Jordan has been a pioneer and one of the earliest supporters of the development of the contemporary Islamic finance movement.
The Central Bank of Jordan licensed Jordan Islamic Bank (JIB), now a member of the AlBaraka Banking Group, as early as 1978 just a couple of years after the establishment of the Islamic Development Bank and Dubai Islamic Bank in 1975. Since then Arab International Islamic Bank, which is a subsidiary of Arab Bank, one of the largest banking groups in the Middle East, has also been licensed.
But the Jordanian market has been very insular. Umayya Toukan, governor of the Central Bank of Jordan, discusses the prospects for Islamic banking, both in Jordan and in general and the possibility of Jordan issuing a sovereign Sukuk.
Has the credit crunch and the global financial crisis given the Islamic finance sector the opportunity that it should innovate and show the world that it has a better alternative system of financial management to offer?