KUALA LUMPUR, 2 November 2015 – The 11th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), themed “Building Resilience for Equitable Growth”, returns to Kuala Lumpur as the region prepares to come together with the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) at year end. The envisioned single market and production base, competitive economic region, equitable economic development and full integration into the global economy resonate with the WIEF Foundation’s aim of Building Bridges through Business to drive economic and social progress.
With this aim, WIEF Foundation endeavours to explore ways to ensure that economic progress benefits all members of the business communities both in ASEAN and across the world, through the annual WIEF and other initiatives.
“In the wake of the global economic slowdown, it is important to close the deepening income gap for economies to sustain their growth. We believe the way forward is to develop an enabling ecosystem for the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sector as SMEs form the backbone of most industries in many countries,” said Tun Musa Hitam, Chairman of the WIEF Foundation.
He added, “It is the reason why this year’s Forum has a particular focus on SMEs, which is very relevant for the region in view of the realisation of AEC by the end of this year. SMEs form a strong backbone for ASEAN economies contributing 30 to 53 per cent to the Gross Domestic Product of ASEAN.
To this end, we have created several platforms for SME business owners and entrepreneurs to learn new skills, to foster cross-border collaborations, to pitch their ideas and to seek funding and business opportunities. Even MOCAfest, our creative arts arm, is designed to help the artistic and creative community develop their skills and talent into a sustainable business. The main platforms are our SME Business Pavilion, IdeaPad and Business Exchange.
The halal market continues to show immense potential and this will be further explored at the 11th WIEF. The stimulating discussions, plenary sessions, one-to-one meetings and networking opportunities at the Forum will empower all participants to broaden their perspective and explore different industries and segments for growth.”
The 11th WIEF will be officiated by the Honourable Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia and Patron of the WIEF Foundation on 3 November 2015.
The debut of SME Business Pavilion at the 11th WIEF will be witnessed by YB Dato’ Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi on 4 November 2015. The 14 countries participating in the SME Business Pavilion are from ASEAN, Africa, Central Asia, Europe and North America, with UK leading with a contingent of 11 companies.
There will be 44 start-ups from 24 countries pitching on stage, showcasing their innovative ideas to an international audience of angel investors, venture capitalists, business leaders and other start-ups at IdeaPad.
While the Business Exchange will see 42 corporations presenting a three-minute pitch, designed for emerging business ideas to extend their reach to the international business community. It will serve as a gateway for new businesses to galvanise support, raise funds and recruit collaborators. Delegates will be able to network with these corporations at the country desks.
The 11th WIEF will see a total of 3,069 people comprising global leaders, ministers, speakers, delegates, exhibitors and artists from 98 countries across the five continents convening in Kuala Lumpur. The biggest delegation is from Malaysia, followed Bangladesh, the United Kingdom, Indonesia and Singapore. Out of the 98 participating countries, more than 50 are non-Muslim nations.
The three-day Forum will cover topics in the Muslim world including Islamic finance, halal industries, green technologies, education, sustainable living and development, women and youth development, and the Creative Arts.
The World Islamic Economic Forum is the largest international gathering of heads of government, economic experts and stakeholders to share experiences and knowledge about Islamic economy since its launch in 2005.
Find out more about the 11th WIEF here: http://wief.org/forum/11/
Follow us on social media: http://www.twitter.com/WIEF_Foundation (@WIEF_Foundation) and http://www.facebook.com/worldislamiceconomicforumfoundation
Official event hashtags: #11thWIEF and #8thMOCAfest