ISLAMIC Finance Development Report is an annual publication by the ICD-Thomson Reuters and the report deals with growth of Islamic finance around the world. This year the report covered 131 countries and Bangladesh is ranked 17th in the report which is one slot down from the previous year's 16th position.
The countries are ranked based on five key development indicators that cover the entire Islamic finance ecosystem. These are quantitative development, knowledge, governance, corporate social responsibility, and awareness.
Total Islamic finance asset in Bangladesh was worth US$ 30.87 billion in 2016. The Islamic banks cover 94 per cent of it with US$ 29.04 billion assets. The Takaful sector covers a small 2.0 per cent share with US$ 696 million assets. The global Islamic finance assets stood at US$ 2.2 trillion in 2016, and expected to reach US$ 3.8 trillion by 2022 at a 9.5 per cent compound annual growth rate.
Bangladesh is ranked 4th in Shariah governance after Bahrain, Malaysia and Sudan. According to the report, Bangladesh has the 2nd highest number of Shariah scholars for Islamic finance. Malaysia has the highest.
Bangladesh also ranked among top 10 in CSR activities and funds. The rankings are 8th and 9th respectively. In 2016, the Islamic financial institutions in Bangladesh disbursed US$ 19 million in CSR funds. However, Bangladesh occupied the 10th spot in research sub-indicator. 53 research papers and 36 peer-reviewed articles on Islamic finance were published from Bangladesh in 2016.
If Bangladesh is to improve its position in global Islamic finance, it needs to improve in both knowledge and awareness indicators.
Mezbah Uddin Ahmed
International Shari'ah Research Academy for Islamic Finance (ISRA), Malaysia