Russia’s Sberbank upbeat about its Islamic finance record

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Moscow

Sberbank’s business areas include Islamic finance, and Russia’s biggest lender has shown good performance in this field in 2020, according to a statement from the bank. Sberbank, which is currently rebranding itself as Sber, has obtained regulatory approval in Russia and the United Arab Emirates for opening a subsidiary in Abu Dhabi, to be called Sberinvest Middle East Limited. The subsidiary would offer Sharia-compliant investment solutions and Islamic finance products and help to organise food exports from Russia to the Middle East, the statement said. Furthermore, Sberbank and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, which is headquartered in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, have signed a $13bn deal on the export of wheat from Russia to Egypt. Sberbank, besides, runs an Islamic charity platform, PayZakat, which has raised more than 4m roubles (about $60,000) since it was set up about a year ago and has organic subscribers who have doubled in number in this period. PayZakat is a facility for collecting zakat, alms that are obligatory for a Muslim, and sadakah, voluntary donations. PayZakat is one of the 2020 winners of Global Islamic Finance Awards (GIFA), which are regarded as one of the world’s most prestigious awards in Islamic banking and finance. It received the GIFA Islamic Social Finance Award. Sberbank has also given lectures on Islamic finance at one of Moscow’s universities, MGIMO. “Islamic finance is one of the most promising areas of the world economy, and we are glad that Sberbank is Russia’s pioneer in this line of business and has achieved serious success in such a short period,” said Oleg Ganeyev, senior vice-president of Sberbank.—Agencies