Sunday, April 13, 2008

Sharia-compliant microfinancing to be reviewed

DUBAI: Ethical and microfinancing in the Muslim world comes under the spotlight at the premier Islamic finance event, which opens in Dubai today.

'Banker to the poor' and Nobel Peace Prize winner Professor Muhammad Yunus will make a special presentation at the event.

Leading figures and institutions of the financial world are gathering for the International Islamic Finance Forum at the Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai.

It is being held under the patronage of UAE Vice-President, Prime Minister and Dubai ruler Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The forum with participants from around 50 countries tracks the latest developments in the world's fastest growing financial sector which is seeing billions of dollars worth of deals and issues growing annually.

The forum runs until Thursday and focuses on ethical and microfinancing in the Muslim world led by Prof Yunus, the founder and managing director of Grameen Bank.

Prof Yunus is famous for his application of the concept of microcredit and helping people lift themselves out of poverty in rural Bangladesh by providing credit without requiring collateral.

The Grameen Bank has issued more than $5.1 billion to 5.3 million borrowers, maintaining a repayment rate of 99 per cent.

The Grameen model has inspired similar efforts throughout the developing world and across five continents.

Prof Yunus will also outline the role of women, how corporations and businesses can help the poor as well as providing real-life examples of social businesses.

The forum will discuss key issues relevant to the industry both globally and locally.

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