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Over 1000 Global Leaders Converge for The 25th Annual World Islamic Banking Conference in Bahrain

HRH Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of BahrainThe final day of the conference saw a one-on-one interview with Kingdom of Bahrain’s Minister of Oil, key panel sessions focusing on global economic outlook and its impact on the regional economy and the launch of a key financial intelligence report by Refinitiv.

Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain: Under the patronage of HRH Prince Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa, The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain, the 25th anniversary edition of The World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC), the largest and longest-running gathering of Islamic banking and finance leaders in the world, saw over 1000 Industry leaders from various markets comprising the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe & America congregate from November 26-28 in the Kingdom of Bahrain – the host nation of WIBC for the past 2 decades and one that has emerged as a global leader in Islamic finance.

Convened by Middle East Global Advisors – a leading financial intelligence platform facilitating the development of knowledge-based economies in the MENASEA markets and in strategic partnership with the Central Bank of Bahrain, the forum is spurring a series of discussions focusing on “Islamic Finance & Sustainable Economic Growth in the Age of Disruption”, a theme that resonates with the conference’s steady vision to serve as a definitive check point for the global Islamic finance and banking industry.

Key insights continued to unfold on the final day of the World Islamic Banking Conference, that witnessed an exclusive one-on-one interview with H.E. Shaikh Mohamed bin Khalifa bin Ahmed Al-Khalifa, Minister of Oil, Kingdom of Bahrain who discussed investment plans in light of Bahrain’s Mega Discovery of Shale Oil & Gas reserves, the global oil context ahead of December’s OPEC meeting and the new initiatives and projects that are being undertaken by the Kingdom.

The 25th WIBC also recognized excellence within the Islamic finance and banking industry at a high profile Gala Dinner on November 27 whereby 5 WIBC Performance Awards were given away by Khalid Hamad Abdulrahman Hamad, Executive Director of Banking Supervision, Central Bank of Bahrain to the top performing Islamic financial institutions based on their performance in the WIBC Leaderboard – a groundbreaking performance assessment tool aimed at enabling Islamic financial institutions to benchmark their performance against their peers.

Kuwait Finance House bagged the Global & GCC region awards, testament to its strong performance in the financial metrics of the WIBC Leaderboard.

Abdulhakeem Al Khayyat, the Managing Director and CEO at KFH-Bahrain said: “On behalf of Kuwait Finance House group, we are honored to have won these two prestigious awards. As well as, express great pride in our platinum sponsorship of the 25th edition of the World Islamic Banking conference, which is considered to be the largest gathering of leaders within the Islamic finance world.”

Other winners at the 25th Annual WIBC Performance Awards include:

  • Best Performing Islamic Bank – Levant: Jordan Islamic Bank
  • The Governance & CSR Award: Bahrain Islamic Bank
  • Award for Fastest Growing Bank (By Asset Growth): Warba Bank

Since its inception 25 years ago, The World Islamic Banking Conference has been a significant contributor to enhancing growth, excellence and innovation in the global Islamic Finance and Banking industry. Time and again, the conference has proven to be an ideal launching pad for research and intelligence reports, arming Industry leaders with pragmatic insights to help shape their organization’s strategic planning activities. The final day of the conference played host to the launch of the Global Islamic Finance Development Outlook 2018: Building Momentum by Refinitiv. The Islamic Finance Development Report presents the key statistics and trends across five indicators that are deemed to be significant for the development of the US$2.4 trillion Islamic finance industry which are: Quantitative Development, Knowledge, Governance, Corporate Social Responsibility and Awareness.

The conference also witnessed the launch of Emerico’s R35 Self-Service Robot. Outfitted with an ultrasonic sensor on each side coupled together with an internal GPS tracker, the R35 is able to maneuver intelligently across the floor and greet patrons to assist them with various tasks.

Francis Lai, CEO of Emerico said, “The conception of the R35 was an incentive at Emerico to further advance and enhance the customer experience in the financial industry. By doing so, this ensures a more seamless and improved customer experience and concurrently saving much storage space. We strive to be the leading innovators for customer solutions in the ever-changing industry.”

Other key highlights from the final day include the panel discussions focusing on Global Economic Outlook & Impact on Regional Economy, Cross-Jurisdictional Issues in Shari’ah Standards & Practices and The Country Round Table focusing on Russia where leading industry experts analyzed the challenges at hand and focused on coming up with effective suggestions with the ultimate aim of developing a convergence roadmap for the Islamic Finance industry at large.

The first day of the conference witnessed a power-packed lineup of speakers comprising His Excellency Rasheed Mohammed Al Maraj, Governor, Central Bank of Bahrain; Dr. Sami Al-Suwailem, Head of Financial Product Development Centre, Islamic Research & Training Institute, Islamic Development Bank; H.E. Khalid Al Rumaihi, Chief Executive, Bahrain Economic Development Board, Adnan Ahmed Yousif, President & Chief Executive, Al Baraka Banking Group; Peter Kruschel, Director, Federal Financial Supervisory Authority & Aziz Elkhyari, Head of Business Development, Casablanca Finance City Authority, among others.

Partners at The 25th WIBC include: Casablanca Finance City Authority, Kuwait Finance House (KFH), Ithmaar Bank, Khaleeji Commercial Bank (KHCB), World Gold Council, Bank ABC Islamic, Bank of Khartoum-International, First Energy Bank, Bahrain Islamic Bank (BisB), DWF, Al Baraka Banking Group, Thomson Reuters, SEDCO Capital, Path Solutions, Moody’s Investor Service, Emerico, The Perth Mint, WTS Dhruva Consultants, Baker McKenzie, Euro Motors, Eiger Trading, ORACLE, Department for International Trade – British Embassy Bahrain, DDCAP, Fitch Ratings, Sadad, GPS, Teamwill Consulting, ERI Bancaire SA, Tejoury, Bahrain Institute of Banking & Finance (BIBF) and International Islamic Financial Market (IIFM).

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