The World Islamic Economic Forum started off with a modest beginning as the OIC Business Forum, which was held on 15 October 2003, in conjunction with the tenth OIC Summit in Putrajaya, Malaysia. The inaugural OIC Business Forum sought to create a business ‘face’ of the OIC.

The Forum brought together government leaders, captains of industries, academic scholars, regional experts, professionals and corporate managers to discuss opportunities for business partnerships in the Muslim World. The second OIC Business Forum was convened in Kuala Lumpur in 2004, a momentous event that brought about the birth of the World Islamic Economic Forum and the subsequent convening of the 1stWIEF in Kuala Lumpur, in 2005. This was an important shift that opened up the Forum to include Muslim communities beyond OIC countries and other non-Muslim communities across the globe. It was a natural evolution and was aimed at providing a platform for dialogue and exchange of cutting-edge ideas, and business networking between government and business leaders across the Muslim World and beyond. The WIEF has since held eight annual forums since then – ‘Unleashing the Potential of Emerging Markets’ in Islamabad, 2006; ‘Global Challenges – Innovative Partnerships’ in Kuala Lumpur, 2007; ‘Islamic Countries: Partners In The Global Development’ in Kuwait, 2008; ‘Global Food and Energy Security’ in Jakarta, 2009; ‘Gearing for Economic Resurgence’ in Kuala Lumpur, 2010; ‘Globalising Growth: Connect, Compete, Collaborate’ in Astana, 2011, ‘Changing Trends, New Opportunities’ in Johor Bahru, 2012 and ‘Changing World, New Relationships’ in London, United Kingdom, 2013 – all focused on pressing issues of the time.

The objectives of the Forum are: To enhance the economic well-being of the people of Muslim nations and Muslim communities worldwide through increasing trade and business opportunities amongst them, as well as the world at large. To package the Muslim World as a lucrative trade and investment caucus that is able to attract foreign investors and business partners from various countries worldwide. To strengthen networking and foster strategic alliances through the exchange of ideas, information and knowledge. To promote dialogue and foster cooperation among the Muslim and non-Muslim businessmen in the belief that collaboration is the salient feature of the 21st century international relations. Business partnerships can become genuine bridges towards peace and prosperity between the Muslim and non-Muslim world.

The WIEF Foundation was established on 6 March 2006 to institutionalise the World Islamic Economic Forum. The Foundation seeks to fulfil its objective of organising its annual and regional Forums and to implement the programmes established under the WIEF initiatives. This body consists of business leaders of various industries, thought leaders and heads of OIC related organisations.

The Foundation established its own Permanent Secretariat based in Kuala Lumpur in July 2008 and is managed by a Board of Trustees led by the Chairman of the Foundation, Tun Musa Hitam. To further expand and add leverage to the Foundation, it appointed an International Advisory Panel that provides strategic input and intellectual content for the annual global and regional WIEF, in addition to its related initiatives.


Besides the main annual Forum, the WIEF Foundation also carries out initiatives on youth and women development through its WIEF Young Leaders Network (WYN) and WIEF Businesswomen Network (WBN).The WIEF Businesswomen Network recognises women as being a very important segment of society and their economic contribution to the Muslim World, while the WIEF Young Leaders Network (WYN) is a platform for young leaders, change makers, professionals and entrepreneurs across the globe to connect ideas and explore prospects for collaboration. Another initiative of the Foundation is the WIEF Education Trust, which holds a Global Discourse Series that addresses issues relating to not only business and economics but scientific and technological advancement as well. Its newest initiative is the WIEF Roundtable Series, which gathers international business and government leaders to discuss pertinent economic issues and the measures to solve them.


The WIEF still believes that collaboration, cooperation and understanding is the key to continue building bridges towards peace and prosperity between the Muslim and non-Muslim world.

In light of this, the WIEF will forge new alliances for development and progress and explore opportunities for enhanced business and economic cooperation.

Among the potential areas to be explored include optimising intellectual and human capital in order to compete successfully in the global knowledge-economy.

As the public and private sectors become indivisible, public-private sector synergies will be a key avenue for expansion, as we explore how science and ICT can fuel economic development.

Knowledge has and will be a key driver that the Foundation will continue to advocate and encourage business and national development. There is a need to continue leveraging on knowledge and education to unlock innovation and creativity among nations.

As a Foundation, we are innovating our branding and strategic positioning, which has to evolve with the times in line with the globalised world. We are looking to continue making our brand relevant within the modernised Muslim World while reaching out beyond those borders in forging ahead for business and economic prosperity.

We will continue to build bridges through business.






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