The 9th Annual Shari’a Conference in Bahrain - organised by the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), the Bahrain-based organisation that formulates standards on accounting, auditing, ethics, governance, and Shari'a for the international Islamic finance industry – which concludes today, underpins the leading role the country plays in driving forward the development and growth of the Islamic Finance industry, according to Kamal Ahmed, Chief Operating Officer of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB).
The Conference is designed to give the international Islamic finance industry a collaborative platform to highlight and discuss pertinent industry issues as well as to help facilitate AAOIFI’s role in the development of new standards and the review of existing standards. Discussions at the Conference will be led by eminent Shari'a scholars and members of Shari'a Board of AAOIFI.
The Conference is also being held with the support of the Central Bank of Bahrain, the single regulator for the country’s financial services sector which –with over 400 licensed institutions, including one of the world’s largest clusters of Islamic Finance institutions – is the largest contributor to total GDP (27 percent). Bahrain also has strong professional services, logistics, ICT, and manufacturing sectors, which the Kingdom intends to grow as part of the country’s Vision 2030 and National Economic Strategy, led by the EDB, under the guidance of His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, the Crown Prince of Bahrain and Chairman of the EDB.
At the Welcome Address for the conference yesterday, Shaikh Ebrahim Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Minister of Housing, Kingdom of Bahrain, and Chairman, Board of Trustees, AAOIFI, highlighted: “The conference provides an integral platform to discuss essential Islamic finance principles and their practical application. The discussions will facilitate further development of industry standards and regulatory guidelines that can support growth of Islamic finance market.”
AAOIFI has gained significant support for the implementation of its standards, which are followed by leading Islamic financial institutions globally including in the Kingdom of Bahrain, the rest of the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe and North America. The standards have also been used as basis of regulatory guidelines by the relevant authorities in the leading Islamic finance centres across the world.
In a Conference Keynote Address, Rasheed Al Maraj, Governor, Central Bank of Bahrain, said: “The Islamic Banking sector has had great growth in the last four decades, but we need to continue developing Islamic finance standards in line with international banking standards and practices to retain investors’ confidence and minimize any harmful risk to the industry.”
Commenting on the event, Kamal Ahmed, Chief Operating Officer of EDB, said: “With a track record of over 40 years and being the first in the region to establish a finance industry , Bahrain continues to play a pioneering role in Islamic finance, helping to drive forward the concepts, rules and common standards of Shari’a compliance. There is a total of 46 Islamic Finance institutions based in the country, the largest concentration of Islamic banking entities in the world, and conferences and events such as this one will help us maintain our leading role and position.”