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Financial inclusion, financial inclusion policy and Islamic finance

Muhamed Zulkhibri ()

Macroeconomics and Finance in Emerging Market Economies, 2016, vol. 9, issue 3, 303-320

Abstract: Using a qualitative analysis, the paper examines the links between financial inclusion and the Islamic financial services industry in Muslim countries. The findings show that, despite growth in the financial sector in many Muslim countries over the past few decades, many individuals and firms are still financially excluded. An analysis of the use of and access to financial services by adults and firms also shows that most Muslim countries lag behind other emerging economies in both respects, with a rate of financial inclusion of only 27%. Cost, distance, documentation, trust, and religious requirements are among the important obstacles. In addition, not surprisingly, the extent of Islamic microfinance is very limited, small by international standards; it accounts for a small proportion of microfinance, about 0.5% of global microfinance, and lacks a cost-efficient service model. This study suggests that Islamic instruments for redistributing income such as awqaf, qard-al-hassan, sadaqa, and zakah, can play a role in bringing more than 40 million people, who are financially excluded for religious reasons, into the formal financial system. The Islamic financial services industry has a long way to go in improving financial inclusion in many Muslim countries due to the scale needed and its relatively weak infrastructure.

Date: 2016
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DOI: 10.1080/17520843.2016.1173716

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