AS EARLY AS 2014: London to be first country outside the Islamic world to do so
BRITAIN is working on the issuance of a STG200 million (RM1 billion) sukuk, which will make it the first country outside the Islamic world to issue an Islamic bond.
Announcing it yesterday, British Prime Minister David Cameron said the sukuk will be launched as early as next year.
He called on the involvement of the Islamic finance industry to help the British Treasury in developing the sukuk.
Cameron also announced that the London Stock Exchange will be launching an Islamic market index to screen and identify companies that subscribe to the Islamic finance parameters in their investments.
"This will be our new way of identifying Islamic finance opportunities and this leading Islamic market index will be another global first for the city of London," he said in his address at the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum's leaders panel, here, yesterday.
Cameron also expressed Britain's desire to be the biggest centre for Islamic finance outside the Islamic world.
"I don't just want London to be a great capital of Islamic finance in the Western world. I want London to stand alongside Dubai and Kuala Lumpur as one of the great capitals of Islamic finance anywhere in the world."
The Islamic investments market has grown dramatically since 2006, and its value is expected to hit STG1.3 trillion next year.
"Islamic finance is growing 50 per cent faster than traditional banking and by 2014, Islamic investment is expected to reach STG1.3 trillion. We want to make sure that a huge portion of these investments are made here in Britain."
Cameron also called for other Muslim countries to join Britain, which is partnering with the Shell Foundation to provide grant to small businesses in the Middle East.
Currently, the grant stands at STG4.5 million.
He said his government has always welcomed investments from all over the world, regardless of religion, race, colour or creed, and thanked the Malaysian government for its commitment to Britain in bringing in millions of pounds and hundreds of new jobs.
He also praised Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak for his continued promotion of the practice of moderation.
Another leader who was full of praises for Najib was Bahrain's first deputy prime minister Prince Salman Hamad Al-Khalifa, who commended him on his thoughts on women's empowerment.
Describing Najib as brave, the prince said an equally productive environment for all genders suits well the foundation of any democratic society.