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IFN returns to Saudi Arabia for the seventh time to host one of the biggest events in its annual calendar. IFN Saudi Arabia Forum 2018 will be held in Riyadh to explore the opportunities in one of the most active and influential markets in the Islamic financial world, bringing the Kingdom onto the global stage and opening up the market for local, domestic and international players interested in entering this most vibrant of industries.
Saudi Arabia has embarked on a concerted effort to enhance and improve its Islamic finance capabilities in recent years, in tandem with its National Transformation Program 2020 pushing the Kingdom to diversify away from an oil-based economy as part of the Saudi Vision 2030 driven by the pioneering new Crown Prince Mohammed Salman. With the oil price volatility of recent years forcing Gulf economies to seek new methods of fundraising, Saudi Arabia made history in 2017 with a debut US dollar Sukuk issuance of US$9 billion, followed by multiple domestic Saudi riyal issuances, all of which met with exceptional investor demand and which have carved a place for Saudi as one of the most influential sovereign issuers of Islamic paper in the world. Major Islamic issuances from state-owned enterprises such as Saudi Aramco and Saudi Electricity Company have also gone a long way toward creating a yield curve encouraging new issuers to enter the market, and Saudi is well on the way to developing an active domestic corporate capital market of its own.
The Kingdom has also concentrated on expanding and opening up its equity markets: welcoming foreign investors to Tadawul in 2016 and gradually enhancing transparency and regulation through a series of robust overhauls that have supported confidence in the Kingdom and seen foreign funds flood into the market. The launch of its new alternative SME equity exchange, Nomu, in 2017 was a pioneering move to encourage small businesses and develop its private equity market, while its booming IPO sector expects to make history in mid-2018 with the long-awaited Saudi Aramco IPO – which could become the biggest listing in history and which has overseas exchanges jockeying for a piece of the pie.
Real estate of course remains a prime focus, and REITs proved the surprise success story of the past year, with Saudi taking the lead among GCC nations in setting up a conducive regulatory environment to encourage the establishment of numerous successful funds. Project and infrastructure finance also continues apace, with major new sectors such as transportation, solar power and the Red Sea Tourism project opening up new opportunities for Islamic finance.
Our exclusive access to the movers and shakers who matter make IFN Saudi Arabia Forum the essential event for anyone with interest in the Saudi market. IFN Saudi Arabia Forum 2018 is slated to attract global market players eager to gain access to the highly lucrative Saudi Arabian market. With its solid regulatory framework combined with a commendable commitment to innovation and progress, the Saudi Arabian market looks set to continue its success story and consolidate its position as one of the most influential markets in the Islamic finance world.
The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) is a multilateral development financial institution and is part of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group.
The ICD was established in November 1999 to support the economic development of its member countries through the provision of finance for private sector projects, promoting competition and entrepreneurship, providing advisory services to governments and private companies and encouraging cross-border investments.
The ICD has an authorized capital of US$4 billion. Currently, the shareholders of the ICD are the IDB (50%), 53 Islamic countries (30%) and five public financial institutions (20%).
ICD mandate and objectives
The ICD fosters sustainable economic growth in its 53 member countries by:
The ICD selects the financing projects based on their contribution to economic development considering factors such as job creation, Islamic finance development, contribution to exports, etc. The ICD also provides advisory services to governments and private sector groups on policies designed to encourage the establishment, expansion and modernization of private enterprises, the development of capital markets, best management practices and to enhance the role of the market economy. The ICD operates to complement the activities of the IDB in member countries.
The ICD is rated ‘AA/FQ’ by Fitch Ratings, ‘Aa3/P-1’ by Moody’s Investors Service and ‘A+’ by Standard & Poor’s.
The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) is an autonomous entity within the Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB Group). It was created with the purpose of advancing trade, which would ultimately contribute to the overarching goal of improving the socioeconomic condition of people across the world. The ITFC has since consolidated all the trade finance businesses that used to be handled by various windows within the IDB Group. It commenced operations in Muharram 1429H (January 2008G). The consolidation of the IDB Group’s trade finance activities under a single umbrella enhanced the ITFC’s efficiency in service delivery by responding swiftly to customer needs in a market-driven business environment.
As a leader in Shariah compliant trade finance, the ITFC deploys its expertise and funds to businesses and governments in its member countries. Its primary focus is to encourage more intra-trade among OIC member countries. As a member of the IDB Group, the ITFC has unique access to member countries’ governments and it works as a facilitator to mobilize private and public resources toward achieving its objectives of fostering economic development through trade. The ITFC helps entities in member countries gain better access to trade finance and provides them with the necessary trade-related capacity-building tools in order to help them compete successfully in the global market.
Saudi Arabia is one of the most active and influential markets in the Islamic finance space today and certainly the biggest in the Gulf. With landmark steps including the opening of Tadawul to foreign investors, the potential for access to the Saudi debt market and booming asset classes including IPOs, real estate and project finance, a growing number of issuers are coming to market and the overall investment scene is growing dramatically.