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IFSB Launched the IFSB Summit 2021

Date posted: 10 November 2021

10 November 2021, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - The Islamic Financial Services Board (IFSB) Summit 2021, themed “Islamic Finance and Digital Transformation: Balancing Innovation and Resilience”, has commenced with opening remarks by the Secretary General of the IFSB Dr. Bello Lawal Danbatta, a welcoming remarks by H.E. Dr. Fahad Abdallah Al-Mubarak, the Governor of Saudi Central Bank, followed by the keynote address by H.E. Khaled Mohamed Balama Al Tameemi, the Governor of the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates and Chairman, IFSB Council. The two-day IFSB Summit 2021 was held at Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Jeddah Saudi Arabia on 10 and 11 November 2021 and hosted by the Saudi Central Bank.

In his opening address, Dr. Danbatta highlighted that the theme of the Summit was both pertinent and timely. He also stressed that “digitalisation of Islamic financial services have enormous benefits in today’s value-driven, customer-centric, and digitalised financial landscape. These include but not limited to enhancing operational efficiency, contestability, and competitiveness of the Institutions offering Islamic financial services, deepening financial access, promoting financial inclusion, and supporting effective regulatory compliance and supervisory oversight.”

Dr. Danbatta further stated that “the proliferation of disruptive financial technology, and the rate of adoption by users, operators, supervisors and regulators of financial services will likely become stronger post-COVID-19 pandemic. He emphasized on the imperatives and processes of strengthening the framework for responding and adapting to, recovering from, and mitigating against digital transformation risks.” 

In his welcoming remarks, His Excellency Dr. Fahad Al-Mubarak said "it is heartening to note that the Saudi Central Bank is hosting the IFSB Summit 2021.” He highlighted the importance of technology in leveraging the potentials of the Islamic financial services industry in a post COVID-19 pandemic recovery generally, and particularly in line with the fast development of Islamic finance in Saudi and the Saudi Vision 2030’s focus on economic diversification, financial inclusion, and shared prosperity through innovative opportunities.”

His Excellency also stated that although the various COVID-19 monetary and fiscal policy interventions have generally proven effective for the stability and resilience of the global financial ecosystem, challenges remain especially in terms of the various risks arising from digitalization of Islamic financial services. He further remarked that discussions during the Summit provide suggestions on ensuring the stability, resilience and soundness of the Islamic financial service industry in the era of digitalization and foster the inclusive and sustainable economic growth in Islamic countries.

While in his keynote address, His Excellency Khaled Mohamed Balama stated that ‘digitalisation as a new reality has been quickened by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, and institutions offering Islamic financial services need to leverage on the operational efficiency, investment opportunities, and economic prospects it offers to both businesses and households. He reiterated the key role of the IFSB as a prudential standard setting body for the Islamic financial services industry to providing a platform for international cooperation, knowledge exchange, and strategic collaboration as well as issuing requisite standards and guidance notes.

His Excellency also highlighted on the key initiatives by the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates in the realm digitalization especially on payment system, and the joint digital currency project with the Saudi Central Bank. He stated further that regulators’ efforts have been commendable at ensuring that favourable disposition towards financial innovation does not infringe on financial market integrity and stability, financial inclusion and consumer protection.

The 15th IFSB Summit 2021 was attended both physically and virtually by Central Bank Governors, Heads and representatives of regulatory and supervisory authorities and delegates of financial institutions that are members and non- members of the IFSB, key Islamic financial services industry leaders, renowned academics, international and Saudi media organisations, as well as stakeholders of the Islamic financial community in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) region. 

For more information on the 15th IFSB Summit 2021 and other Pre-Summit events, please log on to the IFSB website, www.ifsb.org. The public can join the event virtually via https://ifsbksa2021.com/.

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