Global Islamic Economy Summit 2015 concludes in Dubai

by Matthew Amlôt – CPI Financial

The summit emphasised the need to achieve integration between Islamic investment sectors, accelerate the role of Islamic finance in building a sustainable future and strengthen the prosperity of national economies in general.

His Excellency Mohammad Al Gergawi, Chairman of the Board of Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC), said, “The UAE is a major player in the global economy with its proven ability to open up unmatched opportunities and initiatives. The deliberations of the Global Islamic Economy Summit have defined a new phase of development for this emerging ecosystem. It has laid the foundations of solutions to current challenges, and highlighted the possibilities offered by the growth opportunities in all sectors of the Islamic economy.”

He added, “Furthermore, this summit has taken us a big step towards achieving the goals set by the ‘Dubai: Capital of Islamic Economy’ strategy since it was launched. With the broad participation of policy makers, experts, researchers and business leaders, the summit has emphasized global interest in adopting the concepts and mechanisms of Islamic economy.”

The second edition of GIES was attended by 3,500 visitors and stakeholders from the government, financial and investment sectors from more than 85 countries worldwide and validated Dubai’s success in strengthening its position as capital of Islamic economy. The summit also highlighted Dubai’s proactive role in developing an Islamic economy ecosystem that articulated the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

His Excellency Hamad Buamim, President & CEO, Dubai Chamber, said, “With more than 3,500 delegates, the discussions held during the summit reinforce the importance of the stability and ethical code of conduct that the Islamic economy provides to the global markets in these uncertain times. Covering all the seven pillars of the Islamic economy, this summit has provided a platform for exchanging new ideas on contemporary issues, such as the role of innovation in the digital economy, which also aligns with our strategy to focus on innovation as a pillar of growth. More importantly, the GIES has initiated a dialogue on relevant issues impacting Islamic economy. Entrepreneurs are the future of Dubai and the opportunities that the Islamic economy offers them to build on new and existing ideas are boundless and mark a step in the right direction for Dubai to emerge as the global capital of the Islamic economy.”

Abdulla Al Awar, CEO of DIEDC, said, “The summit’s deliberations will go a long way to shaping our next steps in this nascent domain. The insights and outcomes of this summit have validated DIEDC’s objectives in hosting a landmark event of this stature at a most significant time when the world is seeking alternatives to a conventional economic system that has triggered several crises.

“One of our principle aims in hosting this summit was to achieve synergy between the various sectors of the Islamic economy – the summit has underlined the importance of such collaboration if we are to unlock the full potential of this unique ecosystem.”

He added, “I urge you all to remember that innovation is an essential pre-requisite to drive investments in Islamic economy opportunities. Hence, engaging youth in the digital space is a must if we want them to inherit a reliable and safe economic system.”

Nadim Najjar, Managing Director, Middle East and North Africa, Thomson Reuters, said:  “The growing prominence of Islamic economy as a new horizon of opportunities has caught the attention of established corporates, entrepreneurs, and governments worldwide. Thomson Reuters is proud to have contributed to this emerging global opportunity. The Global Islamic Economy Summit 2015 has leveraged this momentum through offering participants real, tangible insights and connectivity.

“We assembled two days of programming for delegates attending GIES 2015 which explored how the Islamic economy is having an increasing effect at the global level, and how it presents viable solutions well beyond the typical sectors of banking and finance.”

GIES 2015 honoured the winner in the ‘Innovation 4 Impact’ contest organised specifically for the summit by Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority and Thomson Reuters with the support of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC). Ali Dabajah founder of Hajjnet received the award.

On the second and final day of the summit, John Defterios, Senior Anchor Emerging Markets, CNN, moderated a panel discussion entitled: ‘The Islamic Economy in Corporate Strategy Agendas’. The panelists included Nirmal Govinda Das, Senior Vice President – Corporate Treasury, Emirates Airlines, Dr El Rashid Dafalla Mohamed, CEO, Emirates Modern Poultry Co., and Eyup Isik, Senior Vice President – Finance, Turkish Airlines, Turkey.

His Excellency Abdulla Al Maeeni, Director General, Emirates Authority for Standardization & Metrology, was the keynote speaker of a parallel session entitled ‘Halal Industry: Innovation, Standardization, and Competitiveness in the Halal Industry’. Moderated by Dr Muhammad Chaudry, President, Islamic Food & Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA), USA, the session panelists included Tabassum Khan, Managing Director, AJ Pharma, UAE, Aiad Alkhatib, Head of Corporate Regulatory & Scientific Affairs, Nestle Middle East, UAE, Mustafa Bater, Director, Regulatory & Scientific Affairs, Coca Cola, UAE and Amina Mohammed, Director of Dubai Accreditation Department, Dubai Municipality, UAE.

Fazal Bahardeen, CEO Crescent Ratings, Singapore, moderated the session titled ‘Family Tourism: Travel Ventures and Successes’ that witnessed the participation of leading experts and speakers, including Hourya Mohammed Laarabi, Advanced Experience Professional, Abu Dhabi Leisure and Tourism Department, UAE, Riyanto Sofyan, Chairman, Sofyan Hotel, Indonesia, Salah Sharaf, Director General of Sharaf Group & Chairman of Sharaf Travel, UAE and Zulfiki Md Said, CEO, Islamic Tourism Agency, Malaysia.

Moderated by Rafiuddin Shikoh, Managing Director, Dinarstandard, UAE, the session ‘Islamic Economy: Moving Towards Global Brands’ saw the participation of Cindy van Bremen, Founder, Capsters, Netherlands, Vilma Jurkute, Director, Alserkal Avenue, UAE and Mudassir Sheikha, Co-founder & Managing Director, Careem, UAE.

One of the most prominent activities on day two was a conversation with His Royal Highness Emir Muhammadu Sunsi II, Emir of Kano and Former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. The conversation was moderated by Axel Threlfall, Editor-at-Large, Reuters, UK.

GIES 2015 also included two sessions on Islamic design and arts. The first one ‘Islamic Art & Design: Is Islamic Art Going Mainstream?’ was moderated by Sultan Saoud Al Qassemi, Founder, Barjeel Art, with panelists including Ahmed Salim, Producer and Managing Director, 1001 Inventions, Dr Ulrike Al Khamis, Senior Strategic Advisor, Sharjah Museum of Islamic Civilization, Moustafa Fahour, Founder Islamic Art Museum of Australia, Australia and Assoc Prof Salwa Mikdadi, Associate Professor of Art History, New York University Abu Dhabi.

The second session on Islamic art and fashion was moderated by Alia Khan, Founder and Chairwoman, Islamic Fashion and Design Council, UAE. The session was headlined by Diajeng Lestari, Founder,, Indonesia, Kerim Ture, Founder,, Turkey, Rami El Malak, Founder, Miella, UAE and Harun Rashid, Founder, Islamic Design House, UK.

In the afternoon, Amani Alkhatahtbeh, Founding Editor-in-Chief, MuslimGirl, moderated the session ‘Islamic Digital Economy: Innovation, Millennials and the Digital Revolution’. The speakers included Ayman Al Bannaw, Managing Partner, Alaa Capital Management, UAE, Dr Philip Boigner, Vice President – Investments, Dubai Silicon Oasis, UAE, Chris Abdur-Rahman Blauvelt, Founder, LaunchGood, USA and Shahed Amanullah, CEO and Co-Founder, Affinis Labs, USA.