The 2015 Ethical Finance Innovation Challenge Awards (EFICA) in its third edition, sponsored by Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) and Thomson Reuters, are now open for entries. This year’s focus is on ideas that will help broaden the appeal of ethical finance to a global audience and to reward initiatives that have created tangible benefit to society.
The EFICA awards, which offer prizes of up to $100,000, are given in three categories: development of Islamic finance, ethical finance initiatives, and lifetime achievement.
The Islamic Finance Industry Development Award, which carries a prize of $100,000, is awarded for innovation that furthers the growth and ethical development of Islamic finance and banking. This year’s theme is how to promote the universal appeal of Islamic finance, and judges are particularly looking for initiatives that encourage the industry’s global growth as a progressive and ethical alternative to conventional finance.
Meanwhile, the Ethical Finance Initiative Award, which carries a $50,000 prize, is for innovative solutions or initiatives that promote ethical practice and inspire real change in the financial services industry. The Lifetime Achievement Award, with a prize of $25,000, celebrates an outstanding institution or individual that has shaped the world of financial services, using a positive approach and ethical principles.
Entries for the awards are being accepted from institutions, research centres or individuals and can be submitted online at [www.efica.com]. The judging process is rigorous and transparent, carried out by an advisory board that includes Islamic scholars and financial experts. Selection of eventual winners includes public voting on a shortlist of 3 for each award during the final ceremony that will take place in Dubai on the sidelines of the Global Islamic Economy Summit on 4th October.
“The EFICA awards are a positive force in finance, recognizing innovation that sets a strong example of ethical action, and can be replicated across the industry,” said ADIB Chief Executive Officer Tirad Al Mahmoud. “Since the global economic crisis, the public has demanded higher standards and more reliable practices, and it is up to the finance sector to step up to the mark and show we have solutions. Our research in a number of countries shows that regardless of their religious faith people seek ethically structured financial services, and of course this enhances Islamic finance’s growing appeal. Our challenge this year is therefore for entrants to demonstrate how they have been able to harness this appeal to make Islamic finance more inclusive to all types of customers,” he added.
Nadim Najjar, Managing Director, Middle East and North Africa, Thomson Reuters said: “The EFICA awards have been very popular in the industry, drawing increasingly strong competition each year. It is extremely encouraging that there are more and more people working in finance who are looking for new ways of doing things, with societal progress acting as their overriding motive.”
For the past two years the EFICA awards have attracted hundreds of entries from around the world. Last year’s ethical finance prize was won by a creative rural microfinance project in Sudan, while the lifetime achievement award was won by Dr. Amjad Saqib for his work establishing Akhuwat, an organization that has helped over 600,000 families in Pakistan.