Halal Trade Set to Cross $ 1 Trillion Soon, Say Experts

T. Ramavarman

ABU DHABI – Halal trade is expected
to cross $ 1 trillion very soon and has not been seriously impacted by
the global financial crisis, according to the organizers of the World
Islamic Economic Forum or WIEF to be held in Kuala Lumpur from May 18 to

“Those who follow the norms
of Islamic finance have been adopting a conservative approach. Our
lending has been more asset based and were not aggressive in launching
 any innovative finance products. This could keep us somewhat insulated
from the extreme impacts of financial crisis. Our impacts have been
limited to the extent of our links with the Western markets,’’ Dr Syed
Abu Bakar  Almohdzar, the Managing Director of the WIFE Foundation told
reporters here.

“Islamic banking and finance
is becoming more and more attractive as a viable alternative to
commercial banking. Muslim countries constitute 30 per cent of the
members of the community of nations, while Muslim population today is
1.5 trillion and is rapidly increasing. All these point to the growing
potential of the business and economic activities along the lines of the
Islamic economics,’’ Dr Bakar  Almohdzar said.

The ensuing sixth edition of
the WIEF will be one of the most important business events this year
focusing on the business opportunities in the Muslim world. The Forum is
expected to bring together about 2000 participants comprising of world
leaders and the global business community. Several heads of the states
and CEOs of prominent international companies are expected to attend the
Forum which will be open to Muslim and non-Muslim

“The tagline of the Forum
will be ‘building bridges through business’ and there will be no
discussions on matters pertaining to theology, ideology, politics and
security. The discussions will be just on business,’’ Dr Bakar
 Almohdzar said.

Asked about the proposal to
launch a unified currency for the Islamic world, he said these are
issues to be debated at different platforms. “We will be providing
networking opportunities to those who are keen to do business with the
Muslim world.

Business deals worth $ 3.1
billion were announced in the previous  edition of the WIEF held in
Jakarta, in 2009, This activity of business match-making will be done in
a more systematic way in this year’s WIFE,’’ he said.

Youth, women and SMEs will
get special attention at the WIFE 2010.  ‘Climate change’ will be one of
the topics to be debated at the Forum. Dato’ Yahaya Bin Abdul Jabar,
Ambassador of Malaysia to the UAE, and Essa Abdulla Al Ghurair, vice
chairman of the Al Ghurair and  Board Member of WIEF Foundation also
addressed the Press conference.