(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) MANAMA, Dec 5 (KUNA) -- The 24th edition of The World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC), the largest and most prestigious gathering of Islamic banking and finance leaders in the world, kicked off in Bahrain Tuesday.
The Kingdom of Bahrain is keen on bolstering the banking sector as a main contributor to the economic system and consolidate the growing importance of Islamic banks locally, regional and international, Advisor to Bahraini Prime Minister Sheikh Salman Al-Khalifa said at the inaugural speech of the conference.
He lauded the role of Islamic banks in developing the banking industry and strengthening Bahrain's position as a leading financial and banking center in the region.
He emphasized the Government of Bahrain would intensify effort to provide an environment conducive to the development and growth of Islamic banking.
For his part, Deputy CEO of the Kuwait-based Boubyan Bank Abdullah Al-Tuwaijri told KUNA that Kuwait is one of the fastest growing markets of the Islamic banking in the region.
"Islamic banks' assets accounting for about 45 percent of the total assets of local banks," he said.
He pointed out that there is greater potential for more growth in the Islamic banking in Muslim countries, with many opportunities still untapped.
The latest studies showed that the size of the digital economy (online - smart phones) in the world reached about USD 2.5 trillion by the end of 2016 with an expected growth of 15 percent annually until the year 2020, he clarified.
The conference also proved to be the ideal launch pad for ALGO Bahrain - the world's first Fintech Consortium of Islamic Banks to enable Islamic banks for the paradigm shift in the banking industry as a result of financial technology (Fintech). The consortium, which comprises Kuwait Finance House (of both Kuwait and Bahrain); Albaraka Banking Group; and Bahrain Development Bank, aims to launch 15 FinTech platforms by 2022.
Other exclusive launches at the conference include Wahed Invest's launch of the world's first halal robo advisor - a unique way of revolutionizing halal investing by using technology. (end) hmd.mm.ibi