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Mohammed presents Islamic Economy Awards

By Wam and staff

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, honoured on Wednesday the winners of the 2nd Islamic Economy Award.

Initiated by the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) and organised by Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Thomson Reuters, the award closing ceremony was attended by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai.

The ceremony was also attended by Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Airports; President of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority; Chairman and CEO of Emirates Group, Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation,Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Sheikh Hasher bin Maktoum Al Maktoum, Director of Dubai Information Department, a number of ministers and heads of Government departments and dignitaries.

The awards were presented to a cross-section of global and local business establishments for their innovative world-class business initiatives and ideas that are Sharia-compliant and contribute to the social and economic welfare of the Muslim population.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid presented Dr. Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Governor, Malaysian Central Bank, with the Life-time Achievement Award.

The Money and Finance category award was received by the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) from Saudi Arabia; award in the Food and Health category went to Salma an entity of Awqaf and Minor Affairs from the UAE; and Media category to The 99, an initiative of Teshkeel Media Group from Kuwait.

Awards in other categories including Hospitality and Tourism were presented to Halal Minds from Indonesia; Waqf and Endowments category went to National Awqaf Foundation of South Africa; SME Development category to LaunchGood from USA; Islamic Economy Knowledge Infrastructure category to KFH Research from Kuwait; Islamic Arts category to Yusuf Islam, Singer, Songwriter & Author from the UK.

Hajj Saeed bin Ahmed Al Lootah, founder of the world’s first Islamic bank, received a special recognition from Sheikh Mohammed for his contribution to the Islamic Economy.

Mohammed Abdulla Al Gergawi, Chairmain of DIEDC said, "We, in the UAE, are keen to support innovation and creativity in various sectors. Through the Islamic economy award, we aim to inspire the business community to provide innovative Islamic services and solutions. In addition, we offer a platform to showcase and recognise the distinguished efforts of companies engaging in the Islamic economy, in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in making Dubai the global capital of Islamic economy."

Al Gergawi added, "The diversity of the award winners validates the competitiveness witnessed in the award categories and reflects the groundbreaking efforts made in different fields of the Islamic economy. We are confident the award will motivate companies to innovate and create ideas for the Islamic economy and adopt best practices to further boost this industry."

During his welcome address, Hussein Qemzi, Member of the DIEDC Board and Chairman of Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation, said, "The Islamic economy award in its second edition comes after one successful year that gave the UAE in general and Dubai in particular credibility in driving the growth of the Islamic economy in banking and finance, knowledge and researches, family – friendly tourism and halal industry."

Al Qemzi added, "The award highlights the wise decision taken by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in 2013 to transform Dubai into the capital of Islamic economy. In one year only, the award attracted 248 submissions compared to 148 in 2013 and from 48 countries compared to 31 in 2013. This award would not have been an innovative tool to boost growth in Islamic economy without the efforts of the entities behind it and especially the jury panel which thrived to put in place a judging process based on credibility and transparency. The first criterion adopted in this process was innovation, given its importance in the today’s world and its role in ensuring growth and prosperity of the Islamic economy."

Majid Al Shamsi, 1st Vice Chairman, Dubai Chamber, said, "The importance of the Islamic Economy Award has its roots in the integrated Islamic Economy system which cuts across many economic sectors including infrastructure, tourism, health, food, art and banking services. Interestingly, this comprehensive model is being adopted by many countries of the world in light of the global Islamic Economy’s potential GDP value of more than US$8 trillion which clearly shows a growing trend in global consumer habits towards Islamic services and products."

He added, "Dubai has always been on the forefront of promoting and developing the Islamic Economy sector under the directives of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and his vision of turning Dubai into a global Capital of Islamic Economy. The emirate is investing in the future and is on the right course to realise its vision in the Islamic Economy sector."

Al Shamsi reiterated Dubai Chamber’s commitment to supporting the Government’s initiative adding that the organisation of the Islamic Economy Award consolidates Dubai's position as a global Islamic Economy capital. The Chamber believes that honouring those with creative ideas is the right way to support innovation in the diverse Islamic Economy sector which is witnessing an unprecedented growth in recent times, he said.

The independent jury panel, which was headed by Hussein Qemzi, Member of the DIEDC Board and Chairman of Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation, included Khalid Al Aboodi, Andreas Schotter Ph.D., Prof Dr. Mohammed Azmi Omar, Tayeb Abdulrahman Al Rais, Dr. Fatih Mehmet Gul, Shelina Janmohamed, Dr. Tariqullah Khan, and Fareed Lutfi.

Nadim Najjar, general manager of Thomson Reuters for the MENA region, said, "We congratulate the winners and wish them all success in their initiatives and activities that drive the growth of the Islamic economy sector - both regionally and internationally. The development of the Islamic economy landscape relies largely on the ethical practices that define the framework of businesses. This makes it imperative to recognize successful initiatives and encourage companies and individuals to endorse best practices across the various Islamic economy sectors."

Mohammed receives Afghan President

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, received on Wednesday at Zabeel Palace, Dr. Mohammed Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

Sheikh Mohammed and President Ghani discussed overall latest regional and international political, security and economic developments, as well as ways to ensure stability and development in the region.

The Vice President and the Afghan President also tackled the bilateral relations between the UAE and Afghanistan and ways to boost them in all fields, especially in economic, trade and development domains.

President Ghani expressed his country's desire to benefit from the UAE's successful experience in the areas of government administration and smart government, highlighting the cultural and urban development being witnessed by the UAE led by its prudent leadership.

During the meeting, the two parties affirmed the importance of building strategic ties in the light of the UAE's unique experience in various economic, technological, infrastructure and social development and other areas, and also in view of stability and potential growth opportunities in Afghanistan, which seeks to become a bridge between the UAE, and China and India.

Sheikh Mohammed was briefed by the Afghan President on the latest developments in Afghanistan and its ties with neighbouring countries, referring to the stability in his country and keenness to preserve good relations with Afghanistan's neighbours.

Sheikh Mohammed said that the UAE places all its expertise and development experience in various sectors in the service of fraternal and friendly peoples to help them achieve growth, prosperity and stability for their peoples.

The UAE Vice President and President Ghani attended the signing ceremony of the strategic partnership charter between the UAE and Afghanistan. The charter was inked by Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, and Afghanistan's national security adviser, Mohammad Hanif.

The charter deals with bilateral relations and enhancing joint cooperation in various fields.

In attendance at the meeting were Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chairman of Emirates Group, Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation,  Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, President of the Dubai International Marine Club, Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development (MICAD), and head of the honorary mission accompanying the Afghani President, Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gargawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs, Dr. Anwar bin Mohammed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State, Mohammed Ibrahim AI Shaibani, Director-General of His Highness the Ruler's Court, Government of Dubai, Khalifa Saeed Suleiman, Director- General of the Department of Protocol and Hospitality in Dubai, the UAE Ambassador to Afghanistan, Yusuf Saif Khamis Al Ali, the accompanying delegation of the Afghani President and Dr. Najibullah Mojadidi, the Ambassador of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to the UAE.

Mohammed instruct UAE aid agencies to continue operations in the Levant

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has instructed humanitarian and relief agencies in the UAE to continue delivery of humanitarian assistance to refugees and other people in Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq’s Kurdistan throughout the winter season.

On Tuesday, the UAE wrapped up a humanitarian week, in accordance with directives from the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and with follow-up by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to raise funds for refugees and others in the Levant to help them survive the recent powerful snow storm Huda. UAE Compassion campaign raised more than Dh208 million in financial donation and hundreds of tonnes of in-kind assistance worth Dh20 million, thanks to the enthusiastic response to the President’s humanitarian appeal from government institutions, non-government organisations and individuals, stated Minister of Cabinet affairs and Chairman of the UAE Compassion National Committee Mohammed Bin Abdullah Al Gargawi.

Al Gargawi asserted that early directives from the President had contributed significantly to rescuing thousands of people from the Middle East’s most severe snowstorm and has drawn the attention of the international community to the suffering of millions of refugees and other people in the Levant and Iraq due to the harsh winter weather. International appreciation continued to pour into the country in response to the President’s humanitarian efforts, adding that UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has underlined the role Sheikh Khalifa is playing in international humanitarian work.

Al Gargawi noted that the daily, close follow up of Sheikh Mohammed of the relief operations had been instrumental in the swift delivery of assistance to those in need before the snowstorm reached its peak and our humanitarian organisations have achieved an international precedence by delivering relief assistance to the Levant in less than 12 hours.

The campaign aimed at helping one million people and refugees in camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Gaza and other Palestinian regions, to survive a harsh winter as the Levant countries continue suffering from a devastating snow storm Huda.