العدد الحالي: تشرين 1/اكتوبر 2018       اختر عدد :
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كلمة المجلس العام

Abdelilah BELATIK

Secretary General of CIBAFI

Welcome to the 48th edition of the Global Islamic Economics Magazine (GIEM). As always, it is our pleasure to keep you abreast with the recent developments, current challenges and opportunities in the global Islamic finance industry. The GIEM also serves as the platform for CIBAFI to keep its stakeholders updated about its activities and key initiatives, and inform about important areas of development in the Islamic finance and banking industry.

It is with pleasure to I would like to announce the readers that CIBAFI marked its 15th Anniversary of establishment by convening its annual event on 3 - 4 May 2016, titled: CIBAFI Global Forum: “Rethinking Values for Sustainable Growth”, at the Four Seasons Hotel, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain.

This two-day forum was organised under the patronage of the Central Bank of Bahrain and received an overwhelming response from the industry participants. The event brought together various stakeholders from the Islamic finance industry, multilateral development institutions, international and national regulatory bodies, policy-makers, diplomats and the academia. The Forum discussed key emerging issues within the industry and the globally changing business environment while uncovering business strategies in line with the event’s theme of recreating values for sustainable growth, from Islamic finance and banking perspectives. The Forum was attended by delegates from more than 28 countries.

The Forum was graced by H.E. Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain who delivered the keynote address while Mr. Musa A. Shihadeh, CIBAFI Board of Director member and Chief Executive Officer & General Manager of the Jordan Islamic Bank acknowledged the Forum delegates with the welcoming remarks.

The highlight of the day-one of the Forum was the special keynote address by the renowned Emerging Markets and Asset Management guru, Dr. Mark Mobius, Executive Chairman, Templeton Emerging Markets Group. The extensive session covering the future of emerging markets gave extraordinary insights into major growth markets and the economic future of the region in light of low oil and commodity prices.

The Global Forum discussed various themes including global trends in social responsibility - strategies for IFIs to drive long-term value creation and performance. The discussion was geared towards means to shift from shareholders’ to stakeholders’ value creation in Islamic financial institutions, including opportunities, transition progress, and challenges. The session discussed the shared framework and principles of Responsible Investment (RI) and Islamic finance. 

Responsible investment is an approach to investing that aims to incorporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into investment decisions, to better manage risk and generate sustainable, long-term returns. The global momentum around responsible investment is driven by these ESG factors which play an important role in recognizing that financial industry determine their risks and return from their investments, and understand that incorporating ESG factors is vital for the sustainable development of the economy.

Indeed, these principles coincide with many precepts of Islamic finance. For example, Islamic finance involves practices of various similar values such as commitment to the social interest, promotion of human welfare, care for the environment and concerns for economic and social justice. Shariah compliant financial products need to comply with the premise that no investment should be directed towards sectors that are harmful for the society (such as investments in businesses dealing with tobacco, alcohol, gambling industries, drugs, harmful substances etc.). Islamic banks’ Investment account holders have their rights protected to ensure they are treated fairly and equitably. Moreover, governance in Islamic finance has inbuilt characteristics of transparency, accountability and fairness which are also integral part of ESG factors.

Another highlight of the Forum was the CIBAFI Breakfast Session on the morning of day-two of the Forum, which discussed the value of values and explained how this premise forms an inherent part of the Islamic finance practices. The renowned professor from Durham University Professor Mehmet Asutay delved into this from different perspectives including how finance can benefit the society and to create shared values as a business strategy, and their strategic implications to the Islamic finance industry.

The second segment of the session dealt with how interest-free financing impacts the social well-being and value creation in developing communities. Dr. Amjad Saqib shared his motivation behind creating Alkhuwat Foundation, which is presently influencing hundreds and thousands of individuals and families across parts of Pakistan in sustaining their livelihood through interest-free financing.

CIBAFI Global Forum concluded with another inspiring Special session on “FinTech & Digital Financial Services”. The session gave insights on how technology is and will play an increasing role in today’s financial world. This session shed light on the digital disruption that is influencing the banking and financial services across the globe. The panelists contended that with emerging markets constituting majority users of the smartphone, Fintech’s impact is likely to be felt more in these markets. This may either be an opportunity or threat depending on the approach Islamic finance can take to take advantage of this new trend.

CIBAFI will continue to focus on its role as an important link between the various stakeholders of the Islamic financial industry in achieving its strategic goals, and bring to you the latest updates on things that matter, both from inside and outside the Islamic finance industry. Stay tuned!