Islamic Development Bank (IDB) President Ahmad Mohamed Ali and the UK Senior Minister of State for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Baroness Warsi of Dewsbury, view positively the fast growth of Islamic finance in the UK.
During a visit to the IDB headquarters in Jeddah, Baroness Warsi told the IDB president that significant progress has been achieved by the UK government in making London not only the center of Islamic finance in the Western world, but one of the great capitals of Islamic finance in the world, as announced by UK Prime Minister David Cameron at the World Islamic Economic Forum held in London in late 2013.
“I am pleased to inform you that the UK is close to issuing its first sovereign sukuk (Islamic bond) and work on the practicalities is currently being carried out by leading financial institutions appointed by the UK government to arrange this issue possibly by mid-2014,” said the minister.
She thanked the IDB president for accepting to be a member of the Global Group on Islamic Finance and Investment being set up by the UK government. This group brings together central bank governors and CEOs of major Islamic banks from across the world to identify and address the critical factors that will drive the global Islamic finance market over the next five years.
Ali and the minister reiterated their commitment to the growing IDB-UK partnership in the area of development assistance, especially in fragile situations such as Palestine and Somalia and the economic empowerment of women through the work of the new Arab Women Enterprise Fund.
“We have a strong relationship with the UK Department for International Development, and we are very satisfied with this exemplary partnership,” Ali told the minister. Ali and Baroness Warsi also agreed to explore potential partnership opportunities in the development of Awqaf (endowments), an area with tremendous growth potential.