Dubai, Capital of Islamic Economy
The UAE has long been a place where people from all over the world meet to do business. From the early days of fishing, pearling, and trading on the banks of Dubai Creek, the country has grown into a prime destination for global business. Today, Dubai leads the way in infrastructure, trade, finance, and tourism.
In 2013, Dubai’s Ruler, H.H. Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, launched a strategic plan to develop the Islamic economy sector. Following that announcement, the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) was established to develop and promote Dubai as the global capital of Islamic economy. It is the first and only organization of its kind in the world.
The Islamic economy is an integral part of global economy. And the major growth driver with a potential value of more than 7 trillion dollars. That's why his Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s vision is for Dubai to be the global capital of the Islamic economy.
Under the patronage and supervision of the Crown Prince, H.H. Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the DIEDC aims to accelerate and manage the development of Dubai’s Islamic economy.
Sheikh Mohammed setup the vision and the plan. Sheikh Hamdan is following the execution of this plan. He is heading the Islamic economy initiative. There is a very clear deliverable for us as a center and the system is well integrated within Dubai’s economic plan, but also within the UAE’s agenda for 2021.
7 Key Pillars of the Islamic Economy
The DIEDC will empower and enable the government and private sector to support growth within seven key pillars of the Islamic economy; finance, the halal industry, family friendly tourism, digital infrastructure, the arts, knowledge, and standards.
The center had been created to really advance the initiative and they have been working in that direction. They are working toward developing new businesses in the financial sector, in the halal sector, and in the digital economy sector. We have been signing MOUs with different agencies and departments in the area of education, in the area of culture, in the area of business economy.
One of our main functions at the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre is to continue monitoring, not only the progress being made by initiatives and projects within the Dubai, Capital of Islamic Economy Strategy, but also how that contributes and creates a value add necessary for Dubai itself. Having said that, there has been considerable progress already being made over the last year and a half in terms of that economic value add.
We've seen companies opening up in Dubai, getting licensed by the relevant authorities to market and distribute halal products for example, which didn't exist prior to the strategy.
Future Growth Prospects
The future of the Islamic economy does appear extremely promising. In 2014, the value of global halal food and lifestyle expenditure was $1.8 trillion, representing 12% of the global total. That figure is expected to rise to $2.5 trillion by 2020, representing a compound annual growth rate of 6%.
Dubai has one of the best infrastructure in the area of logistics, in the area of shipping, and a very strong network in term of trading activities. So Dubai is very well positioned to capitalize on that network to really meet the requirements of the growing Muslim population.
In addition to consumer expenditure, a further $1.8 trillion is held in Islamic finance assets and that number is expected to more than double to $3.2 trillion by 2020, adding to the growing financial clout of the Islamic economy.
Dubai, in the past 10 years, excelled in terms of positioning itself to become the financial hub in the region through different vehicles. Today, the Islamic finance is roughly around 1% to 2% of the global finance. So, the potential is really huge.
By implementing a comprehensive strategy with practical programs and initiatives, the DIEDC is set to accelerate Dubai’s position as the global capital of the rapidly growing Islamic economy.
Our view of the Islamic finance sector is that it's the fueling sector for the real economy sectors, such as halal, or transportation, or tourism, or others. The Islamic economy sector cannot be managed as a standalone sector.
This is why I believe the strategy of Dubai, the Capital of Islamic Economy, is very unique in its nature, because it has taken a comprehensive view across the various sectors and how there's synergy between them and not manage a strategy which revolves only on a specific sector in tangent and as a standalone sector.
Dubai has what it takes to be the capital of the Islamic economy. We have the expertise, the strategic location, the infrastructure, and the international credibility to make this reality.