(MENAFN - Arab News) The Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank, which will celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2014, has brought about positive changes to the lives of millions of people around the world, said Ahmed Mohamed Ali, president of IDB.
"This is one of the bank's greatest achievements," he told a high-level forum in Kuala Lumpur that was organized to discuss the IDB's future strategies.
Ali emphasized the need to transform the bank's futuristic vision taking into consideration the speedy global changes as well as the economic growth achieved by member countries during the past years.
"We welcomed proposals for the development of IDB from member countries, international organizations and representatives of the private sector and civil groups. We also welcome their assessment of the bank's performance during the past 40 years," the president said.
Plans are under way to set up the Islamic Banking Center of Excellence in Kuala Lumpur, which will enable IDB to provide a myriad of Islamic banking products and offerings that include research and development in innovation, capacity building, knowledge sharing and liquidity management.
"Malaysia welcomes a proposal by IDB to build their office in Malaysia. We are pleased to offer a strategic location at the Tun Razak Exchange," Malaysian Second Finance Minister Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah said.
"The Malaysian government has always viewed IDB not only as an international institution, but also as a partner in charting the country's growth," Hanadzlah said.Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, secretary-general to the Malaysian Finance Ministry, said the project was still in the beginning stage.
"We are just starting the discussions. We are also talking to 1Malaysia Development Bhd that owns the Tun Razak Exchange... they will be coming up with the conceptual plan for the center. In fact, we will hand in the concept papers during our meeting with IDB next week," he said.
The IDB president expressed his optimism about the collaboration and foresees more regional centers of excellence once the plan becomes a success.
"It will be the first of its kind and we are choosing Malaysia as our center in Southeast Asia, given its incredible strength of Islamic banking. The center of excellence will mitigate Islamic banking deals not only in Malaysia and Southeast Asia, but also to the greater part of the world," he said.
The IDB group comprises five entities, which include the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC).
Both entities are excited about the development of the regional center.
"We look forward to the development of the center. We will be able to showcase our full offerings and get in touch with more investors," said Khaled Al-Aboodi, CEO of ICD.
Hani Salem Sonbol, ITFC's deputy CEO, is also optimistic.
"By having a center of excellence here, we will be able to conduct thorough knowledge-sharing activities with Malaysia and can adopt its superior knowledge in governance and liquidity management for use in other member countries," he said.