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|30 October, 2018

Dubai turns Islamic economy hub

Sector's contribution to emirate's GDP registers 14 per cent growth

Image used for illustrative purpose. Emirates Towers are seen between the twin minarets of a mosque in Dubai.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Emirates Towers are seen between the twin minarets of a mosque in Dubai.

REUTERS/Steve Crisp

Key initiatives have helped position Dubai as a global hub of Islamic economy with the sector's contribution to the emirate's gross domestic product (GDP) registering 14 per cent growth, outpacing the global trend.

Driven by various strategic initiatives, the share of Islamic economy in Dubai's GDP grew from 7.6 per cent in 2014 to 8.3 per cent in 2016, the UAE Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri told participants at the Global Islamic Economy Summit 2018 (GIES) which opened on Tuesday.

The conference, the world's largest forum on the global Islamic economy, was inaugurated by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai.

Highlighting the momentum gained by 'Dubai: Capital of Islamic Economy' initiative since its launch in 2013, Al Mansouri said the UAE is committed to boosting productive sectors and developing strategies that encourage responsible investment, entrepreneurship and innovation.

The minister said as a result of modern technology, such as blockchain, digital currencies and Artificial Intelligence, the dynamics of the global Islamic economy have changed through the introduction of new challenges as well as opportunities.

"As the largest event of its kind on a global scale, the GIES is the most fitting platform to address these issues and present outcomes that highlight the advantages of the new economic reality," said Al Mansouri.

According to the recent 'State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2018-19', the UAE ranks top globally across five Islamic economy sectors as Islamic finance assets globally recorded a surge to $3.8 trillion while global Muslim spend on food and beverage is expected to reach $1.9 trillion by 2023.

Held under the theme 'A shared future', the fourth edition of GIES is being organised by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) .

Over 3,000 key decision makers, policymakers, business leaders and industry experts from around the world are attending the two-day summit. Coming under spotlight at the event are new trends and technologies that are reshaping the global Islamic economy as well as key challenges and growth opportunities.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Rustam Minnikhanov, President of Tatarstan, highlighted his country's strong commitment to cooperating with the Dubai government to advance the Islamic economy.

"We cooperate closely with the DIEDC, especially in the sphere of halal lifestyle. This has become a main topic of the Kazan Summit, which this year celebrated its 10th anniversary. The Kazan Summit is an international economic forum that addresses major issues of strengthening relations between Russia and the Islamic world - it is my great pleasure to welcome you to the Kazan Summit next year," said Minnikhanov.

Majid Saif Al Ghurair, chairman of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and board member of DIEDC, highlighted the summit's role as a global platform enabling various stakeholders to collaborate and support the development of the global Islamic economy.

Al Ghurair noted that Dubai has made considerable headway in achieving its vision of becoming the capital of the global Islamic economy.

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"We look forward to transforming the ideas we explore today into a plan of action and to setting the necessary procedures and frameworks that can radically transform the Islamic economy and to establish it as a leading global economic model. These objectives and many others set our event apart; the GIES is a bold step towards sustainable economic development for all," Al Ghurair added.

During the first plenary session, Chiara Appendino, Mayor of Turin, Italy, shared her perspectives on how technological disruption is complicating the economic frameworks and policies that governments have traditionally depended on. An examination of whether the Islamic economy's inherent characteristics make it more readily adaptable to such disruptions was the subject of the second plenary session, while the third assessed the unprecedented growth opportunities for Muslim countries that are being created by China's 'Belt and Road' initiative.

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