REDISCOVERING AWQAF AND ITS ECONOMIC POTENTIAL
Jakarta, 5 June 2014 – The World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation, in collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group, hosted the WIEF-IDB Awqaf Roundtable today. Themed “Beyond Charity: Harnessing Awqaf for Economic Prosperity”, the Roundtable is conceptualised to promote the untapped opportunities of awqaf in boosting a country’s economic and the well-being of its citizens.
Supported by governments, financial organisations and NGOs from Malaysia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore and South Africa, the Roundtable is aimed at shifting mind-set and encouraging the adoption of awqaf as part of a country’s social and economic plan.
The Hon. Tun Musa Hitam, Chairman of the WIEF Foundation, said at the opening session, “WIEF believes in building bridges that concern both Muslim and the non-Muslim world through business. We do so through our practice of organising roundtables in between our annual session on specific issues focusing on Islamic finance, micro-finance, the halal industry, education and public-private economic collaboration.”
“Waqf is an important Islamic instrument of wealth distribution, and is even more so when one considers extreme poverty and deprivation on one hand and increased wealth and prosperity of the rich on the other hand in the Muslim world today. Waqf can indeed be the instrument to substantively narrow such a gap,” Tun Musa Hitam added.
“A thriving awqaf institution could bring upon a prosperous society. The social-economic significance of awqaf has been proven in history, especially during the Ottoman Empire, offering stability in business, education, health and community welfare. I am extremely glad that we are able to convene here today to unfold some of the key issues in the management of awqaf, giving it a new opportunity to emerge again as a driver for Islamic finance and, subsequently, the global economy,” said Mr Kunrat Wirasubrata, Acting Director, Islamic Development Bank Group, Regional Office Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
In short, awqaf is a donation of an asset to be used for the benefit of a community. It can be used to build schools, hospitals or shelters. Awqaf asset managers are not owners but trustees and must abide by all conditions set by the awqaf in the first instance. The practice of awqaf is not limited to Muslims. Non-Muslims, too, can be both benefactors and beneficiaries of awqaf.
Amongst the topics discussed today are: the role of awqaf in poverty alleviation and socio-economic development, management challenges of awqaf assets, traditional and contemporary financing and investment in awqaf assets, and awqaf development in the future.
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. The Foundation also runs programmes under the WIEF Businesswomen Network (WBN), WIEF Young Leaders Network (WYN) and the WIEF Education Trust (WET) and the WIEF Roundtable Series, aimed at strengthening people partnership and knowledge exchange between Muslim and non-Muslim communities across the globe. Some of the Foundation’s initiatives include the roundtable discussions, leadership programmes, knowledge transfer and skill development workshops, business networking forums, internship and scholarship programmes, the Young Fellows Programme and the Marketplace of Creative Arts Festival (MOCAfest). For more information on the WIEF Foundation, please visit www.wief.org.
About the WIEF Roundtables Series
The WIEF Foundation also organises Roundtables in different countries to exchange expertise and address economic challenges in a more personalised scale. Since its launch in Bahrain in February 2011, the WIEF Foundation had organised Roundtables in Turkey, Russia, South Africa and Bangladesh. This year, the Foundation aims at organising similar Roundtables in India and South Korea with close discussions with Japan, Shanghai and Spain to hold the roundtables in 2015.
About Islamic Development Bank
The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) is an international financial institution commenced operations on 20 October 1975. The Mission of IDB is to promote comprehensive human development, with a focus on the priority areas of alleviating poverty, improving health, promoting education, improving governance and prospering the people. By the year 2020, the Islamic Development Bank shall have become a world-class development bank, inspired by Islamic principles that has helped significantly transform the landscape of comprehensive human development in the Muslim world and helped restore its dignity.
The present membership of IDB stands at 56 countries spanning many regions. IDB Group comprises five entities: the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), and International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC).
Headquartered in Jeddah, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, IDB has four regional offices in Rabat, Morocco; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Almaty, Kazakhstan; and Dakar, Senegal.
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