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IsDBI Leads Discussion on Harnessing Technology to Boost Financial Inclusion

16 Nov, 2021

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Acting Director General of the Islamic Development Bank Institute (IsDBI) and IsDB Group Chief Economist, Dr. Sami Al-Suwailem, moderated a session on “Harnessing technology in Islamic financial Services to Improve Financial Inclusion” during the 15th Summit of the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), which was hosted by the Saudi Central Bank in Jeddah from November 9-11.

Held on 11 November 2021, the session aimed to explore opportunities and strategies to facilitate innovation and adoption of digital finance and financial technologies by Islamic financial institutions to target underserved individuals and SMEs for more inclusive growth.

Speakers during the session were UNDP Senior Advisor on Islamic Finance, Dr. Aamir A. Rahman; Deputy Chairperson of IFSB Technical Committee, Mr. Saud Al Busaidi; World Bank Senior Financial Sector Specialist, Mr. Francesco Di Salvo; and Senior Manager in SME Finance at Alliance for Financial Inclusion, Mr. Nik Kamarun.

The speakers exchanged views on boosting the potential reach and impact of Islamic financial services to unbanked or underbanked populations as well as SMEs and building digital-only banking and capital markets to cater to the digital-demographic. They also discussed opportunities in fintech post-COVID-19 pandemic and its role in closing the gap in financial inclusion.

While sharing their experiences, the speakers highlighted the regions that have successfully used Islamic finance and discussed ways of coordinating governmental and regulatory action to help encourage and facilitate the adoption of technology to better mobilize Islamic social finance instruments.

The panellists also suggested that Islamic banks should promote financial literacy for their customers to empower them and provide opportunities for small-scale businesses to access funding.

The three-day IFSB Summit, held under the theme “Islamic Finance and Digital Transformation: Balancing Innovation and Resilience”, included 15 discussion sessions and a workshop to discuss the political effects arising from rapid digital transformation, highlight the efforts required to enhance resilience and achieve stability in the field of Islamic finance services.

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