The Islamic Finance Sector manages to act as a stability factor in times of  shift of paradigms – it has been concluded at the panel discussion “Islamic Finance Fuelling Future Growth in the Age of Disruption” held during the international halal industry fair – Sarajevo Halal Fair (SHF) 2018.

The assets of Islamic banks are estimated at around $ 2 trillion, and Islamic finance is still low compared to the conventional financial market. Nevertheless, the adjustment of financial instruments to modern trends is possible to achieve an even greater range of Islamic finance, are complex participants of this panel.

The moderator of the “Islamic Finance Fuelling Future Growth in the Age of Disruption”  panel was dr. Sofiza Azmi, Executive Director of Cambridge IFA, a Financial Services Consultancy that deals with the development and use of powerful cutting-edge analytical tools for assessing business data, macroeconomic indicators and understanding of market trends.

Šukrija Ramić, Executive Member of the BBI Shari’ah Committee, presented the activities of BBI Bank, the only bank in the Bosnia and Herzegovina that has been operating since the establishment in 2000 of the concept of Islamic banking.

“In an environment that generally understands poorly the concept of Islamic banking, BBI Bank has been able to establish itself, be recognized as a bank that supports the growth and development of the entire community and achieve continuous growth since 2006,” said Ramić, citing a number of successfully implemented programs and projects BBI Bank has launched, and which promote the concept of Islamic banking and benefits the entire community.

Mohamed Damak, global director of Islamic finance at S&P Global Ratings from the United Arab Emirates, said BiH is a small but important link in the Islamic financing model.

“Great potential for growth of this sector lays in countries like BiH, the integration of Islamic and halal industry, as well as new technologies and FinTech,” said Damak.

As Islamic banking resists challenges in the Republic of Turkey, Rusen Ahmet Albayrak, Executive Director of Kuveyt Turk Participation Bank, spoke on behalf of the Bank and mentioned the importance of Islamicb finance in Turkey.

“Currently, this is the fifth crisis in Turkey that I have experienced in my life, and certainly we will overcome this. The challenge faced by the banks is huge, but there is still plenty of space, even for making profits,”Albayrak said, stressing the importance of incorporating digitization and digital trends into the banking sector in modern times.

Mohammed Obaidullah, the leading research economist at the Islamic Research and Training Institute (a member of the IsDB Group) from Saudi Arabia, sees support for public-private partnership projects.

“Note the success of the supported public-private partnerships in Turkey, e.g. in building public hospitals. In that segment, Islamic banking could help more if the legislation were more flexible,” Obaidullah said.

Prof. Dr. Azra Zaimović, from the Faculty of Economics at the University of Sarajevo, pointed out that the current slowdown in Islamic finance could be overcome by the realization of large infrastructure projects in less developed countries.

“Islamic banking traditionally offers products that protect their customers. However, at the time of changing the paradigm of blockchain technologies, crypts, FinTech services, which are new and relatively unknown to clients, Islamic banking should be adapted to these modern trends,” said Mohammed Ibraheem Khan, founder and executive director of OneGram, United Arab Emirates.

SHF 2018 is organized by Bosnia Bank International (BBI) in cooperation with the Islamic Community in BiH and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and gathered participants from more than 40 countries and around 90 exhibitors from all over the world.

During the three days of SHF 2018, regional producers of halal products and providers of halal services from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Croatia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Macedonia and Albania, with large customers and distributors from the European Union, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Malaysia, Bahrain, Libya and the United Arab Emirates.