HH Sheikh Mohammed wants Dubai to be Islamic finance hub
Dubai has set ambitious plans in motion to become the "global capital" of Islamic economy.
The extensive initiative includes proposals to create an Islamic finance council to regulate Shariah-compliant equity - and integrate Islamic economy as part of the overall Dubai economy.
According to the UAE’s official news agency WAM, the Islamic economy - which totals a growing population of 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide - is now $2.3 trillion. "Our cosmopolitan outlook to doing business continues to be our economy’s driving force,” Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said on Wednesday.
“Adopting a modern and scientific framework for Islamic economies worldwide, here in Dubai, meets the demand from local, regional and international investors for a central hub to invest, grow and do business,” he added.
An initiative to increase production of halal food within Dubai was also announced - government estimates show trade of halal food and goods will more than double to $8.4 billion by 2020.
Sheikh Mohammed said that all of the new initiatives will further boost the economic diversification of Dubai - and complement Dubai’s pioneering approach to Islamic economy. It was in the emirate that the world’s first Islamic bank was started in the 1970s - as well as the world’s first Islamic financial market.
Sami Al Qamzi, director general of Dubai’s Department of Economic Development, said the emirate wants to develop a market for Islamic products - including funds, sukuk and loans.
According to Bloomberg, the emirate derives about 11 per cent of economic output from financial services.
“The addition of Islamic industry is a priority to turn Dubai into the capital for the Islamic economy,” Al Qamzi said.
Last year, execs at Standard Chartered told 7DAYS Sharia-compliant banks are on track to boast half of the region’s banking assets by 2020. It currently accounts for 25 per cent of the UAE banking industry. “Islamic finance has grown significantly over the past few years and has played a key role in the development of the financial industry as a whole,” Standard Chartered Saadiq CEO Afaq Khan told 7DAYS on Wednesday.