Ready to be taken to the next level, the burgeoning sector of Islamic finance is ready to take root in new regions through Turkey, Malaysia and Qatar, according to a leading figure in Qatari finance.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview, the CEO of the Qatar Financial Centre Yousuf Al-Jaida said Malaysia could act as a gateway for Islamic finance into Asia, with Turkey into Europe and Qatar the Middle East and Africa.
He stressed that Malaysia was ready with its legal framework to facilitate the sector, as well as such products as Sukuk — a non-interest-bearing note. Qatar, and Turkey need to step up and do more for the sector, which should be pioneered by Muslim countries.
Underlining that Doha and Ankara needed to step up and do more, he said these three countries could form a large platform to share experience, technology and knowledge in the $2.4-trillion field.
“I think we can create something really superb and magnificent for the industry,” Al-Jaida said, adding that Islamic finance is now growing at an even quicker pace than traditional or conventional finance.
The CEO highlighted several new potential fields for Islamic finance, such as Islamic financial technologies, Islamic reinsurance and Islamic asset management.
“I think we have a very bright and rosy future, but there is a lot of work that needs to be done,” he noted.
With economic problems mounting across the globe, Al-Jaida said Islamic finance could be a role model for the world economy.
Istanbul Finance Center
Touching on Turkey’s Istanbul Finance Center project, expected to be completed in 2022, Al-Jaida expressed optimism in the center’s potential.
“We have been talking to the Malaysians and the Istanbul Financial Center and hopefully very soon we’re going to be signing a very important MoU,” he said.
Strategically located between European and Muslim countries, the Istanbul Finance Center hopes to become a center of the non-bank financial sector.
Al-Jaida urged Turkey to collaborate with Qatar and Malaysia to establish Islamic finance as a successful sector in the country.
Qatar’s investments in Turkey
“Turkey is a massive country. It’s a very important market. It’s very well-opened in terms of foreign direct investment,” asserted Al-Jaida.
He cited Qatar’s investments in Turkey, stressing that Qatar has committed $10 billion as of yet, and that 35% of this has been invested.
Turkey should make legal reforms to attract more foreign direct investment, he said, adding: “But there’s no doubt, the Turkish market is very attractive and very interesting.”
The hydrocarbon-rich Gulf state of Qatar currently invests in Turkey’s banking, real estate and health sectors.
“Investments will follow healthy political relations and our relations with Turkey go back hundreds of years.”