The Oman Islamic Economic Forum (OIEF) held on the 17th and 18th of December in Muscat was the first international Islamic finance conference held in the Sultanate of Oman. Edbiz Consulting, in collaboration with Amjaad Investments, were proud to organise such an event; an event which marked the beginning of the story of Islamic finance in Oman.
At the resplendent Al Bustan Palace-A Ritz Carlton hotel, which overlooks a translucent, private beach, leading figures in the global Islamic finance market convened to discuss pertinent issues affecting the industry. Adding to the illustrious roster of speakers, 400 participants from Oman and beyond attended to listen, discuss, network and contribute to this dynamic conference.
The conference was opened by HH. Sayyid Shihab bin Tariq and featured a keynote speech by the Ex Prime Minister of Malaysia Tun Abdulla bin Haji Ahmad Badawi. The ex-Prime Minister addressed the importance of Islamic finance for Oman in strengthening the economy and highlighted the success stories of other countries, focusing mainly on Malaysia. HE Yaseen Anwar, Governor of State Bank of Pakistan offered a unique perspective on Islamic finance in Pakistan. Vice President of Islamic Development Bank, the preeminent Islamic finance multilateral organization, HE Dr Abdul Aziz bin Hinai, emphasized the benefits of intra-national cooperation in advancing the Islamic finance industry and expressed enthusiasm regarding Oman’s entry into the sector.
To provide in-depth exposure and focused analysis on Islamic finance, the two- day conference was divided into a series of panel discussions and speeches. Panels comprised of leading practitioners in the Islamic banking and finance industry coming from organizations that have advanced Islamic finance in the fields of law, accountancy, asset management, banking and academia. Further, the conference welcomed prominent Shari’a Scholars including Sheikh Nizam Yaqubi, Sheikh Dr Ali Quradaghi, Sheikh Dr Kahlan Al Kharusi and Sheikh Dr Abdul Rahim Sultan al Olama to offer their insights and advice to an attentive audience.
Topics tackled at the conference included regulatory models, banking models, takaful, capital markets, corporate governance, economic reform, and Shari’a issues. In addition, and uniquely for a conference of this magnitude, the Forum addressed the potential of building up Social Responsibility and Philanthropy in Islamic finance, taking a focused look at Waqf and Zakat, two pillars of the traditional Islamic economic system.
Edbiz Consulting CEO, Professor Humayon Dar, is of the view that the conference will be seen as a pivotal moment for Islamic finance in Oman in the future. He states “Our aim for hosting this conference was to provide the domestic financial market with the tools to understand how Islamic finance could bolster the Omani economy. We wanted to expose the successes of this industry and the values it confers to indigenous decision makers who have a cursory knowledge of Islamic finance. The interest generated and the attendance was unparalleled and highlights the potential for Islamic finance in Oman”. Khaled Alyahmadi, the Founder of the OIEF, was delighted at the success of the conference and the content covered. “I sincerely believe that the conference has sparked widespread interest in Islamic finance within Oman. We have vaunted aims and wish to truly compete on the global stage. Truly developing Islamic finance can only push Oman forward in the world economy. The conference marks the first step. We hope to continue going forward and push Islamic finance in Oman and beyond”
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