Brave new fron­tier

Nairobi Law Monthly - - Business & Law -

ate skills and knowl­edge to con­trib­ute to its fur­ther growth and sta­bil­ity. Com­pet­i­tive­ness in an in­dus­try is de­ter­mined by the qual­ity of its hu­man cap­i­tal and the cul­ture of con­tin­u­ous learn­ing. The growth of Is­lamic fi­nance, just like other in­dus­tries, shall be fa­cil­i­tated by in­vest­ment in hu­man cap­i­tal de­vel­op­ment, among other con­sid­er­a­tions.

Op­por­tu­ni­ties for growth

In­sti­tu­tions of higher learn­ing have come in handy to sup­port the growth of Is­lamic fi­nance by hav­ing their cur­ricu­lum and train­ing ma­te­ri­als aligned to the needs of the in­dus­try, which speaks to the ques­tions of skill. Durham Univer­sity, the third old­est univer­sity in United King­dom, has been of­fer­ing Is­lamic fi­nance pro­grammes for over a quar­ter of a cen­tury. The Univer­sity of East Lon­don and As­ton and War­wick Univer­si­ties, among oth­ers in the UK, have also ven­tured into the Is­lamic fi­nance pro­grams. They have proac­tively de­signed pro­grammes to cater for the Is­lamic fi­nance as a niche mar­ket.

A num­ber of or­gan­i­sa­tions and in­stitu- tions have also chan­nelled their re­sources and fo­cus on re­search and de­vel­op­ment in the area of Is­lamic fi­nance fol­low­ing the in­creased global em­pha­sis for ef­fec­tive, ef­fi­ciency and eth­i­cally re­spon­si­ble fi­nan­cial in­ter­me­di­a­tion that pro­motes sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment.

Re­gion­ally, Kenya was the first coun­try to in­tro­duce Is­lamic bank­ing in the East­ern and Cen­tral African re­gion a decade ago, and while the busi­ness is still in tran­si­tion, it has been grow­ing steadily and shows big po­ten­tial for growth. The up­take of Is­lamic bank­ing is pro­jected to grow ex­po­nen­tially in sub-sa­ha­ran Africa. The es­tab­lish­ment of the fully fledged Is­lamic banks like the Gulf African Bank and First Com­mu­nity Bank, and the Is­lamic bank­ing win­dows within the tra­di­tional con­ven­tional banks as well as the reg­is­tra­tion of the first Is­lamic In­sur­ance ser­vice provider, Taka­ful Africa, has en­hanced fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion and risk man­age­ment for a sig­nif­i­cant com­po­nent of our pop­u­la­tion who have been shy­ing away from con­ven­tional fi­nance on eth­i­cal and spir­i­tu­als grounds.

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