H.E. Dr. Bandar Hajjar, President of IsDB, delivered the keynote speech at the conference along with Dr. Yuslam Fauzi, Chairman of Supervisory Board of BPKH, and Mr. Perry Warjiyo, Governor of Bank of Indonesia. The conference served as a platform to discuss the challenges and opportunities in Global Hajj Fund Management and the Economics of Hajj and Islamic Investment.
During his speech, Dr. Hajjar called for “greater prudence in the management of Hajj funds” with regard to the impact of the pandemic. He also raised “the importance of expanding cooperation with non-traditional partners in an effort to sufficiently raise resources to reach the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals.” Furthermore, he praised the excellent relationship that IsDB has maintained with Indonesia as a founding Member since 1974.
He then proposed that as no quotas or restrictions are imposed on Umrah visits, it may be considered to establish dedicated Funds and saving schemes that enable subscribers to carry out their Umrah and Ziyara. He also proposed that there are huge and diversified investment opportunities in the Muslim World with a total population of 1.8 billion and a total market size of US$ 7 trillion. “This offers a valuable opportunity for all Hajj Funds to contribute to the development of the Islamic Countries that suffer from a severe lack in essential economic and social infrastructure. This will also lead to increasing the current modest levels of economic integration between these countries,” he elaborated.
In the meantime, Mohamed Hedi Mejai, Director of IsDB’s Investments Department, participated in the Economics of Hajj session of the conference. In his intervention, he highlighted how the Hajj host country has managed to overcome many of the challenges posed by the enormous task of hosting more than 2 million people every year within a narrow time frame and facilitating their stay and their performance of this most holy ritual. Additionally, he highlighted the ADAHI project as one example for the improved service offering to Hajj pilgrims, whose management has been entrusted with the Islamic Development Bank. Furthermore, he explained how the increased use of fintech may be one area which can be capitalised on to further improve the service offering, by providing payment methods that ensure faster delivery and provide insurance services and saving plans for pilgrims.