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Islamic finance market hits $1.7 trln – CBK gov ‘Number of financial institutions exceed 600’

KUWAIT CITY, Dec 4, (KUNA): Volume of the global Islamic financial market has reached $1.7 trillion, revealed the Central Bank of Kuwait Governor, hoping the Shariaa-abiding services will grow further and turn much more competitive worldwide. Volume of the financial Islamic services market, measured by assets’ volume, has exceeded $1.7 trillion, making a record jump from only $150 billion in middle of the 90s, said Dr Mohammad Al-Hashel, in a statement he addressed to the opening session of the World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC 2013) that opened in Manama, Bahrain, on Tuesday. Number of financial institutions has exceeded 600, operating in 75 states, said the CBK governor in his statement at the Manama-hosted conference, excerpts of which were released in a statement, issued by the CBK in Kuwait on Wednesday.

“Although such developments are encouraging, they remain short of what we aspire to with regard of the ambition to make more progress and growth in the Islamic financing industry and bolster this sector competitive status at the international level,” Dr Al-Hashel said. Dr Al-Hashel was a keynote speaker at the convention, themed “transformations to boost international Islamic financing competitiveness.” He was invited to the conference by his Bahraini counterpart, Rasheed Mohammed Al-Maraj, considering Kuwait as a pioneer in Islamic finance services.

In contrast to the positive figures reflecting growth of the Islamic financial markets, Dr Al-Hashel noted that Islamic funding has remained at the ebb, estimated at only one percent of the global financing. The number-one Kuwaiti banker presented several ideas to tackle the Islamic funding weakness, proposing special laws aimed at encouraging such services, boosting supervisory and regulatory systems, giving a role for academic and research institutions. Underlining pivotal role of the Shariaa supervisory authorities, Dr Al-Hashel called on the financial institutions to innovate and develop new services. Funding should be available to all consumers, regardless of religious beliefs, and such an approach would make the Islamic financing services competitive vis a vis the classic financing systems.

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