DIEDC First Board Meeting in 2018 Approves Actionable Initiatives for Upcoming Period
Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) convened its first board meeting for 2018, reviewing all the initiatives that had been implemented the previous year within the framework of DIEDC’s 2017-2021 strategy that seeks to realise the Dubai: Capital of Islamic Economy vision.
At the meeting chaired by His Excellency Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy and Chairman of DIEDC, board members also approved in principle several initiatives to be executed in the upcoming four-year period, which would significantly contribute to achieving the Centre’s strategic objectives.
In his Chairman’s address, His Excellency Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri said: “The trust of manufacturers and consumers in regulatory policies and standards is pivotal to the future of the global economy. The growing local and international trust in Dubai, and the wider UAE, promises greater progress in the domestic economy, especially in the Islamic economy domain.”
He further noted that the ambitious plans of the UAE government to contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals is not limited to accelerating the growth of local sectors, but spans a global vision to unify efforts across the world. He recommended that nations should collectively launch initiatives that improve the standards of living of their populations, and achieve the aspirations of the new generation to lead a more stable and equitable life.
During the meeting, His Excellency highlighted the momentum gained by the Dubai: Capital of Islamic Economy initiative since its launch in 2013, accelerated by DIEDC’s 2017-2021 strategy. He also commended the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, that anticipated the future of the global economy following the challenges brought on by the global financial crisis in 2008.
He said: “It is indeed to the credit of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum that he encouraged the integration of a just and transparent economic framework that has the capacity to strike a balance between wealth production and distribution. The directives of the Government of Dubai, and the larger UAE Government, support the noble objectives of comprehensive and long-term development that intersect with the principles and ethics of Islamic economy.”
Speaking on the Centre’s plan for 2018, His Excellency Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri said: “In line with the directives of the wise leadership and its move towards achieving the UAE Vision 2021, DIEDC’s focus this year is to accelerate progress on the implementation of a series of initiatives within the framework of DIEDC’s refreshed strategy 2017-2021, leading up to the UAE Centennial 2071 to make the UAE the best country in the world by its centenary year.”
While presenting the details of the 2018 plan, he noted the significant role of the Centre in accomplishing the achievements to date, which contributed to the UAE’s ranking first among 10 countries for possessing the most advanced framework in several Islamic economy sectors.
He confirmed that the Centre will work closely with suitable entities and organisations to find new tools that fast-track the growth of Islamic economy sectors such as Islamic finance that is expected to be valued at US$3.8 trillion by 2022. He remarked that the flexibility of Islamic economy lies not only in adapting to the technology era in line with its principles and values, but also in its ability to invest in smart solutions that serve its objectives, including achieving socio-economic stability and an enhanced quality of life for all human kind.
Sharing the strategic objectives of 2018, His Excellency Sultan Al Mansouri said: “We aim to specify the Islamic economy sectors’ contribution to the national GDP through a comprehensive database that lists the contribution of individual sectors. This database will allow us to closely analyze each sector and its impact on the remainder of the sectors for accurately putting in place decision-making processes that achieve a balance in investments.”
He added that the trade missions DIEDC had participated in during the past few years targeted new markets across the world, including Australia, New Zealand and Brazil, which hold diverse opportunities for investment and collaboration. The missions also helped raise awareness of the UAE’s efforts in developing the Islamic economy, and strengthening Dubai’s position as the global capital of Islamic economy. Al Mansouri announced that the year 2018 will witness more such partnerships, as well as visits to halal production hubs in Muslim and non-Muslim countries alike, in line with the UAE’s progress in standardisation with the efforts of the Centre and its local and international partners.
He highlighted the Centre’s efforts in reinforcing the UAE-China collaboration in the Islamic banking and finance sector through organising conferences and contracting partnerships that set the foundation for a new phase in globalising the Islamic economy, while mutually benefitting from each party’s ability to support this sector.
DIEDC will also aim to raise public awareness of Islamic economy and build a solid knowledge base through intensifying collaborations with institutions that support the development of Islamic economy to shape academic curriculums and training programmes in the most prominent sectors, such as Islamic finance and halal production.
In closing, His Excellency Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri said: “Today, the only guarantee to advance and grow the Islamic economy ecosystem is through securing our local knowledge capital. In the UAE this is being done by our youth that are hungry for information and seeks suitable employment opportunities that can enable them to play a contributory role in the nation’s development process. The UAE has made great strides and surpassed more advanced countries by involving the youth in building the future. If we aim to sustain the growth of the Islamic economy ecosystem, we must invest in the skills of the youth to drive growth in its sectors.”
Achievements Inspiring Initiatives
For his part, His Excellency Essa Kazim, Secretary General of Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, noted that 2017 was a year of breakthroughs in the development of Islamic economy. In his remarks, he said: “DIEDC’s 2017-2021 strategy seeks to further strengthen the regulatory infrastructure of Islamic economy. Some of our key developments last year following the implementation of the strategy included the establishment of the Higher Sharia Authority for Islamic Banking and Financial Services managed by the Central Bank of the UAE. In line with the strategy’s objectives of ensuring an Islamic economy-friendly environment, the Centre collaborated with stakeholders to develop a first-of-its-kind accelerator to support the growth of Islamic FinTech and attract entrepreneurs to its various sectors – thereby integrating advanced financial services technology into the Middle Eastern, African and South Asian markets.”
Kazim said the growing culture of responsible investment around the world has facilitated stakeholders including DIEDC in spreading the principles of Islamic economy in new markets and increased opportunities for young people to enter Islamic economy’s sectors and build thriving careers within the system that has proven its sustainability in wealth protection and creating stability. He pointed out that the initiatives the Centre intends to implement in 2018 will provide financial institutions and investors that have previously faced major challenges related to standardisation within Islamic economy with more growth opportunities. The Centre is working relentlessly towards standardisation through establishing an independent company that provides legislative services to Islamic financial institutions.
During the board meeting, His Excellency Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO of DIEDC, highlighted the key initiatives launched by the Centre and its partners in 2017 towards achieving the objectives outlined in the 2017-2021 strategy.
Confirming that these initiatives had contributed significantly to growing the Islamic economy, Al Awar said: “The outstanding initiatives launched in 2017 focused on promoting the scientific principles and ethics of Islamic economy. Some of these included coordinating with academic institutions to provide academic programmes in Islamic economy, publishing the book ‘Global Perspectives on the Islamic Creative Economy’ in Dubai, London, and Australia, and launching the first-ever technology accelerator in the region’s FinTech Hive.”
He also observed that organising diverse training workshops helped develop entrepreneurship in the Islamic economy sectors.
The CEO further suggested the possibility of developing an academic programme for the halal sector in cooperation with the Emirates International Accreditation Centre, which primarily seeks to spread the halal culture and overcome any challenges within this sector. Pointing out that modern technological innovations and smart applications provide promising opportunities for the halal industry, he said this ensures that the production supply chain is standardised and complies with international halal standardisation. He added that standardisation is especially relevant given the growth of this sector that has become the largest and most diversified in the Islamic economy.
Al Awar explained that DIEDC’s strategic partners, such as the Emirates International Accreditation Centre, are in the process of innovating RFID tags for halal products, in addition to setting up a halal sector data bank and implementing regulations that enforce the use of smart halal brands.
In closing, he said 2018 will witness two major milestones for Islamic economy that can have significant implications in forecasting the future of this economic system. These include the Islamic Economy Fiqh Forum in April 2018 in cooperation with the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department, one of DIEDC’s strategic partners, and the fourth edition of the Global Islamic Economy Summit – set to take place on 30 October.