Experts meet to develop Islamic finance in The Gambia
The country's central bank sees the deepening of Islamic finance as a priority.Islamic finance experts from countries such as Nigeria, Malaysia and Sierra Leone have met this week for a two-day seminar in Banjul to find solutions to develop Islamic finance in The Gambia.
Abdoulie Jallow, permanent secretary at the Gambian Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, said the forum is part of a project designed to develop Islamic Finance funded by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
"One of the key aims of the OIC is to foster strong links within the Islamic world, and economic cooperation as one of the key facets for building such ties," he said, quoted by newspaper The Point.
He explained that the country's central bank (CBG) sees the deepening of Islamic finance as an important instrument for reaching out to under-served segments of the society.
"CBG is fully committed to not only implementing best practices to achieve the optimal regulatory environment, but also taking a leadership role to support all aspects of the industry's development, including ensuring sustained macro-economic stability, promoting effective use of technology to enhance efficiency and to enable Islamic finance institutions better manage risks and developing a system of research and evaluation," he said.
He added that the industry faces some challenges, including lack of clarity in some aspects of Islamic banking, a shortage of products with medium to long-term maturities and weak risk management.
However, he said in spite of the challenges, increasing understanding and awareness, as well as building capacity in Islamic finance are important, and require concerted efforts from the regulators, government, banks and insurance companies.