Kuala Lumpur, 18 June – Officials from the Ministry of Finance and central banks from Jordan and Tunisia recently competed a virtual short course by INCEIF on Islamic microfinance and fintech as part of the Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme (MTCP). Six participants joined the first batch of the five-day ‘Advancing and Converging Islamic Microfinance with Fintech’ course where they learnt the fundamental regulatory framework as well as practice of Islamic microfinance and fintech. There are 3 batches of participants with a total of 18 participants from various countries that will be attending the course between 14 June and 2 July 2021.
According to the World Bank, SMEs represent about 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwide. Formal SMEs contribute up to 40% of national income (GDP) in emerging economies. In Malaysia, according to the Department of Statistics of Malaysia, 98.5% or approximately 907,065 of business establishments in Malaysia are SMEs. For 2019, the contribution of SMEs to Malaysia’s GDP has risen to 38.9%, or close to RM552.3 billion as compared to RM522.1 billion in 2018 and 48.4% of national employment. Considering the importance of SMEs for economic growth, Islamic finance institutions become crucial in providing financial access and support through Islamic microfinance.
Therefore, the ‘Advancing and Converging Islamic Microfinance with Fintech’ course is expected to expose participants to the theory and application of the subject as a catalyst for economic growth. Through interactive virtual lectures and direct engagements with subject matter experts on Islamic microfinance and fintech, participants were also exposed to the fundamentals of Islamic microfinance rules, the global appeal of Islamic microfinance, and introduced to the various Islamic microfinance instruments available in the industry.
Apart from virtual discussions, participants had the opportunity to learn more about Malaysia’s regulatory and industry approach directly from professionals in the field. Invited speakers included experts from Bank Negara Malaysia, Capital Market Malaysia under the Securities Commission Malaysia, Fintech platforms and Islamic microfinance institutions.
Mr Zaid Alsharawi, an official with the Central Bank of Jordan, said that he had gained valuable information on the application of Islamic finance principles in developing microfinance products and services that could be further analysed for application in Jordan.
The history of the MTCP Programme dates as far back to the First Commonwealth Heads of States (CHOGM) Meeting in Sydney in February 1978, where the idea was first conceived. The Malaysian Technical Cooperation Programme was officially launched on 7 September 1980 at the Commonwealth Heads of State Meeting in New Delhi, India, to signify Malaysia’s commitment to South-South cooperation, in particular Technical Cooperation among Developing Countries. In line with the spirit of South-South Cooperation, Malaysia through the MTCP shares its development experiences and expertise with other developing countries. The programme forms part of the commitment of the Malaysian Government towards promoting technical cooperation among developing countries, strengthening of regional and sub-regional cooperation, as well as nurturing collective self-reliance among developing countries.
Director of Executive Education at INCEIF, Asst Prof Dr Ziyaad Mahomed said: “As a knowledge leader in Islamic finance, INCEIF is honoured to be part of the Government’s initiatives to share the nation’s expertise in Islamic finance with other developing countries. The university has been organising short courses on diverse topics on Islamic finance since 2006 and has contributed to developing Islamic fintech and financing solutions for maximising social impact. “