We are an independent development organization that provides distinctive Islamic perspectives on economic development and social issues. Registered in the Republic of Ghana as a non-profit, our work encompasses a range of advisory, research, policy development and field-building activities on themes around the Islamic economy, Islamic finance, Islamic Impact Investments and capital markets to drive sustainable and inclusive economic growth and development in Africa.
We set the benchmark on public policy and economic development by drawing together the most innovative thinking available from some of the world’s foremost experts and applying that thinking to the challenges facing Africa. We are dedicated to fostering entrepreneurship, leadership development, building thriving communities, and achieving sustainable economic growth. Recognizing that a country’s GDP does not tell the whole story about the health of its economy, we promote an alternative economic thought that emphasizes and places the well-being of the individual on centre stage.
Working in close collaboration with our strategic partners, we support African Governments, private sector organizations and other community-rooted institutions as a trusted and neutral advisor to explore the value of Islamic economy opportunities within the context of the country’s own growth and development goals, to design and implement well-functioning Islamic finance and market economy programs. Our services are demand driven, respond to in-country needs within the framework of national priorities and take into account varying national circumstances.
Our mission is to help shift the prevailing paradigm of economic development, and of the economy as a whole, towards a new system that is ethical, place-based, inclusive, collaborative, and ecologically sustainable.
We are committed to the promotion of ventures for the intellectual nourishment of humanity and the reconstruction of human thought in the light of Revealed Knowledge. Within this, we put research work at the centre of our efforts, with the goal of better understanding and interpreting trends and structures of social-economic phenomena for the advancement of knowledge. We believe the most effective way to advance the Islamic economy in Africa is to invest in informing and training the people engaged in it by creating educational initiatives that allow participants to gain deeper knowledge about the Islamic economy.
Our Conferences, Summits and Transformative Roundtable Dialogue series are unique initiatives aimed at projecting a positive and sophisticated image of Islamic finance and economics through the exchange of cutting-edge ideas and objective discussions on the various benefits of interest-free paradigm of economic development among academicians, decision and policy makers, private sector operators and development practitioners in Africa. These exclusive and multi-sector events take place in various cities in Africa bringing together governments, regional economic bodies, civil society organizations, and the private sector to collaborate, network, exchange ideas to consider major African economic issues of the day and to brainstorm on solutions to address these challenges from the perspectives of the Islamic paradigm of economic development.
We neither do charity nor depend on it. We believe that Africans are capable citizen actors in their own development. We therefore act with them, favouring the dignity of citizenship over hand-outs, capacity building over substitution, contribution to public policy over recycled unsuitable models, and working with the economic sector over sterile opposition.
OUR GOAL AND OBJECTIVES
Our main goal is to foster the development of Islamic Economy in Africa, and within that aim, our objectives are:
- To promote the well-being of individuals, and increase the wealth of African nations;
- To expand research, knowledge and professional development in Islamic Economics finance and the Islamic economy;
- To provide a forum for the exchange of ideas and information for those interested in and concerned with Islamic economics and the Islamic economy;
- To advance Islamic economics and the Islamic economy in Africa by setting policy standards, building resources and sharing knowledge;
- To foster relationships and cultivate cooperation among countries, institutions, organizations and individuals in academia, business and government;
- To develop, disseminate and promote theory, curricula, methodologies, techniques, and best practices for pure and applied Islamic Economics;
- To create a world beyond poverty by facilitating the development of entrepreneurship, emerging leaders and breakthrough ideas in Africa;
- To prevent and resolve conflicts, encourage peace, dialogue and understanding among African countries;
- To promote SMART urban and rural development projects in African countries to spur the growth of investments into high technology, medicine, energy, education and tourism;
- To sponsor or organise conferences, round-table dialogues, meetings, seminars, lectures, training programs, and publications, using all media of communication (including, without restriction, the electronic media) for the purpose of achieving these objectives.
Our mission is to help shift the prevailing paradigm of economic development – and of the economy as a whole – toward a new system that is ethical, place-based, inclusive, collaborative, and ecologically sustainable.
Our vision is to become the leading Islamic economic organization in Africa playing an increasingly crucial role in contributing to the inclusive development and socio-economic transformation of Africa.
Our four core values provide the guiding framework for the way we work. We will continually engage our people to uphold our values, in order to embed an organizational culture that is collaborative, innovative, impactful and focused on delivering results through quality leadership.
Collaboration: As a partnership of organizations, institutions and individuals, collaboration is core to who we are. We believe that respect, diverse perspectives and the open exchange of ideas will lead to the innovative solutions and catalytic change that Africa needs.
Innovation: We take risks, catalyse fresh thinking, and test new approaches in order to creatively disrupt the status quo, change broken systems and provide opportunities for all.
Leadership: We continually ask difficult questions, challenge obsolete norms, and support others in their efforts to do the same. We look for strategic opportunities to promote our point of view and to move innovation from the periphery to the mainstream.
Impact: We are committed to making material improvements in the lives of low-income people, cities, and the systems that affect them. We hold ourselves accountable for evaluating our effectiveness and are intentionally self-reflective as we strive to continuously improve, adapt, and inform future innovation.
We are committed to innovative education and training, critical research and community involvement in the continuing effort to assist communities to establish and achieve their collective goals.
OUR HISTORY, OUR FOUNDATION
The resolutions of the 1st West Africa Islamic Investment Forum, which was held between the 28th February and 1st March, 2011, in Kano, in the Federal Republic of Nigeria, under the auspices of the Kano State Government and the Green Oasis Associates Ltd, with the co-operation of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Islamic Development Bank, Jeddah, the Dangote Group of Companies, Nigeria, Al Furqan Foundation and the Ghana Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Tamale, Ghana, recommended the establishment of an independent development organisation in Africa whose core objective is to advocate the adoption of Islamic economics and finance as a solution to the growing socio-economic challenges, such as perennial problems of poverty, persistent youth unemployment, excessive inequalities of income and wealth, high levels of inflation, large macroeconomic and budgetary imbalances, exorbitant debt-servicing burdens, inadequate and aging public utilities and infrastructure, skyrocketing energy prices, and growing food insecurity, which have all combined to undermine current development efforts of African Government. Consequently, the Africa Islamic Economic Foundation was formally incorporated in December 2013 under the Companies Code 1963 of the Republic of Ghana (Act 179) as an independent not-for-profit organization, with its interim headquarters in Tamale, Northern Region, Republic of Ghana.
AFRIEF has been established to build a more equal, just society in Africa by resolving current and future challenges through provision of alternative principled solutions and options for governments, service providers, stakeholders, the community and intelligentsia. It works to achieve this by engaging and informing the debate over public policy issues for policy makers, the public and the media. It is therefore working towards entering into joint academic agreements with universities and research centres to further its objectives and to elucidate the detailed policy proposals needed to make a positive, ethical vision future practical. It is also working towards the maintenance of excellent relationship with governments, regional and international economic organizations like the West Africa Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS, the Islamic Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (ICCIA), Jeddah, Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Jeddah and World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), Malaysia and the International Islamic Economic Association (IIEA), Qatar, and the Union of Chambers and Commodity Exchanges of Turkey (TOBB), Turkey, Economic Community of Central African States, (ECCAS), and the Southern African Development Community (SADC).
DEPARTMENTS AND FUNCTIONS
The various functions and activities of the Foundation are distributed among six main departments headed by three Vice Presidents, two Directors, and a General Manager, supported by a Special Advisor to the President which carry out the functions summarised below under the general supervision of the President of the Foundation.
CORPORATE RESEARCH AND ADVISORY DEPARTMENT
- This Department, which is under the direct supervision of the Vice President- Business Development, organises AFRIEF’s annual forums, round table discussions, periodic seminars, symposia, public lectures, conferences, workshops and online educational programs.
- Organises research into Islamic economics and development of curriculum in basic and applied Islamic economics, etc.
- Coordinates the research activities, economic and financial data collection projects of the Foundation and disseminates their results through publications.
- Provides Advisory services to private and public sector institutions, including governments in the following sectors: Regulatory Frameworks; Shari’ah Audit and Advisory, Research, Guidelines and Toolkits; Conversion to Islamic Banking, Full-Fledge Islamic Banking and Windows; Takaful; and Technical Support for Sukuk Issuance.
- Provides professional development and customised training programs in Islamic Economics; Shari’ah Governance; Shari’ah Standards; Islamic Banking and Takaful products and Instruments; Waqf and Zakat.
- Undertakes research in the areas of technology, monetary policy, taxes, regulation, energy, small business financing and more to support our advocacy efforts. The results of our research are used to educate lawmakers, policy leaders, media, coalition partners, and the public about the vital role small businesses and entrepreneurs play in job creation, innovation, economic growth and a country’s competitiveness. What is more, results of the research projects help the Foundation to advance policies and initiatives that encourage start-up activity and small business growth in Africa.
INFRASTRUCTURE AND ISLAMIC ECONOMY DEPARTMENT
Many governments in Africa are now recognizing that the development of Islamic economies as an engine of socio-economic development and growth is an effective means of diversifying and strengthening their economies. As the Islamic Economy increasingly becomes a world-wide market phenomenon, specialist market information and expertise becomes an important factor for the development of a viable Islamic economy and successful positioning in this fast-developing international market sector. This Department, which operates under the supervision of the Vice President-Infrastructure and Islamic Economy supports and advises African Governments, Public and Private sector entities and industry players in Africa on the development of Islamic Economy, Public-Private Partnerships, Renewable energy, Water and sanitation, ICT, Transport, Urban Development and Services and Islamic project financing.
MARKETING AND EXTERNAL RELATIONS DEPARTMENT
This Department is directed by the Vice President – Marketing and External Relations. Its central function is to market and inform the general public about the Foundation’s goals, aspirations, services and programs, and thereby build support for its mission of teaching, research and services. It coordinates the strategy that enables the Foundation to serve as a knowledge centre and raise its profile as a key player in policy consultation and institutional capacity building for governments of African countries and regional/sub-regional economic groups on the Islamic Economy. The Department also advances the institutional objectives of the Foundation, by means of a comprehensive array of communication media, the print, broadcast and the internet.
ADMINISTRATION AND FINANCE DEPARTMENT
This Department which operates under the supervision of the General Manager comprises the finance, personnel and the general services sectors. It is responsible for the general administrative and financial operations of the Foundation.
COOPERATIVES AND COMMUNITY WEALTH DEVELOPMENT DEPARTMENT (CCWD)
This is one of the most important Departments of the Foundation, and it is under the supervision of a Director, Cooperatives and Community Wealth Development.
- Develops cooperatives in communities and entrepreneurialism in rurally based individuals and enterprises through the processes of individual or group mentoring, direct professional assistance and guided practice. The development and sharing of knowledge and skills to support entrepreneurship also forms an important part of this Department.
- This Department has the responsibility to identify and develop local workshops, seminars and regional forums focused on business opportunity and business development. It assists local communities to identify and compete for grant opportunities that are relevant to local business development and employment growth. The Director-CCWD works towards developing school programs for youth entrepreneurs and assisting local communities to identify and compete for grant opportunities. The Director-CCWD works with start-ups but also will need to provide services to growth-orientated entrepreneurs.
STRATEGY AND RISK MITIGATION DEPARTMENT
This Department is headed by a Director – Strategy and Risk Mitigation and it supports governments and companies with easy economic and financial data access, risk mitigation, accurate forecasting and innovative workflow solutions. It also helps governments and companies identify, develop and implement winning strategies, offering support and capability building at every stage of the strategic journey. The department supports public and private sector entities to enter new markets quickly and safely, navigate uncertainty and prepare for every outcome with the most comprehensive and consistent insight available. The Department’s micro-macro methodology examines microeconomic industry trends to better understand the broad macroeconomic forces affecting business strategy and public policy.