On 8 and 9 September 2015, the Islamic Reporting Initiative attended the 2- day inaugural symposium on Islamic Economics and Finance in Istanbul, Turkey. This was organized by World Bank Global Islamic Finance Development Centre (GIFDC).
The theme of this well-attended symposium was Islamic finance: A catalyst for shared prosperity. The GIFDC has been specifically set up as a knowledge hub intended to assist client countries of the World Bank to take advantage of the rapid growth of financial assets which are compliant with Islamic law and which can enhance the Islamic financial industry with regard to economic development. The centre offers technical assistance and advice on such elements as legal and supervisory standards, and carries out research on the links between Islamic finance and economic development. It also investigates the potential contribution of Islamic financing to ending extreme poverty and increasing shared prosperity in World Bank countries.
Together with the Islamic Development Bank, the Islamic Research and Training Institute, Borsa Istanbul and the Guidance Financial Group, the GIFDC initiated its annual symposium with the aim of bringing together various stakeholders from the finance industry and academia to engage in the exchange of cutting-edge ideas and objective discussion on a number of topics. Speakers included:
- Dr Zamir Iqbal, World Bank, Global Islamic Finance Development Centre
- Dr Ali Coskun, Director of CARF, Bogazici University
- Dr Talat Ulussever, Chairman, Borsa Istanbul
- Dr Azmi Omar, Director General, IRTI
- Dr Mohamad Hammour, Chairman, Guidance Financial Group
- Dr Andrew Sheng, Distinguished Fellow, Fung Global Institute
- Dr Abbas Mirakhor, INCEIF Chair of Islamic Finance
- Dr Muhammed Umer Chapra, Research Advisor of Islamic Research and Training Institute of IDB
- Hossein Askari, Iran Professor of International Business and International Affairs, George Washington University
- Dr Murat Cizakca, Adjunct Professor of Islamic Finance, Luxembourg School of Finance
- Thorsten Beck, Professor of Banking and Finance at Cass Business School
- Patrick Amir Imam, International Monetary Fund Representative, Madagascar
- Dr Obiyathulla Ismath Bacha, Professor of Finance, Head of Graduate Studies Department, International Centre for Education in Islamic Finance (INCEIF)
- Nabil Maghrebi, Professor of Finance at the Graduate School of Economics, Wakayama University
- Isa Yilmaz, Durham University
- Clement M. Henry, Visiting Research Professor, Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore
- Luqyan Tamanni, Doctoral Researcher, University of Glasgow
- Dr Md. Mizanur Rahman, Head of Training, Jaiz Bank Plc, Nigeria
- Dr Mustafa Omar Mohammed, Associate Professor at the Department of Economics, International Islamic University Malaysia
Those present, who included representatives from the private sector and development practitioners, were able to gain increased understanding of Islamic economic and financial issues, and discussion included the implications of current issues impeding advancement. While the concept of risk-sharing in financial and social contracts is a significant feature of Islamic finance, it is agreed that there are still many aspects that can be developed further, leading to the advancement of shared prosperity across the spectrum.
The organisers of the symposium are committed to the ongoing promotion and development of the Islamic finance industry, recognizing that its development plays a vital role in the promotion of inclusive growth and the acceleration of poverty reduction.