Dubai: A number of global experts in Islamic finance speaking at the 10th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) in Dubai yesterday emphasised the role played by Islamic capital markets in fostering stability in the global economy and getting reasonably priced funding for infrastructure development in emerging economies.
In the inaugural session ‘A dialogue on ‘Sukuk Development and Financial Stability’ delegates from both developed and developing nations and leading multilateral organisations reviewed the relevance of sukuk as an innovative financing tool.
At the opening of the Forum, Hamad Bu Amim, President & CEO of Dubai Chamber said that the event will further define Dubai as the global capital of the Islamic economy, and presents a new opportunity for the world to leverage the potential for growth offered by Islamic finance.
“This prestigious Forum, celebrating its special 10th anniversary, is an important occasion for Dubai as we seek to build strength and prosperity of the global Islamic economy,” he said.
Andrea Leadsom MP, Economic Secretary to the Treasury of the United Kingdom, said the country has taken concerted measures to further engage with fast-growing economies in Islamic finance. She said that the Bank of England has commenced feasibility work for establishing Sharia-compliant facilities.
On the dialogue on Sukuk Development and Financial Stability, moderated by Mushtak Parker, Editor of Islamic Banker magazine, the focus was firmly on the role that Islamic finance can play in promoting project finance, thus contributing to greater economic stability.
Masood Ahmad, Director, Middle East and Central Asia Department of the International Monetary Fund, said Sukuk issuances can help deal with the infrastructure deficit in the region, particularly the oil-importing nations with little recourse to funding. He said that oil-exporting nations, despite the falling prices, maintain high levels of cash surplus that depress profits and increase systemic risks, reiterating the need to foster linkages between Islamic finance and the macroeconomy.
Kairat Kelimbetov, Governor of the National Bank of Kazakhstan said that Kazakhstan serves as the gateway to Islamic securities in the CIS region, and underlined the strong regulatory measures being adopted by the Government to promote Islamic finance. He also highlighted the importance of linking Islamic finance to project financing for promoting durable financial stability.
Dr. Abdul Aziz Al Hinai, Vice President Finance of Islamic Development Bank, highlighted the challenges and opportunities in Islamic finance, reminding the audience that sukuks are not to be perceived as debt, particularly given its linkages to projects.