ICIEC banking on big data

Big data is a key growth strategy for the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC) as the Islamic Development Bank unit implements a more tech-driven approach.

“It is important for us to adopt new products and solutions — we find ourselves, day after day, in competition with the private sector so we have to be agile in respect to the solutions that we are working on. We risk being irrelevant with time if we don’t move forward with the growth happening in the private sector. More multilateral development banks are relying on partnerships with the private sector and this is something we have to be very careful about,” ICIEC CEO Oussama Abdel Rahman Kaissi previously told IFN Fintech.

An important pillar in its strategy is utilizing technology to maximize operational efficiency and identify new opportunities. After a long search, the ICIEC has adopted a new information technology (IT) system.

“We believe it will help us better underwrite business and gain insights about the business we are working on. Apart from helping us manage risks, it will also help us identify other areas to support our member states,” explained Oussama.

Data mining is a major thrust of the ICIEC’s digital strategy. It is hoping to take advantage of data to allow it a bigger role in the entire value chain.

“We want to see how we can engage several industries in a specific country to have the end product, not just the raw material, in order to give added value to local producers and exporters and to enhance their income,” Oussama expounded.

Concurrently with upgrading its IT infrastructure, the ICIEC is also undertaking an OIC-level project: the formation of a business intelligence center with the main objective of collecting data. Stemming from the deep need for credible consolidated data to minimize information asymmetry prevalent in markets where the ICIEC operates in where credit information is largely absent, the ICIEC in 2017 presented an initial study to the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the OIC (COMCEC) and won the latter’s approval for a full-fledged study. The COMCEC in November 2018 awarded the mandate to the ICIEC to set up the OIC Business Intelligence Center.

With a December 2019 target launch date, the ICIEC, which has engaged legal counsels at both OIC and group levels for this project, is currently laying the foundations for the new program including a governance structure, funding, IT infrastructure and executive council. The location of the headquarters has yet to be decided; however, the new program will likely adopt a hub-and-spoke model to circumvent the implementation challenges arising from working with multiple economic communities across the OIC. 

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