Over 2,000 heads of government, policymakers, businesspeople, bankers, educators, innovators, thinkers and creative talents from more than 100 countries assembled at the 12th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) in Jakarta for 3-day i.e. 2nd to 4th August exploring business prospects of 3 of the world’s fastest developing growth markets: the Islamic Countries, ASEAN and Indonesia. In 2010 total Muslim population recorded 1.6 billion and that will be growing fast to reach 2.8 billion by 2050.

The 12th WIEF has exposed ICIFE with networking experience and platform opportunities to connect with government and business leaders, corporate exhibitors, sponsors, conference delegates, event organizers, speakers, scholars and post-graduate students. ICIFE Booth secured a strategic location. We were sceptical when the organizers could only allow us to use maximum 25 words for the name of our booth. So we ended up simply with the name ‘Islamic Finance Educators’ only. It was a blessing indeed that huge flow of foreign visitors dropped-by at ICIFE Booth because many thought they could sign-up for work as IF Educators or hire trainers to facilitate their IF training and education programs.

The distinguished guest who visited ICIFE Booth was Hon Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia. She was in the entourage of H.E. Bapak Joko Widodo, President of Republic of Indonesia who marched pass the Exhibition Hall. She stopped briefly to find out what ICIFE doing?

We were wondering what makes her left H.E. President’s entourage to check on ICIFE Booth. We later realized it has got to do with the fundamentals keynote address delivered by H.E. President at official opening of the 12th WIEF at JCC Plenary Hall in the morning of 2nd August. We remember H.E. said:

“Muslim community must be educated and trained in Islamic Finance so that they can win the competition. If we don’t educate our community, if we don’t train our community, the world will leave us behind. There is no shortcut. There is no miracle. We must do complicated and difficult works to build on industry that creates employment, build an education system for our children, as well as to train the skills and attitude of young people that are needed in the 21st century and beyond. The value of global Islamic economy based on World Bank will surge to USD 5.8 Trillion over the next four years.”

H.E. President also said, “Muslim countries that are still facing poverty problem, they must overcome their basic problems, such as electricity, clean water and transportation. Leaders must ensure people live in a clean and secure place. Furthermore, food must be available and affordable. The most important and hardest thing is to build a culture of openness. A culture where we’re not only tolerate differences but also respect them. How to do that? The answer is easy: one by one and step by step.”

H.E. President articulated that 2016 is a challenging year. The world’s economy is on crisis, the world trade decreases to the lowest point since the 2nd World War, and acts of terror took place in several parts of the world. “In this era, political situation in some parts of the world cannot be predicted. Therefore, Muslim community around the world must use fundamental power,” President firmly said.

In conclusion, H.E. President stated that Muslim communities have the demography compared to others, where the average age is 23 years old, whereas the other communities are 30 years old.”

The opening of the 12th WIEF was attended by many head of governments, among others, Prime Minister of Malaysia and Patron of WIEF Foundation, YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Abdul Razak; President of te Republic of Guinea Alpa Conde,; Prime Minister of the Republic of Sri Lanka Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe; and President of the Republic of Tajikistan Emomali Rahman; President of Islamic Development Bank, Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali and Chairman of WIEF, YABhg Tun Musa Hitam.