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Bahrain – Nucleus for Islamic Finance

Bahrain : 22 February

MANAMA: Selection of Bahrain by top global companies is a reflection of the stride the kingdom has made over the last four decades.

Economic Development Board (EDB) chief operating officer Kamal Ahmed said reports that consulting giant Deloitte has opted to base its new Islamic Finance Knowledge Centre (IFKC) in Bahrain indicates the kingdom’s reputation as the most time-honored financial centre in the Gulf and an international hub for Islamic finance. He said that as the first country in the region to launch a finance industry more than 40 years ago and a leader of Islamic finance, Bahrain is the ideal location for Deloitte to base IFKC. They are happy that Deloitte is among the growing number of global companies that are recognising the kingdom as the place of choice from where to reach the trillion-dollar Gulf market and the wider Middle East.

Deloitte, which has been in Bahrain since 1955, has selected the Middle East as a priority market that has potential for growth of its own business and its clients alike.

The company reported remarkable revenue growth of more than 25 per cent annually in the region for the past three consecutive years.

The IFKC will assist the firm’s clients tap into the growing potential of the Islamic finance sector, which is expected to maintain growth, which over the past five years, has averaged 15-20pc.

IFKC specialists will support the firm’s Middle East based consulting, tax, audit, risk and financial advisory professionals.

IFKC director Dr Hatim Tahir said as a key monetary services hub in the region, Bahrain is a natural base from which to launch IFKC.

Deloitte Middle East chairman and chief executive Omar Fahoum said that Bahrain was selected because it is a leading Islamic finance center for the Middle East region since there is a growing number of Islamic banks and financial institutions.

Mr Fahoum said that global Islamic finance assets are estimated by the International Monetary Fund to surpass $260 billion and projected to grow to $1trn by 2016.

Presently about 60pc of those assets are shared by countries in the Middle East, while 80pc of the top 50 Islamic banks throughout the world are located in the region.

Bahrain’s financial services sector – with more than 400 licensed institutions – is the largest contributor to total GDP (27pc).

Bahrain also has strong professional services, ICT, logistics, and manufacturing sectors, which the kingdom expects to grow as part of the Economic Vision 2030 and National Economic Strategy.

Andrew Reid, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
21 February

Aramco and Total to Issue Sukuk

The world’s largest crude producer, Saudi Arabian Oil Co., also known as Aramco and Total SA, Europe’s largest refiner, engaged banks to sell Islamic bonds to finance the construction of a $12 billion oil refinery, two bankers known with the deal said.
Calyon, Deutsche Bank AG, and Samba Financial Group have been chosen by Aramco and [...]

21 February

Gulf Air to Merge First, Business Classes

Sameer Majali, Chief Executive officer of Bahrain’s national carrier said that to slash costs, the Gulf Air will merge its first class and business class, from March 1.
Sameer Majali told that they have made a decision to opt for one super business class offering by merging the two cabins keeping the seating arrangement intact.
Majali told [...]

21 February

Taqa in Red as Energy Prices Tumble

The Abu Dhabi National Energy Company, Taqa, suffered a fourth quarter loss of Dh83 million as compared to a profit of Dh233 million last year due to decreased energy prices and deficit on international possessions which played havoc with the majority government-owned utilities provider.
The company said reduced commodity prices caused its annual profit down to [...]

21 February

Financial Intelligence Unit of Finland and UAE Central Bank Sign Anti-money Laundering Contract

The UAE Central Bank declared that Abdulrahim Mohammed Al Awadi, Assistant Executive Director and Head of the Anti-money Laundering and Suspicious Cases Unit of the UAE, signed a memorandum of understanding with Marku-Aho, Head of National Bureau of Investigation/Financial Intelligence Unit of Finland on anti-money laundering.
The memorandum of understanding incorporated joint collaboration between two organizations [...]

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