ICONSULT AFRICA jointly hosted a webinar with IFintegrate on Saturday, August 14, 2021, on the use of block chain and the application of artificial intelligence (AI) in Islamic Finance.
The event marked the inaugural collaboration between the bespoke Shari’ah advisory firm, IConsult Africa, and the tech company, IFintegrate, aiming to serve the growing Islamic fintech space in Africa and beyond.
Over 100 participants from around the globe signed up for the event demonstrating the interest and curiosity of global players in the African market. IConsult MD, Shaikh Ziyaat Isaacs, hosted the event.
Digitisation, fintech, AI and ‘big data’ (the management and maintenance of large data sets to reveal patterns, trends and associations) were among the key focus points of discussion between the panellists.
On the panel were two renowned Shari’ah scholars specialising in digitisation, Shaikh Dr Ziyaad Mahomed (Chairman of the Shariah Board of HSBC Amanah Malaysia and also the Chairman of IConsult Africa among others) and Mufti Yousuf Sultan (Global Head of Shari’ah and Governance at Ethis in Malaysia). The third panellist was Seraj Hartley (Director of IFintegrate South Africa) who participated as the technology expert on the forum.
Mr Hartley took the participants through over 100 years of fintech evolution and clarified exactly what it is; FinTech can be seen as the marriage of financial services and information technology.
Dr Mahomed then zoomed into Shari’ah matters around fintech and the application thereof. He referenced Ibn Ashur’s position on the legal maxim Jalb al-Maṣālih wa Dar’ al-Mafāsid (enabling benefit and repelling harm) as the precursor to fulfil the objective of the Shari’ah in terms of technological advancements.
He went on to emphasise the responsibility that the Shari’ah has placed upon us to uphold this principle in every matter of public interest and that it is a fundamental principle in shielding society from all social ills and harms.
Mufti Sultan was then brought into the discussion to distinguish between fintech, AI and big data and to discuss the ethical concerns around them.
The Mufti further clarified the integration of financial services and technology referring to fintech.
He explained AI as a process that uses algorithms to analyse data to generate insights and make predictions. Big data on the other hand, he said, uses analytical tools to process large data sets from multiple sources, which ultimately drives business decisions.
Ethical considerations mentioned by the Mufti alluded to concerns around unemployment, artificial idiocy, AI bias, cyber security and moral hazard (using technology for unethical behaviour) and then selecting the better of the two evils.
The panel then addressed the impact of fintech applications on products and services in Islamic finance such as the management of credit risk through algorithmic credit scoring referring to the likes of Wepay, Branch and ZestFinance.
Sentiment analysis and market impact using big data along with scenario analysis for pricing and mark-ups – solutions thereto and the potential Shari’ah implications that may arise because of these proposed solutions – were all discussed in the webinar.
Special attention and insight regarding Islamic banking fintech solutions provided participants with an in-depth review of current fintech applications used in the Islamic banking industry.
The event ended on a high with the panel talking about the future of fintech in Islamic finance and the potential of financial institutions in Africa getting involved and embracing this ever-evolving platform.
Finally, the panel interacted with the participants by addressing some of their questions concluding the event promptly as scheduled with participants anticipating future events of the like to address contemporary matters on Islamic finance.
- This media release was issued by IConsult Africa.