IDB to develop Shariah-compliant blockchain

Updated 21 October 2017
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IDB to develop Shariah-compliant blockchain

LONDON: The research arm of the Islamic Development Bank plans to use blockchain technology to develop Shariah-compliant products, aiming to support financial inclusion efforts across its member countries.
The Jeddah-based Islamic Research and Training Institute said it had signed an agreement with local firm Ateon and Belgium-based SettleMint, with the first stage to focus on a technical feasibility study.
The agreement is the latest effort to combine blockchain technology to tap demand from Muslim investors, with firms from Indonesia to Canada having already received Shariah-compliant certification for their products.
Involvement of the IDB, a multilateral development institution, could also encourage other fintech firms to incorporate Islamic finance to tap markets across the Middle East, Asia and Africa.
Islamic finance follows religious principles such as a ban on gambling and outright speculation, but until now the sector has focused on traditional retail banking services.
Blockchain involves a shared electronic ledger that allows all parties to track information through a secure network, removing the need for third-party verification.
The IDB said such features would allow for instantaneous clearing and settlement of transactions and asset exchanges, while helping eliminate counterparty risk.
— REUTERS


Saudi Arabia renovates Al-Jouf General Hospital in Yemen

Updated 9 min 58 sec ago
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Saudi Arabia renovates Al-Jouf General Hospital in Yemen

JEDDAH: The Saudi Program for the Development and Reconstruction of Yemen on Wednesday inaugurated a project to renovate and equip Al-Jouf General Hospital.
The project has installed seven clinics, emergency and hypnotherapy sections, and provided medical equipment to serve 12 departments. The hospital can now receive 18,000 people per month.
Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Jaber, Saudi ambassador to Yemen, said the Kingdom is actively supporting Yemen through development projects, providing more than $13 billion to that end.
Al-Jouf Gov. Amin Ali Al-Okimi praised Saudi Arabia’s support for the hospital, which he said is the only government institution serving the governorate’s people. The hospital treated more than 109,000 people last year, he added.
In the past two months, the Saudi Program for the Development and Reconstruction of Yemen announced major medical projects in various governorates.
They include the opening of Siyoun Hospital in Hadramout, the renovation of Al-Ghaydah Hospital in Al-Mahrah, and the completion of the King Salman Educational and Medical City in Al-Mahrah.
King Salman has ordered the planning and establishment of centers to treat chronic diseases in all Yemeni governorates.
In the 1980s and 1990s, Saudi Arabia established hospitals in the Yemeni governorates of Hajjah and Saada, which have been receiving $10 million annually since their establishment.
In 2013, Saudi Arabia began constructing the King Abdullah Medical Center in Sanaa, which was suspended due to the coup by the Iran-backed Houthi militia in 2014.