A Regional Workshop on Islamic Banking and Development of Sukuk Markets jointly organized by IDB and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was hosted by the Central Bank of Tunisia (CBT) during 17-19 December in Tunis. The objective of the workshop was to transfer knowledge, exchange experiences and build technical capacity in the Ministries of Finance and Central Banks from participant countries including Algeria, Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Oman, Mauritania, Morocco, Yemen and Tunisia. Addressing the workshop, Dr. Abdul Aziz Al Hinai, Vice-President, Finance, IDB, stated that the Islamic Development Bank was encouraged by the tremendous progress shown by Islamic financial services industry in terms of innovation and resilience and that it is committed to the growth of the industry globally. “IDB welcomes the interest of member countries in developing this industry and stands ready to support them through technical assistance and investments”.
The workshop comes at a time when policymakers in the region are showing increased interest in developing Islamic Finance. Many participant countries are already proceeding with an overhaul of their banking regulation to allow Islamic financial products and actively preparing for Sovereign and Corporate Sukuk issuances. As pointed out by the Governor of the Central Bank of Tunisia Dr. Chedly Ayari: “Arab countries in transition like Tunisia are now looking forward to deepen their financial sector, develop an Islamic finance industry to provide diversified financial services, and tap into the domestic and global Sukuk markets to finance their development. This seminar comes at the right juncture and is designed to helping participants from our region to learn, share experiences and identify steps ahead in developing Islamic finance along with our partners”. Dr. Ghiath Shabsigh, Assistant Director in the IMF Monetary and Capital Markets Department, said that “Islamic finance which is growing fast globally is less developed in North African countries. Given the financing needs and an increase in the use of Islamic instruments in the region, it is important to strengthen the domestic regulatory infrastructure, supervision as well as central bank liquidity management frameworks”.
During the three-day workshop, participants discussed the industry’s potential in the region and key policy challenges to foster its development and examined the legal, accounting, governance, regulatory and supervisory issues for developing a sound Islamic finance industry. The workshop underscored the importance of Sukuk markets in helping governments and enterprises to tap into domestic and global savings for financing development.