Bahrain: World Islamic Banking Conference announces record 24th edition in strategic partnership with the Central Bank of Bahrain

The 24th edition of WIBC, also the world’s longest running Islamic banking conference, is set to return to Bahrain this December, and will take stock of the most pressing issues affecting the global financial landscape.

Amwaj Islands, Kingdom of Bahrain: Middle East Global Advisors, a leading financial intelligence platform facilitating the development of knowledge-based economies in the MENASEA markets, announced that it will convene the 24th edition of their flagship offering – The World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC), the largest and most prestigious gathering of Islamic banking and finance leaders in the world, on December 4th, 5th & 6th in the Kingdom of BahrainWorld Islamic Banking Conference announces record 24th edition in strategic partnership with the Central Bank of Bahrain. Based on a strategic partnership with the Central Bank of Bahrain, the three-day long forum will take place at the ART Rotana Hotel in Amwaj Islands.

The theme for WIBC 2017 – “Drivers of Economic Growth & Risks: Policymakers & Regulators”, is in line with the conference’s steady vision to serve as a compass for the global Islamic finance and banking industry, and is expected to draw participation from over 1300 global industry leaders, policy makers, innovators and stakeholders, all focused on generating breakthrough insights that help navigate through the complexities of the global financial system.

Speaking ahead of WIBC 2017, Ehsan Abbas, Chairman, Middle East Global Advisors, said: “This year’s event will take place within the context of increasing global political and economic turbulence particularly the growing scepticism against the banking and finance industry attributed to the Global Financial Crisis of 2008-09. Over the years, this scepticism shaped into displeasure towards “the establishment” – incumbents in the Government, official and private sectors, a sentiment that was echoed in the recent Edelman Trust Barometer.”

Adding further, Mr. Abbas said, “In the wake of the GFC, central bank power across the developed economies of the US, EU & Japan increased significantly, extending well beyond the pre-crisis focus on using interest rate policy to meet inflation targets. In effect, some of these banks began employing unconventional policies and tools. Having enjoyed a wide mandate to exercise monetary policy autonomously, central banks in these markets now face the prospect of further scrutiny by fiscal and political authorities. Has this lack of success been on the part of the technocratic institutions or are the elected Governments to be blamed? In its 24th edition, WIBC will seek to address these key questions with a core focus on how Islamic finance can build on its global value proposition as a means of reinforcing trust in the financial sector.”

Speaking on behalf of WIBC’s Strategic Partner, Khalid Hamad Abdul-Rahman Hamad Executive Director – Banking Supervision, Central Bank of Bahrain, said, “The Central Bank of Bahrain takes great pride in supporting the 24th World Islamic Banking Conference to be held on 4-6 December in Bahrain. WIBC has a track record of presenting topical issues every year. Some of the key topics this year will be the moral question in finance, the impact of Fintech and new trends in Shari’ah governance. The deceleration in growth of Islamic finance worldwide, continued tightening of regulations and Fintech provide a significant opportunity to the most efficient and technology savvy players to gain market share at the expense of their less efficient conventional and Shari’ah compliant competitors. The WIBC will witness a gathering of global subject matter experts who will help the audience understand the dynamics of an industry in transition. It will also provide an excellent networking opportunity to individuals and a platform for companies to exhibit their services.”

Key features for WIBC 2017 include: Governors’ Addresses; High-profile Regulatory Debate among Central Bankers; a conversation with a distinguished Islamic finance veteran – Adnan Ahmed Yousif, Chief Executive and President, Al Baraka Banking Group on the future course of the Islamic economy, a CIO-focused panel session on harnessing digital technologies with the vision of staying relevant; Panel discussions focusing on dynamic capital markets, sustainable, equitable & inclusive growth, new horizons for Islamic finance, ESG Investing and the influence of energy prices, VAT, the effect of the recent global economic & political developments and much more.

Committed in its vision to innovate year-on-year, the 24th edition will focus on generating thought-leadership via an exclusive WIBC Knowledge-Sharing Series whereby a select group of industry leaders will make focused presentation and speeches that will be followed by opening the floor to questions from the audience and a select panel of experts, who will be further discussing these key topics at length. The exclusive series will touch upon a number of topical issues like Leveraging Islamic Capital Markets for innovative solutions that will focus on Aviation Financing, Alternative/Renewable Energy Financing and the WIBC Islamic Economy Series focusing on developing a halal ecosystem, amongst others.

Industry leaders will also be recognized for their excellence through the WIBC Performance Awards 2017, the nominees of which will be announced weeks before the December event, and the winners at the Gala Dinner on December 05. Confirmed partners at WIBC 2017 so far include: Kuwait Finance House (KFH), Khaleeji Commercial Bank (KHCB), Bahrain Islamic Bank (BISB), Al Salam Bank -Bahrain, Ibdar Bank, Bank ABC Islamic, Bank of Khartoum (BOK) International, Boubyan Bank, Alvarez & Marsal, Wahed Invest, Al Baraka Banking Group, Ithmaar Bank, Path Solutions, Luxembourg for Finance (LFF), Baker McKenzie, Eiger Trading Advisors Ltd, The Benefit Company B.S.C, DARKTRACE, DDCAP, Deloitte, Fitch Ratings, Crestbridge Bahrain and Bahrain Institute of Banking & Finance (BIBF).

Bahrain, the host nation of WIBC for the past 24 years has emerged as a global leader in Islamic finance, with the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) continuing to provide strong support to the financial industry. With the aim of strengthening Bahrain’s position as a Fintech and financial services hub in the GCC, the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) recently announced new regulations to create a regulatory sandbox that will allow startups and Fintech firms to test and experiment their banking ideas and solutions providing a unique platform for Fintech businesses around the world to expand and thrive in the Gulf.

An event that has truly broken borders, WIBC has emerged into a global spectacle that has brought some of the sharpest minds under one roof, attracting a wide array of speakers from across the globe. WIBC 2016 registered participation from a staggering 1300 delegates, 98 partners, 135 high profile speakers from across 50 countries, further boosting the powerful WIBC brand and its legacy. The distinguished line-up of speakers over the years include:
  • His Excellency Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, Governor, Central Bank of Bahrain
  • His Excellency Dr. Kairat Kelimbetov, Governor, Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC)
  • His Excellency Dr. Ahmed Abdulkarim Alkholifey, Governor, Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency
  • Kishore Mahbubani, Dean, Professor in the Practice of Public Policy, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore
  • H.E. Hamood Sangour Al-Zadjali, Executive President, Central Bank of Oman
  • H.E. Riaz Riazuddin, Deputy Governor, State Bank of Pakistan (SBP)
  • Manjiang Cheng, Chief Economist, Bank of China International (BOCI), CEO, Research Company of BOCI
  • H.E. Dr. Mohammad Y. Al-Hashel, Governor, Central Bank of Kuwait
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