Global executives attend Islamic finance program in Jeddah

The program attracted Nigerian, British, Ugandan, Jordanian, Saudi, Spanish, French, Lebanese and Indian participants.
Updated 15 May 2019

Global executives attend Islamic finance program in Jeddah

Representatives from financial and academic institutions around the world attended a four-day international executive program in Islamic finance in Jeddah.

The program was jointly organized by the Saudi-Spanish Center for Islamic Economics and Finance at the IE Business School in Madrid, the Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) of the Islamic Development Bank, and the Islamic Economics Institute (IEI) of King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah.

In his opening remarks at the event, Vice Dean of Postgraduate Studies and Research Dr. Hasan Makhethi said the course aimed to enhance knowledge and experience in Islamic finance and provide networking opportunities for participants.

He said the IEI was delighted that the partnership among the organizing institutions has created “a platform for alternative finance in order to raise awareness among academics and business people about the importance of ethics and morals in finance and business.”

“IRTI is an important partner in the success of the program, as it is enhancing both the academic and practical sides of the program,” Dr. Makhethi added.

Dr. Kaleem Alam, program manager, noted that Islamic finance is no longer alien to the world of finance, and that there is growing demand globally, especially in Africa, to learn and implement Shariah-complaint finance.

The program was designed for executives interested in gaining knowledge and developing contacts in the Islamic finance sector. Participants attended workshops, roundtable discussions and academic sessions covering the fundamental principles, key concepts and modes of Islamic finance, as well the importance of ethics in business.

The program attracted participants of Nigerian, British, Ugandan, Jordanian, Saudi, Spanish, French, Lebanese and Indian nationalities. There were also participants from the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA), Jaiz Bank and the Microfinance Support Center Limited (MSC).

Participants also visited a number of organizations in Jeddah, including KAU, IDB, THIQAH, SEDCO Capital and the National Commercial Bank.

Some of the prominent trainers included Dr. Sami Al-Suwailem, Mr. Khalid Gama, Dr. Ahmed Belouafi and Dr. Mansoor Durrani.

Bashair A. Alnahari, a participant from SAMA, said: “It was one of the most valuable and enjoyable programs I have ever attended.”


Positive social impact of COVID-19 in KSA: Survey

Updated 12 August 2020

Positive social impact of COVID-19 in KSA: Survey

A survey commissioned by Al-Aghar Group, an independent Saudi think tank, in partnership with global management consultancy Kearney, has revealed that most thought leaders and decision-makers in the Kingdom anticipate that COVID-19 will be a positive accelerant of the transformation already underway in the Kingdom. The survey focused specifically on the social impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the Kingdom through 2025.

Respondents believed that COVID-19 is accelerating the advent of the “future of work” in the Kingdom and more than 65 percent see this as fundamentally positive. About 69 percent see the growing need for the retraining of employees as positive, spurring national adaptation to the new normal. However, the survey also revealed some concerns regarding the security of formal employment and self-employment, with 37 percent seeing the effect of the crisis as negative.

Most survey respondents (70 percent) expect education in the Kingdom to undergo a positive transformation with the adoption of new, innovative, and inclusive modes of learning.

Seventy-eight percent of the respondents believe that the impact of the pandemic on the health care in the Kingdom through 2025 will be highly beneficial.

Fifty-eight percent of respondents believe there will be a wide adoption of telemedicine services in the Kingdom in the near future, as patients gain greater comfort and confidence in this method of consultation with their health providers.

Most respondents believe the health crisis has accelerated the process of digital transformation in the country, particularly in the finance and retail sectors. Seventy-five percent of respondents see the anticipated wider prevalence of e-commerce as positive, and 89 percent see as positive increasing use of cashless payments for face-to-face transactions by 2025.

By 2025, 78 percent of respondents expect that COVID-19 will lead to a significant and welcome (83 percent) step change in government preparedness for future crises. Meanwhile, 68 percent of respondents anticipate a significant impact on government information-sharing and 65 percent anticipate a moderate, but positive change in the willingness of citizens to contribute toward government efforts.

Prince Faisal bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al-Saud, chairman, Al-Aghar Group, said: “Saudi Arabia has a proud history of resilience and has thrived even in the most challenging situations. While this pandemic has severely affected us all, the survey results confirm the depth of our intention to use this current situation to accelerate our national progress.”

Rudolph Lohmeyer, partner and head of National Transformations Institute at Kearney Middle East, said: “The survey results clearly reveal the deep, optimistic resilience of the Saudi people and their implicit commitment to the Kingdom’s national transformation. Despite the near-term hardships caused by the crisis, respondents anticipate that the most significant medium-term impacts will be positive.”