The 11th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) with the theme, “Building Resilience for Equitable Growth” was held in Kuala Lumpur on 3-5 November 2015.
The Forum was held against a backdrop of continuing volatility and uncertainty in the global economy, exacerbated by a rapid decline in oil and commodity prices, the currency crises and increased geopolitical insecurity.
The Forum noted the underlying strengths of Islamic economics and the growing opportunities provided with the realization of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the growth potentials in Africa for the global business community.
The Forum commenced with a Welcoming Address by the Hon. Tun Musa Hitam, Chairman of the WIEF Foundation followed by the Opening Keynote Address by the Hon. Dato’ Sri Najib Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia and Patron of the WIEF Foundation.
The Forum appreciated the presence and Special Addresses delivered by H.E. Dragan Čović, Chairman of the Presidency, Bosnia and Herzegovina; His Royal Highness Sultan Dr. Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah Al-Maghfur-lah of the State of Perak Darul Ridzuan of Malaysia; H.E. Yaqub Eyyubov, First Deputy Prime Minister of Azerbaijan; H.E. Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali, President, Islamic Development Bank; H.E. Sun Chanthol, Special Envoy of Prime Minister Hun Sen, Senior Minister and Minister of Commerce, Cambodia; H.E. François Kanimba, Special Representative of President Paul Kagame and Minister of Trade & Industry, Rwanda; H.E. Ernesto Max Elias Tonela, Special Representative of President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi and Minister of Trade & Industry, Mozambique; H.E. Axel Jesson Denis Ayenoue, Special Representative and Adviser of President Ali Bongo Ondimba of Gabon and H.E. Benjamin Clement Eghan, Special Representative of President John Dramani Mahama of Ghana.
The 11th WIEF was attended by 9 Global Leaders, 13 Ministers and Government Representatives, leading corporate figures, businesswomen and young entrepreneurs, key decision makers, thought leaders, academia and representatives of the business community, civil society and creative arts industry, making up a total of 4,113 participants from 102 countries.
The Leaders provided useful and important guidance for the planning and conduct of the Forum’s activities to sustain its continued relevance and impact for the future.
Key messages by the Leaders included the need and importance of:
- Utilizing impactful investments and promoting SMEs as the prime mover for building resilience for equitable growth,
- Adopting an innovative approach with new solutions for the development of Muslim communities and to finance crisis management and humanitarian programmes,
- Undertaking a unified approach and partnership to further mainstream Islamic finance into the global financial system and to improve resource mobilization and financial inclusion,
- Facing the challenges of globalization and emphasizing regional integration and connectivity for cross border trade and investment, technology transfer and human resource development.
The Forum saw expert discussions on building SME ecosystems and seven clusters covering women and youth, halal, education, Islamic finance, technology, sustainability and creative arts.
The parallel programmes of SME Business Pavilion, Panel Sessions, Masterclasses, Business Exchange, Ideapad, Pitching Sessions, Special Complementary Programmes, Sponsors Programmes, Country Investment Programmes, Marketplace of Creative Arts Festival and the Business Networking Breakfast proved popular and generated dialogues on opportunities for business and economic collaboration.
Among the notable recommendations at the Forum were the following:
- Implementation of a comprehensive Global SME Business Match-Making Network to address the barriers and sustainability challenges faced by the SME community whilst supporting the growth of SMEs.
- Continued promotion of Sustainable, Responsible and Impactful (SRI) Sukuk to fund development projects in order to reduce macroeconomic vulnerability and promote financial inclusion, bringing both economic and social benefits to society.
- Increased effort to harmonise and accelerate the process in the development of a Halal Standard for business efficiency and consumer confidence in advancing the growth of the halal industry worldwide.
- Establishment of an independent non-governmental WIEF International Awqaf Development mechanism with appropriate Terms of Reference to mobilise waqf resources for the benefit of the Ummah.
- Reposition Islamic social finance including waqf, zakat and sadaqah, as a force for global good.
- Launch of the WBN Alumni Network, the WBN Mentorship Programme, the WYN Alumni Network and the WIEF Young Leaders University Network.
Five agreements relating to Islamic finance, halal industry, human capital development and ICT amounting to US$350 million were exchanged during the Forum.
The Forum recorded its appreciation to the Hon. Prime Minister and the Government of Malaysia for hosting the 11th WIEF in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and for the warm hospitality accorded to all participants.
The Forum also acknowledged the contribution and support of Members of the International Advisory Panel, Partners, Sponsors and Role Players.
The Forum agreed to hold the 12th WIEF on 20-22 May 2016 in Jakarta, Indonesia.