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UAE: ‘Dubai – World Capital of Islamic Economy’ initiative unveiled

By Eudore R Chand with Wam, Emirates 24/7

Shaikh Mohammed, Shaikh Hamdan, Shaikh Maktoum, Shaikh Majid, other Shaikhs and business leaders at the ceremony for 'Dubai – World Capital of Islamic Economy' initiative.in Dubai on Saturday. — Wam (www.sheikhmohammed.ae)

Shaikh Mohammed, Shaikh Hamdan, Shaikh Maktoum, Shaikh Majid, other Shaikhs and business leaders at the ceremony for ‘Dubai – World Capital of Islamic Economy’ initiative.in Dubai on Saturday. — Wam
(www.sheikhmohammed.ae)

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, today launched the ‘Dubai – Capital of Islamic Economy’, an ambitious initiative to transform Dubai into the world capital of Islamic economy.

The initiative was launched in the presence of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council and Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI).

The timely initiative, led by a high-level task force, comes as the thriving global Islamic finance market is forecast to expand from $1.6 trillion in assets to between $2 trillion and $3 trillion by 2015.

Shaikh Mohammed, Shaikh Hamdan, Shaikh Maktoum, other Shaikhs and business leaders at the launch of the strategic plan for developing the Islamic economy sector in Dubai on Saturday. — Wam

Shaikh Mohammed, Shaikh Hamdan, Shaikh Maktoum, other Shaikhs and business leaders at the launch of the strategic plan for developing the Islamic economy sector in Dubai on Saturday. — Wam

A ‘Higher Committee for the Development of Islamic Economy’ has been formed, under the patronage of Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan. The task force, has been given six months to draw up the strategy and 36 months to implement the blueprint with 46 strategic initiatives.

Mohammed Abdullah Al gergawi (centre) speaking at the ceremony. — Wam

Mohammed Abdullah Al gergawi (centre) speaking at the ceremony. — Wam

Shaikh Mohammed revealed seven of these initiatives at the launch of the ‘Dubai — Capital of Islamic Economy’ initiative in the presence of Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council; and Shaikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Media Incorporated (DMI).

“The continued developments and changes in the global economy increase the need to constantly diversify the structure of our national economy. Our firm principle in the UAE is not to rely on one single economic resource or sector. The Islamic economy is not new to us. In fact we have accumulated considerable expertise in this field and our aim is the global arena,” said Shaikh Mohammed.

“In the UAE, we excel at the public-private sector partnership, where both sectors work as one team. Therefore, I am optimistic about the success of the Islamic economy sector and about placing Dubai on the international economic map as the global destination of choice that provides Islamic products, finance and services as well as raising the standards for the management and quality of this sector to new levels.

“Our aim from all economic initiatives we launch is to improve the quality of life and providing opportunities that ensure a prosperous future for coming generations,” added Shaikh Mohammed.

He directed all stakeholders to coordinate their efforts in light of the strategic plan for developing the Islamic economy sector and to support this sector by continuously launching strategic initiatives and programmes.

The ceremony was attended by Mohammed Ahmed Al Murr, Chairman of the Federal National Council, Sheikh Majid bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, Lt General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Chief of Dubai Police, as well as a number of ministers, heads and directors of government departments, leaders of the business community and media representatives.

Mohammed Abdullah Al gergawi (centre) speaking at the ceremony. — Wam

Mohammed Abdullah Al gergawi (centre) speaking at the ceremony. — Wam

Mohammed Abdullah Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs and Chairman of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Executive Office and the Chairman of the Higher Committee for the Development of the Islamic Economy Sector, said the committee had been given six months to develop a strategic plan to transform Dubai into the capital of Islamic economy.

Shaikh Hamdan bin Mohammed said: “The strategic plan for developing the Islamic economy sector is a road map for the future which sets the frameworks for uniting the efforts of various institutions and parties operating in this sector in line with the vision of Shaikh Mohammed to position Dubai as the global capital of the Islamic economy.”

“When Shaikh Mohammed specified the goal, he wanted an Islamic economy sector with a global vision and with local human resources to serve our national economic interests. His vision was to turn Dubai into the future global capital of the Islamic economy,” he added.

“The vision is clear. The determination is high. The leadership is decisive. The operational teams are ready, and the obstacles ahead will be met by exceptional people,” said Shaikh Hamdan.

The Higher Committee for the Development of Islamic Economy has been formed under the patronage of Dubai Crown Prince Shaikh Hamdan.

From now, the committee has three years to transform Dubai as the world’s capital of Islamic economy.

The committee has a plan covering 46 initiatives, of which seven to eight major ones were discussed today.

Diversifying structure of national economy

After the launch ceremony, Sheikh Mohammed said: “The continued developments and changes in the global economy increase the need to constantly diversify the structure of our national economy.

“Our firm principle in the UAE is not to rely on one single economic resource or sector. The Islamic economy is not new to us, In fact we have accumulated considerable expertise in this field and our aim is the global arena.”

Sheikh Mohammed added: “In the UAE, we excel at the public – private sector partnership, where both sectors work as one team.

“Therefore, I am optimistic about the success of the Islamic economy sector and about placing Dubai on the international economic map as the global destination of choice that provides Islamic products, finance and services as well as raising the standards for the management and quality of this sector to new levels.”

Sheikh Mohammed said: “Our aim from all economic initiatives we launch is to improve the quality of life and providing opportunities that ensure a prosperous future for coming generations.”

Vision is clear

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: “The strategic plan for developing the Islamic economy sector is a road map for the future which sets the frameworks for uniting the efforts of various institutions and parties operating in this sector in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to position Dubai as the global capital of the Islamic economy.”

Sheikh Hamdan added : “When His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum specified the goal, he wanted an Islamic economy sector with a global vision and with local human resources to serve our national economic interests. His vision was to turn Dubai into the future global capital of the Islamic economy.”

Sheikh Hamdan also added: “The vision is clear. The determination is high. The leadership is decisive . The operational teams are ready, and the obstacles ahead will be met by exceptional people.”

Key pillars of Islamic economy

The three key pillars of the Islamic economy plan are Dubai being a hub for sukuk and Islamic financial services; a market leader for halal goods and services, including products and certification; and creator of a global legislation for regulation of the Islamic market, said Gergawi.

7 Pillars that will prop up Dubai as the capital of Global Islamic Economy

7 Pillars that will prop up Dubai as the capital of Global Islamic Economy

The second quarter of 2014 will see the establishment of an Islamic Governance Centre in Dubai with other initiatives being:

— Establishing Dubai as the hub for sukuks or Islamic bonds and all Islamic financial services;

— Establishing the emirate as a trusted name and solution provider to the $4 trillion global halal food industry and its hub with an accreditation centre;

— Drawing a legal framework with legislative and regulatory bodies for the Islamic market. Currently, Dubai’s sukuk market attracts Dh46 billion and plans to reach Dh60 billion in the next three years;

— Promote Dubai’s position as a centre for family tourism;

— Be the pioneer of the Islamic digital economy, which will promote Dubai as an oasis and incubator for the development of electronic programmes, applications and games, a platform for Islamic e-Commerce, a global centre for Islamic media, and a pioneering and incubating environment for the Islamic digital economy;

— Cement Dubai’s position as a centre for Islamic design and architecture, a global destination for showcasing and trading of various types of Islamic arts, and a global centre for design, display and retail of conservative fashion and;

— Be the world-class centre for Islamic economy standards and certification.

“Islamic banking is not just for Muslims but for all. It will transcend religious and political differences,” Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs, told Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the conference.

“Islamic finance conforms to the principles of the Holy Quran which forbids the use of interest but allows Muslims to make use of financial products such as sukuks and takaful, or insurance, without fear of breaking religious laws.

“It is ethical and everyone can benefit from it,” said Al Gergawi. “It will also help build relationships between Islamic and non-Islamic economies.”

According to Eisa Kazim, Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre, the total GDP of the world’s Islamic nations stands at $8 trillion.

The Dubai initiative will also help meet the needs of the global $1 trillion Awaqf market as also the re-takaful market that is worth $11 billion globally by establishing re-takaful companies.

At the eighth World Islamic Economic Forum in Malaysia in 2012, deals worth an estimated £5.8 billion ($9.2 billion) were struck. Now Dubai is set to host its Islamic Economy Summit in November immediately after London hosts the ninth forum — the first time the event has been held outside the Muslim world.

The top 20 Islamic banks in the Gulf region have grown some 20 per cent in the past 18 months compared with the nine per cent growth of conventional banks, as per a recent report. Across the entire supply chain of the Islamic banking industry, there are strong and positive growth vibes.

The sale of Islamic bonds, for example, rose exponentially to $5.7 billion as at May 2012, compared with only $500 million during the first five months of 2011.

The strategic plan “will not only diversify the national economy, but also enhance it by adding a new vital sector that will further enrich Dubai’s outstanding reputation in the economic field and establish it as the global capital of the Islamic economy,” said Shaikh Hamdan.

The total GDP of the world’s Islamic nations is put at $8 trillion, according to figures released today by Eisa Kazim, DIFC Governor and member of the committee.

Six government departments presented their plans on how they intend to move forward making Dubai the capital of Islamic Economy.

Sami Al Qemzi, Director General of Dubai Department of Economic Development, and member of the committee, said by the second quarter fo 2014, an Islamic Governance Centre would be set up in Dubai.

Other member sof the committee included Abdulrahman Al Ghurair, President of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry; Hussain Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality; Dr Hamad Al Shebani of Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Works, Abdulaziz Al Ghurair, Chairman of MashreqBank and Hussain Al Qemzi, of Awqaf and Minor Affairs Foundation.

Abdulaziz Al Ghurair pointed out the great opportunity that lies ahead with regard to Takaful and re-Takaful sector and pointed out efforts to meet the needs of the Takaful companies by establishing re-Takaful companies here.

Abdulrahman Al Ghurair said Dubai Chamber plans to conduct international exhibitions, conferences and reference studies in an effort to attract and organise leading global Islamic exhibitions and events, organise the Global Islamic Economy Summit next November and increase co-ordination with OIC and the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry, apart from attracting some of the best Islamic economy companies from around the world.

Dr Hamad Al Shebani of the Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Work said the lack of clear legislation to regulate the production of halal products and an absence of a recognised international body will guide his department towards establishing a legislative and regulatory environment.

Hussain Al Qemzi of Awqaf and Minors Affairs Foundation said the plan is to establish an International Endowment Authority by the first quarter of 2014 with an idea to spread the culture of endowment, transfer the experience of development through endowment in Dubai, promote best practices and increase the economic role of endowments.

Global Islamic economy

The global Islamic economy sector is estimated to be growing at a rate of 10 to 15 per cent per annum.

Some of the main sectors driving this growth are Islamic finance and Islamic insurance.

Islamic finance is the main driver with the demand for Islamic finance instruments estimated to grow in the coming years to exceed US$421 billion by 2017. IMF alone has predicted a sukuk listing of US$3 trillion in 2015. Reports also suggest that global Islamic banking assets are set to cross US$1.8trillion in 2013 – a 12.5 per cent increase year on year .

Islamic insurance – Takaful has witnessed a comparatively higher rate of growth compared to conventional insurance sector and is expected to reach US$25billion by 2015 end from US$12billion in 2012. The GCC with 77 operators has the largest number of insurance operators.

With growing popularity of halal products across the globe and even among non-Muslim communities, the current value of global halal food industry is estimated at US$2.77trillion and is expected to grow at 4.8 per cent annually to reach US$6.4trillion by 2020.

Dubai is even working towards establishing bodies that ensure the implementation of Islamic quality standards for institutions operating in this sector. Dubai also plans to address opportunities that consumer services offer with regard to halal cosmetic products, pharmaceuticals and fashion.

Senior officials, business leaders, representatives of all economic sectors and media were present at the launch.

Senior officials, business leaders, representatives of all economic sectors and media were present at the launch.

Mean while in another Article

Raft of global Islamic institutions to come up in Dubai

Part of ‘Dubai – World Capital of Islamic Economy’ initiative

Dubai is set to witness a raft of new global institutions relating to Shariah-based economy over the coming months.

The move is part of the initiative to transform the emirate into the world’s ‘Capital of Islamic Economy’ unveiled by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Saturday.

He has given the newly set up Higher Committee for the Development of the Islamic Economy Sector, three years to attain this goal.

Under the patronage of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, the Higher Committee for the Development of the Islamic Economy Sector, is chaired by Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs and Chairman of the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s Executive Office.

Gergawi explained that the goal of transforming Dubai into the world’s capital of Islamic economy would rest on a few main pillars – creation of world-standard legislation and regulatory mechanisms; developing financial instruments and services, especially sukuk; promotion and accreditation of the halal market; and boosting Islamic digital economy.

One of the first initiatives planned for is for Dubai to host a global Summit for Islamic Economy next month.

Another is the creation of a global Award for Islamic Economy.

Other initiatives include Family-friendly tourism, Islamic fashion, art and design, a global network of Islamic Economic information and education and a global centre for Islamic economic standards and certification.

Several global Islamic institutions will be created under these initiatives.

• In the second quarter of 2014, Dubai will host the world’s Islamic Governance Centre to encourage Islamic investment and support industries.
• Another initiative is to create the Supreme Council for Islamic Standards. This will create world standards in legislations and regulatory environment.
• The International Endowment Authority will be created to leverage and boost the $1 trillion Waqf globally.
• The Adahi Meal as Endowment Project will also be created.
• In the first quarter of next year, Dubai will witness an International Laboratory to test halal products.
• At around the same time, the emirate will also host the world’s halal Accreditation Centre for providing ‘halal’ certification.

Al Gergawi said these are just some of the close to 50 initiatives envisaged to transform Dubai into the global capital of Islamic economy.

About Waleed Ahmed