A Dubai-based training and consulting institution is seeking to tap into the growing demand for Islamic finance expertise in Kenya through its distance-learning programmes.
Al Huda Centre of Islamic Banking and Economics, which hosted a conference on Islamic Microfinance last year in Nairobi offers Kenyans, especially middle-level managers eyeing a career in Islamic Finance, an opportunity to pursue a 12-month Executive Diploma in Islamic Banking and Finance from their homes or offices.
The programme allows Kenyans to become certified professionals in Islamic Insurance (Takaful), Islamic Bonds (sukuks) or certified managers of Islamic microfinance institutions or Islamic funds through four to six month courses via distance learning.
“The courses are relevant in the local and international markets due to robust growth in Shariah-compliant banking and finance sector globally. The courses are accepted worldwide,” said the institution which has trained at least 11,000 professionals globally on Islamic finance via distance learning
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The institution, which also has regional offices in Pakistan, and Uganda, runs short specialised courses and workshops on Islamic finance across the globe.
While Kenya is consolidating its position as the hub of Islamic finance in the region, there is still a shortage and demand for needed professionals to drive the sub-sector.
But local educational and training institutions are yet to respond fully to the demand, leaving a gap in the market that is being tapped by institutions beyond the country.
Experts say the courses on Islamic finance offered locally are inadequate to produce the expertise needed in capital markets, insurance, microfinance, regulation, auditing, dispute resolution, taxation, and accounting.
Others are shariah compliance, and corporate governance and product innovations, Islamic commercial Law and banking among others.
The Kenya School of Monetary Studies has been offering a basic certificate course since 2014 in collaboration with the Malaysia-based International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance.
Umma University, based in Kajiado County also offers a one-year basic Diploma in Islamic Banking and Finance. Mombasa-based Coast International College plans to roll out a Diploma in Islamic Finance in partnership with the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance.
Also, the curricula in local universities offering business, finance and law courses only mention Islamic finance in passing as one of the alternatives to the conventional financial systems. Kenya continues to rely on consultants from abroad to craft an enabling regulatory and policy structure to oversee the sub-sector.
Auditing of Islamic financial institutions by the Central Bank of Kenya has also been a challenge partly due to shortage of local expertise in the field.