Finance & Banking

9TH GLOBAL ISLAMIC FINANCE AWARDS 2019 A PRESTIGIOUS LABEL OF EXCELLENCE

The prestigious 9th Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA) ceremony was held in the vibrant city of Cape Town, South Africa and attended by heads of state and government, ministers, ambassadors and Islamic financial fraternity from around the world. The distinguished guests included H.E. Pravin Gordhan, Minister of Public Enterprises, The Republic of South Africa;
H.E. David Maynier, Provincial Minister of Economic Opportunities; H.E. Kanat K. Tumysh, Ambassador of the Republic of Kazakhstan; H.E. Professor Humayon Dar, Chairman of Global Islamic Finance Awards; H.E. Shahid Malik, Co-Chairman of the GIFA Awards Committee; Mr. Suliman Noor, President, World Memon Organisation; Mr. Yaseen Vally, CEO of IAV Group of companies; Amman Muhammad, Tim Harris, Chief Executive Officer of Wesgro and Sheikh Khalid Abdullah Al Khalili, Chairman of Bank Nizwa.

The awards ceremony and gala dinner, which was held on September 16, was attended by more than 300 guests from all over the world and hosted by Wesgro, the Official Tourism, Trade & Investment Promotion Agency for Cape Town and the Western Cape.

Founded in 2011 by Edbiz Corporation as part of its advocacy for Islamic banking and finance, GIFA has since established itself as the most prestigious Islamic finance awards programme in the world. In his welcome address, Professor Humayon Dar, Chairman of the Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA) said “When we started Global Islamic Finance Awards in 2011, we knew that it wasn’t just another awards programme but a movement that focused on promoting commitment to Islamic finance, Shari’a authenticity in product development and structuring and awareness of social responsibility and community development by Islamic banking and finance.” He added that when an individual or institution receives a GIFA, it is an expression of this commitment. “We are proud of the fact that by way of honouring the top political leaderships in a number of countries, we have actually contributed to the development of Islamic banking and finance in those countries,” stressed Professor Humayon Dar.

A total of 63 awards were presented to Islamic financial institutions and individuals coming from 20 countries of the world during the awards ceremony with the top award – GIFA Leadership Award bestowed to His Excellency Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa and making him the 9th GIFA Laureate. This is in recognition of South Africa’s pioneering role in developing Islamic finance in the African region and the support of the successive governments to provide a level-playing field to Islamic banking and finance.

The GIFA Leadership Award is given to heads of state or government (or equivalent) for their leadership and advocacy roles in promoting Islamic banking and finance in their respective jurisdictions or globally. Previous GIFA Laureates have included notable personalities such as Tun Abdullah Badawi, former Prime Minister of Malaysia (2011); His Royal Highness Sultan Nazrin Shah, Sultan of Perak, Malaysia (2012); Shaukat Aziz, former Prime Minister of Pakistan (2013); Muhammandu Sanusi II, Emir of Kano, Nigeria (2015); Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia (2016); Ismail Omar Guilleh, President of Djibouti (2017); and Bakir Izetbegovic, Chairman of the Council of Presidency of the Republic of Bosnia-Herzegovina (2018).

At the institutional level, Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC), an emerging leading regional financial hub, was announced as the recipient of the Global Islamic Finance Leadership Award (Institutional) 2019.

This year, 6 winners of the GIFA Market Leadership Awards
were announced. These awards are presented to institutions
and individuals who are movers and shakers in their respective
fields. Zitouna Tamkeen was named recipient of the GIFA Market
Leadership Award (Islamic Microfinance) 2019. Zitouna was
founded in 2016 to promote the financial and economic inclusion
of Tunisia’s youth and disadvantaged populations, Zitouna
Tamkeen, through an innovative approach, is committed to offering
financial and non-financial services to promote the development
of projects offering major socio-economic impact, especially in the
marginalised regions of Tunisia.

Moody’s Investors Service took home the GIFA Market
Leadership Award (Islamic Financial Intelligence & Ratings) 2019
for the 2nd year in a row. The same award was bestowed to them in 2016.

In commenting on the win, Mr. Henry MacNevin, Associate
Managing Director, Financial Institutions Group, Moody’s Investors
Service; said “Islamic finance has seen strong growth over the past
10 years. While the extent of this varies from year to year Moody’s
sees significant potential for further growth in the near future,
across a wide range of markets.”

Other winners were International Turnkey Systems Group (ITS)
for GIFA Market Leadership Award (Islamic Financial Technology)
2019; Alinma Bank for GIFA Market Leadership Award (Islamic
Banking) 2019; and Faculty of Islamic Economics and Finance,
Universiti Islam Sultan Sharif Ali (UNISSA) Brunei Darussalam for
GIFA Market Leadership Award (Education in Islamic Banking &
Finance) 2019.

“It is an honour to be recognised by GIFA, and to receive this
award amidst so many other noteworthy accomplishments made
by institutions within the Islamic finance industry over the past
year. Our collective commitment to the idea of Islamic finance
drives us to do better and to be better in service of this cause;
and I remain optimistic for the future of the industry. However, it
is my firm belief that Islamic finance needs to be felt at all levels
of financial dealings. Islamic finance is not just an exercise in ideas;
and Alinma Bank remains fully engaged and committed to putting
theory into practice, showing the public the promise of Islamic
finance through actual products and services that impact lives,”
commented Mr. Abdulmohsen Al-Fares, CEO, Alinma Bank.

DDCAP Group took home 2 awards of the night – GIFA Market
Leadership Award (Facilitation & Support) 2019 and Best Islamic
Finance Technology Product 2019 for ETHOS AFP™. DDCAP’s
multi-award winning Asset Facilitation Technology Platform,
ETHOS AFPTM, is a bespoke real-time trading platform with
24hour coverage and full Straight Through Processing (“STP”)
functionality, enabling clients worldwide to purchase commodities
and other assets via a secure, web-based portal as an alternative
to traditional transactional processes.

Recipients of the GIFA Championship Awards, which are
presented to the most outstanding and exceptional organisations
and individuals in Islamic banking and finance, were S&P Global
Ratings (GIFA Championship Award in Islamic Financial Ratings
2019); Kuveyt Türk Participation Bank (Championship Award
in Islamic Wealth Management 2019); Principal Islamic Asset
Management Sdn Bhd (GIFA Championship Award in Islamic Asset
Management 2019); Malaysian Financial Planning Council or
MFPC (GIFA Championship Award in Advocacy 2019) and Oasis
Crescent Capital (Pty) Ltd. (GIFA Advocacy Award in Islamic Asset
Management 2019).

The award for the Best Lead Manager for Sukuk 2019 this year
was conferred to Gulf International Bank, (GIB) Saudi Arabia, which
is the first foreign domiciled bank to establish a local commercial
bank in the Kingdom. The Best Islamic Leasing Fund 2019 was
presented to Aircraft Leasing Islamic Fund (ALIF). This is the third
consecutive year that ALIF has received GIFA awards after the
“Best Islamic Fund” award in 2017 and 2018. Siraj Finance PJSC
was named the Best Non-Bank Islamic Financial Institution of the
Year 2019.

This year the award for the Best Islamic Bank 2019 was conferred
to Emirate Islamic for their outstanding performance in the IBF sector.
Noor Bank, a full-service Shari’a-compliant bank was the recipient of
this year’s Best Islamic Bank for Transformation & Strategy 2019.
Bank of Khartoum was named the Most Innovative Islamic Bank
2019 by the GIFA awards committee, for its Shari’a-compliant
products and services and Islamic microfinance. Accounting and
Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) won
the Best Islamic Finance Infrastructure Development Institution
2019 for the comprehensive approach it has adopted to promote,
advocate and govern Islamic banking and finance.

The Shari’a Authenticity Award 2019 went to Meezan Bank Limited. In terms of infrastructure and assets, the bank is the 7th largest in Pakistan. To ensure that all bank initiatives and products are Shari’a-compliant, the bank has a dedicated Shari’a department comprising of internationally renowned scholars. Meezan Bank bagged two more awards that night, i.e., the GIFA Special Award for its Shari’a Advisory Role and the Shari’a Auditor of The Year 2019.

OTHER NOTABLE GIFA WINNERS INCLUDE:

• Minhaj University Lahore for GIFA Excellence Award for Islamic Research & Development 2019.
• AIM Solutions Group Berhad for GIFA Best Micropayments and Digital Technology Award 2019.
• Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia for Best Islamic Microfinance Institution 2019.
• BNP Paribas Asset Management Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. For Best ESG Investor 2019.
• Path Solutions for Best Islamic Finance Technology Provider 2019.
• Almarai Company for Best Global Sukuk Programme of the Year 2019.
• Shariah Registered Financial Planner (Shariah RFP) for Best Islamic Wealth Management Qualification 2019.
• AmInvestment Bank Berhad for Best Islamic Project Finance House 2019.
• PayHalal for Best Islamic FinTech Programme 2019.
• MUFG Bank, Ltd. for Best Wholesale Islamic Banking Award 2019.
• John Iossifidis, CEO of Noor Bank – GIFA Transformation Leader Award 2019.
• Sheikh Dr. Khalid Bin Thani Bin Abdullah Al Thani – Islamic Finance Personality of the Year 2019.
• Eqhwan Mokhzanee – Islamic Banker of the Year 2019.
• Stefano P. Bertamini – GIFA Most Outstanding Leader in Islamic Finance 2019.

Commenting on the Awards Ceremony, Professor Humayon Dar said: “We are delighted to see so many luminaries and proponents of Islamic finance here with us this evening as well as a large number of foreign guests from so many different parts of the world. Their attendance tonight reflects not only the significance of this prestigious GIFA Award but also the universality and diversity of Islamic finance today.”
As for the choice of Cape Town to host the 9th Global Islamic Finance Awards is strategic, Professor Humayon Dar commented that “The GIFA Awards Committee decided in favour of Cape Town because we believe that Islamic banking and finance in the African continent can best be promoted through South Africa. The burgeoning Islamic asset management industry in Cape Town has global relevance.

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