Bank in Oman, Bank Nizwa was the OIEF strategic partner. In addition, Bank Muscat, the largest bank in Oman, and Al Madina Financial and Investment Services Company was the main sponsors in OIEF. There was also several known organizations in the field that were having a presence at the OIEF such as CIBAFI, Islamic Finance News and CNBC Arabia.
“We want to develop Bank Nizwa into a new model for Islamic banking to merge world-class professional performance with faith-based social responsibility to the core of our business. We have entered into a strategic partnership with Amjaad Group to hold OIEF because we believe that our commitment to Shariah-based financial services and Amjaad's organizational professionalism will make a success of the Forum, create broad awareness of Islamic finance in Oman , showcase our country's potential to the industry and lead to new trends in Islamic banking “ said Ahmed Saif Al-Rawahi, Chairman of the Founding Committee of Bank Nizwa , after an official signing ceremony with Amjaad Group.
According to Khalid Hilal Alyahmadi, Chairman of Amjaad Development, “after the recent global financial crisis, more and more emerging market countries are looking to explore Islamic finance, paving the way for commercial opportunities for local corporations as well as international banks. However, in order to have a proper and fully compliant Islamic banking system, one should consider all relevant aspects of the Islamic economy. Islamic banking is only one part of the Islamic economic structure, but is definitely a good start. Gradually, and in accordance with a well defined and structured plan, the entire Islamic economic infrastructure can be put in place”.
There are many important Islamic products, significantly impacting the financial markets. In its short history, Sukuk has grown exponentially and represents an alternative for businesses to raise finance. The total value of the Sukuk issuance so far for the year 2011 amounted to USD 50 billion reaching a record high reached last year. Takaful which is an Islamic compliant insurance is another important milestone. We have witnessed the green light for the first licence of a Takaful company in Oman. The purpose of the conference is not only to cover the Islamic Banking concept, Sukuks, or the Takaful system, but to dwell on the multiple Islamic parameters that are required to be in place in order to have a well functioning Islamic economy. There is growing evidence that Islamic banking and Takaful is associated with less risk compared to the present financial structures prevailing in the Western economies. Introducing Islamic Finance is not a luxury any more but is a necessity given the present huge demand by locals. One interesting fact that was proved by recent studies indicates that almost one third of deposits in local banks are bearing no interest. This clearly shows that there is strong preference by the Omani population to deal with the Islamic banks.
Amjaad Development aims to be a pioneer in the Omani market and is supporting the development of Islamic finance in Oman by raising awareness among key stakeholders through its strategic network. Amjaad Development has appointed a London base Islamic finance advisory firm, Edbiz Consulting, as a Senior Advisor . With a proven track record of organising international events and seminars in Islamic finance, it is chaired by the internationally renowned Islamic economist and Shari’a technician, Professor Humayon Dar.
On selecting Oman as the venue of the forum, Mr. Alyahmadi pointed out “Oman has the potential to become a regional centre of excellence for Islamic finance, but we shall start from the level where others have reached already and not from scratch“.
Another highlight of the OIEF will be the annual
Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA)
. GIFA aims to applaud the shining lights of the industry in 2011, by awarding them for their achievements. GIFA is unlike any other award ceremonies as these awards are based on an objective proprietary methodology developed by Edbiz Consulting.
In his closing statement, Alyahmadi reiterated that, “According to the recently released Global Islamic Finance Report 2011, the Islamic Finance industry is currently valued at approximately US$1.14 trillion, no doubt a significant amount. The industry is expected to grow rapidly at a rate of between 10 - 15% per annum over the next decade. And, as an Omani, I would not want Oman to lag behind and miss out on the potential of this promising industry.”
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