08 Dec, 2021
The Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), represented by the IsDB Institute, successfully held the 16th annual Islamic banking and finance conference in Bahrain on 1-2 December 2021 under the patronage of the Central Bank of Bahrain. The conference was themed: “Solidifying the Foundations of Islamic Finance for Post-COVID World through Development of Robust Standards and Regulatory Frameworks”.
Considered as an important and influential gathering of the Islamic finance industry, the conference had more than 700 attendees, with participants that included central bankers, Shari’ah scholars, policymakers, and other industry stakeholders who deliberated on critical topics in the Islamic finance industry globally.
On the occasion, H.E. Shaikh Ebrahim Bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, Chairman, AAOIFI Board of Trustees, stated: “I would like to thank the government of Bahrain for handling the COVID-19 pandemic in such an effective manner. It is through their efforts and measures that we can sit together in a conference room again”. He expressed his appreciation to the participants, adding that technology, open-banking system, and changing consumer behavior and expectations would be the core areas of focus moving forward for the industry.
In a keynote speech, Dr. Sami Al-Suwailem, Acting Director General of the IsDB Institute, said: “We, at the IsDB Group, are proud of our productive and fruitful relationship with AAOIFI and other major standard-setting organizations of the Islamic finance industry. We greatly commend their vital endeavors to guide the industry and bring it to world-class standards.” He added: “The COVID crisis made it clear that we cannot keep doing what we used to do in the pre-COVID world and expect results pertinent to the very different world of the post-COVID age. We need to break the old barriers and venture into the new era with open minds and brave hearts.”
The conference had other keynote speeches from H. E. Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, Governor, Central Bank of Bahrain; H.E. Prof. Ahmed A. Al-Melhem, Chairman and Managing Director, Capital Markets Authority, Kuwait; Dr. Sugeng, Deputy Governor of Bank Indonesia and a special address by Mr. Simon Gray, Regional Advisor, Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia, International Monetary Fund (IMF).
More than 45 speakers participated in the conference where they discussed key topics related to standards and regulatory frameworks for the Islamic finance industry in a changing world.
Mr. Omar Mustafa Ansari, Secretary General of AAOIFI, also expressed his gratitude to the attendees and distinguished speakers, adding: “It is an occasion of immense satisfaction to hold this conference physically after a gap of one year. Despite the pandemic, AAOIFI has been able to continue its mandated activities with minimal disruption. I am thankful to the AAOIFI Secretariat and our stakeholders, including technical board members, working group members all the professionals who support AAOIFI’s cause, without whose support we would not have been where we are”. The Secretary General also thanked the Central Bank of Bahrain and the Islamic Development Bank Group for their unstinted support and cooperation.