Islamic Forum: Alternative Models of Microfinance

The 4th Global Islamic Microfinance forum took place in Dusit Thani Hotel, Dubai, UAE. Around 200 key people in Islamic financial institutions, charities, multilateral organization, donor agencies, and philanthropist organizations from different countries participated in the forum.

The Founder and Chairman of Victoria Global, The Soho Loft Media Group and LDJ Capital David Drake says, “The Islamic market adds more options for investors. It is important that investors around the world should take notice of this growing market.”

The forum provided alternatives for reshaping the lives of poor people. Different Islamic microfinance industry business models were discussed, as well as innovative models such as crowdfunding, microtakaful and youth development. Moreover, the forum provided IT integration in Islamic financial institutions, and showed how they can benefit from technological solutions.

James Angelus, LDJ Capital Director for Middle East and Africa, said “The forum was a means to discover ways to reduce poverty among the Islamic world using microfinance.” On that note, he said “It was a very successful conference. Speakers and participants were sincerely trying to make a difference. Fifty percent of the world’s poor live in Islamic countries yet they constitute only 24 percent of the global population.”

International Finance Corporation (IFC) Bank Advisory Services Head Mr. Qasar H. Naseem said “Islamic microfinance is being promoted quickly in the MENA region.” He further added that an IFC research on micro, small and medium enterprises revealed that people living in Muslim countries favor Islamic finance over interest-based financing. With this result, small businesses can be increased quickly.”

Jeddah’s IRTI Islamic Development Bank Group Director General Dr. Muhammad Azmi Umer said one weapon that can be used to attenuate poverty is Islamic microfinance. He said that IRTI Islamic Development Bank is conducting training and research to promote Islamic microfinance as the best tool to diminish poverty.

Chairman of Akhuwat Dr Amjad Saqib used qard e hasna as a microfinance tool to diminish poverty. He said, “We recommend Islamic microfinance as an international strategy to mitigate poverty in the Muslim countries. It is closer to traditions and religious norms of Islam.”

AlHuda CIBE Chief Executive Officer Mr. Muhammad Zubair Mughal said, “Poverty is not related to religion, but it can be alleviated using methods defined in religion. The best example for this is Islamic microfinance. Both Muslims and non-Muslims can take advantage of this microfinancing.” He added, “The non-availability of resources close to their religious values is the primary reason why there is increasing poverty among Muslims.”

The forum speakers included:

AlBaraka Islamic Bank Shariah Advisor and Punjab Halal Development Agency Chairman Justice (R) Khalil Ur Rehman

Bahrain’s Family Bank Chief Executive Officer Atef Ebrahim

Bangladesh’s Biniog Sathi Chief Executive Officer Mabroor Mahmood

Canada’s Ansar Financial and Development Corporation Managing Director and CEO Pervez Nasim

Canadian University of Dubai Associate Professor Dr. Mohammed Nurul Alam

Dubai’s Mawarid Finance Shariah – Manager Mufti Aziz Ur Rehman

Islamic Research and Training Institute Islamic Development Bank Group Director General Professor Dr. Mohd Azmi Omar

Jedddah’s Bank Al Jazira Research and Development Center Head Osman Aurakzai

Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz University Assistant Professor in Finance Dr. Haroon Ur Rashid Khan

Maldives’ Ministry of Islamic Affairs Deputy Minister Dr. Aishath Muneeza

National Awqaf Foundation of South Africa Founding CEO/ Management Board Zeinoul Abedien Cajee

New Zealand’s Awqaf Founder and CEO Thamina Anwar

Pakistan’s Akhuwat Director Muhammad Saleem Ranjha

Pakistan’ Akhuwat Executive Director Dr. Amjad Saqib

Pakistan’s Alhuda Centre of Islamic Banking and Economics Zubair Mughal

Pakistan’s Bank of Khyber Shairah Advisor Abdul Samad

Pakistan’s Helping hand for Relief and Development (HHRD) Esar Microfinance Program Head Arshad Mehmood

Pakistan’ Meezan Bank Limited Executive Vice President and Head of Product Development and Shariah Compliance Ahmed Ali Siddiqui

Pakistan’s Wasil Foundation Chief Executive Officer Farida Tariq

Qatar’s Silatech Program Manager Mohammad Raafi Hossain

Islamic Banking and Housing Finance Renowned International Expert Zaigham Mehmood Rizvi

Forum participants included delegates from Akhuwat, Awqaf South Africa, Azerbaijan Microfinance Association, Community Support Concern, Helping Hand, IFC World bank, Indonesia Microfinance Association, IRTI Islamic Development bank, Islamic Relief, KFDWB, Metropolitan Training Academy Turkey, Muslim Aid, Naymet, Nizam Energy, Silatech, Tanzania Microfinance Association and Yemen Microfinance Network. Other participants hailed from 25 countries.

The event sponsors were Path Solutions, KHALUISLAMIC, Ansar Financial, Islamic Aid, Islamic Microfinance Network, UMEX Microfinance , FAAIF Ltd.

Media partners for this event were The Soho Loft Media Group, LDJ Capital, International Alternative Investment Review, Alim – The Shari’ah Scholar’s Journal, Blassys…the Microenterprise eMagazine, Business Islamic, Microfinance Africa, Islamic Finance News, Nuqudy.Com, Banks, True Banking, Alliance Magazine.

A post-event workshop on Sharia and Marketing Techniques of Microfinance took place after the forum in Dubai City on 3-4 November 2014.

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