Alkhabeer Capital targets Islamic endowment business

Updated 11 May 2015
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Alkhabeer Capital targets Islamic endowment business

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia-based Alkhabeer Capital said on Monday it had launched an advisory service for structuring and managing the assets of the Islamic charitable foundations known as awqaf.
Alkhabeer, an Islamic investment and advisory firm, becomes one of only a few private sector firms globally to focus on awqaf assets.
The foundations are believed to control tens of billions of dollars worth of assets around the world; Muslims use them to contribute a portion of their wealth, in cash or other forms, to charitable projects such as mosques and schools.
In many cases their management has remained ultra-conservative, unsophisticated or inefficient, meaning they earn low returns on their assets. So in the last few years there have been efforts across Muslim-majority countries to modernize the management of awqaf.
Alkhabeer will target educational institutions, family offices and wealthy individuals that want to establish awqaf, offering the services of asset managers, the firm said in a statement.
The firm was founded in 2004 initially focusing on real estate and private equity transactions, but is now actively developing its capital markets business.
In 2013, Dubai's Noor Investment Group and the Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation, a Dubai government body which runs endowments, launched an advisory firm specialising in managing awqaf assets. Regulators in Egypt and Malaysia have also moved to modernise the sector.


China’s Xi promotes building initiative amid debt worries

Updated 12 min 53 sec ago
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China’s Xi promotes building initiative amid debt worries

  • Xi says Beijing wants “open, green and clean cooperation” with “zero tolerance for corruption”
  • High costs have prompted complaints some are falling into a “debt trap”
BEIJING: President Xi Jinping has promised to set high standards for China’s Belt and Road infrastructure-building initiative, seeking to dispel complaints the many billion dollars in projects leave developing countries with too much debt.
Xi avoided mentioning debt complaints in a speech opening a forum attended by leaders from some three dozen countries to celebrate his signature foreign initiative. But he said Beijing wants “open, green and clean cooperation” with “zero tolerance for corruption.”
Developing countries welcome the initiative to expand trade by building roads, ports and other facilities across Asia and Africa to Europe. But high costs have prompted complaints some are falling into a “debt trap.”
The United States, Russia, Japan and India also worry Beijing is trying to build a trade and political network centered on China and expand its strategic influence at their expense.
Xi’s government is trying to revive the initiative’s momentum after the number of new projects plunged last year. That came after Chinese officials said state-owned banks would step up scrutiny of borrowers and some governments complained projects do too little for their economies and might give Beijing too much political sway.
Countries including Malaysia and Thailand have canceled or scaled back projects while Ethiopia and others have renegotiated debt repayment.
Xi noted China’s finance ministry on Thursday issued guidelines for assessing debt risks for borrowers. The ministry said those “debt sustainability guidelines” are based on the standards of the International Monetary Fund and other international institutions.
The president tried to allay complaints about lack of economic benefits and political influence, saying Belt and Road is “not an exclusive club” and promotes “common development and prosperity.”
“We need to pursue open, green and clean cooperation,” Xi said. “Everything should be done in a transparent way and we should have zero tolerance for corruption.”
His audience at a Beijing conference center included Prime Ministers Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar, Lee Hsien-Loong of Singapore and Adiy Ahmed of Ethiopia and leaders or envoys from Greece, Serbia and Malaysia.
Xi said Beijing also wants to expand the scope of its initiative by encouraging cooperation among Belt and Road countries on health, water resources, agriculture and science and technology. He promised to fund scholarships for students from Belt and Road countries.