The event brought together Islamic finance and economics representatives to understand realities and challenges, work together to reduce barriers to accessing Islamic finance, create more sustainable and ethical Shariah-compliant products and encourage a more robust economy that meets needs of all segments of society.
Those in attendance included CEOs, senior advisors and directors of major financial institutions in Qatar and from across the GCC region. Academics from HBKU and its partner universities also participated in the roundtable, as well as a number of HBKU Islamic finance Master’s students.
HBKU president Dr Ahmad M Hasnah said: “I am glad to see this dialog take place between experts in the field. HBKU stands behind knowledge generation and discourse and it is important to engage relevant stakeholders on the local, regional and international scene.”
In his keynote address, Qatar Central Bank Governor HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Saud Al Thani said: “Islamic banking has seen rapid development and success over recent years and according to the Arab Monetary Fund’s latest estimates for 2016, the industry’s assets value surpassed UD 1 trillion and the estimated number of Islamic institutions is around 700, of which 250 are operating in the Gulf region.”
The CEOs’ roundtable initiative was launched to be a catalyst in opening communication channels between Islamic financial institutions and academia, creating an open forum to discuss new issues and products in the industry.
This year’s event began with a discussion on the challenges that infrastructure project sponsors and governments face in utilizing Islamic finance and highlighted ways in which it can potentially help achieve infrastructure-related sustainable development goals in the Muslim world.
Participants discussed issues such as improving access to affordable, reliable and modern energy service, ensuring availability of water and sanitation for all and increasing health and education financing.
Roundtable attendees were also invited to give an overview of their activities in arranging or participating in infrastructure projects partially or fully funded by Islamic finance, noting common modes of financing and mentioning notable case studies.