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Thu 13 Feb 2003 04:00 AM

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Bahrain paves way for Islamic financial centre

Bahrain Monetary Agency initiates plans for major Islamic financial training, education and research centre.

In a bid to take Islamic banking and financial sectors into the world arena, the Bahrain Monetary Agency (BMA) announced plans last week (Feb 9) to launch a major new Islamic financial, training and education centre in the Kingdom.“The centre is envisaged as a catalyst for the next phase of development and growth of the world Islamic banking industry in the 21st century,” said Shaikh Salman Bin Isa Al Khalifa, director of Islamic financial institutions at the BMA. The BMA hopes that the centre will be able to help the Islamic financial industry on three fronts. On an education level, it hopes to introduce a variety of degree programmes that will create and equip a new crop of Islamic bankers, financial analysts and consultants for the industry as a whole.Research will concentrate primarily on the practical aspects of Islamic finance rather than the theory, with specific studies being carried out on management systems, divergence of Shari’a law and the regulation of Islamic banks.The centre’s final task will be to initiate new products that boost consumer choices as well as providing profitable trading platforms for Islamic financial institutions.“I will do my best to support this great idea and look forward to the establishment of an institution that will earn its reputation and credibility through the quality of its programmes and depth of knowledge within its faculty,” said Noor ur Rahman Abid, leader of the project taskforce and managing partner of Ernst & Young's Assurance and Advisory Business Service (AABS), Middle East.Bahrain is seen as an ideal location for the development of the Islamic financial industry and its institutions due to the number of agreements being made from the Kingdom.

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