In this TechNode Global Q&A with Dima Djani, the Founder and Chief Executive Officer of ALAMI Group, we learn about the role of financial access in driving social impact.

As the financial technology ecosystem, ALAMI has a bold mission to spread the positive impact and build a more equitable society using technology based on sharia principles, so we committed to establish truly sharia digital financial products and services that drive the social impact and provide the best experience to the user.

ALAMI Co-Founders (L-R): Harza Sandityo, Dima Djani & Bembi Juniar

Kindly share a brief background of yourself and ALAMI.

My name is Dima Djani, I’m the Founder and CEO of ALAMI Group, one of the world’s largest Sharia-compliant SME lending platforms-turned Islamic challenger bank. It currently has more than 111,000 funders and disbursed over $230 million worth of productive loans to more than 10,000 SME projects across the country.

In 2021, ALAMI acquired the only Islamic rural bank in Jakarta and drastically transformed it digitally to become Hijra Bank where it targets more than 230 millions of underserved Muslims to have more committed Digital Apps to fulfill their banking needs.

What are the trends driving innovation in your industry?

  • The Muslim demographic is one of the strongest demand drivers of the Islamic economy. Estimated to have reached 1.9 billion in 2020, it covers almost 25 percent of the global population. Muslims are growing twice as fast as the non-Muslim population, and this trend is expected to remain the same over the next decade. Muslims are projected to grow up to 2 billion in number by 2030 and 3 billion by 2060, covering around 30 percent of the global population.
  • Demand and spend on halal products and services from Muslim consumers have been increasing steadily.
  • According to the Global Islamic Fintech Report 2021, The Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries’ Islamic Fintech transaction volume was estimated to be $79 billion in 2021. The Islamic Fintech market size is anticipated to reach $179 billion by 2026 at a CAGR of 17.9 percent compared to the overall global FinTech industry, which is expected to develop at a CAGR of 13.5% over the same time period.

Would you agree that sustainability is important to enterprise operations today? Why so?

Agreed. We believe that the sharia principle is aligned with the SDG’s concept, introduced over 1,400 years ago. While the sustainability part is largely ingrained into the commercial element of Islamic finance, the social impact part is often immediately connected after the commercial element, such as giving out alms after receiving profit. This shows a proper and transparent transaction process in the spirit of fairness to all parties.

Define impact. What role does this play in innovating in the enterprise space?

Through our business, we have implemented direct impact which contributes to Sustainable Development Goals No. 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and No. 9 (Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure). We have also contributed indirectly to No. 1 (No Poverty) through our mission for Universal Access to Finance and No. 3 (Good Health and Well-being) through our financing for the healthcare sector, which provided access to resources and better health care services.

In ALAMI, we believe that Healthy organizations are Good for People, Good for Society, Good for Business. We envision to build a working environment that enable the whole squad to achieve their full potential and find their best self, #ALAMIsisiTerbaikmu. We will continue to implement people at the core principles, because we believe by helping our people grow to find their best self, our people will drive the hyper growth business and consistently create greater impact to society.

What are the three (3) key challenges in sustainable innovation? How is your company/team able to address these challenges?

As we mentioned that we run our business based on sharia principles, so we describe this 3 key challenges on our innovation journey:

  • Low percentage of sharia finance’s literacy and inclusion in Indonesia, although Indonesia has the biggest Moslem population in the world, with a total more than +231 million Moslem citizens. For us this is a challenge and also a big potential to grow our business.
  • In other major markets like Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, there has been a top down approach to grow the Islamic finance sector, whereas in Indonesia we’ve seen more of an organic, bottom-up trend. This means things have been quite slow moving in the early days, but in the longer term, growth is more organic and market driven, and I believe that this will create more sustainable and faster growth when it comes to the industry as a whole
  • From technological aspect, many customers today have multiple platforms and applications to fulfill their needs — ensuring active utilization organically is challenging

ALAMI aims to respond to this challenge as we strive to expand access to sharia-driven finance that emphasizes the values of ethics, fairness, and transparency and develop our ecosystem based on the real needs of our customers. We strengthen the branding and unique positioning to gain the customer’s trust, also  increase the sharia literacy and inclusion in collaboration with the regulator, government, and association with massive participants.

Please share any case studies, success stories, data, or industry insights that can highlight these.

We aim to revolutionize the industry through technology and collaboration of diverse professionals with deep expertise in technology and financial services. To accomplish our mission, we are focusing on two pillars; inclusion and literacy.

For inclusion, ALAMI has started with a sharia-compliant Peer-to-Peer Lending platform since 2019 and has disbursed with total $230million with Non-Performing Loan at 0% which $8.7million has been disbursed to fish farmers. Through technology, we have been able to offer one-day disbursement to the customers.

While for literacy, we have soft-launched digital sharia-bank whilst also launched a sharia-based business accelerator (ARQAM Accelerator) and literacy program called Fajr Academy, joined by 4.000 college students and fresh graduates.

This TechNode Global Q&A is part of the ORIGIN Innovation Awards 2022 series. ALAMI Group is a winner of the Enterprise Tech Superstar award.

ORIGIN Innovation Awards 2022 winners: Startup Leaders of the Year and Corporate Sustainability Champions