Islamic finance has witnessed tremendous growth in recent years and has the potential to emerge as a mainstream alternative to traditional investments. The industry is growing at an average rate of 15 per cent per year and total funds under its management are estimated at about $1.3 trillion. While this is ‘a drop in the global financial ocean’, the industry’s potential is enormous. This is because many of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims as well as non-Muslims are increasingly becoming part of its customer base. Many non-Muslims see Shari’ah-compliant products as offering an alternative ethical investment that is clean, environmentally friendly and socially responsible, as well as a way to diversify investor portfolios. The impressive realized growth as well as the tremendous potential throws up the need for trained professionals in the field to fill the ever-increasing demand-supply gap. The sector also offers interesting questions that need to be addressed urgently the global community of scholars and researchers.
Given this background, IBF Net (Islamic Business and Finance Network) and the International Institute of Islamic Business and Finance have initiated a series of International Training Programmes in India. The maiden training programme in this series was organised at the India Islamic Culture Centre, New Delhi on May 4. The programme participants comprised about 20 professionals from the RBI, several commercial banks and finance companies. It was conducted by a two-member team comprising Dr Mohammed Obaidullah, a Senior Economist with the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Founder, IBF Net and Dr Ausaf Ahmad, Former Senior Economist with IDB and President, IBF Net; supported by Shafeeq Rahman, a doctoral student in Islamic economics with Jamia Millia Islamia.
The programme comprised four intensive sessions dealing with Norms of Islamic Finance; Islamic Commercial Banking; Islamic Insurance and Islamic Investments.
According to Dr Obaidullah, IBF Net plans to organise two more programmes in Mumbai and Chennai in September 2008 focusing on Islamic capital markets and microfinance respectively.
The Islamic Business and Finance Network is a global network of over 5000 bankers, finance professionals, scholars and researchers interested in the field of IBF. It was founded in the year 1999 by Dr Mohammed Obaidullah in India and has been a pioneer in the field of IBF education, research and training on a global scale. Its website at http://www.iiibf.org is a one-stop resource centre and hosts an academy, the International Institute of Islamic Business and Finance (IIIBF) for professional certification programmes in the field.