Islamic financial services industry must use African opportunities: Mauritius PM
Mauritius is confident of sustaining and developing a buoyant Islamic financial services industry, added Navin Ramgoolam. (Image: Hindustan Times)
Mauritius Prime Minister Navin Ramgoolam noted in his speech at the opening ceremony of the 11th Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) summit that Mauritius is confident of sustaining and developing a buoyant Islamic financial services industry.
This denotes a new frontier for the country and will help it cement its position as a gateway to Africa, he noted.
Mauritius is an ideal location for the holding of the IFSB summit because the island is often referred to as a success story in Africa’s growth history and the island has succeeded in becoming an upper middle-income economy with a successful financial services sector.
The pre-requisites to building an Islamic Finance industry in Mauritius are first, a prosperous internationally oriented offshore financial market that is increasingly serving the needs of global investors, and secondly, the deeply engrained institutional necessity for building organizations that are economically successful, added Dr Ramgoolam.
The Prime Minister advised that, further to the global financial crisis, Mauritius needs to be cautious, and to adopt a risk-sharing approach which is the cornerstone of Islamic Finance.
He added that it is essential to conform to Islamic conventional banking with focus on the provision of real economic services and risk sharing with effective regulations.
The latter made an appeal to the Islamic financial services industry to be increasingly present in the African continent. Currently, Islamic finance offer only 1% of the USD 3 trillion Islamic investments across the world to Africa, while there are great opportunities that are rising on the African continent.
With a more conservative and rigorous regulatory system, Mauritius has escaped the worst of the primary impact of the global financial crisis which has led to the fall of many economies across the world and has been sufficiently resilient in the face of the secondary impact of the problems affecting our main trading partners in Europe.
The one and a half day summit is being attended by more than 300 local and foreign participants from all sectors of the financial services industry worldwide.
The aim of this summit is to provide an overview of global financial and regulatory developments from the perspective of Islamic finance, and also explore some recent innovations that are driving inclusive growth while examining different policy and regulatory approaches to manage attendant risks.
The IFSB is based in Kuala Lumpur and was officially inaugurated on November 3, 2002. It started its operations on March 10, 2003 and serves as an international standard-setting body of regulatory and supervisory agencies that exist to ensure the soundness and stability of the Islamic financial services industry.
The 184 IFSB members comprises 59 regulatory and supervisory authorities, eight international inter-governmental organisations and 111 market players and professional firms operating in 45 jurisdictions, as at March 27, 2014.
The IFSB conducts research and coordinates initiatives on industry-related issues in addition to organises roundtables, seminars and conferences for regulators and industry stakeholders.