14 September 2022, Doha – Qatar: The 4th IFSB Innovation Forum, organised by the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) and the Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB), and patronised by Qatar Central Bank (QCB), concluded today in the presence of key stakeholders from the global Islamic finance community.
During the event, the organisers reinforced their commitment to sustainable solutions for the Islamic finance industry, as part of a shared responsibility towards the global climate goals and the human development pillar enshrined in Qatar National Vision 2030.
In his keynote address, H.E. Sheikh Bandar bin Mohammed bin Saoud Al-Thani, Governor, QCB, noted: “A primary objective of Qatar Central Bank is to develop a regulatory framework that promotes growth and innovation within the financial industry.” H.E. concluded: “To make progress, the world needs more than words, resolutions and recommendations; it needs real action on the ground.”
Highlighting the importance of sustainable finance and its dominating impact on the financial services landscape, Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, Chief Executive Officer, QFC, addressed the Forum: “Much can be done to scale sustainable finance and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) and to enhance financial inclusiveness. Embracing innovation, technological advances and sustainable financing instruments alike can provide untapped market access to Islamic finance, while working on policies and regulations remains a main building block to take the industry to the next level of growth.”
Under the National Environment and Climate Change Strategy 2021 and the Qatar National Climate Change Action Plan 2030, which details over 35 mitigation and 300 adaptation measures, the QFC implements far-reaching financial innovation policies to achieve harmony between economic growth and environmental protection. The QFC formally launched its sustainable Sukuk and Bonds Framework earlier this year to contribute to the potential growth of the sector and to bolster the country’s long-term sustainability goals.
Similarly, since 2002, the international standards-setting body IFSB promotes the development of a prudent and transparent Islamic financial services industry by recommending new or adapting existing international standards consistent with Shari’ah principles.
Dr Bello Lawal Danbatta, Secretary-General, IFSB, said: “As sustainable finance continues to permeate through Islamic Finance Industry and brings about a wave of transformation, we perceive that the bigger challenge lays in the requirement of a demanding regulatory architecture. We are thrilled to embrace the challenge and the IFSB is certainly well positioned to bridge the gap in shaping up regulatory prerequisites. Innovation Forum such as this is precisely paramount to catalyze innovative sustainable finance developments solutions and should be benefited to create a symbiotic relationship, involving all players of the industry towards a firm regulatory framework and mature sustainable finance ecosystem.”
As drivers of sustainable Islamic finance practices, the organisers brought the 4th IFSB Innovation Forum to Doha to offer market players in the Islamic Financial Services Industry (IFSI) a platform to discuss latest developments in sustainable finance, Fintech and banking governance across three high-level panels.
Moderated by Mr. Henk Hoogendoorn, Chief of Financial Sector Office (FSO), QFC, the Fintech Session analysed the future of Fintech and its role in the wider ESG ecosystem.
The panel also presented findings from a global survey on industry-leading insights on the Islamic Fintech landscape. Mr. Hoogendoorn commented: “According to the Global Islamic Fintech Survey 2022, supported by the Qatar Financial Centre, Qatar ranks in the top ten Islamic Fintech leaders. The report points to great opportunities for this emerging sector and its contribution to financial inclusion and sustainable banking.”
“We are delighted to see the Islamic finance community come together and jointly develop the next phase of development to drive paradigm-shifting innovation and implement solutions that combine financial gains in industries such as Fintech with ESG ideals. The next years and decades will be crucial for the implementation of sustainable banking structures,” he added.
The ESG Session on innovation in sustainable and green digital technologies in the IFSI discussed new developments and solutions in the sector, identifying an upwards trend in global demand for environmentally-friendly investments as well as rising interest in green and sustainable finance.
The final session on regulatory considerations tackled ways in which innovation can be facilitated to integrate climate-financing, ESG and UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into the development of the financial services industry. It also highlighted the importance of developing local taxonomies to ensure alignment between nationally determined contributions and deployed funding.
The IFSB Innovation Forum is an effort by the IFSB to convene key stakeholders in the international Islamic finance community to focus on the promotion and development of innovative finance solutions vital to creating a competitive edge for the IFSI. It was launched in Jakarta, Indonesia, and held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, before coming to Doha, Qatar.
Together with the IFSB, QFC’s vocal effort to translate global climate and environmental ambitions into actionable goals for the Islamic finance industry comes as part of its ongoing work with industry and banking partners to provide cutting-edge sustainable financing solutions that support Qatar on its path towards economic diversification, taking it one step closer to the fulfilment of the SDGs.