Dubai eyes another first–Capital of Islamic economy



October, 5, 2013

DUBAI–After establishing itself as the virtual business and merchant capital of the Middle East, Dubai is eyeing another distinction, now as the Capital of fast growing global Islamic finance. 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’ initiative.

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.

Speaking on the occasion, 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. In the UAE, we excel at the public – private sector partnership, where both sectors work as one team.”

He added: “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.”

As part of the plan to assert, Dubai’s primacy as the destination of global Islamic finance, a ‘Higher Committee for the Development of Islamic Economy’ has been formed, under the patronage of Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan. 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 DahiKhalfanTamim, 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 Gergawi, Minister for Cabinet Affairs, chairing the committee, said the committee had been given six months to develop a strategic plan to transform Dubai into the capital of Islamic economy. 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.

Roadmap for the future

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: “The strategic plan for developing the Islamic economy sector is a roadmap 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. 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.”

Pillars of Islamic economy

The three key pillars of the Islamic economy plan are Dubai being a key 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.The total GDP of the world’s Islamic nations is put at $8 trillion, according to figures released today by EisaKazim, DIFC Governor and member of the committee.

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. –With inputs from Wam

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