11th World Islamic Economic Forum Fosters Cross-Border Collaboration Among Small and Medium Enterprises to Boost International Competitiveness


Nov  4th

KUALA LUMPUR, 4 November 2015 – The second day of the 11th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), themed ‘Building Resilience for Equitable Growth’, saw The Right Hon. Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid bin Hamidi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs, Malaysia, open the inaugural WIEF ‘SME Business Pavilion’.

A highlight of the forum, the ‘SME Business Pavilion’, was introduced this year in support of the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) community in Southeast Asia to uncover growth prospects. The ‘SME Business Pavilion’ provides a platform for business owners and entrepreneurs to exchange insights on international growth, and includes activities that foster cross-border collaboration to increase competitiveness in the international marketplace.

“The complexity of our current global economic environment has made it more important than ever for the ASEAN SME sector to develop capabilities that would allow them to respond promptly to any external economic uncertainty. In essence, the SME sector needs to build their own resilience. This is a prerequisite to survive, and to emerge stronger in today’s highly globalised, interconnected business and economic landscape,” said The Right Hon. Dato’ Seri Dr. Ahmad Zahid bin Hamidi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Home Affairs, Malaysia.

“It would be useful to develop a comprehensive Global Business Match-Making Network for SMEs. Such a network must be able to perform match-making in the following four areas namely, new market information, including identifying potential markets and reliable business partners; technology and innovation; financing and human capital,” he added.

This collaborative spirit extends into the creative arts at the 11th WIEF, as the second day of the forum was drawn to a vibrant close with the Soundscape Concert, one of the longest-running highlights of the Marketplace of Creative Arts Festival (MOCAfest). The Soundscape Concert saw international artists come together to present unexpected combinations of different art genres, celebrating diversity and the power of the arts to bring people together.

“We strongly believe that giving priority to the development of SMEs is the right thing to do in line with the strong commitment demonstrated by governments towards building a strong base of vibrant and competitive SMEs in the region. This is especially so for ASEAN as it prepares itself to see the realisation of the ASEAN Economic Community this month,” said Tun Musa Hitam, Chairman, WIEF Foundation.

The 14 countries participating in the ‘SME Business Pavilion’ are from ASEAN, Africa, Central Asia, Europe and North America, with the United Kingdom (UK) leading with a contingent of 11 companies.

Alongside the ‘SME Business Pavilion’, the day continued with numerous activities and programmes to foster collaboration through panel discussions, networking sessions, arts and cultural performances and masterclasses, in line with the WIEF Foundation’s aim of Building Bridges through Business.

Some key highlights from the day include:

Ministerial Dialogue on building resilient SMEs for sustainable growth, with the following on the panel:
H.E. Sun Chantol, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce, Kingdom of Cambodia
The Hon. Francois Kanimba, Minister of Trade & Industry, Republic of Rwanda
H.E. Ernesto Max Elias Tonela, Minister of Trade & Industry, Republic of Mozambique
Axel Jesson Denis Ayenoue, Adviser of the President, Acting Vice Deputy Chief of Staff, Republic of Gabon
Sophie Kamaruddin, Anchor & Editor, UK Trade and Investment (moderator)
Launch of the Malay/Arabic Aamina doll by UK-based The Desi Doll Company Ltd. The educational Aamina doll teaches Islam to children by reciting phrases and verses from the Quran in Arabic and then translates them into Malay. They also belt out fun, catchy songs for children between the ages of three and six to learn the basics of Islam.
Collaboration agreement between Maybank Asset Management and Hastings to provide investors with Shariah-compliant infrastructure investment opportunities in the Asian region.
Launch of the 3313 programme, ‘RM33 for one tree’, by Landskap Malaysia. Public donors donate RM33 per tree to be planted in Sabah or Perak, and each contributed tree will come with satellite coordinates and an e-certificate by the Tropical Rainforest Conservation & Research Centre, a sister company to Landskap Malaysia. Landskap Malaysia Chairperson Tun Jeanne Abdullah was present at the launch, together with Tun Dato’ Sri Haji Abdullah bin Haji Ahmad Badawi, former Prime Minister of Malaysia.
Presentation on the global outlook of the Islamic economy by Thomson Reuters, who shared insights on the Islamic economy, which is set to double its assets to USD3.2 trillion by 2020.

The last day of the forum tomorrow will kickstart with networking sessions for both businesses and MOCAfest, followed by the last panel discussions and a Face-to-face Conversation with a Personality session with Dr. Surin Pitsuwan, former Secretary General of ASEAN.

The 11th WIEF will close with a sharing of key highlights and an announcement of the 12th WIEF details. In attendance will be:

E. Dr. Bambang Permadi Soemantri Brodjonegoro, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia
Tun Musa Hitam, Chairman, WIEF Foundation and former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia
Tan Sri Ahmad Fuzi Haji Abdul Razak, Secretary General, WIEF Foundation

The three-day Forum covers 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

To download photos and speeches, please go to: http://bitly/11thWIEF

Presentations are available for download at: http://bitly/11thWIEFprogramme

About the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation

The WIEF Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation based in Kuala Lumpur, organises the annual World Islamic Economic Forum, a world-class business platform showcasing business opportunities in the Muslim world, and runs programmes of the various initiatives of the Foundation that strengthen people partnership and knowledge exchange between Muslim and non-Muslim communities across the globe.

The WIEF has previously held forums in Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Kuwait and
Pakistan, the United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates and aims to bring together Muslim and non-Muslim communities through the common language of business.

The 11th WIEF will be held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from 3-5 November 2015.

For media queries, kindly contact:

Waifai Lo: waifai@wief.org or +6012 209 0068
Ida Fazila Ismail: ida@wief.org or +6019 651 6519
Q Akashah: q@ogilvy.com or +65 6213 7881
Jasmine Guo: guo@ogilvy.com or +65 6213 7778