By Samir Ghawi
DUBAI – Islamic Development Bank (IDB) President Ahmed Ali Al Madani urged banking experts this week to come up with more Islamic financial tools and to work diligently to address remaining challenges in liquidity management.
According to Al Madani, who was speaking at the Global Islamic Economy Summit (GIES) in Dubai, such solutions will provide new opportunities for long-term financing and investment besides opening horizons for Islamic finance to play a greater role in economic development.
“The slowdown in foreign direct investments and the contraction in developmental financing opens a golden opportunity for Islamic financial services to attract the trillions of dollars held by sovereign funds and bags outside the banking system to flow into developmental projects in order to regain stability and advance sustainable economic progress,” he told more than 2,000 participants who included hundreds of bankers and financial specialists.
Al Madani highlighted several world challenges such as the efforts by major states to establish a more secure international financial system, efforts by emerging economies eyeing reforms, and other nations struggling in a transformation phase to regain macro-economic stability and equitable growth.
Advocating trust, credibility, honesty, partnership and justice by shouldering risk-sharing, he cited International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde in her saying that “the values that we aspire to achieve are clearly stated in the foundations of Islamic finance”.
The IDB president also mentioned financial inclusion and prohibition of Gharar (uncertainty), speculation and gambling as other values that the “lost” world has found in Islamic finance but not in the conventional financial services.
He called on decision-makers working on setting up a more secure financial system to realise the ” great role that Islamic finance can play” and to support this industry and professionally enable it to grow and develop.
Noting that many less developed African and Asian countries want to improve the living standards of their citizens, Al Madani urged the strategists behind the GIES initiative to seize the opportunities in the two continents because the whole world would gain by pulling the people there out of poverty.
“Through economic empowerment, zakat and waqf, the Islamic economy can contribute by participating with the people in Africa and Asia in adopting a new path for international economic development and social prosperity,” he said.
The IDB chief called on Islamic countries to improve their business environment and to compete for investments and in currency trading in order to remove regulatory obstacles from the path of financial inclusion.
© Jordan Times 2013
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