The growth of the Islamic economy has the ability to unlock economic opportunities and improve socio-economic stability through cross border partnerships, the opening ceremony of the 10th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), co-organised by WIEF Foundation and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, observed.
The opening session was graced by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, several world leaders, high-ranking government officials and business sector leaders.
Speaking during the opening session of the three-day forum H.E. Mohammed Al Gergawi, UAE Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Chairman of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, highlighted the role the Islamic banking sector can play in helping to improve stability across the Muslim world.
“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,” he said.
“The Islamic economy, together with economic partnerships and the resources that can be devoted to the development of societies, are a key element towards the stability in the world. We can achieve this if we establish innovative partnerships and if we foster and promote cooperation and lead policies towards development that conform to Islamic rules. Islamic banking and the achievements made so far are very strong proof of the fact we can achieve this,” he added.
H.E. Nursultan Nazarbayev, President of Kazakhstan, highlighted the significant growth of Kazakhstan’s Islamic banking sector in recent years. “Kazakhstan is continuing its efforts to grow the principles of Islamic banking and I am convinced that the participants of today’s forum will make their contribution towards the development of the global economy,” he said.
Commenting on the theme of the forum – Innovative Partnerships for Economic Growth – and Dubai’s growing status as a hub for the Islamic industry, The Hon. Tun Musa Hitam, Chairman of WIEF Foundation, said: “We do hope that holding this year’s annual forum in Dubai symbolically indicates our best wishes and confidence in Dubai’s success,” he said.
“We are convinced that taking into account the connectivity of religion, politics and economic development, there needs to be increased attempt to bridge gaps by working on common denominators that could unite us all in order to create the changes of conflict. The most obvious common denominator is business collaboration through a win-win situation,” he added.
Education, providing the skills to youth and the unemployed, and forming public private sector partnerships was another areas of focus during the opening ceremony. Hon. Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia and Patron of the WIEF Foundation, highlighted the importance of public and private sector partnerships to improve education across the world.
“Today, too few Muslims are able to read or write…. Too many Muslims are missing out on opportunities – and too many Muslim nations are missing their greatest assets – their people,” he said.
“By prioritising education throughout life, we can realise the potential of our people – reducing poverty, raising living standards, and unlocking 21st century growth. We need new and innovative partnerships between educators, governments and private and third sectors to bridge the gap,” he added.
Prime Minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, said: “We have a unique opportunity and responsibility to create bridges and partnerships between all of us, for the better good of our societies. While technological developments have revolutionised our means of communication and have dramatically accelerated globalisation, I would like to reaffirm the necessity of dialogue on our cooperation. We need to constantly evaluate our current relationships, to agree on new visions and to develop new, innovative partnerships for economic growth.”
Education played a central theme throughout many of the opening speeches. “Our countries have a lot of resources that can enable us to achieve higher rates of growth [but] we need to improve the way we invest in human resources. Unfortunately, the nations of our regions are not integrated amongst themselves or the world economy. We must continue towards increasing the investments in order to address the challenges, such as the high rates of unemployment,” said H.E. Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali, President, Islamic Development Bank & Honorary Fellow of WIEF Foundation
“This forum plays a critical role in encouraging dialogue and trust between people and nations. This great city of Dubai provides an inspiring role in bringing people together in business and in friendship. The worldwide community recognises new global prosperity through international business cooperation,” added by H.E. Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao, Prime Minister of Timor L’este.
For more information, visit the 10th WIEF website: www.10thwief.org