The Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) has participated in an international conference for waqf in Guinea, organized by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) from 16-17 January 2019.
President of the IsDB, Dr. Bandar Hajjar, along with several heads of state, inaugurated the conference, which addressed challenges facing the waqf institution, and discussed potential innovative solutions for the development of the sector.
The address of welcome was delivered by H.E. Ms. E. Kanny Diallo, IsDB Governor and Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Republic of Guinea. Speakers from the West African region and beyond participated in the conference.
The first day of the conference had four sessions that discussed unlocking the potential of waqf to achieve sustainable development, success stories of waqf projects in Guinea, awqaf experiences and initiatives from other countries, as well as economic empowerment using waqf.
On the second day, two sessions were held focusing on the role of technology in financing awqaf projects, and innovations in waqf. A closed meeting was also held between project leaders, potential investors and donors to discuss the opportunities for waqf development projects in light of the adaptation of waqf regulations in Guinea.
IRTI participated in two sessions on the second day of the conference. Dr. Sami Al-Suwailem, IRTI Acting Director General, presented a proposal for "Smart Waqf," in line with IRTI's initiative for Smart Economy for IsDB Member Countries.
The "Smart Waqf" model uses blockchain technology to issue "cash-waqf tokens" that are lent on qardh-hassan (benevolent loan) basis to small and micro businesses. Merchants who accept these tokens in exchange for goods or services are effectively contributing to the cash-waqf. They can then trade it with other small business to obtain other supplies. Merchants are thus supporting qardh hassan without paying any money.
Dr. Layachi Feddad, Senior Shariah Specialist at IRTI, presented the Shari'ah aspects of cash waqf and how it compares with other forms of waqf.