Growing economic ties between Italy and Gulf countries has led to Italian bankers and academics stepping up efforts to develop Islamic finance in the country, according to a Reuters report.
Italy, which is looking for ways to grow out of its debt problems, has boosted its trade and investment with wealthy Gulf Arab states.
Recently, Kuwait’s sovereign wealth fund agreed to invest 500 million (US$685 million) in Italian companies along with the Italian government’s own strategic investment fund.
As a result of this improved relation, Italy’s export to the UAE has hit 5.5 billion mark in 2012, which a 16.7% increase from 2011.
According to Reuters, Italian firms raising loans could use Islamic structures to attract sharia-compliant banks from the Gulf.
So far, Islamic finance has made only marginal progress in continental Europe, mainly in France and Germany.