The Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, the World Bank, and Guidance Financial Group, in collaboration with the International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF), have organized the 3rd Annual Symposium on Islamic Finance with the theme "Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Role of Islamic Finance".
Malaysia's Deputy Finance Minister I, Dato' Wira Othman Azi, led the symposium, which was held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 11 December 2017. Key speakers during the event were Bank Negara Malaysia Deputy Governor, Mr. Abdul Rasheed Ghafour; IsDB Vice President (Finance), Dr. Zamir Iqbal; World Bank Group Senior Vice President, Dr. Mahmoud Mohieldin; and INCEIF President/CEO, Prof. Mohamed Azmi Omar.
In his keynote speech, the IsDB Vice President, Dr. Iqbal, underlined the commitment of the IsDB Group and its 57 Member Countries to supporting the achievement of the SDGs. "Achieving SDGs also requires the unprecedented mobilization of resources and collaboration among governments, the private sector, and MDBs. In this respect, Islamic finance's approach to responsible finance based on risk-sharing and asset-based finance gives us a hope for the future," he said.
Applauding the noble ambitions of the SDGs, Dr. Iqbal noted that "with the size of over US $2 trillion, the Islamic finance industry is growing not only in size but also in the diversity of the products. In order to provide further impetus to the sector, the IsDB continues to play a vibrant role by forging closer partnerships with member countries, international development institutions, MDBs, Islamic infrastructure institutions and most importantly with many other stakeholders."
The World Bank Senior Vice President, Dr. Mohieldin, in his address, spoke on the potential of Islamic finance to support the SDGs, explaining how Islamic financial instruments can contribute to mobilizing resources for the realization of all the 17 SDGs. "The 3rd Annual Symposium on Islamic finance is a good opportunity to have a better way of guiding the industry forward," Dr. Mohieldin added.
In his remarks, INCEIF President/CEO, Prof. Azmi Omar, said: "Income and wealth inequality as well as climate change are posing serious threats and impeding our quest for promotion of a stable and sustainable growth. Notwithstanding, the initiatives taken in the conventional space through social banking, value-based intermediation and green bonds to address these challenges, Islamic finance also plays a significant role in resolving these issues."
The symposium featured panel discussions on "Governments' Policy Response to SDGs", and "Green Financing/Green Sukuk", as well as other keynote speeches and paper presentations by researchers, academics and representatives of organizations. It provided a platform for local and foreign participants from multilateral development institutions, government agencies, the private sector and academia to discuss recent outlook of Islamic finance and its potential role in supporting and achieving SDGs.
IsDB Vice President (Finance), Dr. Zamir Iqbal (3rd right), INCEIF President/CEO, Prof. Mohamed Azmi Omar (3rd left), and participants from different institutions, during the 3rd Annual Symposium on Islamic Finance, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.