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14th World Islamic Economic Forum Discusses Key Global Economic Growth Themes

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The 14th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), scheduled for 6-8 February 2024 at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), promises to be a pivotal event in shaping the global economic landscape. Under the theme ‘Global Economic Agenda: Shaping a Sustainable Future,’ this forum will delve into a wide array of pressing economic issues, especially focusing on the integration of technology in shaping future economic trends.

A key highlight of the 14th WIEF is the exploration of East Asia’s burgeoning economic clout. As this region becomes increasingly influential in the global market, the forum will examine its impact on global economic dynamics. This is particularly relevant considering reports from institutions like the Asian Development Bank, which forecast East Asia’s continuous growth trajectory in the coming years.

The convergence of technology and sustainability will also be a central theme. With the world rapidly evolving, the forum aims to chart new paths for economic development, emphasizing sustainable practices. This aligns with global trends highlighted in reports by the United Nations and World Economic Forum, which stress the critical role of sustainable development in future economic growth.

The increasing economic prominence of the Middle East, especially in the context of global markets, is another focal point. Reports from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other economic research institutions underline the Middle East’s expanding role in shaping global economic policies and trends.

Tan Sri Dr. Syed Hamid Albar, Chairman of the WIEF Foundation, emphasizes the forum’s importance as a pivotal platform for global economic dialogue. The event will feature a plethora of plenary sessions, in-depth panel discussions, and networking opportunities, addressing topics like youth integration in the AI-driven labor market, the empowerment of women in technology, the synergy between Islamic finance and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investing, and innovative strategies for food security.

MOCAfest, an integral part of the Forum, will celebrate the vital role of creative industries in economic and social development. This festival will be a melting pot for artists from diverse cultures, showcasing their talents and fostering a vibrant cultural exchange.

About the World Islamic Economic Forum Foundation (WIEF): Established in 2006, the WIEF Foundation has been at the forefront of enhancing global economic cooperation. It focuses on trade opportunities, business networking, and capacity building programs, primarily through its annual forum. WIEF brings together influential figures from government, industry, academia, and other sectors to discuss contemporary issues and trends in the global economy. The 14th WIEF, with its emphasis on sustainable future shaping, reaffirms this commitment.


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What To Expect From the Kuala Lumpur Islamic Finance Forum 2024?

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The Kuala Lumpur Islamic Finance Forum (KLIFF) 2024 is poised to be a pivotal event in the Islamic finance industry, building on the momentum of its previous editions. The forum has consistently served as a crucial platform for discussions on the latest trends, challenges, and opportunities in Islamic finance, drawing attention to the innovative strides and potential growth areas within the sector.

Key Expectations from KLIFF 2024

  • Industry Leadership and Expert Insights: The forum is expected to host a distinguished lineup of speakers from various sectors of Islamic finance, including banking, fintech, asset management, and more. Previous editions have seen influential figures such as Dima Djani, CEO of Hijra Group, and Jamaludin Bujang, Managing Partner (Malaysia) at Gobi Partners, sharing their insights, which indicates the caliber of thought leadership that attendees can anticipate in 2024​.
  • Sustainable and Ethical Finance Focus: A significant emphasis on sustainable and ethical finance principles is likely, reflecting a global trend towards more responsible investment practices. This aligns with the broader objectives of Islamic finance to contribute positively to society and the environment. Discussions may revolve around leveraging Islamic finance and social finance for sustainable future, as seen in previous forums​
  • Global Islamic Fintech Outlook: The rapid growth and innovation in Islamic fintech will likely be a central theme, given its increasing prominence in offering Shariah-compliant financial solutions worldwide. The previous edition highlighted the sector’s expansion, including the adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrency, emphasizing the role of digital banking in enhancing financial inclusion and the importance of regulatory frameworks to support industry growth​
  • Networking and Collaboration Opportunities: KLIFF 2024 will provide invaluable networking opportunities, facilitating connections between industry stakeholders, including investors, policymakers, and professionals. This collaboration is essential for fostering innovation and exploring new ventures in the Islamic finance landscape.
  • Support from Industry Leaders: The forum’s impact is underscored by the support it receives from leading entities in the Islamic finance sector. For instance, Principal Asset Management’s partnership for the IFN Investor Asia Forum 2024, scheduled in Kuala Lumpur, indicates the level of industry backing and commitment to advancing Islamic finance​
  • Innovative Solutions and Best Practices: Attendees can expect to learn about the latest innovative solutions and best practices within Islamic finance, including advancements in Sukuk, Islamic banking, asset management, and more. The event will likely showcase cutting-edge research, case studies, and success stories from around the globe.

The Kuala Lumpur Islamic Finance Forum (KLIFF) 2024 is set to be a landmark event, highlighting the growing importance and dynamism of the Islamic finance industry. With a focus on sustainability, technological innovation, and global collaboration, KLIFF 2024 will offer attendees a comprehensive view of the sector’s current state and future directions. By gathering experts, thought leaders, and practitioners from around the world, the forum will continue to play a crucial role in shaping the Islamic finance landscape, promoting development, and addressing the evolving needs of the global economy.


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OIC Secretary-General Calls on OIC Member States to Invest More in Critical Sectors of the Economy

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On the 4th of December 2023, the President of the Republic of Türkiye, His Excellency Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inaugurated the 39th Session of the OIC Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC), in Istanbul. The ceremony was attended by the OIC Secretary-General and Member States’ concerned ministers.

In his Statement, President Erdogan highlighted the grave situation in Gaza and the rising trend of Islamophobia and emphasized the need for all OIC Member States to have a unified position to address current challenges facing the Muslim Ummah.

He also underscored the importance of implementing the Trade Preferential System among OIC Member States as well as supporting the OIC Arbitration Centre, developing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and halal industries towards promoting sustainable socio-economic growth in OIC Member States.

Speaking at the Opening Ceremony of the 39th Session of COMCEC, H.E Mr. Hissein Brahim Taha, the Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), acknowledged the continued support of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Chairman of COMCEC, towards the realization of various economic programs and projects of the OIC.

Referring to the tragic massacres taking in Gaza and Palestine generally, the Secretary-General called upon the international community to intervene urgently to put an end to Israel’s criminal aggression and murder of Palestinians. While highlighting the activities of OIC and its institutions in the economic domain during the last one year, the Secretary-General emphasized the need to further enhance intra-OIC cooperation in the vital sectors of the economy.

Especially in the food and agriculture sector, to build more resilient food systems, share knowledge and best practices in order to help develop domestic production capacities in OIC Member States. Accordingly, he called for greater cooperation, harmonization, and synergizing of efforts toward addressing the developmental challenges of OIC Member States.

The Opening Ceremony was also addressed by Ministers in charge of trade from Qatar, Senegal, and Kazakstan in their capacities as representatives of Arab, African, and Asian groups

The 39th Session of COMCEC is being attended by Ministers in charge of trade and economy of the OIC Member States as well as OIC institutions and international organizations. The Session will review the status of implementation of various projects under the COMCEC in the areas of trade and investment, agriculture, tourism and financial development, Private Sector, and poverty alleviation among others. The theme of the 39th COMCEC Sessions is “Improving E-Commerce Capacities of the OIC Member Countries”.

COMCEC is an OIC Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation, which meets annually to review OIC activities in the economic and trade development domains.


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Resolutions of a One-day International Summit on Financing Primary Healthcare Infrastructure in Nigeria

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A one-day international Summit on Financing Primary Healthcare Infrastructure in Nigeria under the theme: Islamic Finance: Exploring New Sources Of Financing For Primary Healthcare Transformation in Nigeria was held in Abuja, the Capital of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the 30th of November, 2023, at the NICON Luxury Hotel, under the distinguished Chairmanship of His Excellency, Senator Ibrahim Shekarau, former Executive Governor of Kano State,

The Summit, which was organized by DUKE Logistics and Consult Limited, in strategic collaboration with the Africa Islamic Economic Foundation (AFRIEF), Ghana, and the Glocal Healthcare Systems Limited, India, was held to, among others, explore innovative healthcare financing models that leverage Islamic finance instruments such as sukuk (Islamic bonds), Waqf (endowments), and takaful (Islamic insurance), etc. in providing sustainable and long-term financing for primary healthcare transformation in Nigeria; and to foster collaboration between the various states of the federation to share best practices and experiences in leveraging Islamic finance for healthcare projects.

After exhaustive presentations and deliberations among participants the following resolutions and recommendations were passed:

Resolution 1:  The Summit recognizes the significant potential of Islamic finance in supporting the development of healthcare infrastructure in Nigeria. The participants urge the various Governments of the Federation of the Republic of Nigeria and relevant stakeholders to explore and promote Islamic finance mechanisms such as Sukuk, (Islamic Bonds), Zakat (annual alms tax) Waqf (endowments) to fund healthcare infrastructure projects. It is recommended that the Federal Government establishes a dedicated Islamic finance healthcare fund to attract investments and financing from Islamic financial institutions.

Resolution 2: The Summit acknowledges the transformative power of digital health solutions in improving healthcare access and delivery. The participants recommend the establishment of public-private partnerships to foster innovation and collaboration in developing digital health solutions. It is suggested that the government introduces supportive policies and regulations to encourage investment in digital health startups and initiatives. The participants recommend the promotion of effective collaboration between Islamic financial institutions and digital health solution providers to address financial challenges and explore Shariah-compliant investment opportunities,

Resolution 3: The Summit advocates for robust cybersecurity measures to safeguard patient data in digital health systems.

Resolution 4: The Summit recognizes the need for capacity building programs and training for healthcare professionals to effectively utilize digital health technologies. The Summit therefore, encourages the development of training programs to enhance digital health literacy among healthcare professionals and communities. It also emphasizes the need for regulatory frameworks that ensure quality, safety, and ethical standards in digital health practices. It is recommended that a national digital health task force, comprising experts from various sectors should be established to develop guidelines and regulations for digital health implementation and oversee its progress.

Resolution 5: The Summit advocates for the promotion of awareness among healthcare professionals and policymakers about the benefits and potential of digital health solutions in the Nigerian context. Furthermore, it highlights the importance of research and development in digital health to address local healthcare challenges. The participants recommend the establishment of an incubation program or funding scheme that supports Nigerian startups in developing and implementing digital health solutions aligned with Islamic finance principles.

Resolution 6: The Summit acknowledges that limited fiscal space and competing demands on the budgets of the various governments of the federation have created insufficient funding opportunities to address the complex challenges in the healthcare sector. Participants therefore, recommend the Africa Islamic Economic Foundation (AFRIEF) through its flagship initiative, the Africa Healthcare Infrastructure Development Program (AHIDEP) to explore innovative and sustainable financing mechanisms that can leverage local and international resources, attract private sector investments to address the critical challenges faced by the Nigerian healthcare system, with a particular emphasis on primary healthcare.

Resolution 7: The Summit commends the Federal Government of Nigeria for launching the Health Sector Renewal Investment Initiative. To ensure inclusivity and accommodate different financing options, participants recommended the incorporation of Islamic finance as an alternative funding mechanism. The Summit notes that integrating the Initiative with Islamic finance principles can diversify funding sources, attract socially responsible investors, and contribute to the development of primary healthcare infrastructure in Nigeria. The Summit observes that through collaboration with Islamic finance experts and institutions, the Federal Government of Nigeria can develop innovative financing structures, like Islamic bonds (sukuk) or Islamic project financing, specifically tailored to the healthcare sector. These structures could enable investors to support the development of healthcare infrastructure while adhering to their ethical and religious beliefs. Furthermore, the initiative can foster partnerships with international Islamic finance institutions and organizations that have experience in healthcare project financing. This would facilitate knowledge transfer, promote best practices, and attract foreign investments to support Nigeria’s healthcare sector.

Resolution 8: The Summit acknowledges that having assessed the range of digital health solutions and options currently available to consumers, the GLOCAL Digital Healthcare system, as a result of its Primary Health Care focus, its capacity to be located at the door step, even for the most outlying communities, and its comparatively low price, is recommended to Health Authorities for adoption and implementation of their digital healthcare initiatives.

These resolutions and recommendations aim to leverage Islamic finance principles and digital health solutions to transform primary healthcare in Nigeria. They emphasize collaboration, innovation, and regulatory frameworks to ensure sustainable development in the healthcare sector.

Signed:

Hon. Dr Abdel Majeed Haroun

(Former Minister of Agriculture, Republic of Ghana)

Chairman, Summit Resolution Committee

30th November, 2023


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