Announcement of Emerging Leader Prize and Impact Challenge Prize Winners

Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) and the Securities Commission Malaysia (SC) are pleased to announce the recipients of the Emerging Leader Prize and Impact Challenge Prize in conjunction with The Royal Award for Islamic Finance 2022. The awards were presented today at the Global Islamic Finance Forum 2022 by the Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia and the Chairman of the Securities Commission Malaysia.

The Emerging Leader Prize recognises young international talent who have made outstanding contributions in advancing innovative ideas in the field of Islamic finance. The inaugural prize was awarded to Mr. Umar Abdullah Mahmud Munshi, the co-founder and Group Managing Director of Ethis Group, which is involved in fintech, impact investment, and Islamic crowdfunding platforms and which has facilitated impact investments from over 50 countries to fund small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and social housing projects. The Islamic finance community widely recognises Umar as a pioneer in fintech and crowdfunding for Islamic finance. He is the president of the Islamic Fintech Alliance founders’ group, a global group that encourages collaboration and learning among members, from more than 10 countries. Umar also serves in numerous advisory capacities to advance Islamic social finance, community empowerment, and social enterprises.

Meanwhile, the Impact Challenge Prize recognises digital and innovative solutions based on Islamic finance principles, that aim to improve the economic and social resilience of financially impacted communities worldwide. This Impact Challenge Prize is jointly organised with the World Bank Group Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Finance Hub in Malaysia and the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC). The organisers received 50 applications from 14 countries. Twenty-five teams were then shortlisted to join an Accelerator Programme, and two winners were selected by a panel of judges, comprising senior representatives from BNM and SC, Islamic Development Bank, World Bank Group, and the venture capital industry. Further information on the 25 teams is available at

The Impact Challenge Prize was awarded to duithape and Pod for their innovative solutions in Islamic finance.

“duithape”, with roots in Indonesia, is a biometric-based mass payment system focusing on the unbanked. The digital payment system enables financial providers to disburse Shariah-compliant microfinancing via a cashless in-merchant transaction to micro and SME borrowers, including those in remote areas.

“Pod” is a financial well-being platform for gig workers and the underserved in Southeast Asia. This Malaysian homegrown solution helps users save money and access Shariah microfinancing and financial products while leveraging artificial intelligence to provide borrowers with an alternative way to build credit records which in turn enable them to access financing products from banks.

See also: Governor Shamsiah’s Keynote Address at Global Islamic Finance Forum 2022

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