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Brazil: The IDB and South America

The IDB is actively involved in two South American countries: Suriname and Guyana. South America is composed of countries which are former Spanish colonies, except for Brazil, a former Portuguese colony. Until the 1960s, there were the so-called three Guyanas: the British Guyana (currently Guyana), the Dutch Guyana (currently Suriname) and the French Guyana (which is still a French département).

Suriname has about 600,000 inhabitants and its Muslim population is approximately 14%. The population of Guyana is approximately 800,000 and among them 7% are Muslims.

The IDB in its eff orts to have a significant presence in all continents is evaluating the possibility of opening a regional headquarters in Suriname at a later date. Suriname is making an eff ort to include itself in the Islamic economy and Trustbank Amanah will be adapting itself for such an inclusion. Guyana has applied for a US$20 million financing from the IDB, which has since been approved, to fund the upgrading project of Guyana Power and Light. The IDB also has a presence in other countries in South America like Venezuela, Argentina and Brazil in projects related to education.

Islamic school projects are fast expanding in the city of Sao Paulo and the city of Florianopolis in the state of Santa Catarina. A Brazilian Arabic school for the Islamic Cultural Center in the city of Foz do Iguacu in the state of Parana is under construction. In Foz do Iguacu, the Muslim presence is evident despite being the smallest minority in the city. According to a 2010 census, Brazil only has approximately 36,000 people in its population who are Muslims. However, some Muslim organizations believe that the Muslim population corresponds to approximately 1.5 million people.

Brazil is still in need of foreign investments to boost its growth and development in Islamic finance economically. Collaborative eff orts between the IDB and Brazil could fulfill Brazil’s aim to make Islamic finance a reality. The IDB can assist in reviewing Brazil’s laws and regulations in order to accommodate Islamic finance. Brazil can also explore other paths related to Islamic finance rather than just being a relevant exporter of Halal food.

Este artigo foi publicado no Islamic Finance News , Volume 16, número 35, no dia 26 de setembro de 2018.