Categories
Finance

Growth of Responsible Investment In Japan, Malaysia To Constitute Core Case Studies

Under the patronage of the Scottish Government and supported by the UK Government, the 2nd edition of GEFF will delve in-depth into two insightful case studies that focus on the growth of responsible investment in emerging and developed markets.

Edinburgh, Scotland – 03 August 2017: Middle East Global Advisors, a leading financial intelligence platform spearheading the agenda of sustainable and inclusive finance, will convene the second edition of the much-coveted Global Ethical Finance Forum (GEFF) in Edinburgh, Scotland. Based on a strategic partnership with Islamic Finance Council UK (UKIFC), the Forum will be held under the patronage of the Scottish Government, supported by the UK Government and will be hosted by the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), building upon the legacy of the inaugural Forum held in September 2015.

The theme for GEFF 2017 – “Ethical Finance: Merging Profit & Purpose”, is in line with the Forum’s aspiration to serve as a platform of convergence and collaboration across the responsible finance universe, and to forge a vision for a more inclusive and sustainable financial system.

Fueled by growing investor concerns pertaining to climate change, the market for sustainable investing has witnessed a steady growth over the years. According to the Global Sustainable Investment Review (GSIA) 2016, sustainable investment now stands at 26% of all professionally managed assets globally, highlighting the significant potential this industry fosters. Prominent sustainable investing strategies include exclusionary screening, ESG Integration and Corporate Engagement/Shareholder Action.

As per the GSIA 2016, Japan showcased the fastest growth in the sustainable investing market during 2014-2016, with the aggregate sustainable investment market in Japan quantified at USD 473.6 billion, up from USD 7.0 billion in 2014. A significant contributor to this was the new information provided by the Japan Sustainable Investment Forum (JSIF) on sustainable investing strategies of large institutional asset owners. Surveys by JSIF revealed corporate engagement and shareholder action to be the most dominant strategy at $289.6 billion, applying to 61 percent of SRI assets.

In February 2014, Japan introduced its very first Stewardship Code. Whilst the principles are voluntary, 201 institutional investors had adopted them as of December 2015. This was then followed by the Corporate Governance Code in June 2015. Both the codes were introduced with a vision to promote and foster engagement between investors and companies, and to open up dialogue in order to encourage companies to improve their return on equity (ROE) and to place greater emphasis on it as a key indicator of profitability and corporate governance.

Interestingly, the world’s largest pension fund, the Japanese Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), became a PRI signatory in September 2015 and also established a Stewardship & ESG division, in order to integrate environment, social and governance issues into its investment process effectively.

The changes in Japan’s investment industry can be attributed to a shrinking domestic market Japanese companies are seeing due to the negative demographic trends of a growing aging population which are likely to continue for years to come.

The GSIA 2016, also pointed out that during the period 2014-2016, Malaysia with 30% share in Asia (excluding Japan) is the largest SRI market in the region, as it recognizes Shariah-compliant funds as part of the SRI universe. In 2014, the Securities Commission of Malaysia introduced an SRI framework addressing the dearth of regulations and standards within the Malaysian market, and one that envisioned to serve as a benchmark for developing comprehensive standardized products that appeal to both Islamic finance and SRI markets. It also paved the way for crossovers between the various segments of the responsible finance universe – SRI, ESG and Islamic finance.

In 2006, Bursa Malaysia introduced its Corporate Responsibility framework, followed by Shariah based indices and corporate governance guidelines for listed companies in 2007. This was followed by the launch of the FTSE4Good ASEAN Index in April 2016. The index measure performance of publicly listed companies demonstrating strong ESG performance. These developments signify how Malaysia is focused on mainstreaming ESG integration.

In light of the above developments, GEFF 2017 will spearhead two exclusive case studies focusing on tracking the growth of responsible investment in emerging and developed markets. The sessions aim to analyze the cases of Japan and Malaysia, understand what lessons can be gleaned from them and whether their success can be replicated in other emerging and developed markets.

Across two power-packed days, GEFF 2017 will spearhead a series of sessions focusing on the massive opportunity that lies in mainstreaming ethical finance, one that requires concerted efforts to build meaningful dialogue across its three segments: Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) and Islamic/faith-based finance. The forum aims to drive thought leadership across a wide range of topics including green bonds, financial inclusion, ethical banking, amongst others, with the vision of bringing ethics to the forefront of business.

The forum will take place on 13th and 14th of September at the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS)’s prestigious Conference Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Categories
Finance Malaysia Regions Southeast Asia

Bursa Malaysia Adds Inter-Pacific to Islamic-Compliant List

KUALA LUMPUR (June 20): Bursa Malaysia Bhd has added Inter-Pacific Securities Sdn Bhd to the bourse operator and regulator’s Islamic participating organisations list to further grow the Islamic capital market.

Bursa Malaysia said in a statement today that Islamic stockbroking services played an important role, under which clients’ funds were placed in Shariah-compliant accounts.

“With the latest addition, investors will have a wider choice of Islamic POs (participating organisations) to represent them, which is in line with the priority of Bursa Malaysia-i, to provide a conducive marketplace for the Shariah investing community and to spur the growth and vibrancy of the Islamic capital market domestically and regionally,” Bursa Malaysia chief executive officer Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan said in the statement.

According to Bursa Malaysia’s statement, Inter-Pacific is the 12th stockbroking firm under Bursa Malaysia’s Islamic participating organisations list.

The list includes Affin Hwang Investment Bank Bhd, AmInvestment Bank Bhd, BIMB Securities Sdn Bhd, CIMB Investment Bank Bhd, Hong Leong Investment Bank, Jupiter Securities Sdn Bhd, Kenanga Investment Bank Bhd, Malacca Securities Sdn Bhd, Maybank Investment Bank Bhd, RHB Investment Bank Bhd and TA Securities Holdings Bhd.

Originally published on www.theedgemarkets.com

 

Categories
Finance Middle East Regions Saudi Arabia

ICD signs three MoUs to Strengthen Collaboration

JEDDAH — THE Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), the private sector arm of Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group signed three a Memorandum of Understanding in quick succession to strengthen collaboration.

The first one was with the City Bank, Bangladesh in order to boost cooperation for fostering private sector development in the country. ICD CEO Khaled Al Aboodi and Sheikh Mohammed Maroof, deputy managing director, and Mohammad Mahbubur Rahman, chief financial officer of City Bank, signed the MOU on behalf of their respective institutions.

The joint collaboration will encompass the areas of Term Finance, Public Private Partnership transactions, Lines of Finance and any other areas of mutual interest.

During the signing ceremony, Al Aboodi stated, “City Bank is one of our most valued partners and signing of this MOU will take our relationship to a new level which will benefit the people of Bangladesh the most.”

City Bank’s Maroof said, “City Bank has achieved significant growth over the years by leveraging strong relationships with partners and providing innovative solutions to meet growing financial needs. I’m sure this partnership with ICD will improve the bank’s performance capacities and better serve our customers’ banking needs.”

The signing ceremony was also attended by Farid Masmoudi, director of ICD, Mahbub Jamil, head of structured finance of City Bank and other high officials of both the institutions.

City Bank is one of the oldest private Commercial Banks operating in Bangladesh. It is a top bank among the oldest five Commercial Banks in the country, which started their operations in 1983. The Bank started its journey on March 27, 1983 through opening its first branch at B. B. Avenue Branch in the capital, Dhaka city.

City Bank is among the very few local banks which do not follow the traditional, decentralized, geographically managed, branch based business or profit model. The bank currently has total 120 branches which includes 99 online branches, 1 full-fledged Islamic Banking branch, 1 SME service center and 11 SME/Agri branches spread across the length & breadth of the country.

ICD and FINOKO cooperation pact

Then the ICD and FINOKO entered into a Joint Strategic Collaboration to establish an Islamic Microfinance Window. ICD CEO Al Aboodi and FINOKO  CEO Turan Ismayilov signed the agreement during IDB 42nd annual meeting at hotel Hilton in Jeddah.

Al Aboodi said, “ICD has always been interested about financial inclusion and measurable development impacts. This program will help cater the most vulnerable and target the most vulnerable and entrepreneurial class of clients. With the help of our partner ICD can become a pioneer promoter of Islamic Microfinance”

Ismayilov said, “We are happy to be the first MFI to receive advisory services from ICD on establishing an Islamic microfinance window and we are looking forward to more co-projects with ICD to assist FINOKO reach its target clients and strengthen our capabilities and resources.”

ICD, Amana Bank PLC’s strategic alliance

The ICD being the lead sponsor and manager of IB Growth Fund (Labuan) LLP (IBGF) and Amana Bank PLC (ABL), the first and the only full-fledged Islamic Bank in Sri Lanka, have entered into a its strategic investment partnership by signing the Investment Term Sheet (ITS), reflecting the agreed key terms and conditions of the proposed investment. With this landmark transaction, ICD via IBGF is expected to infuse growth capital of maximum USD15 million through subscription in the capital of Amana Bank PLC.

ICD CEO Al Aboodi and the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Amana Bank PLC  Osman Kassim signed the ITS.

Al Aboodi stated that this strategic initiative reflects ICD’s continuous effort to play a catalyst role in the promotion of Islamic finance, private sector development and regional cooperation in South Asia region. The proposed collaboration with Amana Bank exhibits ICD’s mandate and strategic vision to bring not only good corporate governance and international best management practice but also to secure the long-term stability of the Bank as well as boost the confidence of the market and different stakeholders in the growing Islamic finance industry in Sri Lanka.

Kassim said, “Amana Bank is truly honored to have the confidence of ICD, resulting in this strategic partnership. This collaboration would further strengthen bank’s journey towards much wider and extended network both at regional and international level.”

Kassim further stressed that Sri Lanka being a non-member country the IDB had earlier made an exception in investing in Amana Bank at its inception in 2011, and now ICD too is making this investment and this is sincerely appreciated and the Board and Management of the Bank that is committed to achieve mutual goals for the growth of Islamic finance industry and private sector development. —SG

Originally published on www.saudigazette.com.sa

 

Categories
Food Indonesia Regions Southeast Asia

Mintel: 13% of Asia-Pacific Product Launches Carry Halal Claim

With food accounting for nearly two-thirds of business in the global halal economy, there has been a flurry of new product activity in Asia-Pacific.

According to market intelligence agency Mintel, 13% of all product launches in the region have carried the “halal” claim since 2012, with Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand the top destinations in this arena.

Among the most prominent recent Islam-observant product launches tracked by Mintel has been Nissin’s Masuya-brand spicy seafood-flavoured Gekikara Ramen instant noodle, which has gone on sale in Indonesia. The extra-hot instant noodle is halal-certified and retails in a large portion 120g pack.

Also launched in Indonesia, the world’s biggest Muslim-majority country which seen a quarter of all Asia-Pacific new-product activity over the last five years, has been Family Rice’s Nasi Liwet fragrance rice. The halal certified product retails in a 500g pack that serves six portions.
In India, which is home to 172m Muslims according to the last census, Global Gourmet’s Bombay Bites jalapeño and cheese samosa was a notable halal launch. The vegetarian pastry triangles feature a green pepper and cheese filling, are halal certified, and retail in a 240g pack.
 Thailand, where 15% of new product launches have been halal in the last five years, has seen the introduction of Kang Goong by Okusno, a Japanese curry-flavoured shrimp chins snack. This claims to be high in calcium and low in sodium and chitosan. The halal certified product retails in a 17g pack.
Also a notable arrival, Jin Lv Cheng Ai De Lai Si’s ice cream-flavoured yogurt’s arrival in China claims to be made using milk sourced from its own pasture, and is halal certified. This natural product retails in a 120g pack. Though only 1.6% of its population is Muslim, China now accounts for 9% of all Asia-Pacific halal launches, according to Mintel.
Originally published on www.foodnavigator-asia.com
Categories
Art Pakistan Regions South Asia

Grand Jamia Mosque: A Fusion of Traditional Islamic Architecture and Pakistani Culture


Web Desk) – Located in Bahria Town Lahore, the Grand Jamia Mosque is truly an architectural masterpiece. With a capacity to hold 70,000 visitors, the Grand Jamia Mosque is Pakistan s third largest and the world s seven largest mosque.

Possessing four minarets that are 165 feet high, one big dome 40 feet in height and 20 small domes, the breathtakingly huge structure of the mosque diminishes the surrounding buildings. The mosque is a blend of traditional Islamic architecture with Pakistani culture.

For an unaware person looking at the mosque for the first time, it does seem like it was built a few hundred years ago, considering its magnificent structure that only seems worthy of being commissioned by a Mughal emperor.

The Grand Jamia Mosque was constructed at a cost of Rs 4 billion and inaugurated in 2014. An awe-inspiring feature of the mosque is that the entire exterior of the mosque is lined with 4 million, 2.5 inch handmade tiles crafted from special Multani mitti and placed by hand. The placing of these tiles alone took four years.

The marble floor of the mosque is covered with elegantly crafted Turkish carpets. The roof is ordained with over 50 chandeliers imported from Iran.

The mosque also features an Islamic art gallery, a school, and a special section designated for female worshippers.

The architecture of the mosque is influenced by the Badshahi Mosque, Wazir Khan Mosque and the Sheikh Zayed Mosque. The huge minarets of the mosque are probably influenced by the Badshahi Mosque, the multiple domes by the Sheikh Zayed Mosque, while the courtyard with the fountain in the centre, an important Persian influence, is taken from the Wazir Khan Mosque.

Originally published on www.dunyanews.tv

 

Categories
Finance morocco North Africa Regions

Fitch: Islamic Banking a Modest Deposit Stimulus in Morocco

Islamic banks, referred to as ‘participation banks’ in Morocco, are likely to provide a modest stimulus to deposit growth in the country, Fitch Ratings says. Morocco’s central bank granted its first licences to Islamic banks last week.

Our discussions with Fitch-rated banks indicate that the ability to offer Islamic banking products could expand their deposit bases by 5% to 10%. The ability to grow the deposit base is positive for Morocco’s economic development because deposits represent about 70% of banking sector funding.

We expect growth of participation banks will be high initially, as was the case following the introduction of Islamic banking in Turkey and Indonesia. The ability to access Islamic products will ensure that customers have access to a more comprehensive range of services. Customers who have avoided transacting with conventional banks for sharia-related reasons can now move into the formal banking sector.

However, banking penetration is already high in Morocco, with 70% of adults holding a bank account, suggesting that most Moroccans have not shied away from the banking sector on faith grounds. Participation banking is therefore unlikely to take a significant market share from the well-established conventional banks.

The growth of participation banks will be affected by several factors, including the spread of awareness of Islamic finance, the extent to which the government stimulates expansion, population growth rates and regulatory developments. Positively, the central bank has established a central sharia board of Islamic scholars to oversee the sector, which should help to provide a cohesive framework under which the banks can operate. Greater clarity on essential aspects, such as how participation banks will manage their liquidity in a sharia-compliant manner and how financing contracts will be drawn up, would help to stimulate the sector. However, delays in establishing a clear framework could hinder the development of participation banks, forcing up funding costs and resulting in insufficient depth in product offerings.

Growth rates in the Moroccan banking sector have been volatile in recent years, reflecting unsteady economic trends. Deposit growth (nearly 7% in 2016) has outstripped loan growth (3.9%) in recent years, but credit demand is set to accelerate in line with an improved economic outlook in 2017. This could force banks to compete more aggressively for deposits, putting pressure on margins at the conventional banks. The ability to offer participation banking services could broaden the pool of potential depositors in the country, mitigating the competitive pressure.

Only existing conventional banks have applied for participation banking licences and we are not aware of any independent Islamic banks making requests to operate in Morocco. Banks owned by domestic shareholders, such as Attijariwafa Bank, BMCE Bank, Groupe Banque Centrale Populaire and Credit Immobilier et Hotelier, have opted to establish separate participation banking subsidiaries, while subsidiaries controlled by French parents, such as Societe Generale Marocaine de Banques (controlled by Societe Generale), Banque Marocaine pour le Commerce et l’Industrie (BNP Paribas) and Credit du Maroc (Credit Agricole), have chosen to provide services through special Islamic banking ‘windows’.The material has been provided by InstaForex Company .

Originally published on www.forextv.com

Categories
Food

UAE Free Trade Zones Boost Competitiveness

DUBAI —  The UAE’s free trade zones are using advanced information management tools to drive the doubling of the global free trade zone GDP, experts announced Monday.

Globally, the contribution of free trade zones to the Islamic Economy is set to double to $117 billion by 2021, according to a recent report by researchers Salaam Gateway. The UAE hosts 4 of the world’s top 10 free trade zone cities for the Islamic Economy.

Industry-watchers agree the new Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone is showing global best practices in using digital transformation to support its more than 13,000 companies.

“Digital transformation is vital for UAE free trade zones to drive the country’s economic growth. Using the latest information management solutions, trade zones can deliver digital services to boost the business competitiveness of small businesses,” said Andrew Calthorpe, CEO at the free trade zone consultancy Condo Protego.

In the UAE, Condo Protego has seen strong success on driving digital transformation for one of the region’s largest free trade zones. By replacing legacy infrastructure with automated software-defined and scale-out infrastructure, the free trade zone can publish its own business applications and move closer to cloud and mobile app delivery.

“Using cloud and mobility information management solutions, free trade zone businesses can gain a level playing field with large enterprises.
Businesses can incorporate faster and more easily, better manage sales and supply chain, and enhance their ability to better meet customer needs,” added Calthorpe.

Among UAE free trade zones, Condo Protego is seeing strong demand for solutions such as Dell EMC hyper-converged infrastructure, and Dell EMC software-defined storage such as ScaleIO, ECS scale-out storage, and Isilon network attached storage.

Originally published on www.saudigazette.com.sa

Categories
Finance Kenya Regions Sub Saharan Africa

Islamic Banking Will Benefit Kenyans of All Faith

Bishop David Oginde’s opinion piece “Why expansion of Sharia laws remains perturbing” published in the Sunday Standard last weekend gave the impression that some proposed reforms in the Finance Bill 2017 portend danger simply because they touch on Islamic financial products. Bishop Oginde was clever in his approach but his message was loud and clear; Reforms to help promote Islamic financial products in this country should be viewed as a grand scheme of Islamisation, subtly disguised in a policy cassock. Here is why his arguments do not hold water: First, the good Bishop’s opposition to the institutionalisation of these reforms seems to be on the basis that they are discriminatory and would marginalise non-Muslims. Bishop Oginde notes, “The concern therefore is that such a move may result in a situation where the Muslim community enjoys preferential exempt status by government in the raising of taxes to fund national obligations, while non-Muslims continue to shoulder the burden.” This is laughable! How can such a statement be true when these products are available to every individual, irrespective of their religious leanings and will be traded by the Barclays, CBAs and KCBs of this world? This is not religious zamzam water being availed in mosques only. These are financial products available in the market for all Kenyans. How is it then that the non-Muslims will be subsidising the Muslims? Gai! Second, who says non-interest based financial transactions are based purely on Islam? It is not Islam only that prohibits interest and usury. Christianity and Judaism also condemn it. The Bible condemns interest and usury and one would expect a bishop like Oginde to know this. In fact after the recent global financial crisis, Osservatore Romano, the Vatican Newspaper published an article extolling the merits and successes of Islamic banking and voiced its approval of Islamic finance. It asked banks to look at the rules of Islamic finance to restore confidence amongst their clients at a time of global economic crisis. “The ethical principles on which Islamic finance is based may bring banks closer to their clients and to the true spirit which should mark every financial service” it wrote. May be Bishop Oginde is more Christian than the Pope himself. Furthermore, would not a Christian bishop having issues with an ethical based financial arrangement not give the impression, albeit a subtle one, that the conventional interest-based financial institutions that many Kenyans detest today, are indeed Christian? Why would a bishop, of all people, have a problem with any system meant to ensure people are not exploited and taken advantage of, just because it is the brainchild of another faith? If Kenyan Christians want to establish banks or products that go with their ‘no usury’ Christian principle, why wouldn’t that be welcomed by even say the Muslims? Bwana Bishop, we Muslims have absolutely no problem with Saturdays and Sundays being rest days, not to mention the many other Judeo-Christian based laws of our constitution. Finally, Bishop Oginde thinks Kenya’s plan to join the Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) is a well calculated move to Islamised the country. What he ignores is that many other countries, like Ghana and even our neighbour Uganda, with negligible Muslim population, are already in it. Kenya, like these other countries, wants to join IOC for financial not religious reasons. It wants to access loans from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB). Such loans will benefit all its citizens. People like Oginde would probably opine that Kenya does not need the IDB since it is ‘Islamic’. They would rather we take loans from the IMF and the World Bank because these institutions in their misconstrued judgments are ‘Christian’? Countries such as the UK, China, Japan, US and South Africa, which have minority Muslim populations, have amended their legislation to accommodate these products. Even the World Bank recognises Islamic finance as an effective tool for financing development worldwide, including in non-Muslim countries. It is an industry with $1.5 trillion in assets and Kenya cannot ignore it. Kenya needs an integrated financial system with deep and efficient financial markets capable of improving financial inclusion and wooing international investors from all corners of the world. Before the introduction of Islamic banks and Islamic windows in the conventional banks, we had a deliberately unbanked citizens who did so in order to maintain their religious sanctity. The proposed reforms in the Finance Bill 2017 are meant to attract this group. They are also geared towards attracting investments from the Islamic axis of the liquidity rich Middle East, South Asia and North Africa, open up investment opportunities in our financial institutions and ultimately create jobs for Kenyans of all faith. These are the reasons behind the amendments being made to the several finance related laws in the Finance Bill 2017. Bishop Oginde should see these issues in terms of their substance and not in their identity.
Originally published on www.standardmedia.co.ke

Categories
Finance Malaysia Regions Southeast Asia

Push for Mergers Among Islamic Banks and Non-Bank Lenders in Malaysia

CONVENTIONAL banks aside, there is a push by industry players for mergers and acquisitions (M&A) to take place in the crowded Islamic banking as well as the non-bank lender space.

There are 16 Islamic banks in Malaysia.

Two are full-fledged standalone banks: Bank Islam (M) Bhd and Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd.

Eight more are subsidiaries of conventional banks, while the remaining are foreign banks.

 Non-bank lenders include entities such as the Government-owned Bank Kerjasama Rakyat Malaysia Bhd (Bank Rakyat), Bank Simpanan Malaysia, Bank Pertanian Malaysia Bhd and Malaysia Building Society Bhd (MBSB).

“There is no need for the spaces to be as fragmented as they are now as the country moves up the value chain,” says an analyst.

Having said that, he points out that some of the banks really need to improve their non-performing loans and balance sheets.

“Efficiency and productivity have to permeate across the entire ecosystem, be it conventional or otherwise,” he adds.

M&A activities in this particular sectors of the banking industry will also open up opportunities for major institutions to see how they can participate in them.

It was reported recently that Permodalan Nasional Bhd (PNB) which is the country’s largest fund management company, is believed to be open to the idea of acquiring Bank Rakyat in a move which could lead to value creation between Bank Rakyat and PNB-controlled companies.

Besides the MIDF Group which is the investment banking and asset management arm of PNB, the fund also controls Malayan Banking Bhd (Maybank) – the largest bank in the country that also has a regional presence.

PNB has a 60% stake in Malaysia’s only national reinsurer, MNRB Holdings Bhd which is grossly under-valued

Following the effects of the Asian financial crisis in the late 1990s, Bank Negara had called for a consolidation of the country’s then almost 60 financial institutions of which over 20 were local commercial banks.

Today, the country has eight local banking groups.

Nevertheless, while consolidation has happened in the conventional banking industry, new licences had been issued within the Islamic banking space to more Islamic banks like Bank Muamalat, Kuwait Finance House, Asian Finance Bank (AFB) and Al Rajhi Bank, resulting in the overcrowded situation.

Of the banks, AFB however is currently in talks with MBSB for a proposed merger.

Meanwhile, PT Bank Mandiri Tbk, Indonesia’s largest bank by assets, is soon expected to start operating here with full banking rights.

Bank Mandiri currently operates in Malaysia under the licence of remittance office.

 Originally published on www.thestar.com.my
Categories
Brunei Finance Regions Southeast Asia

Brunei Ranked 12th in Global Islamic Economy Indicator

BRUNEI Darussalam has been ranked 12th in the latest Global Islamic Economy Indicator (GIEI), prepared by the answer company of Thomson Reuters.

Brunei made it to the top 15 list for the first time, moving up five spots replacing Egypt. The Sultanate had a big jump in the Halal Travel ranking (10 spots) and strong performance in Halal Food Ecosystem Development.

Its Halal certification-led Halal food product lines have made strong entrance in the UK market and Brunei Halal is getting due recognition as a result. Brunei also continues to benefit from being in the vicinity of Indonesia and Malaysia, two of the largest Halal sensitive Muslim travel markets, the GIEI report said.

Brunei is in top 10 in Halal Pharmaceuticals and Cosmetics and also triumphant in Modest Fashion category where the Sultanate ranked in the 12th place, Halal Travel (22nd) and Islamic Finance (27th).

Malaysia topped the ranking with the score of 121 followed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain. Saudi Arabia, Oman and Pakistan were respectively positioned at fourth, fifth and sixth followed by Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan, and Indonesia.

Singapore held 11th position as the only country that is not a member of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, while Brunei, Sudan and Iran were put at 12th, 13th and 14th place.

The indicator is prepared to show the current health and development of the Islamic economy ecosystem. The components of the ecosystem are Halal Food, Islamic Finance, Halal Travel, Modest Fashion, Halal Media and Recreation, and Halal Pharmaceuticals and Cosmetics.

The indicator does not focus on the overall size and growth trajectory of a country across the Islamic economy sectors; instead it evaluated them on relative strengths of the ecosystem they have to support the development of the Islamic economy.

Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), in partnership with Thomson Reuters and in collaboration with the Dinar Standard, a growth strategy research and advisory firm based in New York, introduced the Global Islamic Economy Indicator in 2014.

Originally published on www.borneobulletin.com.bn