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The 12th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), held in Indonesia's capital city of Jakarta between 2 - 4 August 2016, was opened today by Indonesian President Joko Widodo and newly appointed Finance Minister Sri Mulyani Indrawati. The WIEF brings together government leaders, industrial leaders, academic scholars, regional experts, professionals and corporate leaders to discuss opportunities for business partnerships in the Muslim world. The 12th WIEF, attended by some 2,500 delegates from 69 nations, carries the theme "Decentralizing Growth, Empowering Future Business".
Topics on the agenda of the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) include the progress of Muslim enterprises (including creative industries such as Islamic travel agencies), infrastructure investment, zakat (alms), waqf (charitable endowment) management, the integration of halal sectors and Islamic finance, sukuk (Islamic bonds), as well as Islamic tourism.
President Widodo highlighted the ongoing economic, political and trade-related challenges that are currently being faced by the Muslim world. Amid this fragile context it is of vital importance to focus on innovation. The Muslim world should make use of its demographic bonus. Pew Research Center says the median age of the world's Muslim population currently stands at 23 years, younger than all other religious groups (the median age for non-Muslims is estimated at 30 years). This gives the Muslim population a key strength to enhance innovation. Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population.
Widodo stated that despite ongoing challenges - such as the high unemployment rate among the young generation - Islamic fashion, cuisine, arts and architecture are growing strongly and have the potential to create a new international economy.
Although there are nearly 210 million Muslims living in Indonesia, the nation's Islamic banking industry struggles to grow markedly. Domestic sharia banks only control 5 percent of the Indonesian market and, alarmingly, their market share in Indonesia has been more-or-less stuck at 5 percent over the past couple of years. Conventional banking remains the "king" in Southeast Asia's largest economy. Moreover, there are no Indonesian sharia banks positioned within the top five of largest banks in Southeast Asia (in terms of assets).
For more information visit our Islamic Banking section