Muslim Wire

Malta seen as the ‘Bahrain in the Mediterranean’

Posted in Politics, Society by muslimwire on October 21, 2009

Malta is strategically well-positioned to act as the “Bahrain in the Mediterranean” from where Islamic Finance Institutions may reach and penetrate the markets of the European Union and North African. An international meeting on Islamic Finance was held in Malta.

The five-day event held between October 12 and 16, based on daily workshops, attracted world renowned speakers such as Dr Mohammed Nedal Alchaar, Dr Hussein Hamid Hassan, Prof Abdulla Al Shami, Mr. Reuben Buttigieg, Mr Nazmi Camalzaman and Mr. Oliver Agha. The delegates were from throughout the European Union and elsewhere, including Italy, Luxembourg, Latvia, the United Kingdom, Turkey, Malta and Slovenia.

The first session concentrated on an overview of Islamic Finance and its potential in Europe and the Mediterranean. The other four days addressed different pillars of Islamic finance, including Insurance, Banking, Funds and Sukuk and Islamic Capital Markets. The workshops were chaired by different personalities including Malta’s Dr Max Ganado, Mr Francis J Vassallo, Mr Peter Grima and Mr Reuben Buttigieg.

The advantages identified with regards to Malta’s potential as a centre for Islamic Finance in the Mediterranean include its geographical position, the extensive network of double taxation treaties that mitigate the tax effects of certain legislations on Islamic finance transactions, including with Libya.

Malta can cater for small funds which no other EU jurisdiction can. It is considered by the World Economic forum as the 10th safest country to invest in and it has excellent relations with all EU countries and North African countries.

During the workshops various structures were considered particularly vis-a-vis Italy, Malta and Spain. The Malta formula was seen as a potential vehicle to assist Muslim Communities and Investors in these countries to have the alternative financing they require.

The opportunity of Borzamed as a Mediterranean platform for Islamic Capital Markets was also discussed.

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