Global Islamic Fintech (GIFT) Report 2022 launched today

Global Islamic Fintech market estimated at $79 billion in transaction volume (2021), and projected to grow to $179 billion by 2026: Global Islamic Fintech (GIFT) Report 2022 launched today.

  • The GIFT Index ranks the UK amongst the top five most conducive ecosystem for Islamic Fintech.
  • The UK continues to punch above its weight as the second largest producer of Islamic Fintechs in the world behind Indonesia, home to 45 of the 375 Islamic Fintech firms identified globally.
  • Survey of 100 industry practitioners identifies Consumer Education, Access to Capital, Regulation, Finding Talent and cost of Customer Acquisition as the biggest hurdles faced by Islamic Fintechs.
  • Payments, Deposits & Lending, and Raising Funds, as service categories continue to display high momentum, and represent low-hanging fruit for investors.

London; 28th July 2022 – DinarStandard, a US based research and advisory firm, and Elipses, a leading ethical digital finance advisory and investment firm today jointly released the Global Islamic Fintech (GIFT) Report 2022, the annual sector report on the Islamic Fintech market, encompassing a Market Sizing of Islamic Fintech across the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries, a GIFT Index assessing 64 countries on their conduciveness to Islamic Fintech activity, an industry survey gathering feedback from industry practitioners, and the most comprehensive database of Islamic Fintech firms globally.

The estimated Islamic Fintech market size (based on transaction volume) reached $79 billion and is expected to grow on average by 18% annually, to reach $179 billion by 2026. The top six OIC Fintech markets by transaction volume for Islamic Fintech are Saudi Arabia, Iran, Malaysia, UAE, Turkey and Indonesia. Collectively, the Top 6 markets account for 81% of the OIC Islamic Fintech market size, indicating two dominant regional centres emerging amongst OIC countries for Islamic Fintech.

The GIFT index analysed 64 countries and applied a total of 19 indicators across five different categories for each country. These five categories are: Talent; Regulation; Infrastructure; Islamic Fintech Market & Ecosystem; and Capital. Categories were weighted in order to derive an overall score, with a heavier weighting given to the Islamic Fintech Market & Ecosystem categories, since this is the most indicative by far of a country’s current conduciveness to Islamic Fintech specifically. Saudi Arabia and Malaysia dominate with 15 of the top 20 counties from amongst the OIC countries.

The industry survey sought insight from 100 industry practitioners and discovered signals of a maturing sector with Consumer Education, Access to Capital, Regulation, Finding Talent and cost of Customer Acquisition the biggest hurdles faced by Islamic Fintechs today.

Commenting on the report, Abdul Haseeb Basit, Co-Founder and Principal at Elipses and the report’s co-author said; “The GIFT Report 2022 showcases a maturing Islamic Fintech sector. The number of Islamic Fintechs identified globally has significantly increased year on year and many OIC hubs have made large gains in their conduciveness to Islamic Fintech. The pace of market size growth has outstripped our previous year’s estimates and looks set to continue growing impressively in years to come”.

Dr. Sayd Farook, Senior Partner and Member of the Board, DinarStandard and co-Author of the report commented: “As the leading growth strategy research and advisory firm for OIC markets, Dinar Standard has been at the forefront of identifying opportunities in the OIC markets for more than 15 years. While almost 30% of global Muslim population are concentrated in South and South East Asia in just 4 countries, the number of Islamic Fintechs serving them still account for less then 7% of the Islamic Fintechs worldwide. This is a gap as well as a very significant opportunity for both Islamic Fintechs and other institutions as well. Whoever taps into that market effectively can be the next Islamic Fintech unicorn.”

Harris Irfan, Chairman of the UK Islamic Fintech panel commented: “The GIFT Report provides powerful metrics for assessing the state of the global Islamic Fintech industry. Twenty years ago, the UK helped to catalyse exponential growth in the global Islamic finance market and today we look forward to replicating that success in Islamic fintech. I am excited by the huge possibilities for collaboration between UK Islamic Fintechs and hubs across the world.

The Global Islamic Fintech Report 2022 has been produced in partnership with SalaamGateway.com, the largest Islamic economy news and media platform. Strategic partners of this year’s GIFT Report include Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFC), ALAMI, Aoin Digital, DDCAP GroupTM, IFIN Services, Asosiasi Fintech Syariah Indonesia (AFSI) and KNEKS.

The full report is available for download at: https://www.salaamgateway.com/specialcoverage/islamic-fintech-2022

Halal Accreditation Agency of Turkey (HAK) Is Now Embracing More of the OIC/SMIIC Halal Standard

Since the first day SMIIC began to publish halal standards, there has been an extensive use and interest from interested parties, including producers, conformity assessment bodies, standardization institutions, accreditation bodies and such. 

Now, a prominent example of the benefits of drawing upon OIC/SMIIC standards on halal issues can be observed in Turkey for different levels of implementation. Halal Accreditation Agency of Turkey (HAK) has been extensively referring various OIC/SMIIC standards through its accreditation schemes. For some of its halal accreditation schemes, HAK stands as the first and (at the present time) only public authority on global scale to embrace OIC/SMIIC rules for defining its halal accreditation requirements vis-à-vis conformity assessment bodies.

HAK’s halal accreditation scheme for product/service certifiers is basically built upon the general framework that OIC/SMIIC 2:2019 outlines. OIC/SMIIC 2:2019 is the core standard that lays the rules for certifying products & services as halal. HAK has been actively assessing and accrediting conformity assessment bodies for their certification activities toward not only food and slaughtering but also for cosmetics and tourism services, should they meet the requirements and principles set in the standard.

In addition to this, HAK has been constantly strengthening its accreditation scope as per the expanding standardization efforts of SMIIC. In this vein, HAK recently established 2 more schemes on the basis of OIC/SMIIC 35:2020 and OIC/SMIIC 34:2020. Where the former halal standard simply lays the rules for laboratories performing analyses for halal conformity, the latter regulates the general requirements for bodies certifying persons in the halal industry.

In the early 2022, HAK granted accreditation to 5 laboratories through on-site visits and document controls as per the requirements of OIC/SMIIC 35:2020. This particular scheme of HAK shall greatly contribute to a solid “halal quality-infrastructure” in which product/service certifiers can easily access to laboratories that satisfy halal-related principles of OIC/SMIIC standards.

Similarly, HAK has begun to grant accreditation for bodies that certify persons to-be-employed as auditors and/or experts in the various spheres of halal industry: certification, production, service provision, quality assurance etc. By May 2022, Turkish Standards Institution (TSE) has been officially authorized by HAK to certify persons to serve as auditors and experts for halal purposes. Accrediting bodies that certify persons will also facilitate the certification of persons according to common skills and competence criteria.

OIC/SMIIC standards cover a wide range of conformity assessment activities, including certification and testing, as well as standalone documents and guidelines for food, cosmetics, tourism etc. The more common standards are identified through SMIIC’s standardization works, the more protection of consumers and the interoperability of products shall be rendered, in addition to a strengthened marketplace position of the OIC Member States in the global economy.

US GDP falls for second-straight quarter, signs of a possible recession

Washington: US Gross Domestic Product contracted by 0.9 per cent in the second quarter of this year after a first-quarter drop of 1.6 per cent, the US Commerce Department said on Thursday in a preliminary estimate that technically placed the economy in a possible recession.

“Real gross domestic product (GDP) decreased at an annual rate of 0.9 per cent in the second quarter of 2022,” the Bureau of Economic Analysis, a unit within the Commerce Department, said in a news release, announcing the so-called “advance estimate” on GDP. The department issues three estimates altogether on GDP for each quarter. The advance estimate is the first and will be followed by two other estimates before the third quarter.

“The GDP estimate released today is based on source data that are incomplete or subject to further revision by the source agency. The ‘second’ estimate for the second quarter, based on more complete data, will be released on August 25, 2022,” the Bureau said.

The Hill newspaper reported that most economists expected US GDP to fall for the second consecutive quarter as the economy faced more pressure from high inflation, rising interest rates, slowing job growth, falling home sales and other headwinds.

The newspaper report said experts have become more fearful of the US slipping into recession after GDP fell at an annualized rate of 1.6 per cent in the first quarter.

Delegation briefed about immense opportunities in Salalah Free Zone

Muscat: The existing and potential investment opportunities and the world-class infrastructure that meet the requirements of investors, were conveyed to a delegation on their visit to the Salalah Free Zone and Port.

The media delegation comprising reporters of Arab and foreign news agencies were also acquainted with the transport system, the logistics sector and the available business opportunities in Dhofar Governorate.

The visit comes within the delegation’s visit to the Governorate to promote economic, investment and tourism projects.

During the visit to Salalah Free Zone, the delegation was briefed by Ahmed bin Said Tabook, Director General of Commercial Affairs at Salalah Free Zone.

The location of Salalah Free Zone is close to the ports which help in motivating multi-media communication and ensures smooth movement of goods and creation of opportunities for integration of the value added chains, he said, adding that the location also provides access to the international markets.

He said that the Salalah Free Zone provides several incentives and facilities to investors, including   tax exemption and  freehold projects. The port enjoys sixth place out of 351 ports at the world level in the operations capacity.

The free zone is close to Salalah Airport and international shipping lines qualified as free zone to play a vital role in the supply chain and logistics services sector, he said.

The Salalah Free Zone is spread over an area of approximately 2.6 million sq. metres for the chemicals sector companies, he said, adding that the said area hosts a number of companies in the petrochemicals sector such as OQ Methanol, OQ Liquified Petroleum Gas, Octal and other companies.

The media delegation toured a number of projects at Salalah Free Zone, including Al Jood Food factory, one of the largest factories at Salalah Free Zone,  established in May 2019.

The delegation also visited USG Company’s factory which produces gypsum sheets meant for export to other countries.

On the visit to Salalah Port,  the delegation was briefed by Mohammed bin Aufait Al Masha’ani, CEO for Corporate Affairs at Salalah Port on the logistics services , facilities, projects and investment opportunities the port offers.

Al Masha’ani pointed out the role the Salalah Port plays in international shipping by receiving an increasing number of container vessels.

He also pointed out that the port possesses a general goods/cargo terminal established in 1976.

He said that Salalah Ports Services Company operates in the field of management and its operation is in accordance with a concession agreements signed with the Government of Oman.

The company also manages the Salalah Port in coordination with the management of Salalah Free Zone and other companies operating in the zone.

He said that Salalah Port secured the second place in the container ports performance index (CPPI) in 2021, issued by the World bank and Standard & Poor’s Global Market Intelligence and sixth place in the CPPI for 2020.

IsDB Group announces a USD 10.54-billion package for Food Security Response Program (FSRP) to respond to the global food security crisis in its member countries

IsDB Group announces a USD 10.54-billion package for Food Security Response Program (FSRP) to respond to the global food security crisis in its member countries

Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 28 July 2022 – The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group held today an extraordinary joint meeting of the IsDB Board of Executive Directors, the Board of Directors of the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), and the Board of Directors of the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), chaired by IsDB President and Group Chairman, H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser. The joint meeting endorsed a USD 10.54 billion comprehensive Food Security Response Program (FSRP) package that will support member countries in addressing the ongoing food crisis and, most importantly, scale up the Group’s continued efforts to contribute to strengthening its members’ resilience to food security shocks in the future.

As part of the IsDB Group comprehensive package, the IsDB will contribute up to USD 5.7 billion in total financing to member countries, comprising new approvals worth USD 4.0 billion and fast-tracking of disbursements for existing projects worth USD 1.7 billion. In addition, as part of its “One Group-One Goal” approach, the program involves significant and direct contributions by IsDB Group entities as follows: (i) ITFC: USD 4.5 billion in trade financing; (ii) ICD: USD 269 million in private sector development operations; (iii) ISFD: USD 75 million in loans, grants, and capital resources; and (iv) ICIEC: USD 500 million in political and credit insurance coverage. To complement the financial package of the IsDB Group, the Islamic Development Bank Institute (IsDBi) will provide critical data, analytics, and evidence-based support for effective and impactful decision-making.

To jump-start the program, the financing package is expected to provide immediate financing of up to USD 3.2 billion (over the coming 18-month period) for short-term interventions by providing (i) emergency food and agricultural supply and (ii) social protection and livelihood support to the most vulnerable populations.

The primary focus of the program and the bulk of the financing envelope of the remaining USD 7.3 billion, which will span over the next three years, will be on developing innovative medium- and long-term interventions to address structural weaknesses and root causes of food insecurity in the member states. These include low productivity, rural poverty, climate change, and weak resilience of regional and national agricultural and food systems through six (6) key initiatives: (i)  building agricultural resilience to climate change; (ii) food and input value-chains; (iii) smallholders’ productivity and market access; (iv) rural livelihood support; (v) livestock and fisheries development; and (vi) building resilient food supply systems.

The total IsDB Group’s financing support for agriculture and food security currently stands at USD 20.6 billion, comprising 1,538 operations.

Indonesia’s special economic zones attract over 4 billion USD

Jakarta (VNA) – Special economic zones (SEZs) in Indonesia have attracted a combined investment of 60 trillion rupiah (4 billion USD) following the approval of the Omnibus Act on job creation, an official from the Coordinating Ministry for Economic Affairs has said.

Elen Setiadi, an expert on regulation, law enforcement and economic resilience at the ministry said the act has partially changed the SEZ Law.

According to Setiadi, after the approval of the Omnibus Act on job creation, four new SEZs were established, including Gresik SEZ in East Java province, Lido SEZ in West Java province, Nongsa SEZ and Batam Aero Technic SEZ in Batam city in Riau province.

Currently PT Freeport Indonesia company is developing a metallurgical plant in Gresik SEZ, while MNC Land is looking to develop a tourist attraction in Lido SEZ. A project at SEZ Lido is expected to be completed in September or October.

Setiadi also said that a Hong Kong-based company has set up a data centre worth 7 trillion rupiah at Nongsa SEZ, while Lion Air Group is looking to expand its business at Batam Aero Technic SEZ.

Earlier, Indonesian Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs Airlangga Hartarto said that Indonesia owns a total of 19 SEZs, of which 15 are active.

In order to promote the development of the SEZs, Indonesia has recently issued a decree which sets a target of attracting over 50 billion USD of investment in the zones in the next decade./.

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), during its 344 Board of Executive Director’s meeting of 13 February 2022, approved Projects for Cote d’Ivoire, Guinea, and Senegal

1. Phase 3 of the Hydro-Agricultural Development Project in Upper Sassandra and Fromager Regions will contribute to increasing the production of rice, market garden and fishing products in the two regions. The project will improve the transformation and marketing capacities of value chain actors.

2. Phase 2 of the Development of Technical and Vocational Education Project (ERAM) will contribute to the development of the Training and Vocational Education (TVET) sector in line with the strengthening of the education system’s performance for human capital needs. The project will construct and equip new schools, it will develop curricula for some new trades and modernize some existing ones, and it will improve the quality of education through training of academic and administrative staff of the Ministry.

3. Construction of Dakar – Tivaouane – Saint Louis Highway Project (Mékhé – Saint Louis Section) will (i) promote economic development, mining, agriculture, fishing, trade and tourism; (ii) reduce disparities in transport infrastructure and improve social well-being; (iii) develop exchanges between Senegal, North Africa and West Africa; (iv) Reduce the transport cost and time; and (v) Ensure the safety of road users.

Training Workshop on the International Road Transport (TIR/ eTIR) and the Conventions on the Contract for the International Carriage of Goods by Road (CMR/ eCMR) for the Sub-Saharan African Countries

Casablanca, Morocco, 28 June 2022 – within the framework of their joint capacity development program in the field of trade facilitation, the Islamic Center for the Development of Trade (ICDT), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the Secretariat of the Economic Commission of United Nations for Europe (UNECE), organize a Training Workshop on International Road and Goods Transport Conventions.

This workshop is organized for the benefit of the executives of the Ministries of Trade and Customs Administrations of 17 member countries of Sub-Saharan Africa. It will address the technical aspects of the implementation of the two conventions related to the international transport of goods.

The training workshop which will be held from 28-29 June 2022, gives the opportunity for the participants to learn about the benefits of implementing these conventions, including the reduction of customs administrative procedures and the adequate allocation of resources for proper risk assessment. The workshop will also highlight simplifying transit operations and managing data related to cross-border transport.

During this workshop, Mr. Mohammed Benaguid , Head of Logistics and Procedures Department at Ministry of Industry and Trade, Morocco delivered the opening speech along with Mr. Mamoudou Sall, Assistant Director-General of the Islamic Centre for Development of Trade (ICDT), Mr. Kadir Basboga, Senior Regional Integration Economist of the Regional Cooperation and Integration (RCI) Department at IsDB and Mr. Konstantinos Alexopoulos, Chief, Transport Facilitation and Economics Section of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE). In the opening speech, Mr. Kadir emphasized IsDB’s commitment to continue to work with partners to support its member countries (MCs) through the various IsDB programs including the Technical Assistance Program (TAP) for Regional and Global integration in Trade.

The subject of this workshop is of great interest to the concerned authorities as the road remains the most dominant mode of transport in Sub-Saharan Africa. The implementation of these conventions has advantages in terms of opening up several countries on the continent to international trade.

Islamic Development Bank Attends Astana Finance Days

The Astana Finance Days is a unique regional platform for professional discussion to build effective financial and economic solutions. This year, the Astana Finance Days Conference was held under the theme of “Sustainability. Social Responsibility. Growth” and featured discussions on Islamic Finance Conference, Capital Markets Forum, Retail Investors Forum, Belt and Road Initiative Session, Fin & Tech Forum, Green Growth forum, AIFC Law Conference, EdTech Forum, Investment Forum, and many other sessions.

The conference was attended by 29 countries, 13 of which participated in person. The event was officially inaugurated by the H.E. Mr. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, who in his statement touched upon the sustainability and social responsibility in the post-pandemic period and implications of the social unrest in January 2022 and aggravating geopolitical crisis claiming Kazakhstan to adopt the new economic policy to ensure resilient economic growth and to develop the open, innovative and humancentric economy.

The IsDB mission participated as speakers in the Islamic Finance Conference, which was part of the Astana Financial Days Conference, and deliberated on the session in the Islamic Finance Products and Impact Investing.

With the growth of the Islamic finance industry in the region, the AIFC has developed an enabling regulatory environment for Islamic finance and adopted the road map for further development of Islamic Finance with the aim to eventually become an international hub for the Islamic financial services industry. The AIFC has established its Islamic Finance and Business Hub that offers consultation and support to current and new market participants for licensing Islamic finance activities, and structuring and issuing Islamic finance instruments and securities.

The event also witnessed the launching of the Astana International Exchange (AIX) Retail Islamic Finance platform ETN to provide an access to individual investors to high-quality ETF Sharia-compliant stocks. The ETN index covers 27 companies from 13 countries, and it has received Fatwah from Al Ham Shariah Advisory Company. The ETN platform will be available in the Tabyz application for retail investors.

In addition, the mission participated in the certificate awarding ceremony to the AIFC staff during its two-month capacity-building workshop of the AIFC staff, which was organized within the framework of the IsDB Technical Assistance for Development of Islamic Finance Master Plan for the Republic of Kazakhstan, where one of the components of the IsDB TA envisions the in-house capacity building training for the staff of the AIFC.

Appointment of Dr. Hiba Ahmed as Director-General, ISFD

The Islamic Development Bank announced the appointment of Dr. Hiba Ahmed as Director-General, Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (IsFD).

Dr. Hiba, a Sudanese citizen, graduated from the department of economics, University of Khartoum, then moved to the United States and completed her graduate studies in the University of Michigan, from which she earned her Ph.D. She also earned several post graduate certificates in economics and sustainable development from Harvard.

She began her career as an employee at the Central Bank of Sudan in Khartoum, after which she traveled abroad to continue her studies. She worked for the World Bank, Saudi Aramco Oil Company, United Nations Development Program, United States Agency for International Development, and the International Food Policy Research Institute focusing on economic development and poverty alleviation.

She returned to Sudan in 2019, where she held the position of Director General for the General Authority for Investment and Private Sector Development. In 2020, she was appointed Minister of Finance and Economic Planning making her the first female Minister of Finance for Sudan.

As Minister of Finance, she led international cooperation efforts including the “Friends of Sudan” initiative comprising of more than 40 donors and was responsible for resource mobilization of up to USD 2 billion for the country in 2020. During her tenure, she also led Sudan’s USD 60 billion debt restructuring and was responsible for administering the IMF’s Staff Monitored Program for macroeconomic stabilization.

Commenting on the appointment, IsDB President Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser said: “I am pleased to appoint Dr. Hiba Ahmed as the Director-General for the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD). I am sure that Dr. Ahmed is bringing with her extensive experience in poverty alleviation from many similar institutions and her strong academic background will bring the ISFD performance to new heights to meet the expectations of its beneficiaries and stakeholders”.

The ISFD was established on 29 May, 2007 as a special fund within IsDB specializing in fighting poverty and promoting pro-poor economic growth.

Since its inception, ISFD has approved USD 1.14 billion in loans and grants supporting 321 poverty alleviation projects. 80% of ISFD project portfolio falls in the least developed countries within the IsDB.