JAKARTA: Amidst the pandemic, Cambridge Institute of Islamic Finance (Cambridge-IIF), together with Ajman University Center for Excellence in Islamic Finance (AU-CEIF), has once again successfully managed to launch the Cambridge Global Islamic Finance Report (GIFR) in Jakarta, Indonesia – the oldest yearbook in Islamic banking and finance. “Bringing out the 12th edition of the oldest yearbook in Islamic finance while we are still facing a number of logistic restrictions is a huge achievement on part of all those whose contributions have made it possible to continue to publish the Global Islamic Finance Report,” said Professor Humayon Dar, Managing Editor of GIFR 2021 and the Director General, Cambridge Institute of Islamic Finance. GIFR 2021 was launched by His Excellency Joko Widodo, President of Indonesia at the 8th Indonesia Sharia Economic Festival.
The pandemic has adversely affected every aspect of human life, with the financial services industry being amongst the most impacted. On the other hand, this has also widened the scope of innovation for Islamic finance to start looking into new avenues of growth, especially Islamic social finance. Accordingly, GIFR 2021 takes up the topic of “Islamic Finance in a Post-COVID World” following the last year’s theme of “Islamic Finance for Socio-economic Inclusion and Sustainable Development’. “This theme is not only relevant to the timely achievement of the UN’s SDGs but also a must for the sustainability of Islamic banking and finance (IsBF) in the longer term. I am sure that the coverage of topics within GIFR shall entice readers intellectual impulse and they would want to delve deeper into the reading of the report in full”, said Dr Adnan Aziz, the Editor-in-Chief of GIFR 2021 and the Founding Director of Ajman University Centre for Excellence in Islamic Finance. GIFR 2021 includes chapters on digital technology and its potential in Islamic social finance, leveraging Islamic social finance to achieve the SDGs, climate remediation and circular economy, gold-based productive waqf and much more.
Another distinguishing feature of GIFR is Islamic Finance Country Index (IFCI), which has been published annually in the report since 2011. IFCI is the oldest index for ranking different countries with respect to the state of IBF and their leadership role in the industry on a national level and benchmarked to an international level. This year’s IFCI is based on our 2011 index, with two major adjustments in the methodology over the last 10 years. Indonesia is now considered as a player with potential to lead the global Islamic financial services industry. Indonesia tops the IFCI ranking with 83.35 score, overtaking Malaysia once again. Interestingly, Saudi Arabia took the second position pushing Malaysia to the third spot. Iran, Sudan and Pakistan are at number 4, 5 and 6 respectively.
Qatar, which possesses a growing financial services sector with Islamic finance a rising sub-sector, has maintained its standing, occupying the 13th position in the 2021 IFCI ranking.
Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer of the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC), which is one of the sponsors of GIFR 2021, remarked: “The post pandemic period will be of immense importance for reigniting growth in the global financial services sector, especially gaining back the unparalleled momentum of the Islamic finance sector. With Islamic finance an undisputed part of the global economy, continued diversification and innovation within this sector will be key in sustaining its share of contribution, with Islamic FinTech becoming ever more significant. Most importantly, with the foreseen growth of the global Islamic finance sector, knowledge sharing is crucial and the Global Islamic Finance Report is one such medium to achieve this.”
DDCAP Group™ is the strategic partner of GIFR 2021. On the occasion of the launch, Stella Cox CBE, Managing Director of DDCAP Group™ commented; “DDCAP Group™ (DDCAP) is, once again, honoured to be a Strategic Partner of the highly esteemed Global Islamic Finance Report in the 12th year of its annual release. We value the opportunity to support the publication of this prestigious report which continues to play a vital role in providing Islamic financial intelligence to all industry participants.
Throughout the years of our Strategic Partnership, Cambridge International Financial Advisors (Cambridge IFA) and DDCAP have worked together supporting, promoting and advocating the Islamic banking and finance industry. As our valued partnership has flourished, together we have supported the Islamic finance industry to achieve several strategic objectives with regard to the empowerment of women, leadership development and in dissemination of authentic Islamic financial intelligence for which the Global Islamic Finance Report is a critical component.
We look forward to working together in the years to come as our industry pivots to addressing the needs of people and planet, mobilising financing to enabling the transition to a lower carbon economy and in furtherance of preserving the natural environment and biodiversity.”
Charles Haresnape, CEO of Gatehouse Bank, on this occasion, remarked: “The annual Global Islamic Finance Report is always insightful and the 2021 report, which focuses on Islamic finance in a post-COVID world, is no exception. As a growing Shari’a compliant UK bank, Gatehouse is delighted to have had the opportunity to play a part in supporting such a comprehensive and important industry report.”
Khalid Parekh, Founder and CEO of Fair FinTech Inc. said: “FAIR is excited to be the first Halal Certified Digital Bank in the US, having gone through two years of regulatory and compliance process, we are very excited to launch America’s first Financial Services Platform, which offers Shari’a based Banking, Lending, Investments and International Money Transfer Services to our large 8MM Muslim audience in US, partnering with Cambridge IFA allows us the proper channel for deep knowledge across world Islamic institutions who we can partner with to bring the FAIR platform globally.”
Minhaj University Lahore has served as Special Knowledge Partner for the third consecutive year. “It is indeed a great honour for Minhaj University Lahore (MUL) to be knowledge partner for the launch of Global Islamic Finance Report-GIFR 2021. MUL always strives to put its best efforts for the promotion of Islamic finance through various initiatives and by supporting valuable endeavours such as GIFR. No doubt, GIFR is one of the most authentic sources available on Islamic finance and known by its high level of credibility among stakeholders.
Cambridge-IIF is an independent research centre, specialising in the financial sectors of the countries wherein Islamic banking and finance is a significant activity. Leveraging upon the academic resources the city of Cambridge has to offer, Cambridge-IIF is well-positioned to undertake research projects to study the global phenomenon of Islamic banking and finance. Cambridge-IIF aims at conducting policy-oriented research to further spur growth in Islamic banking and finance, with a special focus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Cambridge IFA is a financial services intelligence house that specialises in developing and utilising powerful cutting-edge analytical tools to evaluate business data, assess macroeconomic indicators and understand market trends, leadership positioning and brand development relevant to the development of the financial services industry globally.
Formed by Ajman University in 2020, AU-CEIF aims at being a world leading source of information, education, training and applied industry research in the field of Islamic banking and finance. Through AU-CEIF, Ajman University actively pursues the agenda of provision of an excellent and innovatively inclusive learning environment for all stakeholders relevant to the entire Islamic finance ecosystem, in a socially responsible manner following highest standards of integrity.