It took more than 40 years for Islamic finance to become a global asset class. I am proud to have been part of this journey as the industry fast approaches the $3-trillion mark. Witnessing Islamic finance make its way into the G20 communique during the group’s summit in Turkey in 2015 has been one of the most pleasant experiences in my professional career. I was part of the G20 Process by virtue of my participation in the B20.
B20 offers a remarkable platform for global businesses to share their feedback with G20 leaders. Every year, B20 is hosted by the country that presides over G20. Based on deliberations and regular exchange throughout the year, B20 collects recommendations from business stakeholders and consolidates them into a highly refined policy paper. G20 leaders then consider the policy recommendations for implementation.
During Turkey’s Presidency of G20, I was invited to Co-Chair the Financing Growth Taskforce of B20. It was at that summit that Islamic finance – also referred to as the asset-based finance within the G20 process- was brought on the agenda for the first time. And we were able to discuss its potential to enhance financial inclusion, SME finance and infrastructure finance.
The G20 leaders, meeting at Antalya in November 2015, for the first time in G20’s history, adopted many of B20’s recommendations for further growth of Islamic finance. Carrying on with the momentum, B20 Germany, in 2017, included Islamic finance as part of its flagship project, Compact with Africa.
We hope Islamic finance will continue to feature in coming years an important tool for sustainable economic growth, being a natural partner for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
What I would like to see in particular is the establishment of a dedicated Islamic Sustainable Infrastructure Bank to support sustainable infrastructure globally. A project like that might be something the Kingdom should consider seriously.