Qatar's Islamic lenders, which are the third largest contributor to the global growth in Shariah banking, ought to enhance its finance initiatives and work towards activating international partnerships to further cement its position in the global arena, according to a top government official.
"In order to promote this growth, we must work together to develop our Islamic finance initiatives, and work towards activating international partnerships and exchanging knowledge and expertise,” HE the Finance Minister Ali Sherif al-Emadi told the fourth Doha Islamic Finance Forum in the presence of HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani.
Highlighting that the Islamic banking accounts for about 25% of the total banking sector in Qatar; he said the country has demonstrated its ability to continue in its journey to help the Islamic finance sector grow and develop by working with the international community.
"In order to sustain this global growth in Islamic finance, we must work together to address financial risks and increase the efficiency of the Islamic financial services. This will serve to ensure the growth and expansion of Shariah-compliant financial transactions and contribute to building a diversified knowledge-based economy,” he told the forum, which was organised by Bait Al-Mashura Finance Consultations, in collaboration with the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), Hamad Bin Khalifa University and The College of Business and Economics of Qatar University.
Quoting the International Monetary Fund data, which showed the growth of the assets of Islamic banks from $200bn in 2003 to $1.9tn in 2016; al-Emadi said the latest estimates reveal that Islamic finance accounts for 50% of banking services in the Gulf Co-operation Council.
The finance minister said that the recent developments in the world, especially with regard to the rapid growth of electronic financial transactions, whether banking or investment in the financial markets, or the rapid spread of electronic currencies, have brought with it new and growing challenges to the Islamic financial transactions requiring further co-operation, co-ordination and discussion to find appropriate solutions in dealing with these challenges and to achieve further growth in the sector.
Qatar Chamber chairman Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani said Islamic banks are playing a key role in financing the private sector projects which increased its contribution in the local market.
"There is scope for further growth in the Islamic banking sector, particularly in light with the Islamic trade growth worldwide and the economic expansion plans and inclusive development Qatar witnessing, besides the increase of construction projects and business in the country," he said.
QFC chief executive Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida said Islamic finance is a key and growing sector and one that is very relevant for both QFC and for the country.
"At the QFC, there are currently many efforts underway to promote Islamic finance. Some of these efforts include collaborating with the College of Islamic Studies and Hamad Bin Khalifa University on Shariah governance and other Islamic finance research activities," he said.
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