Dubai takes Islamic economy from nascent to development stage

The Global Islamic Economy Summit 2015 is now under way at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. (Supplied)

Dubai has taken the Islamic economy from the nascent phase to the next stage of growth and development, thanks to a number of initiatives launched over the last few years, said a senior official.

“Dubai has succeeded in taking Islamic economy from its first step to a stage of development through a number of economic initiatives launched over the last couple of years and has also successfully achieved many objectives in this regard,” said Abdulla Al Awar, CEO of Dubai Islamic Economy Development (DIEDC), UAE.

Al Awar was speaking at the opening day of the second edition of the Global Islamic Economy Summit 2015 which is underway at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai.

Majid Saif Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said Dubai echoed Al Awar’s comments. He said Dubai has proved that it is the capital of Islamic economy and the huge gathering of delegates at the summit proves this point.

UAE Economy Minister Sultan Al Mansoori at the session "Can National Growth be Enabled by Islamic Economy Opportunities?"” at Islamic Economy Summit in Dubai on Monday. (DGMO)

UAE’s Minister of Economy Sultan Al Mansoori said the advantages of Islamic economy became evident with the financial crisis of 2008 as Islamic banking industry and its assets were not affected during the crisis.

“But, at the end of day what we can do is to address some of the issues raised by the participants and institutions here at the summit,” said Al Mansoori.

He said the UAE is marking 2015 as a year of innovation and the Global Islamic Economy Summit should come up innovative solutions for the industry that can cater for the generations to come.

“The year 2015 has been declared as the Year of Innovations in the UAE. This is an excellent title and the summit should come up with the innovative ideas for Islamic banking and finance industry. Though we are at the helm of the management or leadership, the way forward is that the younger generations should also become part of it for they are the future.”
The second edition of Global Islamic Economy Summit is being held at a time when the Islamic economy is driven by a consumer base of 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide - a population base that is projected to grow at almost double the rate of the world's non-Muslim population and is expected to spend nearly $3.7 trillion by 2019 in the core sectors of the Islamic economy.
Essa Kazim, Governor of Dubai International Financial Centre, hoped that the Islamic economy will be able to provide job opportunities in a number of industries, mainly family tourism and halal food.

Kazim is convinced that the Islamic economy has all the components to go beyond the frontiers and solve all obstacles related to Shariah-compliance and offer services to non-Muslim communities.

Among others, pharmaceuticals and hospitality are the sectors that  Shariah-compliant companies can tap, Kazim highlighted, adding that the Islamic economy has potential to grow 2-3 times from its existing size over the coming years.

He also highlighted that a number of non-Muslims countries are increasingly tapping Islamic finance through sukuks and other instruments which proves the point that there is huge growth potential in this sector.

Hong Kong, Singapore, Central Asian and African countries have also issued sovereign sukuks as part of their plan to expand their financial services instrument portfolios, he added.

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