Dubai Chamber identifies opportunities in Iraq’s Islamic finance sector

Press release
Published May 29th, 2014 - 11:13 GMT

Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry urged Iraqi banks and financial companies to expand their networks within the Islamic economy through Dubai which is working hard towards becoming the capital of Islamic Economy in the World during a roundtable discussion on “Islamic Finance” held in Divan Hotel, Erbil, Kurdistan, recently.

The meeting, which identified the main trends, opportunities and challenges in the Iraqi Islamic finance sector, also focused on Dubai’s extensive experience in the area of Islamic finance, and how Iraqi companies can benefit from the emirate’s lead role in promoting the overall Islamic economy. 

The roundtable was attended by H.E. Rashid Mohammed Al Mansouri, Consul General, UAE Consulate General in Erbil, Dr. Sadiq Rashid Al Shammari, Managing Director, National Islamic Bank in Kurdistan and an Expert on Islamic Finance, Mr. Amanj Yarwaessi, Manager, Dubai Chamber Representative Office in Kurdistan, representatives of leading banks, consultancy companies, and other stakeholders, who discussed ways to raise awareness of Islamic finance in the country.

H.E. Rashid Mohammed Al Mansouri, UAE Consul General in Erbil, highlighted the importance of the Islamic economy and the scope of growth for the Islamic finance sector in the Kurdistan region of Iraq which is offering a secure business environment. He also stressed on Dubai Chamber’s role in strengthening business relations between Kurdistan and the UAE, particularly Dubai.

On his part, Dr. Sadiq Rashid Al Shammari, Managing Director, National Islamic Bank, informed that although Islamic finance is more popular than conventional banking in Iraq but there was still a need to raise awareness and training for personnel in the Al Shammari also stressed on the need for a legislation on Islamic finance as well as a governing council connected to Central Bank as Islamic finance was becoming more popular globally due to the fact that investments under the concept are secured against physical assets, he said.

The roundtable discussion also focused on the strong network of microfinance that exists in Iraq which operates solely through Islamic finance as well as the non-presence of Islamic insurers in Iraq and an appropriate legislative framework to support the growth of Islamic banking in the country.

The Forum helped businesses explore investment opportunities, and policy-makers and thinkers to discuss the ways to benefit from the growth of Islamic economy, as well as the subsequent demand for Islamic products.

On Dubai Chamber’s organising of the roundtable in Kurdistan region, Hassan Al Hashemi, Vice President, International Relations, Dubai Chamber, pointed out that the idea behind the roundtable is to inform the Kurdistan business community about the initiatives and trade promotion activities of the Chamber in light of Dubai’s status as an excellent re-export hub offering world-class logistical and infrastructural services, an integrated regulatory system, lucrative investment opportunities and a cultural diversity to traders from Iraq wanting to reach major consumer markets in the region and the world.

Al Hashemi further stressed that H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai’s initiative to make the emirate the Capital of Islamic Economy forms the basis upon which Dubai is exerting its efforts in this area.

He lauded the role of Dubai Chamber’s representative office in Erbil which he said promotes UAE investment opportunities for Iraqi companies looking to set up businesses in Dubai while also looking for expansion of their trading activities in the region while highlighting the potential of the Iraqi market and its surrounding areas in various economic sectors for Dubai businesses.

Al Hashemi called upon Iraqi businesses to participate in the 10th session of the World Islamic Economy Forum (WIEF)  rganised by Dubai Chamber this November in the emirate. Hosted for the first time in the region, the forum is expected to be attended by over 2,500 delegates from across the world.

This meeting was the first of its kind to be organised by Dubai Chamber after the opening of its representative office in Erbil this year, and will be followed by a series of workshops and seminars that will help promote bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

Background Information

Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry

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