Communiqué of the 12th International Conference on Islamic Economics and Finance

21 Jun, 2020

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The 12th International Conference on Islamic Economics and Finance (12 ICIEF) was held successfully online during an extended period of a whole week from 14 to 20 June 2020, under the theme ‘Sustainable Development for Real Economy’, because of the Covid-19 pandemic. This is, perhaps, the first-time, that modern technology and social media were used extensively in such a big international conference.

The Conference was jointly organized, by the International Association for Islamic Economics (IAIE) and the Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB) in collaboration with Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University (IZU) as main organizers. The Conference was also supported by Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), the Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC) from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and the Participation Banks Association of Turkey (TKBB), the Independent Industrialist and Businessmen Association (MUSIAD) as well as the support of the other key institutions and Universities.

The Conference was opened by Prof. Dr. Mehmet BULUT the President of Istanbul Sabahattin Zaim University. The inaugural speech was given by Recep Tayyip ERDOĞAN, President of the Republic of Turkey.

The Conference provided a platform for dialogue, discussion and exchange between scholars, policymakers, practitioners as they collectively seek to address the challenges of Sustainable Development in the 4th Industrial Revolution Era, from the perspective of Islamic Economics and Finance.

Under the broad theme of the Conference “Sustainable Development for the Real Economy”, 132 papers were presented and discussed in 24 parallel sessions (one Turkish, five Arabic and eighteen English). This is in addition of 14 Keynote speeches by eminent speakers from different parts of the world, including Dr. Berat Albayrak, Minister of Treasury and Finance, Türkiye and Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Minister of Finance, Pakistan.

The presented papers focused on areas such as the role of Islamic Economics and Finance in the 4th industrial revolution, digital economy, circular economy, and especially Islamic social finance, which emphasized Zakat, Cash Waqf and Islamic microfinance as very important instruments that need to be implemented to give more boost to financial inclusion, empowerment and entrepreneurship in achieving the sustainable development goals.

After thorough deliberations over a period of 7 days, the participants adopted the following resolutions.


  1. The Conference organizers and participants express their deepest sympathies with those who have suffered from Covid19 and offer their condolences to the families of the martyrs who succumbed to this pandemic. They pay homage to the front-line health workers who served devotedly, despite serious risks for their own lives and saved thousands of lives. They also record their appreciation for the governments of Muslim countries who rose up to the situation and provided financial support to face this challenge, despite their already tight budgets.
  2. The participants noted that Covid-19 has given a wake-up call to most Muslim countries that their regular health budgets (for treatment as well as for health research) have been miserably low, putting too much pressure at the time of such an emergency. Fiscal reform to provide regular resources for the health sector, which is one of the basic needs, is urgently required.
  3. The pandemic has tested the effectiveness and resilience for preparedness in such emergencies. The Conference notes that the global community did not manifest the requisite spirit of cooperation and multilateralism to face such outbreaks. The Conference calls for strengthening cooperative institutions at local, regional, national and international levels.
  4. The Conference noted that the elderly, the underprivileged and the minority communities have suffered the most, and calls for prevention of such vulnerabilities, through setting public policy targets for the most vulnerable strata of population. In this respect, the Conference recorded that many Islamic institutions such as Zakah, Awqaf, Sadaqah, Qard Hasan, Kafalah, a strong family unit, care for neighborhood etc., offer ways of protection against hardships in normal situations as well as in emergencies. These institutions need to work together with Islamic banks in promoting financial inclusion, purpose-driven entrepreneurship, especially for SMEs, education, low cost housing, and other means for the empowerment of the underprivileged segments of the population.
  5. The Conference also called to attention the Islamic guidelines for the case of debtors who face difficulties in grim economic situations, calling for debt relief. The guideline given by the Holy Quran “If someone is in hardship, then let there be postponement (or debt repayment) until a time of ease. But if you give from your right as charity, then it is better for you, if you only knew” [Q2:280] is most relevant in situations such as this for banks, international financial organizations as well advanced countries to provide debt relief to the vulnerable individuals, corporations and states. There are “some” measures underway but a lot more may be needed.
  6. The Conference provided food for thought for researchers, that economics is more about how to solve social dilemmas, and not simply about how to solve scarcity. Scarcity itself is an outcome of wrong solutions. This framework naturally includes the principles of Islamic economics and finance.
  7. The Conference noted that a New World Order is taking shape. It is high time for Muslim countries to form alliances to protect and improve their due status and representation in global forums and decision-making processes. The concept of an “Ummah” needs to be promoted.
  8. The Conference takes note of the emergence of platform capitalism augmented by technological breakthroughs such as Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Fintech and the rising importance of the social media and circular economy transition. Emergence of such technologies will set the future of our societies and civilizations. All stakeholders must respond to the risks and the opportunities offered by these technological developments for achieving shared prosperity and sustainability in the emerging global situation.
  9. The Conference emphasized that one important aspect of sustainable development relates to environment and ecology. Blind following of GDPism has given rise to many problems such as global warming, unsafe disposal of industrial waste and over-use of renewable energy to the neglect of the interests of future generations. The whole development process needs to be re-evaluated in order to adopt more ‘humane’ policies.
  10. The Conference emphasized the important role of research and teaching institutions in shaping the future course of history and for community service. These institutions should design new courses (at both graduate and undergraduate levels) and research projects especially in circular/ecological economy transition to meet future challenges some of which have been highlighted above emerging from the discussions in this Conference.
  11. The participants offer their sincere thanks to the people and government of Turkey in general and the President, faculty of the IZU and the members of the Steering, Academic and Executive committees of the Conference in particular for the excellent arrangements made for the conference despite difficult circumstances and providing this opportunity for dialogue and discussion.
  12. The Council of the IAIE will make early plans for the next three conferences in the ICIEF series.

In conjunction with this Conference, the 6th International Symposium on Islamic Economics and Finance Education (ISIEFE) was held as a special session and as part of the Conference. It ended with the following resolutions.

The 6th ISIEFE acknowledges the central role of quality Islamic Economics and Finance (IEF) programs to meet the increasing demand for sustainable IEF education globally. It also acknowledges that while genuine positive developments in curriculum development and talent development have taken place over the last decade, much more can and must be done to ensure the highest standards of IEF education. Understanding the dire need for more serious coordination and collaboration among Islamic Economics and Finance Education providers, the following resolutions are agreed upon:


  1. Conduct a series of Curriculum framework regional workshops within the next 6-9 months in order to achieve consensus on a Global Islamic Economics and Finance Curriculum Framework (IEFCF) and to present this agreed upon framework in an International Workshop by the first half of 2021 and to begin joint discussions to develop this Framework Standards in collaboration with relevant national/regional authorities. The curriculum should also consider incorporating emerging courses, such as digital finance, fintech, blockchain, and ecological/circular economy from the Islamic perspective.
  2. Carry out ‘Talent Surveys’, parallel to this, in order to ascertain current human resource status in Universities and Higher education institutions providing IEF programs within the next 6-9 months.
  3. Plan for the 7th ISIEFE where the various outputs from the points mentioned in 1-3 above will be presented in conjunction with the 13th ICIEF or in some other programs to be agreed upon
  4. Endorse the establishment of the International Federation of Islamic Economics and Finance Education (I-FIEFE) with its Secretariat based at the Centre for Islamic Economics, IIUM and agrees to support efforts by the I-FIEFE towards realizing its goal of developing quality sustainable IEF programs.

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