04 June 2017
By Mohammed Al-Sulami
JEDDAH: Unemployment is the root cause of all social problems, said Saleh Kamil, chairman of the board of Al Baraka Banking Group.
Kamil, who is also chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Iqra Development Endowment, was addressing the first session of Albaraka 38th Symposium For the Islamic Economics held here in Jeddah.
Lamenting the unfair market practices prevalent in the Muslim world, the businessman said that there was a need to understand the true meanings of the Islamic concepts of business and economy.
Kamil called on businessmen and other affluent members of the society to make investments for the development of land. He said that the business community should take measures to reduce unemployment.
He said that had Muslims as a nation been taking effective measures in this regard, then society would not have been facing the menace of widespread unemployment and terrorism.
“The Arabic word “emaar,” (meaning development in the English language) does not necessarily imply the construction of skyscrapers,” Kamel said.
He said that Muslims could find the roots of the concept of small- and medium-enterprises (SMEs) from the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Kamil narrated the incident of a man who had complained of poverty and the prophet told him to use an ax to collect and sell wood.
Adnan Yusuf, the chief executive of Al Baraka Banking Group said that the performance of his group was an example of the success of Islamic banking, which should be emulated elsewhere.
He presented statistics indicating the achievements of the bank. “The assets of the bank grew at the annual rate of 14 percent and as of March 2017 stands at $23.4 billion.”
He said the volume of investment and finance also grew at 15 percent.
Yusuf said that the bank’s revenues rose from just $43 million during 2003 to $268 million in 2016, or at an annual rate of 13 percent.
The number employees also registered a rapid growth from 3,233 in 2003 to 12,593 by the end of March, while the number of branches grew from 132 in 2003 to 702 branches in March, he said.