The total size of the global Islamic finance assets is projected to grow by nearly 72 per cent to $3.78 trillion (Dh13.87 trillion) by 2022 from $2.2 trillion (Dh8 trillion) last year as the governments look to improve education and regulations about the industry and host industry-focused seminars and conferences, according to a new report released on Tuesday.

According to the Islamic Finance Development Report and Indicator, Malaysia topped followed by Bahrain, the UAE, Oman, Pakistan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Brunei in terms of industry growth.

The report - prepared and released by Thomson Reuters and the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector - studied key trends across five indicators used to measure the development of the Islamic finance industry which are: quantitative development, knowledge, governance, corporate social responsibility and awareness.

According to the Islamic finance development indicator, the UAE was ranked 6th in quantitative development and sukuk sub-indicators; 10th in Islamic Banking and other Islamic financial institutions; and 9th in takaful category.

"The Islamic finance industry has reverted to growth after a brief downturn caused by low oil prices and stumbling economies in some of its key markets, with total industry assets growing seven per cent in 2016 to $2.2 trillion. Governance in particular made strong gains as governments saw the industry as one way to rekindle their economies. Islamic finance may be young, and still tiny in comparison with the global financial industry, but the industry's rapid development suggests it will continue to grow," said Khaled Al Aboodi, chief executive officer, Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector.

In terms of Islamic finance assets, Iran topped with $545.3 billion, followed by Saudi Arabia ($472.6 billion), Malaysia ($406 billion), UAE ($203.2 billion) and Kuwait ($120 billion). Regionally, GCC topped with $986.4 billion assets followed by other Mena countries at $594.1 billion and Southeast Asia at $485.6 billion in 2016. Islamic banks had $1.59 trillion assets while takaful firms had $42.5 billion assets last year. These were followed by other Islamic financial institutions ($124.4 billion), sukuk ($344.7 billion) and Islamic funds ($91.2 billion).

The report revealed that there were 1,075 scholars representing Islamic financial institutions and 683 number of Islamic finance education providers in 2016. The UAE had 60 Shariah scholars for Islamic finance and housed 46 Islamic financial institutions represented by at least 3 scholars.

In total, $683 million CSR funds were disbursed by all Islamic financial institutions in 2016. "The number of institutions reporting CSR activities also increased, but the global average for reporting disclosure remains low. Despite this, there are developments that will contribute to a stronger CSR in the future including interventions in managing zakat, waqf and charity by the governments of the UAE, Malaysia and Indonesia," the report said.

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