Event Details

The $2.2 trillion global Islamic finance industry has been growing at double digit annual rates in recent years, in spite of the covid19 pandemic and, according to the IMF, Islamic banking has outperformed conventional banking over the past decade.

Islamic finance, despite its name, is not a religious product. However, the initial idea behind its inception was to provide an avenue for the world's 1.8bn Muslim population to conduct their financial matters in a Shariah compliant way, factoring in the prohibition of riba/interest/usury in Islam. So in some respects it can be seen as form of socially responsible finance.

It includes banking, leasing, Sukuk (securities) and equity markets, investment funds, insurance (Takaful) and microfinance. And now there is much debate about whether and how fintech, including cryptocurrencies, fit into the picture.

Join us as we explore the world of Islamic finance and it suitability for the multinational businesses that operate in the MENA region in the company of experts including Mufti Ismail Desai, CEO of Global Islamic Financial Services.

To allow for a manageable interactive debate, and to maintain social distancing, we are limiting participation to 20 people, and one representative per member company. So if you cannot attend, please nominate a relevant senior colleague to join us.

A light lunch will be served during networking following the discussion.


12 noon: arrival and networking

12.15pm: roundtable starts

1.15pm: roundtable finishes and networking lunch

2pm: close

Location: Capital Club, Dubai

Please note that this event is limited to senior-level executives and per invitation only. If you are not an existing member of The Economist Intelligence Corporate Network, but would like to learn how you can attend our events, please contact us.


  • Robert Willock (Director MENA & Regional General Manager of The Economist Intelligence Corporate Network)

    Robert Willock

    Director MENA & Regional General Manager of The Economist Intelligence Corporate Network

    Robert is the Director of the Economist Corporate Network based in Dubai and covering the MENA region. Robert works closely with network members to help inform their business strategies through political, economic and operational insight and to connect them with their senior leadership peers.

    Robert is a business journalist, editor and publisher with 25 years of experience covering a wide variety of sectors, including hospitality, retail, construction, energy and transport, and a particular interest in human capital management.

    He is an accomplished event chairman, moderator and speaker.

    Robert completed an MBA at the University of Leicester School of Business in 2012 and holds a Bachelor's degree from the University of Nottingham.

    view more
  • Mufti Ismail Desai (CEO of Global Islamic Financial Services)

    Mufti Ismail Desai

    CEO of Global Islamic Financial Services

    Mufti Ismail Desai is an internationally reputed shariah advisor and investment banker who currently serves as a special advisor to various Islamic financial institutions, Islamic Banks, investment entities, central banks and educational institutes around the world. Mufti Ismail has developed various Shariah auditing, governance and risk management standards for Islamic financial institutions and has issued several thousand expert legal opinions (fatwas) with a special focus on Islamic finance and economics. Mufti Ismail Desai has attended and delivered papers at international conferences and has created the first ever Shariah Compliant models for leveraged/structured finance and currency trading.

    Mufti Ismail Desai has conducted deal advisory of over 4 Billion USD on a range of transactions including complex mergers and acquisitions, divestitures, corporate restructures, bond issuance's, corporate capital raising, cash management, structured finance and IPO/LBO/MBO transactions. He is the chairman and advisor to various banks, financial institutions and global funds. He has appeared on various prestigious media such as Bloomberg and Reuters. The Mufti holds an MA, Islamic Banking, MA, Islamic Theology and BSc Banking from the London School of Economics (LSE) among other honorary academic qualifications.

    view more