Islamic finance is “a significant growth area” for both the State of Qatar and the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), according to QFC CEO Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida, who also cited potential partnerships with Muslim countries, particularly in the Southeast Asian region. In a statement to Gulf Times yesterday, al-Jaida said Islamic finance will remain “a core focus” for the QFC, “as we continue to welcome Islamic finance institutions to join our competitive ecosystem.”
The statement came in the wake of al-Jaida’s earlier pronouncement at a recently-held forum in Doha, where he spoke on possible co-operation ties with Bangladesh in the areas of Islamic finance and e-commerce. During the forum, al-Jaida noted that Qatar “is looking towards the East,” especially at Muslim countries in Southeast Asia, even as he underscored the “strategic location and existing export relations between Qatar and Bangladesh.” He expressed optimism that Qatar’s efforts to reach out to Asia “will happen very quickly,” considering the legislative reforms that the government has implemented in the past year.
“One thing that comes into my mind using all this information is Islamic finance and e-commerce. Bangladesh has the ingredients of success and Qatar has capital and knowledge of those areas; so I believe a memorandum of understanding of some sort between our institution, including the Qatar Investment Authority and your investment authority, would be a great development. “I’m optimistic that there would be sharing of ingredients of success between both the countries, and this will definitely multiply the existing trade relations to better levels in the near future,” al-Jaida said during the forum.
Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (Bida) executive chairman Kazi M Aminul Islam welcomed al-Jaida’s statement, saying there is a “huge unserved market” in Bangladesh. “Qatar has special strength in financial areas…our population is largely Muslim at more than 80%, and they long to have all sorts of financial products and services that are based on Islam,” he said. In the statement, al-Jaida further said that Islamic banks in Qatar have encompassed the largest segment of the Islamic finance market, launching ambitious expansion plans abroad in recent years.
“Moreover, there are significant opportunities for growth in takaful, asset management and non-bank investment firms, as well as strong demand for increased sukuk issuance. “We also see a growing opportunity to attract more customers, increase efficiency, reduce costs and offer a wider range of products, helping competitiveness without compromising on profit margins,” the statement continued.
Sources and photo-credits: Gulf Times