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Keynote Session

The Islamic finance industry offers a number of key value propositions to markets in Africa as government agencies, international Islamic financial institutions, as well as emerging local players and central banks seek to tap into the opportunities that will drive vital economic development priorities on the continent


Enabling industry leaders from across the key markets of Africa, the Middle East and internationally to better engage with how Islamic finance can positively impact economic development priorities on the continent, The International Islamic Banking Summit Africa: Djibouti 2016, held under the patronage of H.E. ISMAÏL OMAR GUELLEH, President of the Republic of Djibouti and Head of Government, and with the official support of the Central Bank of Djibouti, opened today in Djibouti. The event was attended by more than 250 industry leaders representing over 75 international organizations. A powerful line-up international speakers and industry thought leaders discussed topics focused on Harnessing the Driving Forces for the Successful Development of Islamic Finance in Africa.

H.E. Getahun Nana Jenber

H.E. Getahun Nana Jenber

The Summit opened with a keynote session featuring H.E. Ahmed Osman, Governor of the Central Bank of Djibouti; H.E. Getahun Nana Jenber, Vice Governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia; and H.E. Khaled M. Al-Aboodi, Chief Executive Officer of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD, Saudi Arabia),who deliberated on how to build the regulatory infrastructure essential to create a strong platform for the future development of Islamic finance in Africa.

The opening keynote session was followed by a special presidential plenary address by H. E. ISMAÏL OMAR GUELLEH, President of the Republic of Djibouti and Head of Government, who reaffirmed Djibouti’s commitment to the successful development of Islamic finance in the region.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Summit, H.E. Ahmed Osman, Governor of the Central Bank of Djibouti said that:“The International Islamic Banking Summit Africa: Djibouti 2016 is a landmark gathering which regularly convenes global industry leaders to boost economic development and facilitate greater trade and investment flows between Africa and the OIC markets through Islamic finance. Islamic finance brings several key value propositions to Africa; most notably in the areas of enabling infrastructure finance, boosting international trade & investment flows, and deepening financial inclusion – all key priorities for boosting further economic development on the continent.

H.E. Khaled M. Al-Aboodi

H.E. Khaled M. Al-Aboodi

The special plenary address was followed by the second major keynote session, which featured Mohamed Ahmed Bushra, Assistant Governor for Economics & Policies of the Central Bank of Sudan; Jaafar S. Abdulkadir, Head of Islamic Banking of KCB Bank Group; and Roberto Giori, President of the Roberto Giori Company who provided insights into how Islamic finance can better connect the economies of Africa to the Gulf, the broader OIC markets and beyond from the perspective of boosting investment and innovation. This high-profile session was moderated by William Mullally, Editor of Islamic Business & Finance (CPI, Dubai).

Speaking to media present at the Summit, H.E. Khaled M. Al-Aboodi, Chief Executive Officer of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector(ICD, Saudi Arabia) noted that: “There are many significant signs that Islamic finance is gaining serious momentum on the African continent and is becoming one of the key drivers for equitable and sustainable growth for a strong and dynamic private sector. Clearly the growth of Islamic finance will not only provide new financial instruments but will also provide greater access to liquidity pools across the Middle East which will result in faster economic, social and human development on the continent.”

Keynote Session

Keynote Session

Another major highlight at Day 1 of the Summit was a live interview session featuring renowned international Islamic banker,Afaq Khan. Mr. Khan was interviewed live on stage at the event by Moinuddin Malim, Managing Partner of Alternative International Management Services (Dubai), and during a wide-ranging interview, he provided unique personal insights into the future development paths for Islamic finance internationally and across Africa.

Speaking on the sidelines of the Summit,Afaq Khan commented: “The global Islamic finance industry will continue to grow at a much faster rate than conventional banking and also increase its market share notwithstanding ongoing challenges such as Shariah standards across markets, regulations, tax issues, and documentation standardisation. Due to the increasing demand for Shariah-compliant investments globally by both Muslims and non-Muslims, the industry has grown by an estimated 20 per cent annually in the last five years. As of now, Africa has only around 2% of global Islamic banking assets and as little as 0.5% of Sukuk outstanding and, notwithstanding ongoing turbulence in the global economy, the stage is set for the rapid growth of Islamic banking and finance across Africa. In addition, Africa’s strong potential for rapid growth in retail banking has also drawn several international Islamic banks to invest on the continent.”

The International Islamic Banking Summit Africa: Djibouti 2016 also highlighted global innovations in the industry. Key technology opportunities and IT trends in Islamic banking were the focus of a cutting-edge session led by Salam Slim, Director – Global Solution Lead / Core Banking Transformation of Oracle Financial Services Global Business Unit.

The Summit also addressed how Islamic finance can increase the flow of trade and investment in Africa. Ibrahim Rashid Jaffar, Chief Executive Officer of East Africa Bank; and CassimDocrat, Director of DDCAP (DIFC) Limited; led this session that identified new opportunities for faster trade and economic growth across Africa.

Day 2 of the International Islamic Banking Summit Africa 2016 will continue on the 3rd of November 2016 and follows a practical master class format, which will be led by AIMS (Dubai) and ABL Dunamis (Uganda).

The International Islamic Banking Summit Africa 2016 is created in collaboration between the Central Bank of Djibouti and Ethico Live!

Ethico Live Limited is a UK registered company with its corporate headquarters at 110 Queen Street, Glasgow G13BX, UK. Through our on-the-ground presence in key centres across the world we are able to serve our clients in the global financial markets with high-profile international conferences in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia.


2020: the year mortgages went digital



2020: the year mortgages went digital 1

By Francesca Carlesi, co-founder and CEO, Molo

It’s safe to say that the past year has changed everything. With restrictions in place that limited almost every aspect of our lives, from work to socialising, it’s no surprise that some industries were decimated and others were left severely shaken. The mortgage sector was no exception, as it also underwent a vast transformation which may have changed the course of mortgages forever.

The industry saw a paradigm shift, which was driven by consumers being forced online. This was the case for everything from mortgage applications to online house viewings and property valuations. As expected, this resulted in an increased demand for digital mortgage solutions with more flexibility.

While the industry was already slowly shifting, the pandemic has accelerated this and now the traditional process of getting a mortgage is increasingly coming under threat. We’ve seen a number of somewhat surprising trends over the last year that support this argument and suggest that consumers are embracing the change. For example, compared to March last year, we’ve seen the number of people aged over 45 applying for a mortgage loan increase by 70%. This indicates that consumers who may have previously resisted applying for a digital mortgage saw no alternative option in lockdown.

It seems that this paid off, as our data suggests that overall consumers were more satisfied with the simpler and quicker process.

A shift in behaviour

It’s clear that the pandemic did nothing to discourage those seeking a mortgage from doing so and the industry continued to grow. For example, in October last year, the UK mortgage industry saw a 13-year high, where over 97,500 loans were approved – the highest figure since September 2007, the month at the start of the financial crisis. But what led to this and why?

In a post-pandemic world of financial uncertainty and instability, the idea of purchasing property is now being perceived by many as a safer bet than investing in the stock market or other investment options.

As a result, buy-to-let properties are becoming an increasingly appealing option and Google has now coined it as ‘breaking out’. Not only did Google trends observe a 5000% increase in the search term ‘how to get a buy-to-let mortgage’ last year, but at Molo, our own data also supported this and found a significant rise in the number of first-time buyers who were mortgage hunting.

Despite being introduced twenty years prior to buy-to-let mortgages, let-to-buy mortgages also saw huge growth in 2020. The pandemic has led to increased numbers of remote workers and commuting has become a thing of the past. UK cities are seeing somewhat of a mass exodus as the priorities of city dwellers are changing and many are going in search of more space. Let-to-buy mortgages offer the flexibility to facilitate this. Investing in this kind of mortgage means that families, for example, can afford to rent out their property in the city and move to locations that are more rural.

We’ve also seen the industry pivot slightly in terms of regional demands. While there is continued demand from London and the South East, for example, we’ve also seen growth in areas such as the North West and we predict this won’t slow any time soon. One of the cities with especially high demand was Blackpool, where growth in demand was twice the national average.

Future gazing: 2021 and beyond

We’re expecting that the changes seen across the industry over the past will stick. After all, if even the sceptical customers were happy with the ease and simplicity of the online mortgage application and approval process, why on earth would they go back?

It’s important that we learn from these observations and use them to draw insight into the future of the mortgage sector. For instance, while Coronavirus has certainly caused disruption for lenders and consumers alike, it’s also highlighted the need for a more advanced, digital offering. It’s shown that digital mortgages really have become the best option for customers. The pandemic has been a test run for businesses and has proved that, even after restrictions are lifted, there is no good reason for mortgage providers to return to the traditional but slower business-as-usual.

At least in the property world, 2020 could well be remembered as the year that mortgages went digital. While it’s true that the pandemic was the catalyst for this shift, it’s now gone beyond the virus. The changes we’ve seen over the past year are likely to shape the mortgage industry for years to come.

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EU finance chief says UK’s Northern Ireland move a breach of trust



EU finance chief says UK's Northern Ireland move a breach of trust 2

DUBLIN (Reuters) – The European Union’s finance chief said Britain’s decision to make unilateral changes to Northern Irish Brexit arrangements raised questions over whether it can be trusted in future trade negotiations with any partner.

“It does open a question mark about global Britain, if this is how global Britain will negotiate with other partners. Our experience has been not an easy one to put it mildly,” Mairead McGuinness, who is negotiating post-Brexit financial services terms with Britain, told Irish broadcaster RTE on Thursday.

“We have to be very clear that when something happens that is not appropriate and indeed in our view breaches both trust and an international agreement, then we have to call it out. It wasn’t a good day yesterday but this morning we have to work for practical solutions, with the UK, not separately.”

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; editing by John Stonestreet)

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The Benefits of Starting A US Non-Profit: The Latest Tax Regulations



The Benefits of Starting A US Non-Profit: The Latest Tax Regulations 3

Starting a nonprofit organisation can be a very effective way of significantly improving your society’s welfare, and truly assisting those in need. Ultimately, however, understanding all the prerequisite steps mandated to start a nonprofit– as well as the legal obligations and privileges that can be associated with such a process, is crucial before fully committing to and moving forward with your business plan.

Growing a prolific, successful, and impactful non-profit can be a very tedious process and can commonly involve years of consistent effort, diligence, and determination. Consequently, this article will take a deep dive into the relative statutory and federal legislation and critically analyse the plethora of economic, monetary, and social benefits that starting a nonprofit can bring in for you.

Non-profit Organisations: A Quick Overview

Regardless of whether your goal is to address a particular societal issue, form a trade organisation or perhaps create a social club, if you are looking for the opportunity to earn a profit on top of accomplishing your stipulated goals, forming and operating a nonprofit organisation may be the way to go.

Contrary to most social clubs- which are formed to solely provide benefits for their specific members, nonprofits are generally created to provide benefits to the general public. These can include corporations created for educational, scientific and charitable purposes and- as we will further analyse below, are commonly exempt from paying corporate income taxation in accordance with Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The Financial and Structural Benefits of Starting a Non-profit

As briefly touched on above, forming a nonprofit organisation can provide a plethora of benefits for you, these include:

  1. Tax Exemptions- companies that are categorized as ‘public charities’ in accordance with section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code are generally exempt from paying corporate income tax on a state and on a federal level. Additionally, after a company has obtained their aforementioned ‘tax exempt’ legal status, a person’s or company’s monetary donations to them is tax-deductible.
  2. Grant Opportunities- There’s a prolific amount of both public and private bodies that unilaterally limit their charitable donations and grants to public charities only. This is because nonprofits can- and commonly do, offer tax deductions to such individuals or corporate entities on an exclusive basis.
  3. Unique Corporate Structure- A nonprofit organisation operates as its own unique legal entity- completely separate from its owners and founders, and consequently is in a position to place its own interests and corporate ethos above the interests of the persons that may be associated with it.
  4. Limited Liability & Perpetual Existence- On top of having a statutory right to exist in perpetuity, nonprofits also have limited liability under the law. Therefore, any damages that may arise from potential legal disputes are limited to the real assets of the actual nonprofit, and not the assets of its founders and/or owners (subject to specific legal exemptions).

Final Overview: The Potential Disadvantages of Forming a Nonprofit

Despite all the advantages laid out above, it should be duly noted that there are a couple of potential disadvantages to forming a nonprofit that you may want to consider before moving forward with your plan.

Firstly, the process of forming a nonprofit can take a significantly long period of time and this is commonly associated with a great deal of both effort and capital. Moreover, in order to apply for some of the benefits listed above- including federal tax exemption, a monetary fee is required and the process also often needs a present attorney or corporate accountant to serve as a corporate consultant.

Furthermore, there are a couple of practical disadvantages to starting a non-profit organisation. These include: a) excessive paperwork- as all nonprofits are legally required to keep detailed analytical records of their practices and submit them to their relevant state de[artment and to the IRS, and b) limited personal control over the organisation- this is particularly the case in states that require nonprofit organisations to have more than one director.

Finally, nonprofits are commonly subject to prolific levels of public scrutiny- especially in relation to their finances, which may act as a disincentive for some private individuals.

Overall, starting a nonprofit can bring in a plethora of economic, monetary, and social privileges for the individuals involved, and- although the process can come with a few potential inconveniences, they are arguably a small price to pay. Companies like TRUiC advise on the varying benefits of different states when it comes to US formations. It is worth conducting thorough research before making your next move.

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