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Prospects bright for industry in Middle East

Prospects bright for industry in Middle East

While protestors are raging in several Middle Eastern capitals demanding political and economic reforms, regime changes and an end to corruption, there’s been speculation on the impact on Islamic finance.

March 31, 2011 4:51 by

A liberated and democratic Egypt, the Islamic finance officials and market players stress, would remove the political bias against Islamic banking and pave the way for the entry of new institutions and investment flows especially in a country which needs such inflows to finance infrastructure and development. At the same time, demand for Islamic financial products offered by well-regulated banks is expected to be high in a country with a population in excess of 80 million people.

However, any inroads of Islamic finance in Egypt will depend on the progress and quality of the political reform process and the transformation to a democratic dispensation. Officials see good potential for sukuk origination, Islamic corporate finance and consumer finance products in Egypt.

The irony of Egypt is that many of the pioneers of the contemporary Islamic finance movement were Egyptian including the late Zaki Badawi, Professor Mohammed Abu Saud, Ahmed El-Naggar and Sheikh Mohammed Khater; others such as Gamal Attiya, who were responsible for the establishment of such experimental institutions such as Lembaga Tabung Haji (the Malaysian Pilgrims Management Fund) together with Royal Professor Engku Aziz in the 1960s; the Islamic Banking Holdings System in Luxembourg in 1979; and the International Islamic Bank of Denmark in the early 1980s.

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