16th IsDB Global Forum on Islamic Finance Explores Novel Solutions to Tackle Poverty

Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB Group)

The 16th IsDB Global Forum on Islamic Finance has been held with the distinguished speakers and panellists calling for innovative approaches towards tackling poverty and promoting shared prosperity.

The forum, themed ‘Social Entrepreneurship for Shared Prosperity’, was organized by the Islamic Development Bank Institute (IsDBI) on the sidelines of the 2022 IsDB Group Annual Meetings in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

In his opening remarks, the IsDB President, Dr Muhammad Al Jasser, said the task of fighting poverty and fostering shared prosperity across communities requires novel approaches.

Dr. Al Jasser observed that the combined health and economic crises caused by COVID-19 have resulted in rising poverty and widening inequalities around the world, disproportionately affecting vulnerable groups.

In view of this, the President said, novel socially responsible solutions are needed. Such solutions would include social innovations that create value by filling the gaps left in the market often caused by market failures.

Dr. Al Jasser said while fighting poverty has always been at the core of IsDB’s partnerships and engagements, “the COVID-19 pandemic has further compelled us as a development institution to strengthen our efforts in this endeavour to ensure a more inclusive recovery in our Member Countries.”

He observed that some IsDB Member Countries have made remarkable successes in reducing poverty significantly over the years, and it was therefore worth tracking and highlighting the success stories of those countries to serve as a motivation for policymakers and development institutions in other countries.

Earlier, Dr. Sami Al-Suwailem, Acting Director General of IsDBI and Chief Economist, in an address of welcome, pointed out that achieving the mission of Islamic finance requires working along two dimensions: innovation and social solidarity.

There were two panel discussions during the forum. The first session highlighted a joint initiative between the IsDB Institute and Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) to apply multidimensional measures of poverty in selected Member Countries including Egypt.

The panellists were Dr. Ahmed Kamali, Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Egypt; Dr. Sabina Alkire, Director of OPHI; Dr. Sami Al-Suwailem; and Mr. Mohamed Ashmawy, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of Nasser Social Bank, Egypt.

The second panel session focused on the role of social innovation and entrepreneurship in addressing socio-economic challenges and poverty trends. The panellists were Mr. Sahba Sobhani, Director of UNDP Istanbul International Centre for Private Sector in Development (IICPSD), and Nr. Ayman Sabae, Co-founder and CEO of the Egyptian Social Enterprise ‘Shamseya’ for Innovative Community Healthcare Solutions.

In between the two panel sessions, a launching was held for Massive Open Online Course on Islamic Finance for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). IsDBI and IICPSD developed the MOOC through a partnership with Durham University Business School, with the support of the IsDB’s Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) Fund.

The online course is the first of its kind specifically designed to engage development professionals and Islamic finance stakeholders under the single umbrella of sustainable development and leverage Islamic finance to finance the SDGs. It brings together 27 internationally recognized subject matter experts from 11 countries and 3 continents as course instructors.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB Group).

About the IsDB Institute:
The IsDB Institute is the knowledge beacon of the Islamic Development Bank Group. Guided by Islamic economics and finance principles, the Institute is mandated to lead the development of innovative knowledge-based solutions to support the sustainable economic advancement of IsDB member countries and various Muslim communities worldwide. For more information, please visit: https://www.IsDBInstitute.org

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