Bahrain, the UAE, and Saudi Arabia are ranked among the world's top five Islamic finance economies in 2020 by the Islamic Finance Development Indicator (IFDI).
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The Kingdom, which has led MENA in all eight IFDIs to date, placed second worldwide this year, with the UAE and Saudi Arabia ranking fourth and fifth, respectively. In total, 135 countries are ranked as part of the index.
The IFDI is part of the annual Islamic Finance Development Report produced by Refinitiv and the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), the private sector development arm of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).
IFDI offers an annual ranking for each economy in the global Islamic finance sector, aggregating ratings across five fields – quantitative growth, knowledge, governance, corporate social responsibility, and awareness.
Bahrain's high ranking was founded on its strict and supportive regulation of Islamic finance and banking and the rise in Islamic banking assets.
Dalal Buhejji, Director, Business Development, Financial Services at the EDB, said: "Bahrain was the first in the region to develop a strong banking community and is now building one of the most concentrated FinTech ecosystems in the world.
"The Islamic finance sector has been a key part of that development, with ninety-six billion dollars of assets held in the Kingdom, which accounts for 124% of Bahrain's GDP", she added.
Moreover, the report recognized the UAE's efforts in the governance sector, highlighting the banking, takaful, and Sukuk regulations adopted in 2019 and the unified global legal framework for Islamic finance launched in May 2020. The UAE has also been listed as the world's leading Islamic finance educator in the region with the highest number of Islamic finance education providers in the GCC at 52 – including 12 that provide degrees.
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