• Islamic finance can create jobs
  • Greater proportion of Muslim population is under 30
  • Islamic finance is “inherently resilient”

The Islamic finance industry can help drive job creation, particularly for young people in the Muslim world, says Rasheed Mohmmed al-Maraj, governor at the Central Bank of Bahrain.

Speaking at a Bahrain conference on Islamic finance on 3 March, he said it was important to increase opportunities for Muslim youth.

A greater proportion of the global Muslim population is currently under 30 compared with the non-Muslim world, which Al-Maraj says could be “an asset and a liability”.

“If we fail to harness our youth and fail to provide employment, this could lead to social instability… and economic disintegration,” he told delegates.

He said the growing Islamic finance market in Bahrain and globally has done “quite well” in terms of job generation. 

“As the industry continues to grow, many new jobs will be needed to sustain that growth,’ he said.

He adds that Islamic finance is an “inherently resilient” industry compared with conventional banking, arguing it is a less speculative form of banking. 

According to Pew Research Centre, the median age of Muslims will be 30 years old in 2030 compared with the average age of non-Muslims, which will reach 44 years old.

The combined GDP of Islamic markets is currently $6.7 trillion and is growing at a rate of 5.4 per cent a year.

According to research by consultancy EY, there are 38 million customers who bank with Islamic retail banks globally, but only a small proportion have completely transitioned from conventional banking to Islamic banking.

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