Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 12 May 2023 – We must leverage the technological disruptions along with the ethical principles of Islamic finance to foster inclusive development, Chairman of the Islamic Development Bank Group, H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, said.
Dr. Al Jasser made the statement in a keynote speech during the 17th IsDB Global Forum on Islamic Finance, held on 12 May 2023 in conjunction with the 2023 IsDB Group Annual Meetings in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The forum was organized by the Islamic Development Bank Institute (IsDBI), the knowledge beacon of the IsDB Group, with the theme ‘Disruptive Solutions for a Resilient Economy’.
Dr. Al Jasser noted that the world is facing a myriad of dynamic challenges that added pressure on policymakers to explore innovative means to address these challenges.
“We must embrace this ‘disruption’ and integrate it with our business processes to create effective solutions for our member countries. Combining modern technology's efficiencies with the sustainable and ethical principles of Islamic economics can result in championing product solutions that can help tackle various global economic challenges,” Dr. Al Jasser said.
“We at the IsDB Group believe, more than ever, that joining hands and teaming with partners is essential for finding innovative solutions to various challenges facing us today,” he added.
However, the IsDB Group Chairman cautioned that any disruptive development needs to be backed by proper oversight, governance, and monitoring mechanisms that anticipate potential instability issues.
“In this regard, I would like to emphasize the role of the IsDB Institute in searching for innovative solutions that can help us address the challenges facing our member countries and Muslim communities worldwide,” he said.
Book on IsDB’s History Launched
During the opening session of the forum, Dr. Al Jasser and President Emeritus of IsDB, H.E. Dr. Ahmad Mohammad Ali, performed the launching of the book titled “The Islamic Development Bank and Dr. Ahmad Mohammad Ali: History of an Institution and Journey of a President’’. The book documents the historical evolution of the IsDB from its establishment in 1975 till the retirement of Dr. Ahmad Ali in 2016.
Dr. Al Jasser extended his gratitude to Dr. Ahmad Ali for attending the forum and praised him for being the legendary champion of development and for leading IsDB to be a world-class multinational development bank.
In his remarks, Dr. Ahmad Ali said the remarkable success of the IsDB Group is attributable to the confidence of the Member Countries and the faith of employees in its mission. He noted that the Bank has transformed into a great institution leading development projects in 57 Member Countries, in addition to 78 non-Member Countries, with total financial approvals of more than US$ 170 billion by the end of 2022.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Acting Director General of IsDB Institute, Dr. Sami Al-Suwailem, thanked Dr. Al Jasser and Dr. Ali for attending the forum. He appreciated the inspiring lessons they both embody for the institution and the wider society.
Before the book launch, there was also the launching of a report entitled ‘Islamic Financial Services Industry Development Ten-Year Framework and Strategies: A Final Review’. The report is a joint initiative of the IsDB Institute and the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB). IFSB Secretary General, Dr. Bello Danbatta, gave a brief on the findings of the report.
Experts Discuss Disruptive Solutions
The opening session of the forum was followed by two panel sessions in which senior financial technology and innovation leaders discussed the prospects of technological disruptions in fostering resilient economies.
In the first panel, the experts focused on how current and future applications of digital vouchers could help create a more financially inclusive society.
Speakers in the panel were Dr. Mohamad Hammour, Chairman and MD of Guidance Financial Group, and Member of IsDBI’s Board of Trustees; Mr. Rami Alkarmi, Executive Chairman, Ab(new)normal Ventures, and Member of IsDBI’s Board of Trustees; and Dr. Pater D. Holden, Chief Corporate Development Officer, Beyond Limits Inc.
The second panel discussed the structure of the Sukuk Enhancement Fund (SEF) as a product that aims to support the Islamic finance ecosystems in IsDB member countries.
Speakers in this session were Dr. Suminto Sastrosuwito, Director General of Budget Financing and Risk Management, Ministry of Finance, Indonesia; Mr. Ijlal Ahmed Alvi, CEO, International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM); and Ms. Sabeen Saleem, CEO, of Islamic International Rating Agency (IIRA).
The forum was co-organized with three knowledge partners: King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), Effat University, and University of Business and Technology (UBT), Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.