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Business News Fri, 27 Feb 2004

Seminar On Islamic Banking kicks off today

A Two-Day international seminar on Islamic banking and finance will kick off today at the Accra International Conference Centre. The objective is to promote discourse on research findings on the subject and engender in-depth discussion among intellectuals on a wide range of financial and banking issues in order to ascertain the prospects of Islamic banking and finance.

The seminar will also ?produce a reference work on Islamic Banking and Finance to foster an increased understanding ... in order to advance its knowledge in the country.?The seminar will also facilitate the necessary procedures for the establishment and development of Islamic financial institutions in Ghana, a statement issued by the Tamale-based Alfurqan Foundation and signed by its Chairman Alhaji Baba Yunus Muhammad, said.

As part of the programme, there will be a panel discussion on Islamic banking and finance as an alternative system for the country, the statement added. Participants and discussants at the seminar will include the Vice-President, Alhaji Aliu Mahama, the Executive Governor of Bauchi State in Nigeria, Dr Ahmadu Adamu Mu?azu the Vice-President of the Jedda-based multinational Islamic Development Bank, Dr Ahmadou Boubacar Cisse and the Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, Mr Yaw Osafo-Maafo.

Others are Dr Paul Acquah, Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Alhassan Muhammad, former Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana; Dr Mahmud Bawumia, Bank of Ghana; Mr Abdullai Alhassan of the International Commercial Bank, Accra, and Dr Abdullahi Issaka at the School of Administration, University of Ghana, Legon.

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The opening session, the statement said, will be chaired by Alhaji Asuma Banda, Chairman of Antrak Group of Companies.?Islamic banking remains one of the most original and dynamic concepts to emerge in the latter part of the 20th Century?, the statement added, and explained that there are about 265 Islamic banks and financial institutions in over 40 countries.

Islamic financial institutions also have about $13 billion paid-up capital, total assets of about $262 billion and manage over $400 billion worth of investments, the statement said.The financial system also operates investment equity funds which have become some of the fastest growing sectors with an excess of $6 billion and growing at an annual rate of 15 per cent.

The statement added that the success of the Islamic financial system has proved that it can play a meaningful role in the development of non-oil developing countries through the provision of risk capital, joint venture capital, trade and agriculture financing, among others.

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