Muslim nations must unite to face global uncertainties

| 02/05/2008 | Reply

Muslim nations must unite to face global uncertainties 

By Hamidah Atan from Kuwait, nst.com.my

May 02, 2008, 10:40
 
MUSLIM nations must come together to face global uncertainties and the food crisis, the prime minister said.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said Muslim countries had the money and natural resources to help ease food shortages.

“Where there is a will, there is a way. We should prove that we can meet these challenges by working collectively together to help the Muslims,” he said at the close of the fourth World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), which Malaysia chairs, at the Sheraton Hotel here.

He said most Muslims countries were blessed with fertile land ideal for agriculture and agro-based industries.

Governments of Muslim countries must get big companies and investors into large-scale agriculture and agro-based industries.

“We are doing this in Malaysia and the sector contributes significantly to the growth of our economy and the livelihoods of people in rural and urban areas,” he said.

“Without there was no way Muslim countries could respond to crises such as the present food shortage.”We need to have our own constant supply of food. Many Muslim countries under the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) are poor and they need food. We must be able to help them.”

Abdullah said Muslim countries must unleash their potentials in various sectors, particularly syariah-compliant Halal food products and finance, in order to compete in the global marketplace.

Citing an A.T. Kearney report, he said the 1.56 billion Muslims, constituting 20 per cent of the world’s population, represented an estimated US$2 trillion potential, especially in Halal foods and finance.

“I believe, the time has come for Muslim countries to tap into these niches,” he said.

Abdullah said Malaysia had taken important steps to make itself a hub for Halal products and services, including establishing a Halal certification system which met international standards.

Also present were Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah and WIEF Foundation chairman Tun Musa Hitam.

Abdullah said the Malaysian Halal standard had been approved by the United Nations. The certificate-issuing authority in Malaysia is the Malaysian Halal Industry Development Corporation.

Kuala Lumpur will host a World Halal forum from May 12 to 13.

The prime minister also said the sub-prime crisis affecting American financial institutions continued to hang over the economy of the United States.

“This crisis may very well become a global contagion. The world economy is also facing strong inflationary pressures brought about by high oil prices and the increasing cost of food. These are challenges which can bring about serious economic, social, political and security impacts.”

He stressed the need for accurate monitoring of the situation to prepare Muslim countries for any eventuality.

“Member countries of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) should put in place effective surveillance mechanisms which can provide early warning against uncertainties, including possible global financial instability,” he said.

Abdullah also noted that the solution to problems generated by poverty and underdevelopment lay not only in the construction of infrastructure and the provision of social amenities but also investment in human capital.

This was particularly important for Muslim nations facing growing unemployment.

“Education programmes must increasingly be industry-relevant to make it easier for school-leavers to find jobs. Development planning must also cater to the creation of employment opportunities,” he said.

He also touched on effective leadership that could influence others to accomplish social tasks and development objectives.

Abdullah paid tribute to WIEF, which in four years had created an impression of the Muslim world as a viable trading partner and alternative home for global investment.

“It should consolidate its role as permanent trade and investment link for economies among Muslim nations as well as between the Muslim world and the non-Muslims. It should be proud of its “Islamic” tag as this creates a brand name of its own.

“Let us make WIEF capable of leading the Muslim world away from the domain synonymous with conflict and poverty to a new era signifying peace, progress and prosperity,” the prime minister said.

Abdullah paid tribute to the WIFE, which he said, had succeeded in creating an impression that the Muslim world was, indeed, a viable trading partner and an alternative home for global investment after four years of its existence.

“It should consolidate its role as permanent trade and investment link for economies among Muslim nations as well as between the Muslim world and the non-Muslims. It should be proud of its “Islamic” tag as this creates a brand name of its own.

“Let us make WIEF capable of leading the Muslim world away from the domain synonymous with conflicts and poverty to a new era signifying peace, progress and prosperity.”

With vast reserves available for new investment, WIEF could function as a clearing house for Muslim emerging markets competing for a slice of the fund to invest in key sectors such as telecommunications, infrastructure development and the Halal industry.

He added it was hoped that participants were able to share the knowledge about best practices so that Muslim nations could become efficient producers of goods and services.

Category: Media & Events, Middle East & Africa

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