Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) successfully organized 15th AAOIFI – IsDB annual conference. The two-day virtual conference was organized over four sessions with five keynote speakers and was attended by more than 1400 online industry participants from more than 46 countries. More than 25 distinguished speakers from different parts of the globe participated in the two-day event.
The conference was jointly organized by AAOIFI and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and conducted under the auspices of the Central Bank of Bahrain.
The conference had keynote addresses by H.E. Shaikh Ebrahim bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, the Chairman, AAOIFI Board of Trustees, H.E. Dr. Bandar Hajjar, President, Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB), Mr. Khalid Hamad Al-Hamad, Executive Director, Banking Supervision, Central Bank of Bahrain, Bahrain / Member, AAOIFI Board of Trustees and Guest of honour Dr. Qais Al Yahyai, the Executive Vice President, Central Bank of Oman.
H.E. Shaikh Ebrahim bin Khalifa Al Khalifa in his keynote speech thanked the Central Bank of Bahrain for their continuing patronage, as well as, to all the AAOIFI institutional members, conference dignitaries, the speakers, and the sponsors, for their cooperation, contribution, and commitment—both moral and financial— in making this major Islamic finance event possible, especially in such challenging times.
H.E. Dr. Bandar Hajjar, President, Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB), said, “In response to the Covid-19 crisis, the Islamic Development Bank Group has launched its program which comprises of three stages: Respond, Restore, and Restart is backed by funding of around USD 2.3 billion, covering the short, medium and long terms and focusing on [these] three pillars”.
The title of this year’s conference, “Adaptability of Islamic finance post COVID-19: navigating through unprecedented times”, was broken down into three key theme areas: the Covid-19 pandemic, social finance, and Maqasid Al Shari’ah. The conference called for the industry stakeholdrs to use this pandemic as an opportunity for strengthening stakeholder confidence in Islamic finance.
The conference which was spread over 4 session, with 5 keynote speeches, and 2 special presentations discussed issues, including ideas for IFIs to relook at their existing business models; suggested measures for IFIs to sustain and strengthen the social dimension of Islamic finance and how social finance institutions such as Waqf, in particular, can be instrumental to boost Islamic economics. The conference also discussed the role of IFIs in promoting Maqasid Al Shari’ah and stakeholders’ expectations, and its link with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The conference was attended by a large number of participants, including the regulators, practitioners, researchers, Shari’ah scholars, consultants, bankers, who have been hands-on involved in making Islamic finance work on different fronts. The panelists reiterated that Islamic finance should close the dichotomy between the real sector and the financial sector in these times, and that taking a balanced approach to tackle the pandemic addressing interests of all the stakeholders would hold significance. The speakers also emphasized the need to exploit technology solutions in its various forms such as Fintech to develop Islamic finance industry.
The conference also discussed the role of Waqf for revitalizing Islamic economic system in the light of a comprehensive project that AAOIFI under took on the revision and development of the Shari’ah, governance and financial accounting standards for Waqf, that was carried out in collaboration with Future Investments and the International Institute of Islamic Waqf (IIIW).
Ms. Taliya Minullina, CEO of Tatarstan Investment Development Agency gave a special address on the impact of COVID-19 on Islamic finance in CIS countries and what future holds for the region. Ms. Sabeen Saleem, CEO of Islamic International Rating Agency (IIRA), gave a presentation on the impact of COVID-19 on the rating of Islamic financial institutions.
Mr. Omar Mustafa Ansari, the Secretary General of AAOIFI thanked the attendees for their participation in such a large number and its partners in this virtual event for this support and cooperation. He stated, “I am glad that this conference provided an opportunity to the Islamic finance industry stakeholders to gain insights from the conference speakers to explore ways and means to withstand the effects of Covid-19, including important areas such as Waqf, relationship between Maqasid Al Shari’ah and SDGs”. He added, “AAOIFI has been on the forefront of providing guidance to the industry with the help of its various stakeholders in these challenging times, and is open for collaboration from institutions in different areas for the development of the industry”.
NB: Conference papers and presentations can be downloadable from the AAOIFI website.