The Islamic Economy Award was launched in 2013 under the patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and directed by HH Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council.
Now in its second year, the annual award recognizes innovative world-class business initiatives and ideas that have contributed to the social and economic welfare of the Muslim population. These initiatives and ideas must prove to enhance bilateral trade and investment relations between Islamic nations and forge closer economic ties with the rest of the world towards fostering prosperity, harmony and well-being for all. In addition, a 'Lifetime Achievement Award' recognizes an outstanding and influential business leader who demonstrates inspired leadership and who has made a significant impact on the Islamic economy.
The integrity and credibility of the Award is managed independently by Thomson Reuters, the world's leading information provider; audited by Deloitte, the world's largest privately-held professional services organization; and adjudicated by an esteemed judges' panel based on formal, established criteria. The Award is divided into eight key Islamic economy categories in addition to the prestigious 'Lifetime Achievement Award'.
For complete information on the Islamic Economy Award - including Award categories, judging criteria, and methodology - Please visit the Award micro site here
2014 Islamic Economy Award Winners
The winners were announced and awards presented by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai at the Opening Ceremony of the Global Islamic Economy Summit 2014 in Dubai, the Capital of Islamic Economy, at the Madinat Jumeirah. The award winners are as follows:
Money and Finance:
Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector
The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) supports the economic development of its member countries through provision of Shariah-compliant finance to private sector projects.
ICD finances projects that are specifically geared to create employment opportunities and boost exports. It also mobilises additional resources for projects and encourages the development of Islamic financing and capital markets.
Further, ICD also attracts co-financiers for its projects and provides advice to governments and private sector groups on policies aimed at encouraging the establishment, expansion and modernisation of private enterprises, development of capital markets, best management practices and enhancing the role of market economy.
In addition to the direct investment approach ICD also reaches many more local small and medium-sized enterprises by investing in local funds, Islamic banks, and leasing companies which then channel investment funds to SMEs in their respective markets.
It also works to strengthen the development of Islamic finance through the creation of several Islamic financial institutions across the Muslim world. Since its establishment in 1999 ICD has made significant contributions to the economic and social development of its member countries. It has been active in over 40 countries, has helped develop over 270 projects, and has invested over $3 billion.
Food and Health:
Salma, a unit of the UAE's Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation, is 2014's winner in the food and health category. Salma was established as a waqf with an international focus to deliver halal food to crisis-hit victims based on a supply chain that is transparent and trackable.
Salma's supply chain has been built on cross-border collaborations with Islamic and non-Islamic endowments and companies. This supply chain and the Salma-branded halal food pouches have been certified fit for global distribution by the UN World Food Programme. Salma recognised the trust deficiency that exists amongst Muslim populations with respect to the food aid being offered; where halal food is supplied it is mostly tinned corned beef typically manufactured in developed, non-Muslim countries.
Salma has developed a halal-certified food product of a high quality that caters to recipients' local flavours.
These are based on bespoke recipes that are also designed to increase acceptance by crisis-hit victims and also help alleviate their malnutrition.
Addressing donors' concerns about loss, theft and how their donations are used, Salma incorporates an automatic digital tracking system via a unique number linked to each donation. The first beneficiary of Salma's food relief programme was the people of Gaza in 2014.
Teshkeel Media Group
Led by Dr. Naif al-Mutawa, Teshkeel is the company behind the groundbreaking "The 99", the world's first set of superheroes born out of an Islamic archetype and developed into comic books and an animated television series.
The 99 has also spun off into an amusement theme park in Kuwait. Dr. Naif came up with The 99 to help reshape the negative perception of Islam especially after the 9/11 attacks in the United States.
Each of the 99 superheroes from across the globe has a superpower based on one of the 99 qualities of Allah and they act based on Islamic values and principles. However, the comic and television series do not explicitly mention religion but they appeal to mass audiences beyond the Muslim world because of the positive values and virtues they promote.
These superheroes have become role models to children around the world while promoting peace and tolerance especially in the series that heavily explores teamwork within cultural diversity. The first season of the television series went on air in 70 countries in different languages and reached more than a billion households. It was picked up in the United States on the popular video-on-demand site Netflix in December 2012.
Hospitality and Tourism:
HalalMinds is a smartphone app designed to help the Muslim world traveller. It was designed by Agung Pambudi, an Indonesian who moved to Fukuoka in 2011 and found it difficult to locate and identify halal products in Japan.
Agung launched HalalMinds through his company Kyushu.Lab along with co-founders Dai Oshiro and Hironori Goto. Their initial focus was on Japan but the app's new version, HalalMinds 2.0, also caters for Muslims living or travelling in Taiwan, China and South Korea.
Linked to key databases, HalalMinds users can verify if products such as medicines, cosmetics and drinks are halal by scanning their barcodes into the app. HalalMinds will then suggest whether the product is halal or not depending on its ingredients.
All this information can also be translated into different languages. Additionally, the app is equipped with a world halal restaurant finder, world mosque finder, world halal market finder, qibla direction, prayer times, al Qur'an in 17 languages and du'as in five languages.
Waqf and Endowments:
National Awqaf of South Africa
The National Awqaf of South Africa is an independent non-profit national organisation established in 2000 in Johannesburg. It now has offices in Cape Town and Durban and has a network presence in other cities throughout South Africa.
Awqaf SA invests waqf funds and spends only the income generated from investments to fund a variety of community development projects and programmes promoting integrated community development and self-reliance. It invests mainly in property and has been instrumental in creating consortia to co-invest in partnership in investment projects.
As a waqf mobiliser and investor/manager, Awqaf SA currently has a portfolio of $2 million. In South African terms this is fair growth from a zero base that has been volunteer-driven.
The organisation has become facilitator and manager of different types of waqf for different communities in South Africa, including private waqf set up by businesses and families, multi-family waqf for future generations, and a waqf mobilised by a group of young Muslim professionals.
It has also set up a number of designated waqf funds, including for education, health, mosques, hajj, orphans and widows, the environment, and youth leadership development. The organisation has been credited with the revival of waqf in South Africa.
LaunchGood is a donation-based crowdfunding platform for the Muslim community. It is different from other crowdfunding sites as it allows offline donations to be added into campaigns, community pages for organisations that run multiple campaigns and personalised support for each project.
The platform accommodates various languages and currencies and is the first crowdfunding platform in the world with direct-editing for projects. Projects on LaunchGood stand a higher chance of reaching their fundraising goal - in general less than 10 percent of crowdfunding projects on online sites are successful but the success rate is over 50 percent on LaunchGood.
In its first year, LaunchGood helped raise over $1 million for projects which range from charitable causes and disaster relief to creative and innovative projects such as artist Peter Gould's "Creative Ummah" website which crowdfunded over $25,000 to start the first online academy for Muslim creatives and Nadine Abu Jabra's "Nadoona Extreme Fitness DVD" which crowdfunded over $18,000 to start the world's first hijabi DVD fitness programme.
LaunchGood is the brainchild of Chris Abdur-Rahman Blauvelt who was inspired to set up the platform after his own film "Bilal's Stand" was crowdfunded on KickStarter in 2010 to take it to the Sundance Film Festival.
Islamic Economy Knowledge Infrastructure:
KFH Research is the world's first Islamic investment research arm to be established by an Islamic bank (Kuwait Finance House). Since its establishment in 2007 the unit has been providing solid research and detailed insights on a broad range of areas including macroeconomic and sector trends, country-specific issues and trends, currency movements, commodities, developments in Islamic capital markets as well as sovereign and investment products.
KFH Research has worked in collaboration with key global entities to advance the Islamic finance industry based on sound intelligence and data.
These collaborations include: a joint study with the World Bank to conduct an in-depth investigation into the various ways in which Islamic finance and its instruments can support the goal of accelerated poverty reduction around the globe, and research for the World Gold Council on the use of gold as high quality liquid assets by Islamic financial institutions. Based in Malaysia, KFH Research has also played a role in linking the Gulf Cooperation Council centres of Islamic finance with the countries in Asia.
The music of Cat Stevens earned him wide fame and his songs and albums have sold millions around the world since the 1960s. He converted to Islam in 1977 and in July 1978 changed his name to Yusuf Islam. He then started giving away to charity the royalties to his songs he considers 'anti-God' and made the decision to devote his life to educational and philanthropic causes.
Over the years he has founded a number of schools for Muslim children and in 2000 he started Small Kindness, a charity to help needy children and families around the world.
He was also a UNICEF ambassador in the 1970s. Yusuf started making music of an entirely religious nature in the 1990s, showing the way for younger musicians to produce Islamic-themed content.
Although he was out of the secular global music scene for close to three decades his work had made such an impact on generations of musicians that he was inaugurated into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2014 alongside other influential musicians such as the bands Kiss and Nirvana. He returned to live performing in 2014 to sell-out concerts. Yusuf now makes music of a universal appeal based on his explorations and understanding of a deeply Islamic and spiritual nature.
2014 Lifetime Achievement Award:
Tan Sri Dato' Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz
Tan Sri Dato' Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz has led the development of the financial sector in Malaysia since 2000 in her capacity as Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia, the country's central bank. She has steered the Malaysian financial system to become one of the most developed and resilient amongst emerging economies, with emphasis placed on transparency, accountability and financial inclusion.
Dr. Zeti systematically strengthened and advanced the framework for Islamic banking and finance in Malaysia and her policies and initiatives have evolved the system from its roots in the replication of conventional products and concepts to a paradigm that is more confidently and authentically 'Shariah-based'.
Under her stewardship Malaysia has shown the world how a parallel Islamic financial system can excel alongside the conventional one, and contribute meaningfully to the real economy. Today, Malaysia's Islamic finance industry is regarded as groundbreaking, leading, and the most developed.
From this vantage, Dr. Zeti has provided the vision to better promote acceptance and integration of Islamic finance into the global financial system.
She was one of the key forces behind the thinking and actualisation of some of the industry's most important infrastructure bodies, most notably the Islamic Financial Services Board and the International Islamic Liquidity Management Corporation.