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Policy-oriented Research in Islamic Economics and Finance Conference (PRIME)

Islamic economics and finance (IEF) has been integral to the current economic ecosystem worldwide. The development of IEF has initially been driven by industry aimed at tapping into the excess liquidity of the oil-surplus countries in the world. Its existence has been spread out across the world. Even the Muslim minority countries, like the UK, are also involved in hosting the industry. This contributes to not only cross-border economic growth but also higher financial inclusion.

The IEF is often hailed as more resilient than the mainstream one, citing anecdotal evidence from the recent Global Financial Crisis. The unprecedented socio-economic challenges posed by the covid-19 pandemic provide IEF with opportunities to once again prove its contribution to the global economy.

Unlike the Global Financial Crisis, however, the Covid-19 pandemic has a huge impact on the multidimensional welfare of human well-being, not only on financial and economic ones. It affects a very basic aspect of welfare in the form of health. The shocks hit not only the supply and demand of goods and services in the market but also that of labor. Its scarring effects bring about the dire issue of stagflation, a condition characterized by high inflation but low growth. This is not to mention the current uncertainty in the geopolitical situation posed by the Russia-Ukraine war that disturbs the global supply chain, increases food insecurity, and exacerbates the energy crisis.

Many have said that the post-pandemic recovery strategy should be done in a more sustainable way, hailing fancy slogans such as “build back better” or “recover together, recover stronger.” Those slogans, of course, indicate clearly that the previous development mechanisms have yet to internalize multidimensional aspects beyond the economic one. Indeed, poverty, inequality, environmental degradation, lack of governance, and weak societal impact are among the biggest issues left by the current development paradigm of pro-growth, growth and growth.   

IEF indeed has a moral obligation to be part of the solution for the post-pandemic recovery process. This is true as it aims at realizing the higher objectives of Islamic law (Maqasid Shariah) to enhance the multidimensional welfare of all human beings (falah). For IEF, the aspect of development goes beyond economic growth. Of course, growth is important, but it needs to be endeavored in a healthy way, where the inclusion, social, and environmental aspects are endogenous in the development equation.

While theoretically IEF’s position on a healthy and sustainable post-pandemic recovery process is obvious, the research-based policy proposals remain scant, not to mention their implementation. More efforts had to be made to fill this gap. Research-based policies developed not only based upon the legal aspect of Islam but also in light of the Maqasid Shari’ah are the need of the hour. Their recommendations should be not only theoretically appealing but also practically feasible.

The above backdrop is precisely why the Indonesian Association of Islamic Economists (IAEI) initiates the Policy-oriented Research in Islamic Economics and Finance (PRIME) Conference 2023. This conference is designed to nudge IEF scholars to produce high-quality policy-oriented research and provides a bridge between them and policy decision-makers. Their findings are thus not left unheard. 

The 2023 PRIME Conference is part of the Road to Muktamar V IAEI 2023 and focuses on uncovering policy-oriented studies for the post-pandemic covid-19 recovery process, especially in Indonesia. This year's conference thus raises the theme of “On the Development of Islamic Economic Policies for a More Sustainable Post-Pandemic Recovery.”

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