The inaugural Royal Award for Islamic Finance 2010 was awarded to Shaikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel for his visionary drive, extraordinary leadership and personal commitment towards the development of Islamic finance. His work over four decades has fast-tracked the global adoption of Islamic finance and continues to have sustained financial, economic and social impact in the world.
He is widely credited for pioneering the adoption of Shariah-compliant principles in banking and business. In the absence of Islamic finance at the time, his deep personal adherence to Islamic principles led him to be one of the first individuals to devise Islamic contracts for use in his business operations in the 1960s.
In 1969 he founded a group of companies, which amongst others, provides Shariah-compliant retail, corporate and investment banking and treasury services and is today a global organisation comprising subsidiaries in 12 countries with more than 300 branches. Shaikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel followed this by establishing the Islamic Arab Insurance Company in 1979, a pioneering takaful (Islamic insurance) company.
In his efforts to inspire and develop future talent and innovation, Shaikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel established the Islamic Economics Research Centre, King Abdulaziz University and Jeddah Center for Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. He also founded the Saleh Kamel Centre for Islamic Economy, Al-Azhar University, Cairo and Saleh Kamel Center for Banking Studies and Research, King Saud University, Saudi Arabia. The endeavours of these institutions have led to further innovation development of many Shariah compliant tools, techniques and edicts.