KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 11 (Reuters) - The Asian Development Bank
(ADB) has provided a $750,000 grant to promote Islamic
banking in Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
The money will be shared between those countries'
governments to help their banking systems to meet regulatory
standards set by the Islamic Financial Services Board, the ADB
Islamic finance follows religious guidelines such as a ban
on the payment of interest and on pure monetary speculation.
Its core markets are in the Middle East and Southeast Asia,
with about 57 percent of total global Islamic banking assets
held by the 20 largest Islamic banks, concentrated in Malaysia,
Saudia Arabia, Kuwait, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar and Turkey.
The ADB, which promotes economic and social progress in the
Asia-Pacific region, said that the expansion of Islamic finance
in other countries in the region will provide large numbers of
people with banking services for the first time.
A report by Ernst & Young on Monday said that up to 150 new
financial institutions could be established to cater for growing
demand from the Muslim-majority populations of countries such as
Indonesia, Egypt and Pakistan.
(Reporting By Al-Zaquan Amer Hamzah; Editing by David Goodman)