7th International Conference on Islamic Banking and Finance held at IoBM

The 7th International Conference on Islamic Banking and Finance (ICIBF) 2023 was held at the Institute of Business Management (IoBM) on November 13-15, 2023. Focusing on the theme of “Sustainable Development and Islamic Finance: Examining the Role of Islamic Financial Institutions in Promoting Sustainable Economic Growth, Ethical Investments, and Technological Innovations”, the high-profile conference highlighted how Sharia-compliant finance is paving the way for a sustainable economic landscape in the country. ICIBF 2023 was held under the Patronage of Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI), Bahrain. Distinguished speakers at the event included Mr. Ghulam Muhammad Abbasi, Director, Islamic Banking, State Bank of Pakistan, and Indonesian Consul General in Karachi, Dr. June Kuncoro Hadiningrat while the welcome address was delivered by Mr. Talib S. Karim, President IoBM.

In his welcome address, Mr. Talib S. Karim, President, IoBM noted that: “The ICIBF is IoBM’s flagship event, drawing a significant response from Islamic banks. Our Center for Islamic Business and Finance (CIBF), led by Dr. Imam Uddin, offers diverse programs supporting various careers in relevant fields of Islamic banking and finance. Sustainability is a core focus of this conference, and I express gratitude to our international partners. It is relevant here to emphasize academia-industry linkages.”

The inaugural session was attended by Chief Executive Officers of numerous financial institutions of Pakistan including Faysal Bank, Bank Alfalah, BankIslami, Meezan Bank, and Dubai Islamic Bank. The first day comprised insightful sessions that focused on numerous subjects like the integral role of Islamic Financial Institutions in sustainable economic growth and their potential global contribution to achieving SDGs. Participants delved into the strategic utilization of Islamic modes of financing for supporting diverse SDGs at both local and global levels. The conference also highlighted the necessity of regulatory standards for Islamic Financial Institutions to promote sustainable growth and ethical investments. Additionally, it addressed the challenges non-bank Islamic Financial Institutions face in aligning with and contributing to various Sustainable Development Goals.

The esteemed speakers who shared their valuable thoughts at the inaugural session were: Dr. Ishrat Husain, Former Governor, State Bank of Pakistan; Mr. Bashir Janmuhammad Chancellor, IoBM; Mr. Omar Mustafa Ansari, Secretary-General, AAOIFI, Bahrain; Mr. Yousaf Hussain, President & CEO Faysal Bank Ltd.; Muhammad Atif Hanif, President & CEO, Al Baraka Bank Pakistan; Syed Amir Ali, Deputy CEO of Meezan Bank Ltd.; Dr. Muhammad Imran Ashraf Usmani, Vice Chairman - Shariah Board, Meezan Bank; and Mr. Mohammad Shoaib, CEO Al Meezan Investment Management.

Mr. Ghulam Muhammad Abbasi, Director, Islamic Finance, State Bank of Pakistan in his speech highlighted that: “We're in an era where environmental shocks and socio-economic inequalities increasingly destabilize economies. Recognizing that traditional finance's unchecked production, consumption, and resource distribution negatively impact the environment and society, a recent S&P Global Report forecasts green, social, and sustainability-linked bond issuances to reach USD 1 trillion, comprising 16% of total issuances in 2023. Amid climate crises, economic fluctuations, conflicts, and pandemics, a U.N. SDG Report reveals progress on over half the targets falling below expectations, with 30% regressing. Islamic finance, being asset-backed, facilitates a transition to sustainable finance by minimizing debt crises and ensuring funds align with their intended purpose. It prioritizes social and ethical considerations, and risk-sharing, and avoids excessive uncertainty.”

Addressing the conference, Dr. Ishrat Husain, Former Governor, of the State Bank of Pakistan and Advisor to the Prime Minister stated: “The fundamental purpose of Islamic banking is human dignity. Through this medium, the aim is to provide opportunities for marginalized communities to lead a dignified life. At the same time, it also fills the gap among social classes. However, Islamic financial institutions should have a product differentiation from conventional banking to strengthen market penetration.”

At ICIBF 2023, the 14th Cambridge Global Islamic Finance Report 2023 was also launched by the Cambridge Institute of Islamic Finance (Cambridge IIF), UK. Prof Dr Humayon Dar, Director General, Cambridge IIF, UK, presented the report and addressed the audience. Two pre-conference research workshops were also held on November 13, 2023. In Pre-Conference Research Workshop 1, the workshop aimed at equipping the participants with ongoing research in the domain of Islamic Equities. The facilitators included Prof. Dr. Shujaat Mubarik, Dean IoBM; Dr. Saad Azmat, Associate Professor of Finance and Associate Dean Research at Suleman Dawood School of Business, Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), Dr. Dawood Ashraf, senior research economist at the Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), a member of the Islamic Development Group and Mr. Farhan Ul Haq Usmani, EVP & Head - Shariah Audit, Meezan Bank Limited) (Founding Member - Re-composition Board, KMI 30 & KIMI ALL SHARES Index at PSX). The Pre-Conference Research Workshop equipped the participants with the ongoing research in Islamic Financing. The facilitators were Prof. Dr. Eskandar Shah, Associate Professor of Islamic Finance at CIS, HBKU; Prof. Dr. Muhammad Zahid, Dean, Bahria University; and Prof. Dr. Imran Shafique.

The conference included a host of other sessions as well where distinguished individuals from financial bodies, academic institutions, and regulatory authorities not just from Pakistan but across the globe including the Middle East and Malaysia shared their expert analysis on numerous subjects. International Conference on Islamic Banking and Finance (ICIBF) 2023 was organized by the Accounting and Finance Department, IoBM, under the supervision of the Accounting and Finance Department’s HoD, Prof. Dr. Imam Uddin, and his team of faculty and students.