Sarajevo, 12 May 2022 – UNDP IICPSD, IsDB and IsDB’s Transform Fund, in partnership with the Islamic Development Bank Institute (IsDBI) and Durham University Business School, launched the “Massive Open Online Course (MOOC): Islamic Finance for the Sustainable Development Goals” at the 11th Sarajevo Business Forum, following a panel discussion on Islamic finance’s contributions to sustainable development.
As one of UNDP’s six Global Policy Centers, IICPSD leads UNDP’s global work on private sector and foundations to become transformative partners in development and the implementation of the UNDP’s Private Sector Development and Partnership Strategy. IICPSD also has a global mandate to lead UNDP’s Islamic Finance portfolio.
Within its Islamic finance impact investing thematic area, UNDP IICPSD and Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) established the Global Islamic Finance and Impact Investing Platform (GIFIIP) in 2016 to position Islamic finance and impact investing as leading enablers of financing global SDG implementation. Engaging the private sector, governments and key stakeholders operating in Islamic finance and impact investing markets, the Platform promotes market-based solutions to sustainable development challenges by creating a collaborative working space.
UNDP IICPSD developed the “Massive Open Online Course (MOOC): Islamic Finance for the Sustainable Development Goals” with the support of IsDB and IsDB’s Transform Fund, and in partnership with the Islamic Development Bank Institute (IsDBI) and Durham University Business School. The MOOC is the first course designed to build the capacity of development professionals and Islamic finance partners to leverage Islamic finance for sustainable development. This course includes 27 internationally recognized subject matter experts from 11 countries and 3 continents.
11th Sarajevo Business Forum
The 11th International Business and Investment Conference, Sarajevo Business Forum (SBF), organized by Bosna Bank International (BBI) in cooperation with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Dubai Islamic Bank and the Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, amongst other international partners, was held on 11-12 May 2022 in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. SBF provides a platform for businesses to network and explore investment and business opportunities that foster regional economic development in South-East Europe.
On the second day of the Forum, Ms. Fatma Çınar, IICPSD Islamic Finance Portfolio Lead, moderated a panel discussion on the role of Islamic finance in achieving the SDGs. The panel was attended by distinguished panelists: Mr. Sahba Sobhani, Director of UNDP IICPSD, Dr. Mohammed Kroessin, Microfinance Programme Lead at Islamic Relief UK, Mr. İsmail Vural, Acting Secretary-General of TKBB, Mr. Amel Kovačević, CEO of the United Bank of Albania; Mr. Tamim Nayef Qasrawi, Board Secretary-General at the Amman Chamber of Industry, and Dr. Admir Mešković, Project Manager at Bosna Bank International (BBI).
The panel discussions focused on Islamic finance and the banking sector’s contributions to sustainable development. The panelists also highlighted the potential of Islamic finance for creating inclusive financial systems at both the regional and global level, and addressed the main challenges and opportunities in this field.
During the panel, Mr. Sobhani highlighted that the annual financing gap in developing countries to achieve the SDGs was US$ 2.5 trillion before the pandemic, which then increased to US$ 4.2 trillion in 2020. He stressed the significant potential of international institutional investors, with an estimated US$115 trillion in assets under their management and stressed that reorienting even a fraction of their investments would accelerate sustainable development. Mr. Sobhani then stated that despite the increasing share of financial assets contributing to sustainability over the past years, it still represents less than 10% of global financial assets and underlined the importance of accelerating the pace of the positive trend.
He continued with UNDP’s launch of SDG Impact in September 2018, which seeks to provide investors and enterprises with the requisite tools, insights, and clarity to support and authenticate their contributions to the SDGs. In particular, SDG Impact has developed SDG Investor Maps – a unique tool that allows investors to identify the impact or sustainability areas that, combined with high return, can be game changers in their portfolio. To date, it has identified over 200 investment opportunities in 14 countries, covering a wide range of sectors, from food and beverage to healthcare and infrastructure, where financial promise and impact potential to advance the SDGs coalesce.
He also expressed that UNDP in Bosnia and Herzegovina is supporting the preparation of a financing framework for sustainable development in the country, so as to enable better targeting of public funds and mobilizing partnerships from other stakeholders, primarily the IFIs, commercial banks and the private sector. This will include exploring the most feasible innovative financing instruments that would drive private sector investments in SDGs in the country.
Following the fruitful panel discussion, IICPSD launched its MOOC on Islamic finance for the SDGs. The MOOC received a lot of interest from Islamic finance institutions, academia, banks and other private sector stakeholders.
The course will be free and publicly available on both the Islamic IsDBI’s edX channel and UNDP’s Learning for Nature Platform by July 2022. In addition, SDG Academy Library will provide learning videos.
For more information on GIFIIP and the MOOC, visit: http://www.gifiip.org