Under the auspices of H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) President and Chairman of the IsDB Group, the 15th IsDB Global Forum on Islamic Finance convened on Saturday, 28 August 2021.
The high-level webinar under the theme: “The Role of Islamic Finance in Post-COVID19 Economic Recovery of IsDB MCs” brought together senior development practitioners and private sector experts from the Republic of Uzbekistan, Mauritania, IsDB Group, Asian Development Bank, and the World Bank.
In his opening speech, H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser noted that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated poverty and stalled human development, saying that countries and development partners must come together to identify strategies for achieving a sustainable recovery.
“Human development is a crucial goal of IsDB to maintain and promote human dignity in its Member Countries. Achieving this goal starts with reducing all forms of poverty, particularly in health and education, which are essential for building human capital,” he said.
Underlining the significance of infrastructure investments for developing economies, H.E. Dr. Al Jasser stated that the growing Islamic finance industry can serve as an essential source of finance for infrastructure development in developing countries and emerging markets. “We welcome the joint World Bank – IsDB effort to develop the Islamic Finance for Infrastructure PPP Projects reference Guide which aims to shed light on the essential aspects of Islamic finance related to infrastructure public-private partnerships,” he elaborated.
H.E. Dr. Al Jasser also congratulated the winners of the IsDB Prize for Impactful Achievement in Islamic Economics for 2021, who received their awards during the forum. He added that the “prize attests to IsDB’s continuing support for innovation and progress in Islamic Economics and Finance to realise its potential for socio-economic development.”
Following the President’s speech, the Acting Director General of IsDB Institute, Dr. Sami Al-Suwailem, conducted the virtual presentation of certificates to the winners of the prize. Two crowdfunding platforms, LaunchGood and Seed Out, won the prestigious prize for their innovative and impactful roles in funding projects that advance the principles of Islamic economics.
Earlier in his welcome remarks, Dr. Al-Suwailem thanked H.E. Dr. Al Jasser and the participants of the forum. Dr. Al-Suwailem added that “the forum this year aimed to integrate the principles of Islamic finance with the search for solutions for economic challenges facing the IsDB member countries.”
The forum also saw keynote speeches delivered by Dr. Bambang Susantono, Vice President at the Asian Development Bank, and Mr. Imad Fakhoury, Global Director, Infrastructure Finance, PPP and Guarantees (IPG) Group, World Bank. Dr. Susantono spoke on how Islamic finance can help in filling the financing gap required to kickstart the economic recovery post-COVID-19. For his part, Mr. Fakhoury focused on promoting public-private partnerships for infrastructure financing in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
Following the keynote speeches, two panel sessions were held. The first session highlighted the extent of multidimensional poverty in IsDB MCs and the adverse impacts of COVID-19 while the second session focused on Islamic finance public-private partnerships as a tool to mobilize resources to support Member Countries’ economic recovery efforts.
The second panel discussed unleashing the potential of Islamic finance to revive IsDB Member Countries’ economies and address extreme poverty in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.