Dubai: Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry is looking to attract world Islamic business anchors by highlighting the potential of businesses in Dubai, Hamad Bu Amim, Director General of Dubai Chamber, told Gulf News.

The chamber launched Anchor 100 Initiative to attract top world businesses to move to Dubai by highlighting the main 11 reasons to invest in Dubai.

On the sidelines of a media briefing about what Islamic Economy means, and organised by Dubai Chamber in conjunction with Thomson Reuters, he said: “Through this initiative we aim at representing, supporting and protecting the internationalisation interests of the Dubai business community giving special focus on the Islamic business activities.”

“This move will attract top global Islamic anchor companies to Dubai and will enhance and promote Dubai as a desired location to establish Islamic business activities.”

The reasons include: a successful and diversified economy, liberal and reformist investment climate, low taxes and incentives, state-of-the-art infrastructure, centrally located, logistics corridor, customs union with the GCC, large domestic market, multicultural population, qualified and competitive labor force.

Also, the Dubai Chamber together with Thomson Reuters will host the Global Islamic Economy Summit taking place in Dubai on November 25 and 26, 2013 under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice-President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

Bu Amim remarked that all such projects come as part of the immense initiative of Shaikh Mohammad of Dubai becoming the global capital of Islamic economy and finance.

Russell Haworth, Managing Director, Middle East and North Africa, Thomson Reuters, said that global Islamic banking assets which stood at $1.3 trillion in 2011 are expected to reach $2 trillion in 2014 and have registered an average annual growth of 19 per cent over the last four years.

He added that the global market for halal food is estimated at $685 billion a year as the Muslim countries’ food industry imports are valued at $126 billion, 12 per cent of global food imports while the GCC food market was worth $83 billion in 2012, and is expected to rise to $106 billion by 2017.

Haworth further stressed that Muslim tourists globally represent a major niche market worth $126.1 billion in 2011 (excluding Haj and Umrah) and is expected to grow at 4.8 per cent through 2020 which is higher than the global average growth rate of 3.8 per cent, while the average global Muslim tourist spending is 12.3 per cent of the worldwide total as the market is expected to grow 20 per cent over the next decade.

He also said that over the next 30 years, 70 per cent of global population growth will be in Muslim countries as the Muslim population of 1.6 billion is growing at twice the rate of the global population, thus representing the fastest growing consumer segment in the world.

Sayd Farook, Global Head of Islamic Finance at Thomson Reuters, remarked that although the global Islamic banking has made strides in the past 10 years with average growth rate of 20 to 25 per cent, there is still a huge untapped potential for Islamic Finance as 72 per cent of Muslims are non-banked.

Growing further will need broadening the appeal of Islamic finance beyond traditional Shariah sensitive customers as well as targeting opportunities for growth in emerging Islamic markets such as North Africa, Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) region and sub Saharan Africa.