2020: Nigeria ranks fourth in Islamic finance research papers globally
According to the Islamic Finance Development Report (IFDR) 2020, Nigeria ranked fourth among nations in Islamic finance research papers.
According to the report Indonesia, Malaysia, UK, UAE, and Pakistan were the top countries in Islamic finance education.
The 2020 IFDR was a collaborative effort of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and Refinitiv, one of the world’s largest providers of financial markets data and infrastructure.
ICD is the private sector development arm of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).
From the report, it was clear that for the Islamic finance industry to experience development and growth it would need more and better-trained professionals.
A major challenge for the industry, however, in Nigeria has been a lack of placement opportunities for Islamic finance graduates.
If institutions still prefer to hire candidates with conventional banking experience, but their lack of experience in the specific rules governing Islamic finance often necessitates the institutions having to invest in additional training.
The western models dominate financial markets and conventional banking has existed for over 200 years, while Islamic finance re-emerged towards the end of the last century with Tabung Hajji, West African Muslim Bank, and IsDB (Islamic Development Bank) which was established in 1975 and has brought improvement in the Islamic finance industry.
Prophet Mohammed (SAW) succeeded in pioneering an economic reform called “Culturation” which was the foundation of Islamic Finance.
The Growth of the non-interest finance market in Nigeria relies heavily on achieving Islamic finance educational advancement across the country.
Analysts believe that Nigeria has the opportunity to tap into the benefits of Islamic finance to achieve economic development and nation-building.
The country is one of the economies with a growing interest in Islamic banking and finance.
The successes of the Federal Government of Nigeria’s (FGN’s) various Sukuk issuances(2017, 2018, and 2020) appears to indicate the wide acceptability of the instruments.
The National Universities Commission (NUC), according to industry professionals, would have to work out modalities of how universities in Nigeria could integrate Islamic Finance studies as an academic programme.
Islamic finance experts noted that there are three dimensions to the encouragement of Islamic finance education, namely;
- Individuals should be encouraged to embark on research initiatives
- Regulatory bodies should support research initiatives
- Indigenous professional accounting bodies like ANAN and ICAN should embark on creating relevant topics in Islamic finance or develop a compulsory professional development (CPD) programme in Islamic Finance.
Collaboration between Islamic finance educators and general academia would be vital to the development of Islamic finance knowledge in the country.
According to Islamic finance managers, if the government could increase investment in Islamic finance education, it would revolutionize the economy and society.
The citizens-based investment approach that is contributory such as the Waqf Endowment, should lead to the deployment of investment funds for education.
Finance practitioners argue that Nigeria could learn from Malaysia that allocates 30% of its budget to education. There is a need for collaboration with Nigerians in the diaspora, who could contribute immeasurably to the development of tertiary education in Nigeria.