New Islamic bank eyes $ 100 billion investment


“The new bank, named Eamar International Bank, will operate in an Islamic way and its main mission will be investment, not financing,” Kamel told Asharq Al-Awsat, a sister publication of Arab News. Eamar Bank will start operations early next year.

Negotiations have been under way with a number of countries on hosting the bank’s headquarters. “It may be based either in Saudi Arabia or the UAE or Bahrain or Malaysia,” Kamel said. He hoped that establishment procedures would be completed this year.

He also spoke about ICCI’s plan to establish a company with a capital of $ 200 million to explore investment opportunities in the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference. “This company is only for exploring investment opportunities. It will not own any investment projects,” he said, adding that it would serve as a supplementary wing of the bank.

Eamar Bank will begin operations with a capital of $ 1 billion and an investment of $ 10 billion. “We’ll invest in all projects. Our main criteria will be how many jobs it will create, what will be its product and whether it will increase exports of a member country. Islamic countries must support one another, not compete with each other. This is our main concept. We will also encourage research, technology and innovations in addition to investments in traditional areas of industry, agriculture and trade,” he pointed out.

Referring to the Makkah visa, Kamel said its name has been changed to visa for businessmen in the OIC countries. “Twenty OIC countries have approved this multiple-entry visa, which will be valid for five years. We are now in the process of signing agreements with the member countries,” he said.

Kamel said the first agreement on the new visa system would be signed with Saudi Arabia. “Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah has already given his instructions to the interior and foreign ministries and the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) in this respect,” he added.

He said the new visa system would facilitate travel of Muslim businessmen in OIC countries and expand trade exchange and promote investment. Trade between OIC members is only 13 percent of their total trade. Other projects proposed by the ICCI include the establishment of an international commission for the collection and distribution of Zakah. ICCI is also contemplating an investment company for OIC businessmen, an association of Muslim businessmen, a media company, free trade zones between Muslim countries and establishment of manpower recruitment and training companies.

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