Program Related News Archive

Highly Customized Introductory Islamic Finance Course Praised by Participants

story from Tokyo Development Learning Center

Islamic Finance course participants gather for completion ceremony, Madagascar
Participants from Madagascar gather together to celebrate their successful completion of Introduction to Islamic Finance 2014. Photo by Madagascar DLC.

The last session of Introduction to Islamic Finance 2014 was successfully completed on March 27, 2014. Following a highly-evaluated delivery in 2012 in which over 200 participants from 13 countries participated, a second delivery was planned based on strong requests made by the participants for a more customized content for the Africa region. Co-organized by the World Bank Tokyo Development Learning Center and the Association of African Distance Learning Centers (AADLC), the program brought together key resources from the World Bank and a distinguished Islamic Finance researcher in Japan (Etsuaki Yoshida).  A group of about 40 policy makers, academicians, and leaders in the commercial banking sector gathered in distance learning centers in Madagascar, Tanzania, and Uganda to learn and discuss about Islamic finance for three days between March 12 to March 27, 2014.

Co-organization by Tokyo Development Center and Association of African Distance Learning Centers (AADLC)

The first of the three sessions was opened by Tomoyuki Naito, Manager of TDLC followed by a video message by Mahmoud Mohieldin, Special Envoy for the President of the World Bank. The main speaker of the sessions, Etsuaki Yoshida, Adjunct Research Fellow for Center for Finance Research at the Waseda University, Tokyo presented his materials over a videoconference connection from the TDLC studio to three distance learning centers. The first session was moderated by Mor Seck, Director of the Senegal Distance Learning Center and President of the AADLC, second by Tomoyuki Naito, and the last by Charles Y. Senkodo, Secretary General of the AADLC. All three sessions were broadcast live by webstreaming to accommodate people who could not travel to the distance learning centers. The sessions were also recorded and archived on the TDLC website for viewing at a later date.

Positive Response by Participants-Popularity of Video on Demand

Due to the smaller number of participants than the previous delivery, participants had more time to ask questions and engage in in-depth discussions during the Q&A sessions. They have commented positively about the Q&A portion of the program, citing it as one of the most useful features of the program. An interesting finding from the post-delivery survey is that a high proportion of the program participants have accessed the webcast or the video on demand. 93% of 33 participants that have responded in the survey mentioned they have accessed the webcast or the archived video at least once, and a third of them responded that they have accessed it 3 to 4 times. 6 people have responded that they have accessed 5 times or more.

Highly Customized Content for Participants

One of the outstanding characteristic of the Islamic Finance program is that the whole planning of the second delivery was designed based on the demand and needs of the target audience. Further, because the program was spread over three sessions and that the lecturer was the same person each time, the content of the sessions could be adjusted and further customized according to the feedback given by the participants at the end of one session, leading to a higher overall satisfaction of the program by the participants.

Growing Interest in Islamic Finance

Muslims make up about 23% of the global population, equivalent to roughly 1.6 billion people.  15.5 % of them live in sub-Sahara Africa, and make up of about a third of all inhabitants in the sub-Saharan region . According to Yoshida, in regards to recent trends in the sub-Saharan Africa region, not only the Francophone countries in the central west with higher Muslim populations but also the countries in the east and south of the continent with lower Muslim populations have become active in Islamic finance.  Islamic Finance has been playing an increasingly important role in the recent years in supporting sustainable economic growth and providing inclusion and access to underserved populations. It is said to contribute positively to the economic development and social inclusion by enhancing financial stability. Islamic finance‚Äôs demonstrated resistance to the recent global economic crises during 2008 to 2012 has also been cited as a unique feature, contributing to the growing interest by both Muslims and non-Muslims. Further growth in demand for Islamic finance education can be speculated.

Yoshida pointed out that particularly in some developing countries, there is a lack of availability of affordable educational programs on Islamic finance.  The Islamic Finance program offered at TDLC has been responsive and adapting to the needs of the participants since its initial offering. TDLC strives to continue meeting the demands and need of the various stakeholders in this field and enhance their learning and knowledge exchange.

Epilogue

On April 24, 2014 the Madagascar Development Learning Center invited officials from various embassies in Madagascar and hosted a course completion ceremony. One of the course graduates, an official working for the Madagascar government is leading an initiative to introduce Islamic finance in the country.

Participants in Madagascar receive completion certificate
During the course completion ceremony.
Photo by Madagascar DLC