Islamic Microfinance Development: Challenges and Initiatives
Islamic Research & Training institute Policy Dialogue Paper No. 2
98 Pages Posted: 16 Nov 2009 Last revised: 18 Nov 2009
Date Written: May 1, 2008
This study argues that diverse approaches are needed to minimize financial exclusion in Islamic Development Bank (IDB) member countries. It recommends that MFIs must consider the cultural and religious sensitivities of Muslim societies while attempting to build inclusive financial systems. The paper: Analyzes poverty levels in IDB member countries; Examines the Islamic approach to poverty alleviation through microfinance; Emphasizes the need for a dual approach: charity programs for the destitute, disabled and unbankable, and a microfinance program of wealth creation; Reviews Islamic financial contracts for deposit mobilization, financing and risk management in a Shariah compliant framework.
Suggested strategic initiatives include: At the micro level - a move towards collective resolution of Shariah issues, product range enhancement and increased bank participation in microfinance through provision of credit guarantees and safety nets; At the meso level - provision of education and training, better coordination and networking, technical assistance through awqaf and zakah funds, provision of rating services specific to Islamic MFIs; At the macro level - development of an enabling regulatory and policy environment
Keywords: Islamic microfinance, poverty alleviation, financial inclusion, inclusive growth
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