The Islamic economy and finance is growing and making an increasing contribution to the global economic growth. According to the Economist magazine (September 2014), Islamic finance grew at an annual rate of 17.6 percent between 2009 and 2013, faster than conventional banking and is estimated to be US$2 trillion in size. In 2010, Muslim population accounted for 1.7 billion representing 23.4% of total world population. According to the “State of Global Islamic Economy Report 2015/2016” of Thomson Reuters; the Islamic economy affects more than 1.7 billion Muslims in the world
The Municipality of Turin thinks that Islamic finance is an effective tool to reach out to the Muslim community and integrate it , and that it can help attracting much needed investments to Turin from those countries where Islamic finance contributes to the economic development and creation of jobs.
Italy is the 3rd largest economy of the Euro zone and the 8th largest in the world, with a GDP of more than 2.1 trillion dollars. Turin is one of the largest industrial cities in Italy but also a cultural centre of excellence and has vastly diversified sectors that can be a perfect match for Islamic finance. Some of the sectors that will be discussed at TIEF 2017 are: Real Estate, Food, Insurance, Tourism, Health, Biotech, Infrastructure, Finance, Aerospace, Sports, and Automotive.
TIEF 2017 is a good opportunity to meet some of the relevant stakeholders of Italian companies, financial services providers, entrepreneurs, legislators & regulators, researches, professionals, and academics.
All are invited to meet up with Islamic finance investors and key market players.
Islamic finance is a system for all financial transactions that are conducted according to Sharia principles (Arabic word that refers to guidance for right way).
Islamic economics is mainly concerned about the distribution of wealth as a mean for achieving justice, equality, fairness, and economic equilibrium among the society.
The most important principles of Islamic finance include a prohibition for Riba “Usury”, prohibition of Gharar “uncertainty/speculation”, prohibition of Maysir “Gambling” and prohibition on investment in Non- Halal that is equivalent to Haram ‘unethical’ businesses, products or services (such as alcohol, tobacco, pork, pornography, and weapons).
The Islamic Finance exists in 75 countries worldwide with a total activity of $1000billion with assets expected to expand to some 3.4 trillion USD by the end of 2018. According to the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life report, the Future of the Global Muslim Population is estimated that by 2030, Muslims will make up 27% of the world’s total projected population and that Muslims will reach in Europe 16.4 million or around 9 % of its projected population.
Global Muslim expenditure figures
Food and Beverage
According to the state of the global economy report 2016/17; Global Muslim consumer spending on Food and Beverage counted $1.17 trillion in 2015 representing17% of the global expenditure, with a growth of 3.4% than year 2014. Muslim spending on food and beverage is expected to reach $1.9 trillion by 2021. The Muslim consumer expenditure for food and beverage is ranked first, ahead of China ($854 billion), the United Sates ($770 billion), Japan ($380 billion), and India ($341 billion).
Muslims total expenditure on clothing in 2015 was $243 billion representing 11% of the global market spending on clothing. This figure has grown of 5.7 % from 2014. Muslim spending on clothing is expected to reach $368 billion by 2021. The Muslim market for clothing ranked third behind the United States ($406 billion) and China ($334 billion), and ahead of the United Kingdom ($114 billion) and Germany ($101 billion).
In 2015 global Muslim consumer spending on pharmaceuticals has increased by 4.2% from 2014 and reached $78 billion representing 7% share of the global expenditure on pharmaceuticals. Muslim spending on pharmaceuticals market is expected to reach $132 billion by 2021. The Muslim market for pharmaceuticals ranked fourth globally, behind the United States ($372 billion), Japan ($114 billion), and China ($109 billion).
Global Muslim spending on cosmetics in 2015 was $56 billion taking a 7% share of the total global expenditure. Muslim spending on cosmetics has increased in comparison to 2014 by 4%. Muslim spend on cosmetics is expected to reach $81 billion by 2021. The Muslim market for cosmetics is ranked fourth globally, behind the United States ($84 billion), Japan ($80 billion), and China ($63 billion).
Riba “usury” is prohibited. Riba is generally seen as unjustified earning, where a person cannot make money out of money. They agree that money could be lent for business purposes on the basis of profit and loss sharing (PLS).
Gharar “uncertainty” in Arabic refers to excessive risk and uncertainty. It refers to that all the terms and conditions of the risk and the contract for example between a buyer and seller are clearly understood and stated by all parties of the financial transaction. This leads to ensuring the full consent of all parties in a contract.
Maysir in Arabic means gambling like lottery and it is prohibited because of the unjustified gains and increase of wealth through games of pure chance is a transfer of wealth from one to another and this kind of transfer is done on the expense of the society.
Halal versus Haram Investments
Muslims are requested to acquire properties through allowed ethical activities which are defined in Arabic with the word Halal. These activities could be done through trading, and partnerships investments. On the other hand, Muslims are prohibited from Haram “unethical activities”. Haram unethical activities are represented not only in the riba, gharar, maysir but also for specific businesses and industries that are forbidden in socially and ethically manner. Prohibition includes investments in: pornography, alcohol, weapons, and pork related products.
Sukuk means certificates in Arabic (Sukuk is a plural for the word Sak) and it is an alternative to the conventional “Bonds”. Conventional bonds reflect a commitment by the borrower to repay the principle amount plus an agreed interest rate, but Sukuk are structured so that the returns are linked to the underlying asset, with the lender get ownership certificate on that asset.
The sukuk market offers a strong opportunity to drive infrastructure development. In 2014, the UK became the first Western government to sell an Islamic bond where it saw an unprecedented level of interest, attracting orders of GBP 2bn ($2.85bn) from global investors, and Luxembourg followed suit later that year with a EUR 200m ($254m) five-year Islamic bond.
Takaful is a risk sharing entity that is similar to traditional insurance that allows for the transparent sharing of risk by pooling individual contributions for the benefit of all subscribers. Sharia compliant insurance sector provides the critical risk management supports needed across the various markets offering Islamic financial services.
European Research Centre for Islamic Finance “ERCIF”
The European Research Centre for Islamic Finance of University of Turin (www.ercif.org) was created with the aim to enhance the diffusion of knowledge on Islamic Finance.
ERCIF has launched its academic scientific journal in 2014; the European Journal of Islamic Finance “EJIF” which is an open access online journal that publishes articles that contribute to the development of both the theory and practice of research methods employed across the whole field of Islamic Business and Management, Finance and Banking studies.