Dubai: His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rahid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched an initiative aimed at transforming Dubai into an Islamic economy hub on Wednesday.
Shaikh Mohammad said Dubai would adopt a modern and scientific framework for Islamic economies to meet investors’ demand, be it local, regional or international. Dubai, in other words, was given the go-ahead to transform its existing Sharia-compliant economic sector into an international hub. Shaikh Mohammad added that the new initiatives will further boost the economic diversification of Dubai and complement its pioneering approach to the Islamic economy.
While stressing the Islamic initiative as another major economic driver for Dubai’s economy, Shaikh Mohammad emphasised that the Government will not compromise its principles of openness and commitment to the free market. “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’s robust market has already transformed it into one of the world’s fastest growing economies, with non-oil foreign trade reaching over Dh1 trillion in the first 10 months of 2012, a 13 per cent growth rate over 2011, and this is taking place at a time when the rest of the world is continuing to suffer a slowdown in growth.
Commenting on the announcement, Shaikha Lubna Bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of Foreign Trade, praised the announcement as a “promising step forward” that would boost assets and the gains made by Dubai in recent years. She described the strategy as one that builds on Dubai’s success based on a well-planned and careful vision to push economic diversification forward and create new sectors. She added the UAE serves as a global hub for Islamic banking with an increasing number of banks playing major roles in funding and developing projects in the region and beyond. Shaikha Lubna noted that her ministry delegations had been approached during foreign tours by investors who wanted to launch Sharia-compliant investment in the UAE.
Shaikh Mohammad gave consent to six basic initiatives that will be immediately implemented by the high committee to achievie the Islamic economy vision and which will ultimately position Dubai as the capital of the Islamic economy, the motto highlighted in big print at the conference.
Shaikh Mohammad directed that implementation of all approved initiatives be completed in the next six months and that periodical reports indicating the development of the implementation process be issued.
Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince, said that the key behind Dubai’s success is the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad. He added that it is Shaikh Mohammad’s vision that foresees global economic opportunities and seeks to diversify the sources of income for the emirate’s economy, therefore ensuring sustainable growth that provides a good life for Emiratis.
Shaikh Hamdan issued the statement following the announcement of Shaikh Mohammad naming him the chairman of the Higher Committee to develop the Islamic economy sector in Dubai.
“I’m very optimistic about our goal to turn Dubai into the global capital for the Islamic economy. Dubai has the required expertise and infrastructure to achieve this goal. Its geographic location makes it the centre of the Islamic world. We have the determination and willpower, but most of all, we have Shaikh Mohammad, who is confidently and wisely leading the emirate towards a bright future,” said Shaikh Hamdan.
— With contributions from Gulf News Staff Reporters