Central Bank of Bahrain

Waqf Fund Board approves new projects for 2017

Manama, Bahrain – 1 February 2017 – The Waqf Fund, a Bahrain-based special fund to support Islamic finance training, education and research, held its 27th Board of Trustees meeting at the Central Bank of Bahrain. The Board reviewed its progress in 2016 and approved 2017 budget. A number of new projects were approved including a training program for Bahraini judges, public prosecutors and criminal investigators of the Interior Ministry. 

Earlier, the Chairman of the Waqf Fund Mr. Khalid Hamad briefed the Board about the activities of the Fund during 2016. These included training programs for junior staff of Islamic banks such as Advance Diploma in Islamic Finance, which is in its tenth year and has become the industry standard. Advance Diploma in Islamic Commercial Jurisprudence, another flagship program, is designed to build the capacity of Shari’ah resources by dwelling deeper into jurisprudential issues. Both these programs are conducted by BIBF. The Waqf Fund also held two Roundtable Discussions during the year which were well attended by the industry. The topics were “Liquidity Management of Islamic Banks” and “Revamping AAOIFI’s CSAA Qualification”. So far ten such Roundtables have been organized, each culminating in actionable recommendations for the regulator or the industry.

The Board was informed that the revamp of AAOIFI’s CIPA qualification has been completed, a landmark project which was funded by the Waqf Fund. Two training programs were conducted during the year for lawyers, judges and public prosecutors to orientate them towards Islamic finance issues. The Waqf Fund also sponsored a textbook on Islamic economics by International Shari’ah Research Academy (ISRA), Malaysia. This will be a comprehensive book on Islamic economics meant for universities’ bachelor and master programs. BIBF provided an update on its e-learning initiative, a project funded by the Waqf Fund. The Board appreciated BIBF for generating additional funding for the project from the industry and ensured its continued support.

The 2017 budget was presented which included a number of new projects such as the next phase of Leadership Grooming Program and AAOIFI’s CSAA qualification revamp. After considerable discussion the Board approved the budget of approx. US$1 million. The Board also discussed the deployment of its endowment capital and expressed satisfaction over the rising portfolio yield. It also deliberated on possible new ways to use its finances more efficiently for maximum impact in the industry. The meeting concluded with the Chairman’s vote of thanks to the Board members.

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