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In the growing area of Islamic microfinance, a diverse skillset is required. Professionals have to be knowledgeable in traditional retail banking, in the ethics of Islamic finance and in the relevant compliance and regulation issues. In order to provide you with the necessary skills and know-how to become a well-rounded Islamic microfinance professional, we have designed the certification course ‘Certified Expert in Islamic Microfinance’.

This e-learning course was jointly developed by a team of experts from the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Islamic Relief Worldwide, and the Islamic Relief Academy.

This combination of expertise provides you with the opportunity to have a rich learning experience based on the broad knowledge of diverse, highly qualified professionals.

The development of the "Certified Expert in Islamic Microfinance" was co-funded with UK aid from the UK government.

What Do We Offer?

  • An interactive e-learning course including video lectures, PDF scripts, examples, practical exercises, online tests and case studies.
  • A discussion forum for course related issues as well as for exchange of opinions and experiences with, tutors, peers and the FSDF e-Campus team.
  • Personalized support from your e-Campus team.
  • The possibility to achieve a Frankfurt School certificate after passing the final exam or a confirmation of course completion after completing the course.
  • An international network of institutions hosting our final exam all over the world.

Tuition Fees

Registration Date Fee
Before January 15, 2018 EUR 550
After January 15, 2018 EUR 650

Final exam fee: 50 EUR (to be paid directly to the final exam host).

Discounts:

  • 10% group discount (for 5 or more participants working for the same instutiton)
  • 10% for FS Alumni
Payment Options
  • Bank Transfer (bank fees to be coverend by the participants)
  • Credit Card
  • PayPal

Payment in instalments is unfortunately not possible.

Target Audience

This course is targeted towards microfinance and development professionals who are working in areas such as microfinance, Islamic microfinance, and end-user finance, or towards participants who want to explore Islamic microfinance. This includes staff from the following organisations, at either the operational level or the management level:

  • Faith-based NGOs and non faith-based NGOs
  • Islamic microfinance institutions
  • Microfinance institutions
  • Retail banks interested in downscaling
  • Social/impact investors
  • Banking training institutes

Other interested parties are of course also welcome to register for the course, such as:

  • Auditors
  • Consultants
  • Central bankers
  • Staff members of apex institutions
  • Students (preferably with a banking/finance background)

Operational experience from the conventional microfinance sector or the Islamic finance sector is not necessary but is considered as an asset. 

Workload

The course takes approx. 6 months assuming 3-4 hours of self-study per week. It consists of 7 units which build upon each other. You will take the units in sequence and will  need to pass an online multiple choice test before accessing the next unit.

Unit 4 and Unit 6 include an assignment which you will need to submit at a fixed deadline.

Registration

Register here for the next course intake starting on March 1st. If you register before January 15, 2018 you will benefit from EUR 100 early bird discount.

Dr Hossam Said

Managing Director of the Islamic Relief Academy, underlined the important contribution that this course will make to the microfinance sector

Managing Director of the Islamic Relief Academy, underlined the important contribution that this course will make to the microfinance sector

“Islamic Relief is delighted to partner with Frankfurt School in developing this unique online programme. This e-learning course will be an important contribution to building up capacities of the Islamic Microfinance sector and to fill the educational gap that exists in this sector. Through the agreement with
Frankfurt School, the Islamic Relief family and the wider NGO and financial sector will be able to provide better financial inclusion for the poor and thus helping them to embark on a better future.”

Course Details

According to CGAP an overwhelming proportion of people without access to finance are from Muslim-majority countries, as formal financial markets often fail to provide access to credit or savings that are compliant with the Muslim faith. Islamic microfinance has the potential to fill that gap through the provision of Sharia-compliant microfinance products, already reaching millions with an estimated USD 1 billion global industry loan portfolio. Professionals in this field are motivated and at times challenged by the dual nature of the required skillset, combining proven microfinance practice with the principles of Islamic finance.

These wide-ranging technical competencies are addressed in this unique course which combines our renowned "Certified Expert in Microfinance" with key knowledge in Islamic finance to the standards set by the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI).

Course Objectives

In this course you will learn the principles of Islamic finance and the major financing mechanisms and products within Islamic microfinance. The course will enable you to develop a thorough understanding of the risk landscape and risk mitigation strategies. Furthermore, regulatory, governance and Sharia compliance frameworks for Islamic microfinance will be discussed and analysed.

Having been co-developed by Frankfurt School and the Islamic Relief Academy, this course provides a rich learning experience based on the expertise from a top-ranked business school, combined with the expertise from a renowned provider of Islamic microfinance.

By the end of this course students will be able to:

  1. Understand the principles of Islamic finance and recognise the distinctness of some of the major financing mechanisms and products used in the Islamic microfinance sector
  2. Apply/Demonstrate the ability to carry out client appraisals
  3. Apply/Demonstrate the ability to analyse microfinancial performance information and employ the necessary tools
  4. Recognise the areas and issues critical for risk management
  5. Explain the key parameters for Regulatory, Governance and Sharia Compliance Frameworks for Islamic Microfinance

Suggestions & Recommendations

This course gives you the flexibility to decide when and where to study. However, we would like to give you some recommendations on how to get the most out of this course:

Your schedule: We will provide you a course schedule including voluntary and mandatory deadlines. The course schedule serves as guideline for your personal learning schedule and will help you completing the programme within the given time frame.

Exercises: Even though the exercises in the script are not mandatory we strongly advise you to use them as an opportunity to check your knowledge and to prepare for the final exam.

Assignments: With the assignments you will learn how to apply the knowledge learned during the course. It is important that you take time to read the necessary material and to solve the assignment.

Networking Opportunities: Use the forum to introduce yourself your peers and start interesting discussions.

Unit 1: Overview of Islamic Economics & Microfinance System

Islamic finance is a term that reflects the financial transaction that is not contradictory to the principles of Sharia. The underlying principles are different from conventional finance. It is against this backdrop that all Islamic financial transactions involve a form of trading, leasing and investment activities. These Islamic financial transactions are primarily based on instruments that are agreed upon by the majority of scholars.

The opening unit for the course is critical in establishing the overall parameters of the CEIM qualification. It seeks to provide a high-level overview of the philosophy/ontology underpinning Islamic economics & finance and the key constituent elements such as legal principles, institutions and products. Course participants will learn to:

1. Examine the principles and history of Islamic economics and finance, evaluate the concepts of Sharia-based and Sharia-compliant finance and reflect about its critiques

2. Distinguish between conventional debt-financing and the key Islamic financing mechanisms

3. Recognise the fundamentals of Islamic Commercial/Contract Law

4. Identify the key Islamic Financial Products

5. Explain the strengths and weaknesses of the Islamic finance industry, its key actors, stakeholders, and the role of the Islamic microfinance sector

Unit 3: The Microfinance Contracts & Transaction Agreements (Part 2)

The Islamic transaction law provides “Equity-based Financing” as a mode of financing in Islamic finance and banking.

For the majority of the scholars, equity-based financing or Partnership-based financing is the preferred Islamic finance instrument. This is based on the fundamental principle of interest-free banking.

Unit 3 will demonstrate how profit & loss sharing, equity investments and venture capital instruments are used in the Islamic microfinance sector. Course participants will learn to:

1. Explain the concept of Musharaka in Islamic transactions and understand the different types of Partnership

2. Examine the Sharia rules for Musharaka & Mudaraba based on the standards set by the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI)

3. Explain the use of Musharaka contracts in modern corporations

4. Explain how Musharaka & Mudaraba are used in modern Islamic banking

5. Evaluate and apply the key contractual elements for a valid transaction as microfinancing tools

6. Recognise the practicalities and limitations of application within the sector

Unit 5: Risk Management in Islamic Microfinance Institutions

Risk management is at the heart of any financial intermediation process and of enormous importance for the financier/ Islamic MFI within an Islamic financial framework where returns are not guaranteed. This unit will introduce the idea of risk management and mitigation and discuss in particular key operational, financial and Sharia risks. It will further discuss the concept of portfolio management and introduce a number of key metrics to assess the riskiness of various Islamic financing tools and how they are mitigated operationally. Course participants will learn to:

1. Distinguish between operational and financial risks and to explain the concept of risk governance

2. Examine different operational risks and identify appropriate mitigation strategies including internal controls

3. Examine different financial risks and identify appropriate mitigation strategies

4. Appraise portfolio risks and calculate metrics for risk measurement

5. Identify appropriate portfolio risk mitigation strategies including loan loss provisioning

Unit 2: The Microfinance Contracts & Transaction Agreements (Part 1)

Building on the opening unit, the units 2 and 3 will introduce the main financing contracts used in the industry. In unit 2, the concepts and Islamic financial instruments of Qard (loan), trade based debt instruments such as Murabaha, Salam, Istisna’a, and lease based instruments such as Ijarah are covered. These instruments are defined and further elaborated with their concrete application as modern microfinance tools. Course participants will learn to:

1. Assess the difference between Islamic loan, trade, lease based transactions and interest-bearing instruments

2. Examine the Sharia rules for Qard Hassan, Murabaha, Salam, Istisna’a and Ijarah based on the standards set by the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI)

3. Evaluate and apply the key contractual elements for a valid transaction as microfinancing tools

4. Recognise the practicalities and limitations of application within the sector

Unit 4: Managing Islamic Microfinancing

Whilst many aspects of managing Islamic microfinance operations are likely to be comparable or very similar to conventional counterparts, this unit introduces the whole financing cycle from appraisal, disbursement to recovery within an Islamic financing framework. Course participants will learn to:

1. Analyse the difference between individual and group financing models and identify the operational and Sharia challenges

2. Explain the financing cycle from appraisal, disbursement to recovery

3. Apply key client appraisal techniques, carry out critical client financial analysis and calculate repayment/profit sharing ratios and schedules

4. Identify key characteristics of and employ best practice processes for financing decision-making

5. Identify the efficacy of financing management techniques within an Islamic economic framework, including different approaches to collateralisation, monitoring and the handling of delinquency

Unit 6: Regulatory, Governance and Sharia Compliance Framework for Islamic Microfinance

This unit will focus on the definitions, components, and the criteria for regulatory, governance and Sharia compliance frameworks as applicable to different legal structures that Islamic MFIs usually take. A general overview of regulatory dimensions for microfinance, although these vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, will be provided, with specific attention to I-MFIs operating outside regulatory frameworks that recognise Islamic financing.

The concept of Sharia compliance will be discussed and the implications for management and governance in line with the industry best practices and according to the Standards of the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) will be outlined. Course participants will learn to:

1. Differentiate between different corporate governance requirements for the different types of Islamic MFIs

2. Identify the particular regulatory dimensions of relevance to Islamic MFIs (subject to in-country jurisdiction) and recognise their implications for corporate governance

3. Outline the role and importance of the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) and the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB)

4. Identify Shariah non-compliance risks, the pillars of Shariah Governance and technicalities of Shariah audit in the Islamic microfinance arena.

5. Differentiate between various types of Shariah audits, reviews, and compliance tests with the aim of enabling participants to gain a better understanding of the nature and the operations of how Shariah non-compliance risks can be managed.

Unit 7: Financial and Social Performance Management

The objective of microfinancing is to overcome financial exclusion through the building of sustainable financial institutions. For Islamic MFIs whilst cost-coverage or even profitability cannot be achieved through sustainable interest-rates, it is nevertheless important to measure and manage their financial performance. Moreover, since Islamic MFIs work with financially excluded and economically vulnerable groups and often have avowed poverty-reduction objectives, socially responsible lending is imperative for their long-term economic viability and impact. Therefore, the concept of social performance and measurements for social performance management are introduced. Course participants will learn to:

1. Examine institutional financial reports such as balance sheets & income statements and apply financial ratios to measure various financial performance indicators

2. Examine portfolio reports and evaluate the efficacy of certain indicators to measure financial performance

3. Identify key social performance indicators and appraise some of the key social performance standards

4. Describe the salient features of ethical, social responsibility and impact investment and its potential for the Islamic microfinance sector

5. Apply tools to manage financial and social performance

Course Lecturer

Dr. Muniruddeen Lallmahomood

As a senior-executive Islamic Banker and a guest professor in Islamic finance at Paris-Dauphine University and the University of Strasbourg, Dr. Muniruddeen Lallmahomood, an AAOIFI certified Sharia Advisor and Auditor, has the perfect combination of training and practical experience to provide a well-rounded course. More...

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