Dubai Keen to Become Islamic Economy Capital

Dubai’s proposed Islamic Economy Development Center is expected to advance the emirate’s seven-pillared strategy to establish itself the capital of the Islamic economy within three years.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE, had issued a law for establishing Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center.
The center, which will be chaired by Mohammed Abdullah Al-Gergawi, the UAE minister of cabinet affairs, is aimed at bolstering Dubai’s bid to become a global hub for Islamic finance, encompassing sectors including sukuk and takaful, as it competes with international rivals such as London and Kuala Lumpur.
The center will be equipped with the financial, administrative and legal tools to promote economic activities compatible with Islamic law in Dubai’s goods and financial services sector, as well as the non-financial sector.
It will conduct research and specialist studies to determine the contribution of Shariah-compliant activities to the gross domestic product, and explore how to extend this contribution to boost the economy.
It will also be responsible for building a comprehensive database of such activities. In addition, the center will also launch Islamic economy awards to boost the sector.
In October, Dubai had launched a plan to be the capital of the Islamic economy in three years, predicated on its establishment as an international center for seven economic pillars — Islamic finance, halal industries, halal tourism, the Islamic digital economy, Islamic art and design, Islamic economic standards and certification, and Islamic information and education.
A recent study by Thomson Reuters gives high hope for the center. The report found that the market has a potential value of $6.7 trillion — bigger than all but two of the world’s national economies — the US and China.
The report estimates Muslim consumers’ global expenditure on the media, food and lifestyle sectors, (including cosmetics and tourism, at $1.62 trillion last year. It puts the figure at $2.47 trillion by 2018.
The report also put the value of Islamic financial assets at $1.35 trillion, which is expected to grow 15 to 20 percent per year in core markets. The report also values the potential universe of Islamic banking assets in core markets under optimal conditions at $4.1 trillion.
“The Islamic Economic Development Center will create new products and lines of services to law firms, which specialize in finance structuring. Firms in the UAE, meanwhile, will benefit from new business because of their understanding of Islamic finance products,” says Eli Hyder, managing partner of Bond Lawyers.

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