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International Forum on Islamic Finance (IFIF) focuses on innovation & technology PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 11 February 2016

The second day of Africa’s landmark event, International Forum on Islamic Finance (IFIF), built on the successes of yesterday which included powerful discussions on inclusive Islamic finance, the impact of social media on banking, strengthening Islamic capital markets in Africa and much more. Today, the agenda delves into specific case studies of emerging markets in Africa, microfinance and mobile payments.

Today kick-started with engaging presentations on emerging markets for Islamic finance in Africa by Dr. Andrew Nevin, Partner at PwC Nigeria, and Ridha Meftah, Executive Director at EY Tunisia. A Harvard & Oxford trained economist (and Rhodes Scholar), Dr. Nevin is a leading global thinker who has been playing a formative role in creating a strong and vibrant economy and society in the world’s most dynamic continent, Africa. Mr. Meftah is renowned for his financial experience in North Africa and the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU).

The conveners of IFIF, Middle East Global Advisors – the renowned intelligence platform serving the Middle East North Africa Southeast Asia (MENASEA) region for 22 years – delivered a powerful line-up of sessions focusing on technology, financial inclusion and innovation.

The Deputy Country Director (Sudan) for the United National Development Programme, Abdel-Rahman Ghandour, and Microfinance head at the Central Bank of Sudan, Professor Badr El Din Ibrahim, were among the many experts who led discussions on the role of microfinance in financial inclusion, tackling topics including micro-takaful, empowering women and the myriad models for expanding financial access across Africa.

The afternoon also featured a unique session on bringing FinTech and mobile payments to under-banked markets in Africa. Leading the discussions were Fadilah Tchoumba (Lead Business and Strategy Analyst of Ovamba), Kashif Naeem (EVP & Group Head – Retail Microfinance of Bank of Khartoum), Brian Richardson (CEO of Wizzit), Mohammed Kateeb (Group Chairman & CEO of Path Solutions) and Justin Floyd (CEO & Deputy Chairman of RedCloud Technologies).

IFIF 2016 will conclude with a conversation with en exemplary leader from Islamic finance, Professor Datuk Rifaat Ahmed Abdel Karim, CEO of the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation.

IFIF 2016 focussed on 2 key areas for spurring economic growth in Africa – innovation and inclusion. Fadi Al Faqih, CEO of the Bank of Khartoum (which supports the IFIF initiative), spoke earlier to Middle East Global Advisors about his bank’s leadership in microfinance: “BOK started its Islamic Microfinance program in 2009…We managed the largest and 1st of its kind fund for Islamic microfinance, the Al Aman Fund. It was created by a consortium of banks and Zakat organizations with a total fund value of SDG 200 million ($33 million) where participating banks contributed SDG 150 million and zakat organizations contributed the remaining SDG 50 million.”

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