Brave new frontier
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.