By Tengku Noor Shamsiah Tengku Abdullah
Since its launch by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson in London, some 70 per cent of role players, including speakers and panelists have confirmed their participation to date.
Entitled ‘Changing World, New Relationships’, the 9th WIEF will be held on Oct 29-31, 2013 at Excel London, United Kingdom, and is the first time the event will meet outside the Muslim world.
The forum has previously been held in Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Kuwait and Pakistan.
Some 1,500 government leaders, captains of industries, academic scholars, regional experts, professionals and corporate managers from 100 countries will converge at the forum to boost trade partnerships between Islamic and European markets.
Business leaders from banks, infrastructure, technology, design and media companies from countries including China, UAE, Malaysia, USA, UK, South Africa, Japan, and Indonesia, as well as health and education experts will take part.
The organisations represented include the Aga Khan Development Network, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank, World Health Organisation, Thomson Reuters, Halal Food Festival, Saudi Economic and Development Company (SEDCO) Capital, JS Comsa Corporation, Japan and BDA China.
WIEF chairman Tun Musa Hitam, said: “The forthcoming 9th World Islamic Economic Forum will be a great opportunity to build bridges towards peace and prosperity between the Muslim and non-Muslim world through the common language of business.
“It will showcase the very best that the Islamic world has to offer as a lucrative trade and investment hub,” he said at the media briefing here Thursday.
Also present at the event were Tan Sri Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak, Secretary-General of the WIEF Foundation, Datuk Syed Abu Bakar Syed Mohsin Almohdzar, WIEF Foundation managing director, and Fazal Bahardeen, Founder and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Crescentrating.
In December last year, there were close to 300 delegates from Singapore at the 8th WIEF held in Johor. They included CEOs, entrepreneurs as well as Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.
Whilst calling more Singaporeans to attend and be part of these global conversations, Musa also urged companies and nations not only to have their Muslim representatives to attend, but to encourage more non-Muslims to be part of this global forum.
“It is only through such platforms and opportunities for the business community to come together to discuss potential opportunities, can there be great progress in bridging bridges between Muslim and non-Muslim communities,” he said.
Ahmad Fuzi and Syed Abu Bakar, who shared more details about the 9th WIEF, also highlighted that this is the first time the forum will be introducing Masterclass sessions for participants to encourage more interaction.
These smaller sessions will have about 50-100 participants.
Fazal will be leading the Masterclass on ‘Developing the Concept of Halal Tourism’.
Crescentrating is the world’s first Travel portal dedicated to the Halal conscious travellers.
Islamic finance will be an issue of special interest at the 9th WIEF given London’s aspirations of becoming a global hub for this industry.
Other key areas which will be covered at the forum include Women in the Corporate World, Promoting Transnational Education and Developing Global Connectivity through Digital Technology.
Speakers from the world of politics will include Najib, Johnson, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Bank Negara Malaysia Governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz and Malaysian Minister for International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.
Also speaking at the forum will be Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Baroness Warsi, Minister for Trade and Investment Lord Green, Financial Secretary to the Treasury Greg Clark and Minister of State for International Development Alan Duncan.