SESRIC Participated in the OIC Forum on Islamic Social Finance in Jakarta
Date: 12-13 November 2019
Venue: Jakarta - Indonesia

The General Secretariat of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in partnership with the Central Bank of Indonesia and the Islamic Development Bank organized the OIC Forum on Islamic Social Finance in Jakarta, Indonesia, on 12-13 November 2019.

The forum brought together many central bank officials from the OIC Member States, representatives of international organizations, different foundations, including economists and other opinion makers. The SESRIC delegation was represented by H.E. Mr. Nebil DABUR, the Director General.

The focus of the session discussions was on issues that address the potentials and existing challenges of architecture and instruments of Islamic social finance in funding development and humanitarian needs of the OIC Member States.

In his welcome address, Dr. SUGENG, the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Indonesia stated that Islamic social finance offers an enormous potential for creating prosperous and just Muslim societies all around the world, through poverty alleviation and reducing vulnerabilities, as well as improving productive capacities and resilience to natural disasters.

As the keynote speaker, H.E. Ambassador Ahmed SSENYOMO, the Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs of the OIC explained that the conference is a result of the OIC efforts to promote Islamic social finance as an effective tool to mobilize funds to manage the issue of financial exclusion faced by the underprivileged in the OIC Member States. Ambassador Ssenyomo conveyed the statement of Dr. Yousef A. AL-OTHAIMEEN, the Secretary General of the OIC, with the message that the Islamic social finance instruments could assist governments and societies in meeting innumerable developmental needs. However, despite the considerable efforts put in, the official use of these instruments in favor of the poor, the destitute and the underprivileged, is still limited. Ambassador Ssenyomo recapitulated the history, importance and potentials of the institutions of zakat and waqf, and underlined the importance of cooperation, noting that collective actions and partnerships in the area of Islamic social finance are needed to address many socio-economic challenges of the OIC Member States.

Dr. Anies BASWEDAN, Governor of DKI Jakarta highlighted the importance of Islamic social finance in resolving urban challenges. “The inequality that we are now witnessing is not a widening inequality between countries but rather inequality within cities and inequality within countries,” he said. Governor Baswedan invited participants of the forum to think about the growing urban imbalances, and the modalities which would allow the lower- and middle-income urban classes to meet their basic needs, including for housing, through access to Islamic social financial funds.

H.E. Mr. Nebil DABUR, the Director General of SESRIC explained why we are hearing so much more about Islamic social finance today than ever before. “Attaining the Sustainable Development Goals is both an economic and ethical imperative for us. Our work at the SESRIC has shown that many OIC countries need to significantly scale up spending in vital areas such as health, education, priority infrastructure and social protection, to meet the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. However, particularly the low-income OIC countries repeatedly point to the lack of financing as one of the primary barriers to their long-term development”, he said. Mr. DABUR underlined that if collected and distributed efficiently, Islamic social finance may offer significant opportunities both in serving the basic needs of the vulnerable people and supporting them to be economically self-reliant. The remarks of the Director General of SESRIC were further supported by the Centre’s presentation titled “Socio-Economic and Humanitarian Challenges in OIC Countries that set the stage for further discussions.

The agenda of the first working day of the forum comprised presentations on experiences and good examples of some countries and institutions in utilizing Islamic social finance to promote socio-economic development of vulnerable categories of society. Second day of the forum continued with the discussions on governance, transparency, regulations and public understanding, which are recognized as essential in order to optimize Islamic social finance. Participants agreed that the OIC Member States should take more into account and prioritize application of Islamic social finance in their economic and social policies.

The OIC Forum on Islamic Social Finance took place as an event of the "6th Indonesia Sharia Economic Festival: Sharia Economy - For Stronger & Sustainable Growth", held in Jakarta, Indonesia from 12th to 16th November 2019.