Islamic finance ‘could offer effective relief and direction’ on financial instruments to the rest of the world
The International Conference on Islamic Business was opened in Islamabad by Yaseen Anwar, Governor of the State Bank of Pakistan. The conference was held at the National Institute of Banking and Finance and lasted two days, during which time banking and business personnel were able to network and share best practices for their industries.
Financial services were a central topic of discussion, with specific focus on the effects of the global recession “Islamic finance is one of the most dynamic areas of financial services today,” Anwar said, pointing out that the Islamic financial system is viewed as “prudent, stable, and a viable alternative to the conventional system.” He further postulated that agriculture and SMEs are sectors of “paramount importance” to the economy in areas of employment generation and overall development. However, these sectors of the economy remain largely ignored. “This represents huge Shariah-compliant opportunities for Islamic banks,” he is quoted as saying.
Dato’ Seri Anwar Ibrahim, the former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, also urged Muslim nations to focus on their governance. Noting that he had personally transferred funds into Islamic banks to support the industry in his country, he also observed “after one decade we need to see why other banks are serving as well as the Islamic banks.”
Professor Khurshid Ahmad, keynote speaker, added that Islamic banking could offer relief and direction to the rest of the world, currently struggling to pull away from economic meltdown. If many of the countries – including capitalist countries – adopted Islamic finance and banking, some of the current crisis could be resolved.
State Bank of Pakistan was pointed to as being in the forefront of new innovations. “Reaching out to such sectors (agriculture and SME) will not only be beneficial for the Islamic financial industry, but will also guarantee economic welfare of society,” said Anwar, during his opening speech. He also addressed the need for Islamic banks to increase their network in rural Pakistan and said that Islamic microfinance can be “effective in serving the under-served and the deprived population.”
According to Anwar, Islamic financial organisations now have over $1trn in assets, with a presence in over 75 countries.