DUBAI: With an increasing appetite for Sharia-compliant alternatives in the areas of banking and finance among the investment community, corporate end users, consumers and intermediaries, Islamic finance in the Middle East has witnessed exponential growth in the past few years.
Despite the global economic slowdown, the Islamic financial industry has crossed its $1 trillion mark and the leaders gathered at the two-day first annual Middle East Islamic Finance and Investment Conference (MEIFIC 2011) which began yesterday at Dusit Thani Dubai, agreed that the industry is rapidly resuming its growth path and increasingly gaining attention in various jurisdictions across the globe in the post-crisis financial landscape.
The 'Successfully Adapting to New Market Realities for Islamic Finance in the Middle East' conference was opened with keynote addresses by Noor Islamic Bank chief executive officer and Noor Investment Group CEO Hussain Al Qemzi and Rusd Investment Bank chairman Dr Saleh Malaikah.
"The Sharia-compliant finance and investments sector is gradually building momentum and popularity around the world, and is expected to lead the re-emergence of the overall global financial industry over the next five years," Mr Al Qemzi said.
"The Noor Investment Group is eager to scale new heights and are confident," he added.
"The continued growth of Islamic finance further strengthens its role as an increasingly important component of the global financial system in the post-crisis landscape," Dr Malaikah said.
"As a long-term industry player, Rusd Investment Bank is committed to upholding its position as a leading world-class Sharia-compliant investment bank that delivers optimum results to its stakeholders," he said.
"We are excited about the new opportunities in the Middle East for Islamic finance and investment and see this event as an ideal platform to tap into them," Dr Malaikah added.
The addresses were followed by a special opening keynote plenary session.