The World Bank, INCEIF and IRTI 4th Annual Symposium on Islamic Finance with the theme of “Islamic Finance, Inclusion and Poverty Alleviation” was held at the Sasana Kijang, Bank Negara Malaysia on 11th – 12th December 2018.
The aim of the symposium was to continue the conversation on Sustainable Development Goals, focusing on no poverty (SDG1) and zero hunger (SDG2). The symposium brought together leading members of the academic, policymakers, private sector practitioners and development communities to discuss recent and new developments and exchange cutting-edge ideas on policy to eradicate poverty, improve living standards, well being of all people and promote inclusive societies.
The keynote address was given by Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Member of Parliament of Port Dickson, Malaysia followed by 3 panel sessions and Case Study Presentation on Social Finance/Microfinance/Waqf Projects. The 3 panel sessions topics were:
- Eradicating Extreme Poverty and Promoting Financial Inclusion: The roles of Islamic and Sustainable Finance
- Responsible Agriculture Investment Strategies
- Leveraging Fintech to Suport Islamic Social Finance
While the first panel was not on fintech specifically, one of the speakers, Mr. Simon Bell, Former Global Lead for SME Finance at the World Bank covered quite extensively on how “Emerging Fintech Innovations (Mobile Banking, Digital Platforms, Crowd Funding, Psychometric Testing, Big Data and Social Development Bonds” can significantly help meet the goals of SDG1.
I was one of the panelists discussing how to leverage fintech to support Islamic Social Finance (Waqf, Zakat and Sadaqah) moderated by Dr. Turkhan Ali Abdul Manap, Senior Researcher/Economist, Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), IsDB. The other panelists were:
- Syed Shahid Hussain, Managing Partner Financial Services Sector Leader – ASEAN, IBM Global Business Services, Singapore
- Yousuf Sultan, CTO and Shariah Consultant, Ethis Crowd
- Mohammad Shah Ali Shah, Head of Digital Economy & Fintech, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation
- Omar Rana, Co-founder and Director of Strategy, Finalytix
Syed Shahid talked about the bigger picture of how overall fintech can support Islamic Social Finance, Yousuf Sultan brought in real examples of how Ethis Crowd did crowdfunding to assist those in need followed by my presentation on using Social Smart Card for distributing social funds to the intended beneficiaries. Mohammad Shah further elaborated on Malaysian government initiatives on fintech ecosystem supporting the cause of Islamic social finance and finally Omar Rana spoke of funding aspect to support fintech innovations.
It was good panel session and I enjoyed the whole day of the symposium.