AFRIEF @ 4: COMMEMORATING OUR GLORIOUS CAUSE
Last April the Africa Islamic Economic Foundation (AFRIEF) (www.afrief.org) commemorated its fourth year in service. We did that with gratitude to Allah and reflections on our accomplishments and failures as an organization.
As Founder and President of the Africa Islamic Economic Foundation, April has become a special month in my life. This is the month AFRIEF commenced service as a development organization under my leadership. It is the time I receive thousands of congratulatory messages from my well-wishers, particularly, members of my LinkedIn network. It is also, the time I sit back to reflect on the Foundation’s failures, the challenges it has surmounted, opportunities harnessed and victories it has gained. Certainly, this period signifies a sense of reflections, newness, of change, and of anticipation for another year.
No doubt, at four we are very young, and very far from accomplishing our mission of shifting 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. However, with the collective vision and effort of our dedicated leadership and partners, we have developed a new wealth of knowledge and capacities through our roundtables, seminars and conferences and quality advisory services spanning across various disciplines. We have worked diligently to promote the universal, inclusive, and timeless values of the asset-based and risk-sharing paradigm of economic development.
With the support of our small band of staff and international partnerships we have remained dedicated to the goal of illuminating the true power of the pen by delivering top-quality journalistic and publishing services. Our quarterly digital publication, the Africa Islamic Finance Report, https://afrief.org/our-publications/, features well researched and top quality articles from various writers and scholars, and many readers and policymakers rely on the publication as a great resource for reading about Islamic economics and the Islamic economy.
While we have in the last four years consistently occupied ourselves with the onerous task of laying a solid foundation for building a professional development organisation and nurturing its strategic growth from a nascent seed of hope into a flowering tree of life for nations and millions of people, we have been reflecting not only on what Africa needs, but on how we should best meet those needs.
In meeting those needs we have restructured and strengthened our operations by diversifying our services and launching new programs. We have set up a subsidiary, AFRIEF Academy, (www.afriefacademy.com) which is to serve as a digital educational platform providing a one-stop learning opportunities for organizations and individuals. We have established the AFRIEF Community, (www.afriefcommunity.com, with a mission to connect a diverse array of individuals, organizations, businesses and projects in the shared work of building and strengthening regional, national and international platform for an asset-based and risk-sharing paradigm of economic development – an Islamic economy. Furthermore, to offer us professional business development and operational back-up support as we enable start-ups and growth companies in those countries to launch, we have established subsidiary consulting arms in Ghana and Nigeria, www.goasis.org and www.smartbluebridge.com .
Working for inclusive development requires a comprehensive and multidisciplinary approach, and for this reason, we have launched a range of five complementary Initiatives that, together, have great potential in contributing to the development of African countries: the Wealthy Communities Africa Program (www.wealthycommunities.com); the Africa Islamic Economy Initiative, https://afrief.org/islamic-economy-initiative/; the Africa Smart Cities Initiative; the Africa Islamic Microfinance Platform, https://afrief.org/africa-islamic-microfinance-platform/; the Start-up Partnership Africa Initiative, https://afrief.org/start-up-africa-partnership/.
We have as well developed our core competencies in economic development in three primary areas: access to ethical finance, market development and integration of economic development with cross-cutting themes, particularly agriculture, education, renewable energy, forestry and climate change, healthcare, drinking water and sanitation, governance, natural resources management, entrepreneurship, micro-finance and cooperatives – all with an emphasis on inclusive community-based approaches. Thus, we intend to identify and partner with viable small- medium and large scale enterprises in African countries by taking part in all phases of their projects, from feasibility study to fundraising, capacity building and execution in order to create positive economic, social and ecological change at scale in Africa.
In our efforts to employ the full spectrum of Islamic economy offerings – from banking, capital market and insurance products down to the halal industry to stimulate the economic growth and inclusive development potential of the three regions of Northern Ghana, we are launching the G-3 Regional Economic and Investment Summit (www.g-3reis.com), to be held in Tamale, Ghana, on the 25th – 26th February, 2019, as a premier regional platform dedicated to cross-border investments, stimulating and facilitating foreign direct investments from around the world to Northern Ghana. Furthermore, plans are also afoot to establish a pilot national seed library in Northern Ghana to support Ghanaian farmers. The success of the program will be replicated in other African countries.
What is more, we have laid out an innovative and comprehensive plan to invigorate the leadership of the Africa Islamic Economic Foundation by globalizing its content and worldview and enlisting the support of seasoned intellectuals and professionals with decades of private and public sector experience to reflect our work and values. In the next couple of weeks we shall happily introduce the new leadership and partners of AFRIEF to all.
Baba Yunus Muhammad
Africa Islamic Economic Foundation