The 12th World Islamic Economic Forum – WEIF2016
The 12th World Islamic Economic Forum, which took place in Jakarta from August 2-4, was formally concluded today by Minister of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia Sri Mulyani Indrawati and WIEF Foundation Chairman Tun Musa Hitam.
The 3-day forum, attended by more than 4,200 participants from 73 countries, worked on a theme of ‘Decentralizing Growth, Empowering the Future Business’. 63 percent of the participants came from Indonesia, 24 percent from Malaysia and 13 percent from other parts of the globe.
Five heads of state — Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahmon, President of the Republic of Guinea Alpha Conde and Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Ranil Shriyan Wickremenshinghe, were present for the event. In addition, there were 10 ministers representing Muslim-majority nations including Qatar, Algeria, Bangladesh, South Africa, Nigeria, Pakistan, Republic of Guinea and the Arab Republic of Egypt.
The forum, held at the Jakarta Convention Center in Senayan, South Jakarta, presented 52 speakers, 23 panels, masterclass sessions and 22 complementary program speakers. There were also 20 presenters at the Business Exchange forum. Participants ranged from leading corporate figures, businesswomen, young entrepreneurs, experts, academics, players of creative arts to media celebrities.
The forum also paved the way for the signing of a number of agreements worth some US$900 million, relating to real estate, medical facilities, halal industry, business franchises, Islamic finance and capital markets.
WIEF Foundation Secretary General Tan Sri Dato’ Ahmad Fuzi Haji Abdul Razak observed how leaders who attended the forum highlighted challenges faced by the Islamic community as well as the world:
- Growing inequality, which continues to defy solutions for inclusive development;
- Centralized development tends to overlook or even marginalise large sections of society in many countries;
- The unintended consequence of innovative technology often leads to the enrichment of a few;
- Underutilized potential of a young population in the developing world;
- The importance of formulating an effective media strategy to improve global perception of Islamic world investment and business potential.
Dato Abdul Razak enumerated notable recommendations of the forum, including:
- Promotion and support of an enabling environment, including access to finance, for the development and corporatisation of MSMEs and cooperatives to address job creation, income generation and strategies to unlock economic opportunities in rural communities;
- Harnessing innovative training to provide youth with modern skills to add economic exchange value, as well as to infuse Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for promoting wider social benefit through innovative technology;
- Broadening of Islamic Finance to grow a halal ecosystem, ‘modest fashion’ industry, infrastructure development and social finance;
- Harnessing the use of disruptive technologies for the wider benefit of a more inclusive society;
- Development of strategies to strengthen the potential of creative industries, to spread economic growth.
In her closing speech, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia, Sri Mulyani Indrawati delivered some concrete takeaways. Those are:
- Addressing the lack of knowledge about Islamic financing products, as well as the lack of ability for financial companies to see the long-term prospects offered by halal-related businesses;
- Strengthening long-term infrastructure financing mechanism, including asset-backed securities, and;
- Building better collaborations between grass-root businesses and mainstream industries.
Tun Musa Hitam, Chairman of WIEF Foundation, expressed his thanks to Indonesia as this year’s host, and mentioned a special appreciation to President Joko Widodo, Minister of Finance Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of National Development Planning Agency Bambang Brodjonegoro and all participating in the conference.
He stated his confidence that WIEF has always been a forum to bring business opportunities to MSMEs, from both the Muslim and non-Muslim world.