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Late to the party
The $2 trillion global Halal industry is growing and companies in Southeast Asia are taking the lead in globalising halal standards. Where are the Middle Eastern companies in all of this?
April 5, 2011 2:22 by Precious de Leon
Investors are invited to take a stake in the Philippine’s sole Sharia lender, Al-Amanah Islamic Bank, which is owned by the Development Bank of the Philippines.
The bank has been recording operational losses from 1990 to 2007.
Although Muslims only take up a tenth of the Philippine population, interest has been peaking over the years. In fact the only predominantly Catholic Southeast Asian nation has recently officially recognised Eid Al Fitr as a non-working holiday.
The first Islamic bank opened in 1975. Now there are over 300 in over 75 countries from Indonesia and Pakistan to the UK and Nigeria. Most notably, the number of Islamic Banks has more than doubled over the past 12 months in the UK, with Islamic banks from the GCC as major shareholders.
While there’s definitely evidence of regional companies expanding into the Middle East, there doesn’t seem to be indications of plans to take the reins in championing a more global approach to Halal practices. And it seems to Kipp that this is a lost opportunity.
A source told Kipp there were small efforts to put together a Halal standards committee last year that were largely met with seemingly feigned interest.
Malaysia has shown an increased interest in Islamic finance. And in Indonesia, through the establishment of a Muslim clerical body, known as the Ulema Council, and market regulators, it has become much easier and more practical for Islamic Banking services to be conducted in the country.