The Role of Islamic Finance in Making United Nations Sustainable Development Goals a Reality


Kuala Lumpur, 12 Dec 2017 – The World Bank, Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) and Guidance Financial Group, in collaboration with INCEIF today held The 3rd Symposium 2017 on Islamic finance with the theme “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Role of Islamic Finance”. 

The symposium was officiated by Deputy Finance Minister I Dato’ Wira Othman Aziz. Other key speakers were Bank Negara Malaysia Deputy Governor Mr Abdul Rasheed Ghafour World Bank Group Senior Vice President Mahmoud Mohieldin and Islamic Development Bank Vice President (Finance) Dr Zamir Iqbal.

The success of the SDGs calls for enormous financial and technical resources, and its effective and efficient deployment. Though traditional development finance has remained the main tool for financing development in most developing countries, Islamic finance could be a strong and non-traditional source of financing for the SDGs.

The principles that emphasise sharing risks, linking finance with real economy activities, promoting socially inclusive initiatives have great potential to contribute to the achievement of the SDGs of United Nations. Islamic finance’s emphasis on financial stability, financial inclusion and shared prosperity could be instrumental in the successful implementation of policies on ending poverty (SDG-1), achieving food security (SDG-2), ensuring healthy lives (SDG-3), achieving gender equality (SDG-5), and promoting peaceful and inclusive society (SDG-16).

The two-day symposium provided a platform for local and foreign participants from multilateral development institutions, government agencies, the private sector and academia to discuss recent outlook of Islamic finance and its potential role in supporting and achieving SDGs. 

In his remarks at the opening of the symposium, INCEIF President & CEO Prof Dato’ Dr Azmi Omar said: “Income and wealth inequality as well as climate change are posing serious threats and impeding our quest to promote a stable and sustainable growth. Notwithstanding the initiatives taken in the conventional space through social banking, Value-based Intermediation and Green bonds to address these challenges, Islamic finance also plays a significant role in resolving these issues. 

“Despite its smaller market share, the value propositions of Islamic finance resonate in tandem with the intents of ethical and sustainable finance in ensuring financial and social stability and to promote holistic human development. These are indeed important to our efforts to empower society and make this world a better place to live. 

“INCEIF is honoured to be part of a global effort to look into a new approach to uphold social and economic development, shared prosperity, and promote sustainable growth for the humanity at large,” Dato’ Azmi added. 

World Bank Group Representative to Malaysia Mr Faris Hadad-Zervos said: “It is an honour for the World Bank Group Global Knowledge and Research Hub in Malaysia to collaborate with INCEIF in organising the World Bank Group-Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI)- Guidance Financial Group, 3rd Global Symposium on Islamic Finance.

“The World Bank, in achieving the twin goals ending extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity, believes that Islamic finance with its close linkages to the real economy and emphasis on risk sharing and inclusion could contribute significantly in materializing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” Mr Faris added.

This year’s event continues the efforts of the first and second symposium which were held in Turkey and Morocco in the previous years.

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