Qatar Islamic Bank, the Arabian Gulf country’s biggest Shariah-compliant lender, plans to start an Islamic bank in Kazakhstan with the former Soviet republic’s government to tap its oil-fueled economic growth.
The plan is in its “very initial stages” and the venture may have start-up capital of $100mn, Ahmad Meshari Muhaidi, QIB assistant general manager and head of corporate banking, said on May 18,2008 in an interview at the World Economic Forum meetings in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt.
Kazakhstan’s $100bn economy has grown an average of 10% a year since 2000 as oil prices surged, triggering a construction boom and fuelling demand for goods and services. The economy will probably average growth of 6% annually through 2011, Finance Minister Bolat Zhamishev said.
Demand for banking services and investments that comply with Shariah’s ban on interest has increased as oil money floods into the Arabian Gulf. The global Islamic finance industry’s assets under management are expanding by 15% a year and may have topped $1tn, according to the Malaysia-based Islamic Financial Services Board. QIB on April 20 said first-quarter profit surged 69% to $125mn after it started an Islamic private equity fund and won a UK investment banking license for its European Finance House unit.
BTA Bank, Kazakhstan’s second-biggest bank by assets, last month said it may open an Islamic unit together with Dubai-based Emirates Islamic Bank as it seeks to attract new customers from among the country’s 7mn Muslims. It may sell as much as $150mn of Islamic bonds, chief executive officer Roman Solodchenko said.
Source: IslamicFinanceArabia.com May 19, 2008