Dubai considers developing world's first sharia-compliant export-import bank

Out-Law News | 25 Mar 2014 | 3:15 pm | 1 min. read

The world's first fully Sharia-compliant export-import (exim) bank could be established in Dubai, the emirate's Department of Economic Development (DED) has said.

DED has launched a feasibility study into developing an exim bank designed to support trading flows in and out of Dubai, reports gulfbankers.com website.

“The view is to assist businesses in the UAE to grow their trade flows by providing risk mitigation, financing and market access,” said a statement by DED.

Sami Dhaen Al Qamzi, director general of Dubai DED, said: “Dubai has one of the best infrastructures to serve as a regional hub for international trade flows. It is our aim to double trade flows over the next five years. The exim bank, aligned to some of the best global operating models, will support the achievement of this objective and enhance our existing position," reported gulfbankers.com.

DED has not issued details of how the exim bank would be financed or structured and it did not announce a time-frame for the institution. The development is in line with Dubai's previously stated goal of becoming a leading global centre for sharia-compliant finance - that is finance which complies with Islamic religious law.

The new financial institution would deal directly with international bodies and organisations as well as other exim banks around the globe to promote UAE trade. It would also coordinate with local authorities, regulators and companies in the trade sector to enhance cooperation.

DED said it has appointed Dubai-based Noor Investment Group as exclusive advisor for the project. Noor is affiliated to the Investment Corporation of Dubai, the government's main investment arm. Ahmed Al Janahi, deputy CEO, Noor Investment Group and Noor Bank,told gulfbanker.com:  “A dedicated team from Noor Investment Group is conducting the initial financial, administrative and marketing studies for the project. The [exim] bank will focus on enhancing Dubai’s international trade as we move towards Expo 2020,” he added, in a reference to the international trade exhibition which Dubai will host in 2020.