Experts call to unlock limitless opportunities for growth of Islamic economy.
Shaikh Mohammed, Shaikh Hamdan, Shaikh Maktoum and Mohammed Al Gergawi at the 10th World Islamic Economic Forum in Dubai on Tuesday.
Dubai’s drive to emerge as the global capital of the thriving Islamic economy received a defining boost on Tuesday as 2,700 delegates and Shariah experts from over 100 countries started exploring innovative partnerships for economic growth at the opening of the 10th World Islamic Economic Forum.
The three-day event, attended by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, along with several world leaders, started with a clarion call to unlock limitless opportunities for the growth of Islamic economy through cross-border partnerships.
Accompanying Shaikh Mohammed were Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai; Shaikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai; other Shaikhs and senior officials.
The forum’s call for increased solidarity and cooperation among Islamic countries came at a time when the $2.4 trillion Islamic economy continues to play a critical role in today’s global business environment.
As Islamic finance experts explored new opportunities for the world to leverage the potential for growth offered by Islamic finance, speakers stressed Dubai’s key initiatives, including a drive to transform the emirate into a global hub for sukuk, as key catalysts for the growth of sector.
“The world is facing many reasons for tense relations and regression in terms of development and this is happening in many of the Islamic countries. One of the reasons and purposes of Islamic banking is investment in land, the investment for the prosperity of nations and the happiness for human beings everywhere in the world,” said Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Chairman of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre.
Welcoming delegates from across the world, Hamad Buamim, President & CEO of Dubai Chamber, said the forum’s purpose was to create growth opportunities not only in the Islamic world, but globally.
He said the high-profile event would further define Dubai as the global capital of the Islamic economy, and present a new opportunity for the world to leverage the potential for growth offered by Islamic finance. “Our city’s development was shaped, and continues to be shaped, by the active participation of people from all around the world. Home to over 200 nationalities who work together in peace and harmony, Dubai is today recognised as a major business and finance hub as well as a global tourism, trade and logistics centre,” Buamim said.
Essa Kazim, Governor of Dubai International Financial Centre, said that fuelled by the booming industries in the GCC region and Southeast Asia, the Islamic finance industry is booming and will double over the next five years to over $3.4 trillion. “Islamic finance is a key pillar of Dubai’s Capital of Islamic Economy vision, and an area of expertise in Dubai’s finance sector. With the establishment of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre in 2013, we have begun witnessing growth across the various sectors that represent Dubai’s strategy.”
Kairat Kelimbetov, Governor of the National Bank of Kazakhstan, said his country served as the gateway to Islamic securities in the CIS region. He highlighted the importance of linking Islamic finance to project financing for promoting durable financial stability.
Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, Governor of the Central Bank of Malaysia, said as the sukuk market becomes globally prosperous, it has “the potential to close financing gaps in necessary infrastructure financing in Asia, the Middle East and Africa. The Middle East alone has a funding need worth two trillion dollars”, he pointed out.
Tun Musa Hitam, chairman of the WIEF Foundation, which has organised the forum in collaboration with the Dubai Chamber and Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, said: “We do hope that holding this year’s annual forum in Dubai symbolically indicates our best wishes and confidence in Dubai’s success.”