Islamic Finance will help govt unlock investments from Middle East – IFRIG Chairman

IFRIG is a research institute focused on Islamic finance growth in Ghana

The imperative for Islamic Finance to be established in Ghana is because it will serve as a viable funding outlet for government’s effort to improve critical infrastructure across the country.

This is according to Alhaji Mohammed Awal Ismail, Chairman of the Islamic Research Institute, Ghana, IFRIG; when he spoke during the institute’s recent conference held in Accra.

Alhaji Mohammed delivered the opening address at the May 1, 2021 event stressing the need for multi stakeholder push as IFRIG leads the charge to ensure Ghana achieves the goal of establishing Islamic Finance in the short to medium term.

In his address titled: ‘The Need for the Muslim Ummah to Champion Islamic Finance,’ the IFRIG Chairman said most African countries were alreading tapping into the Islamic Finance well for liquidity and Ghana needed to look that way as well.

“In general, Islamic finance presents African nations with a unique, and relatively underutilized mechanism, to help address two of the most prevalent development issues pervading the continent: the need to increase financial inclusion among the domestic population, and to bridge the funding gap required for needed infrastructure.

“Sukuk – interest-free bonds – issuances tied to tangible assets and projects such as roads, bridges, water and sanitation works and hospitals provide cost-efficient means for African governments to address this infrastructure development demand.

“Islamic Finance is essential for unlocking investment from the Middle East, but it also attracts investors from other parts of the world,” he stressed.

He underlined how governments and investors from the Arab region and beyond looking to invest in Africa will flock to Ghana with much needed investments to help boost the local economy.

“Successful running of Islamic finance in Ghana will also increase governments’ ability to tap the significant pools of liquidity, held by Islamic investors based in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, and Asia who are looking for viable investment opportunities in Africa,” he added.

The conference, under the theme: “Ramadan and the Imperative of Islamic Finance On The Ummah,” took place at the Cantonments Police Mosque and was organized in conjunction with LeadLeaders Solutions Ltd and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology’s Short Course Unit.

The keynote speech focused on practical steps to establishing Islamic Finance in Ghana, and was delivered by Prof Naail Mohammed Kamil Dangigala of KNUST, who is also the Managing Director of the LeadLeaders Solutions Ltd.

Director of IFRIG, Shaibu Ali, also presented a research work carried out by the institute bordering on the prospects and challenges as pertains to the Islamic banking and finance drive in Ghana.

A plenary session was also held with panelists unanimously agreeing that establishing Islamic finance in Ghana is long overdue but also that a lot of grounds work needed to be done to ensure a smooth take off and long term sustainability.

“As our first major programme for this year, we are extremely happy with especially the turn out and the participation at this conference.

“For the team, it is time to take stock and analyse feedback from the gathering with the view to feeding it in into plans for our International Islamic Finance Conference which comes on insha Allah later this year,” Director Ali said.