British International Campaign to Attract Islamic Investments

British International Campaign to Attract Islamic Investments
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British International Campaign to Attract Islamic Investments

British International Campaign to Attract Islamic Investments

The UK's Department of International Trade has announced the launch of a wide-ranging campaign in the Middle East and the Gulf to encourage investment in the UK in accordance with Islamic Sharia.

According to a report published by the Dubai-based regional Media and Communications Center, the United Kingdom is ranked the first Western country in the field of Islamic banking and investment in accordance with Islamic Sharia.

London is considered the largest market for Islamic finance outside the Islamic world and has more than 20 banks providing Islamic financial services. Five of the banks operate in accordance with Islamic Shariawhile the value of Islamic net assets in Britain is $728 million.

The London Stock Exchange (LSE) supported the sukuk issue, raising $48 billion from the issuance of 65 Sukuk programs, the report said.

It pointed out that Britain ranks 22nd out of 124 countries in the world that use Islamic banking, placing it first in Europe and fourth among non-Muslim majority countries after Singapore, Sri Lanka and South Africa.

According to the report, the number of institutions and centers in the UK that offer Islamic finance services is almost double that of the United States and is well ahead of other Western countries. The assets of UK-based institutions providing Islamic finance services have amounted to more than five billion dollars in 2016.

"More than 6,500 homes are being financed in the north-west of the UK and the Midlands through an investment of £700 million from the Sharia-compliant Gatehouse Bank," the report added.

Among the important features of the UK's development as a center for Islamic finance has been a set of supportive government policies over the last decade that created a tax and regulatory framework aimed at expanding the Islamic finance market, including the elimination of double taxation, the extension of Islamic mortgage tax and the reform of debt arrangements.

The United Kingdom is the first sovereign Western country to issue sovereign sukuk. In 2014, the British government sold £200 million sukuk payable in 2019 to UK-based investors and major global Islamic finance centers.

The first sovereign sukuk in the Kingdom was subscribed with a very strong demand and orders totaling about 2.3 billion pounds sterling.

There are currently more than 100,000 Islamic finance customers in the UK with accounts opened according to Islamic Sharias, whether current or residential loan accounts, savings accounts, investment accounts or others.

In September, London hosted the fourth annual meeting of the Global Islamic Finance and Investment Group ( GIFIG ), where senior policymakers from around the world met in London to discuss inter-state cooperation to develop the global Islamic finance industry.



Saudi, British Companies Seek to Explore Sustainable Partnerships

Participants in the Great Futures Initiative conference which was recently held in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Participants in the Great Futures Initiative conference which was recently held in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)
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Saudi, British Companies Seek to Explore Sustainable Partnerships

Participants in the Great Futures Initiative conference which was recently held in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)
Participants in the Great Futures Initiative conference which was recently held in Riyadh (Asharq Al-Awsat)

Several major national companies are participating in the UK-Saudi Sustainable Infrastructure Summit in London on June 24-26.

According to information made available to Asharq Al-Awsat, the Federation of Saudi Chambers is seeking to mobilize the largest possible number of companies specialized in sustainable infrastructure to explore partnerships with the United Kingdom in green construction, smart cities, and technologies.

The summit will address topics that touch on the importance of Saudi-British cooperation in developing and financing sustainable infrastructure and development of cities, in addition to green technology and renewable energy initiatives.

Trade Exchange

The event will be followed by a meeting of the sectoral working groups on June 25 and an evening celebration of the tenth anniversary of the British-Saudi Business Council. The Sports Investment Forum will be held on June 26.

The value of trade exchange between Saudi Arabia and Britain exceeded 17 billion pounds ($21 billion), while the two countries aim to increase the volume of bilateral trade to $37.5 billion by 2030.

In May, Riyadh hosted the Great Futures conference, one of the initiatives of the Saudi-British Strategic Partnership Council, which is chaired by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak.

The conference sought to strengthen economic relations in several promising sectors, in addition to developing trade and mutual investment.

The two kingdoms explored opportunities through 60 initiatives in 13 sectors that enhance economic, trade and investment partnerships in all fields.

Speaking at the event in May, Saudi Minister of Commerce Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi said that the United Kingdom is the second largest exporter of services in the world, and that his country has promising opportunities and a will to diversify the economy.

He added that joint cooperation between the two countries covers various fields, with a focus on the commercial, financial, digital, cultural, educational and health sectors, as well as sports, tourism and entertainment.