Islamic expo comes to Zim

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HARARE – Zimbabwe will for the first time play hosts to Orischart Islamic Expo to be held in Harare, between November 6 and 10, 2013.

Terrence Mhlope, one of the event organisers, said the Expo will firmly establish its position as a pre-eminent platform for leaders in the Islamic finance and investments industry in Zimbabwe to engage in discussions that provide a deeper insight into what the future holds for the Islamic banking and finance industry on the continent.

“The inaugural expo will see local and international industry leaders engage in discussions that further explore the growth potential of the Islamic banking and finance industry in Zimbabwe,” he said.

Mhlope noted that a key outcome of the discussions at last year’s Islamic Finance Forum event was that Zimbabwe is becoming an increasingly attractive destination for investments that are Shari’ah compliant.

“Africa has now been re-positioned as the third fastest growing region in the world, after the Middle East and Asia.

“Over the last decade, trade between African countries and the rest of the world has grown significantly, with economic linkages with, the Middle East, in particular, strengthening further,” he said.

The Islamic Expo comes after Sheikh Mohammed bin Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince of Ras Al Khaimah came to Zimbabwe early this year and explored possible investment opportunities in mining, engineering and agriculture.

The other notable investment by a Muslim is the Joina Centre project in Harare which began construction in 1997 but remained unfinished for seven years until a Saudi investor came to the rescue.

The centre is the largest, though not tallest high rise building (the tallest is the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe) in Harare.

Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud is a young and dynamic person who has made world headlines in recent years and has established himself as a very successful businessman, a smart investor and a great humanitarian.

He has been named by Forbes Magazine as the largest single non-American investor inside the United States of America, and as the second smartest businessman in the world.

His investments are in all continents and in many sectors and he has been awarded several medals and was granted the highest honours by many leaders around the world. Contacted for comment then, TA Holdings Limited chairman Shingai Mutasa said the Prince’s visit was significant for Zimbabwe in that the Saudi, who at one point was the second richest man after Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, had already promised to invest more funds in the continent.

“He wants to put a billion (United States) dollars into Africa and Zimbabwe is one of the countries he has invested in. The fact that he put more money into Joina Centre signifies his commitment to Zimbabwe and I believe it is up to us as Zimbabweans to decide whether men like that can be excited to invest in Zimbabwe,” said Mutasa.

“The Prince is proving to be one of the most committed investors in Africa at an individual level.”

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