Qatar to launch $1bn Islamic fund

Sharia-compliant Dhow Gulf Opportunities Fund aiming to attract investment to Doha and Gulf region.

Qatar Islamic Bank (QIB) said on Monday it intends to partner with investment banks QInvest and Silver Leaf Capital (SLC) to establish a $1 billion Islamic private equity fund.

QIB said the Dhow Gulf Opportunities Fund will be structured in line with the international private equity industry standards and will be Sharia-compliant.

A memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the three companies to develop the fund was signed in London on February 5, outlining intentions to establish the fund.

The banks said the fund would seek to attract international capital to the region in general, specifically Qatar, and focus on investments in sectors from telecom to environmental recycling technologies, media, oil and gas and infrastructure.

The fund will be managed by Dhow Investors Advisor (DIA).

“Our objective is to invest in diverse sectors that will allow technology migration and transfer of know - how to Qatar,” Salah Jaidah, chief executive of QIB, said in a statement, adding that “we already have in the pipeline about $300 million of investment opportunities that Dhow Investors Advisor (DIA) is evaluating”.

QIB will act as anchor investor in the project and also as lead distribution agent in Qatar and senior distribution agent outside Qatar using QIB’s affiliates in the UK, Lebanon and Malaysia.

Abdulatif Almeer, CEO of QInvest, stressed his confidence in the project, citing the extensive experience of the investment team and strong global contact base.

“The opportunities within the private equity are tremendous and this is the right time for DIA establishment,” said.

Qatar has sought to establish itself as a financial powerhouse in the Gulf region with the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), located in Doha, at the centre of the effort.

The fund initiative from QIB, QInvest and DIA is subject to Qatar Central Bank and QFC regulatory approvals.

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