His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, on Wednesday announced a group of initiatives to set up a comprehensive platform of Islamic economy products and services aimed at integrating Islamic economy as part of the overall Dubai economy.
The platform includes Islamic finance instruments, Islamic insurance, Islamic contracts’ arbitration, Islamic food industry and trade standards (Halal food), and Islamic quality management standards.
With Islamic economic principles playing a growing significance in today’s global business environment, with Islamic economy size reaching $2.3 trillion and a growing community of 1.6 billion Muslims, the new initiatives are expected to further promote investments in Dubai, especially from economies spanning the Middle East, Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia.
Sheikh Mohammed said that new framework for promoting Islamic economy will further strengthen the open and integrated approach of Dubai in doing business.
It is expected to lend further momentum to Dubai’s well-diversified economy, which is an ambitious growth path fuelled by the robust performance of its core sectors including trade, retail, tourism, aviation, hospitality, financial services and logistics in 2012.
“Our cosmopolitan outlook to doing business continues to be our economy’s driving force. Adopting a modern and scientific framework for Islamic economies world-wide, here in Dubai, meets the demand from local, regional and international investors for a central hub to invest, grow and do business.”
Sheikh Mohammed added that the new initiatives will further boost the economic diversification of Dubai and complement Dubai’s pioneering approach to Islamic Economy, having established the world’s first Islamic bank in the 1970s as well as the world’s first Islamic financial market.
Among other initiatives announced by Sheikh Mohammed include the development of commercial standards for Islamic industries and guidelines for Halal food manufacturing.
Dubai also seeks to develop Islamic quality standards for Halal food approval.
This will encourage the food industry and promote linkages with global and regional businesses, as well as different business sectors including transport, storage and handling.
Sheikh Mohammed said the Government will not compromise on its principles of openness and commitment to a free market economy.
“By strengthening Islamic economic principles as an integral part of our overall approach to growth and development, we are further supporting the entrepreneurial community, especially from the Arab world.”
Dubai has the robust infrastructure to serve as the centre of the Islamic economies across the Middle East and North Africa.
Geographically too, the city has the advantage of serving as a vital link between the West and the East. Dubai International Airport – the world’s fourth busiest hub for international passengers – receives more than 55 million passengers yearly.
Dubai’s value of non-oil foreign trade reached over Dhs1 trillion in the first ten months of 2012, some 13 per cent more than the same period in 2011.