Suriname leads Islamic banking in CARICOM

Suriname Trust Bank majority shareholder Jim Rassam, left, and Mohamed Maher Mannai, manager of Islamic Financial Institutions Program, are developing Islamic banking in Suriname.

CC20151105-BankingPARAMARIBO, Suriname – In an effort to expand its economic partners, Suriname has forged strong ties with the Islamic world by accelerating its engagement with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) over the past five years.

Paramaribo has now positioned itself as the leader in Islamic banking in the region in and is looking to exploit this lucrative industry that has gone global.

Experts on Islamic banking, Mohammed Mannai, Dr. Said Bouheraoua, Dr. Ibrahim Al Saywed and Louai Khojali, sent by the Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) of the Islamic Development Bank Group, are in Suriname conducting classes on Islamic banking at the request of Paramaribo.

They will also visit neighbouring Guyana, whose ties with the OIC have always been shaky. Guyana rarely attended OIC meetings and knows little about the OIC and its organs.

The previous government failed to capitalize on OIC funds. The four-member delegation will hold talk with the new government of Guyana on Islamic banking this week in Georgetown.

Jim Rassam a businessman, who holds a majority share in the Trust Bank of Suriname, has been in the vanguard of initiating the Islamic financing (Sukuk) industry. The Trust Bank has been certified as the first Islamic financial institution in Suriname and the Caribbean. The staff of the bank is being trained to take up their positions soon.

Suriname’s deputy governor to the Islamic Bank Dr. Anwar Lall Mohamed said the bank is “good for farmers and small entrepreneurs. It is industrial and production friendly.”

He added that his government is happy of the growing collaboration with the bank that “leads to the economic development of Suriname.”