Manama, Bahrain March 4th, 2015: BIBF announced the launch of the region’s first Islamic Finance and Muslim Lifestyle Convergence Training programme, developed as part of the Waqf Fund’s initiatives to enhance Islamic Finance training in the region, in partnership with New York-based DinarStandard, at a press conference held at their premises yesterday.
Mr. Khalid Hamad, Chairman of the Waqf Fund and Executive Director – Banking Supervision at the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB); Mr. Rafi-uddin Shikoh, CEO and Managing Director of Dinar Standard; and Mr. Ahmed Al Rayes, Head of the Centre for Academics and Acting Head of the Centre for Islamic Finance at BIBF, panelled the session, moderated by BIBF’s Head of Marketing and Communications, Mr. Hisham Abu Alfateh.
“Bahrain is uniquely positioned to leverage its standing as a regional financial hub, with a highly developed banking sector, to lead the global Islamic Finance industry. The CBB recognises the importance of enhancing this position and has developed initiatives to support long-term growth in the sector. The establishment of the Waqf Fund is a prime example, and was established in 2006 to finance specialist training programmes and develop skilled professionals, among other activities”, said Mr. Hamad during the session.
“The programme was developed with the aim to support the sustainability of a growing industry, especially in the Halal food and lifestyle sectors, given their significant potential size.
BIBF’s partnership with DinarStandard, a leading international growth strategy research and advisory firm, will serve to reinforce its role as the region’s pre-eminent training provider, and enhance its ability to meet the market’s needs for a trained and qualified workforce”, said BIBF’s Deputy Director Dr. Ahmed Al Shaikh at the side-lines of the press conference.
The burgeoning Halal food and Muslim Lifestyle sectors is estimated to be worth $2 trillion in 2013, and is expected to reach $2.47 trillion by 2018, based on the State of the Global Islamic Economy 2014 report, produced by Thomson Reuters in collaboration with DinarStandard. This represents a huge opportunity for Islamic Finance, which has been for the most part, untapped.
Mr. Shikoh stressed the need to increase engagement with the related Halal economy sectors. “There is a growing need to develop Islamic finance professionals’ understanding of this opportunity and how to best leverage it across the suite of Islamic Finance offerings from investments, operating capital, takaful, trade financing and other major business financing needs. Strategic investments on the part of sharia-compliant Private Equity firms in Halal food and lifestyle related businesses, trade financing, working capital financing, mergers and acquisitions, takaful, etc. are just some of the ways Islamic Finance can capitalise on the growth of these sectors”.
“The ground-breaking “Convergence of Halal Economy and Islamic Capital” training course is a managerial level course tailored for Islamic Finance and Takaful executives and managers. The course will give participants a summary of the Halal market opportunity and focus on specific areas of financing/ takaful needs and gaps by the key Halal economy sectors of food, pharma, personal care, travel and fashion. The course covers the six-core Halal economy sectors beyond Islamic finance. These sectors include Halal food, Family tourism, clothing/fashion, media/recreation, pharmaceuticals, and cosmetics, and outlines their geographic and market potential profile”, added Mr. Rayes.
The programme will be delivered at BIBF in May 2015.