Premier in London on Islamic finance mission
Premier Craig Cannonier and Finance Minister Bob Richards are in London this week to lead efforts to bring Islamic finance business to the Island.
The pair, who are accompanied by cabinet Secretary Derrick Binns, will attend the Global Islamic Finance and Investment Group (IFIG) Conference and speak to a number of industry stakeholders.
In addition, the Premier is due to meet with UK Government Minister Mark Simmons of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and representatives of the UK Treasury.
He will also be doing a series of interviews with foreign media organisations such as CNN, Financial Times, Reuters and Global Reinsurance.
The objective of the IFIG Conference is to highlight the necessary regulatory frameworks for Islamic finance and to outline strategies for successful international collaboration. Bankers and senior government officials from countries such as Bermuda, Bahrain, Brunei, Dubai, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, United Arab Emirates (UAE), are expected to be in attendance.
In a statement released today, Premier Cannonier said: “It is vital that we continue build on the foundation that is already in place with Islamic finance stakeholders and to progress our discussions at this very strategic conference.
“As you are aware, this Government is very keen on attracting foreign direct investment to Bermuda to address a number of outstanding infrastructure projects that are vital for our financial recovery. It is also very important that we continue to tell the world about the merits of conducting business in Bermuda through the international media.”
Mr Cannonier's comments on infrastructure projects follow last month's Budget statement in which Mr Richards said the upgrading of the LF Wade International Airport was a prime candidate for a public-private partnership involving foreign investment.
Islamic finance is a fast-growing financial sector, which requires structure different from traditional western financing arrangements.
Sharia law forbids the acceptance of specific interest or fees for loans of money. And investing in businesses that provide goods or services considered contrary to Islamic principles is also regarded as against Sharia rules.
Bermuda has set out its stall to become an Islamic finance hub in the western hemisphere. It has established partnerships with the main financial centres in a range of Muslim countries and has signed double taxation agreements with Qatar and Bahrain.