INCEIF recently concluded a 10-day workshop on Islamic microfinance for 14 participants from Palestine under the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP) and in collaboration with The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). The programme introduced and developed the participants’ understanding of the fundamentals of Islamic finance, challenges facing its implementation and potential solutions in practical application, regulation and risk.
Apart from classroom lectures and case study discussions conducted by INCEIF’s subject matter experts, participants also had the opportunity to learn first-hand practical aspects of Islamic finance from their visits to industry-related institutions for actual exposure with practitioners. In addition to lessons from Malaysia’s experience to date in Islamic finance in general and in microfinance specifically, some of the participants also discussed possible proposals to be implemented back home.
Participant Ms Arwa A.S. Alayed, an analyst with Palestinian Monetary Authority, said: “The classroom sessions were useful for us to learn the right foundation in our efforts to implement microfinance but the field trips were really impressive. It was important for us to see the processes on the spot, from the practitioners point of view. In Palestine, we don’t have such financing instruments. At Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia, we get to see the success stories of microfinance projects undertaken by the institutions for the marginalised communities and individuals in Malaysia. Although the industry visits were brief, we received valuable lessons nonetheless, such as strategic plans on how to introduce a product in the market or how we should reach out to our targeted communities.”
Another participant, Mr Izz O.I. Tawil, a Credit Manager with Palestinian Development Fund, found the workshop well-organised due to the balanced importance placed on lectures and knowledge sharing sessions with the relevant industries.
“Initially, I thought `Oh, this is going to be the usual workshop of facilitators presenting information to us in a class’. It was more than that! We actually got to participate in meaningful discussions on issues of direct concerns to us such as microfinance. It also helped that some of the sessions were conducted in Arabic as the discussions were free flowing and not restricted by language barrier. Based on what we have learnt throughout the 10 days programme, we are required to develop our respective action plans on the implementation of Islamic microfinance in Palestine. I am excited about this, and looking forward to continue our channel of communication with INCEIF subject matter experts. Palestine stands to benefit from this knowledge.
“The journey that Malaysia has gone through in developing and implementing Islamic finance, from theory to practice, is worth a study not just by Palestine but by the rest of the Arab world,” Mr Izz added.
During the lectures, participants were taught:
- Fundamentals of Islamic finance
- Islamic Law of contracts
- Maqasid Al Shariah and its application for Islamic microfinance
- Islamic microfinance and its product mechanisms
- Regulatory concepts and Islamic microfinance
- Different Models and Deposit Management in Islamic Microfinance
- Islamic Microfinance product development
- Risk Management concepts for Islamic microfinance
- Micro Takaful
During class discussions, they had the opportunity to learn more about fintech, crowd funding, crypto currencies and the use of technology to leapfrog Islamic microfinance. Apart from Amanah Ikhtiar Malaysia, the participants also visited Bank Rakyat, Agrobank, Etiqa Takaful and Islamic Financial Services Board.
INCEIF is proud to play an important part in the efforts by MTCP to develop human resources through the provision of training in various areas which are essential for a country’s development . Since its inception in 1980, more than 33,000 participants from 144 recipients’ countries have benefited from the various programmes offered under MTCP. INCEIF has been involved in conducting Islamic finance programmes for MTCP since 2011.