(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) The total value of Bahraini banks' Islamic banking assets increased by 50 per cent in 2008 to 24.6 billion against 16.4 billion in 2007, according to figures issued by the Central Bank of Bahrain or CBB.
The CBB has approved more than 33 licences for Islamic finance institutions since 2005. There are 36 specialist Islamic banks operating in the Kingdom whilst many conventional banks, recognising the growing importance of Islamic banking, have successfully integrated Islamic windows within their operations.
"Whilst the underlying principles of Islamic finance have safeguarded it against the worst of the economic downturn, it is Bahrain's tried and trusted world-class regulatory standards that have helped attract institutions to the country and led to the rapid growth of Islamic finance assets,"said Rasheed Al Maraj, Govenor of Central Bank of Bahrain.
"The remarkable increase in Islamic finance is fresh evidence that Bahrain's national economic strategy is paying off, in terms of creating business, revenue and employment. Fund managers, like many other businesses, are setting up in Bahrain because they know they will benefit from the region's most educated workforce, an ample supply of support services and infrastructure, and systems of regulation and taxation designed to make it safer, easier and more profitable to do business," said Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of the Economic Development Board.
"At a time when so many financial systems around the world are in trouble — these results show that our culture of conservative regulation, based on ethical values and public/private partnership, is now more than ever the way forward," Al Khalifa added