WIEF and SEACO promote regional economic cooperation in South and Southeast Asia


Oct  18th

WIEF and SEACO promote regional economic cooperation in South and Southeast Asia

WIEF-SEACO Foundation Dhaka Roundtable 2019  -“Regional Collaboration : Transforming Economies”

Dhaka, Bangladesh: South East Asian Co-operation (SEACO) Foundation and World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation will jointly organise a Roundtable with the theme, ‘Regional Collaboration : Transforming Economies’. The event is scheduled to be held at Radisson Blu Dhaka Water Garden Hotel, Dhaka in Bangladesh on 29th October 2019.

The WIEF-SEACO Foundation Dhaka Roundtable 2019 will address the challenges and prospects of Islamic finance and sukuk, insights into the future direction of the halal industry as well as opportunities for infrastructure development. The final session at the Roundtable will introduce SEACO, a regional partnership platform, which will link Bangladesh and Maldives in the Bay of Bengal with selected ASEAN countries through various initiatives targetted to strengthen economic cooperation among these nations.

‘SEACO trusts that the way to raise the socio economy of a community is through trade, investment, tourism and overall cooperation where national economies become more connected regionally, and financial institutions such as Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) could play a catalytic role under their Special Development Programme (SDP),’ said Mr. Salahuddin Kasem Khan, Executive Chairman, SEACO Foundation and International Advisory Panel Member of WIEF Foundation.

‘With the steady growth the country is experiencing, we wish that the private and public sectors from South-South East Asian economies will have further understanding of Islamic finance and banking as an alternative to conventional banking, as well as financing infrastructure investment such as sukuk in the power, transport and social infrastructure sectors,’

‘We are delighted to partner with WIEF Foundation in this Roundtable, by inviting subject matter experts to share their experiences with the business community in Bangladesh,’ added Mr. Salahuddin.

‘WIEF is pleased to take the first step in this initiative by working together with SEACO Foundation at this Roundtable. I believe this will help us build closer trade integration, stronger institutions and financial links in the region,’ said Tun Musa Hitam, Chairman of WIEF Foundation.

‘We are hoping to see the private sectors to take the lead and participate in the economic development in these countries. The governments could provide support, for instance, through a blend of official development assistance (ODA), government-to-government (G2G) funding, alongside private financing in infrastructure projects,’ said Tun Musa.

‘With 1.8 billion Muslims, the Islamic economy continues to enjoy steady growth. In the case of Islamic finance, it is a burgeoning sector with assets estimated at US$2.4 trillion in 2017 and expected to surge to US$3.8 trillion by 2023. The non-speculative nature of shariah compliant finance can help to ensure financial stability, a reason why it is gaining traction globally,’ added Tun Misa Hitam.

The growing demand for shariah compliant finance, coupled with various initiatives undertaken by a number of governments and regulatory bodies across Asia have fueled the growth of the industry. It is estimated that the value of shariah compliant assets in Asia will reach US$3.8 trillion by 2023.

According to a report by Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asia Development Outlook (ADO) 2019, South Asia’s growth is projected to be 6.2% in 2019 and 6.7% in 2020. FY2019, Bangladesh (ended 30 June 2019) outperformed ADO 2019 projections, with Bangladesh accelerating to 8.1% on robust private consumption and exports, production exceeding expectations in all sectors, most notably, agriculture. As growth in the economy will likely remain strong, forecasts for FY2020 are retained.

Developing Asia will require investment of $26 trillion from 2016 to 2030, or $1.7 trillion per year, if the region is to maintain its growth momentum, eradicate poverty, and respond to climate change (climate-adjusted estimate). Without climate change mitigation and adaptation costs, $22.6 trillion will be needed, or $1.5 trillion per year (baseline estimate). Of the total climate-adjusted investment needs over 2016–2030, $14.7  trillion will be for transport, power, telecommunications, and water supply and sanitation.


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, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and United Arab Emirates and aims to bring together Muslim and non-Muslim communities through the common language of business.

About South East Asian Co-operation Foundation (SEACO)

South East Asian Cooperation (SEACO) Foundation has been formed by the initiatives of SEACO Task Force, Bangladesh, 1994 to implement the SEACO vision of Regional and Sub-Regional cooperation among OIC Countries in South and South East Asia comprising of Bangladesh, Brunei Darussalam, the Maldives, Malaysia and Indonesia. This vision was first proposed in Bandung, Declaration 8-11 in 1992, under the Chairmanship of late President Dr. B.J. Habibie, Co-Chaired by President, IDB at Indo-IDB High Technology Conference, Indonesia.

The SEACO Foundation is established to promote a board based civil society platform to lobby for the implementation of the SEACO Resolutions among OIC Countries in South and South East Asia. The SEACO Task Force was formed in 1994 with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Government of Bangladesh. SEACO was endorsed by a number of OIC Foreign Ministers Conferences and finally endorsed by the OIC Summit, Qatar in 2000.

This is the second time that a WIEF Roundtable will be  held in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The Roundtable is held in collaboration with SEACO Foundation and supported by Islamic Development Bank. The Roundtable will be followed by the Global Discourse that will address 4IR on 30th October, 2019.


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