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KUALA LUMPUR: After the 2020 edition was deferred due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the biennial Royal Award for Islamic Finance (RAIF) is set to make a comeback in early October 2022 with the introduction of two new award categories — Emerging Leader Prize and Impact Challenge Prize.

Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) Islamic Capital Market Development executive director Sharifatul Hanizah Said Ali said the Emerging Leader Prize recognises talents aged 40 and below who have made significant contributions to the advancement of innovative ideas in Islamic finance and have served the field for at least five years.

“The winner of the prize category will be awarded US$10,000 (RM42,200),“ she told Bernama in an email interview recently.

On the Impact Challenge Prize, Sharifatul Hanizah said the category adds a new perspective to RAIF by referencing the sustainable development goals in innovating syariah-compliant products or services for the greater good of humankind.

“Winner(s) of the prize stand the chance to win a cash prize of US$70,000 or US$35,000 each for two winners and gain the distinction as a global Islamic finance solution, with a prominent listing on the Royal Award website.

“The winner(s) may also be featured in any other publication or publicity materials of the organiser and partners, as well as to showcase solutions during the award presentation ceremony at the Global Islamic Finance Forum 2022,“ she said.

Shortlisted applicants for the prize will have the opportunity to participate in an interactive virtual accelerator programme and be provided with dedicated support and capability training from expert coaches in refining their proposals.

Sharifatul Hanizah said the Impact Challenge Prize welcomes both technical and non-technical driven solutions that demonstrate ingenuity, impact, feasibility/commercial viability and scalability.

“It is hoped that solutions recognised through the Impact Challenge Prize can meaningfully alleviate the financial hardships of the world’s population which have been significantly elevated due to the Covid-19 pandemic,“ she said.

Themed “Advancing the Sustainability Agenda”, RAIF 2022 is organised in collaboration with the World Bank Group Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Finance Hub in Malaysia, which acts as a technical partner.

The award is also supported by the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation which seeks to give recognition to the most outstanding initiative that strengthens economic and social resilience of impacted communities around the world.

The independent panel of jury for RAIF 2022 is headed by former deputy prime minister and World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation former chairman Tun Musa Hitam and the panel consists of Islamic finance industry experts from various professional backgrounds, including academicians, bankers, judges and syariah advisers from Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

“The jury panel will apply a rigorous selection criterion to assess an individual’s exceptional contribution towards Islamic finance globally, including driving policy development, growing and developing the market, advocating for Islamic finance, pioneering innovation, expanding the frontiers of knowledge and exercising exceptional leadership and influence,“ she said.

Established in 2010 by the SC and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) as a biennial event, RAIF aims to recognise individuals who have excelled in advancing Islamic finance through outstanding contributions to global development and the advancement of the industry.

“It is a prestigious award that represents the global benchmark for recognition of individuals who have given their utmost to an industry that has much to offer the world as it transcends across cultures and regions,“ said Sharifatul Hanizah. – Bernama

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