UAE: Encouraging local talent


Rohma Sadaqat (Staff Reporter) Khaleej Times

Dubai is cementing its position as the capital of global Islamic economy

Dubai: Submissions for the second round of the 2014 Islamic Economy Awards have drawn a strong local and global response, with participants eager to showcase their business initiatives.

encouraginh25092014“Empowering nationals is a major priority of the UAE and Dubai’s strategy. The Islamic economy award targets local and global leaders across all sectors of the economy and society. By encouraging national talent to take part in Dubai’s journey to become the capital of Islamic economy, we can further the development of the local Islamic economy sectors,” said Hussain Al Qemzi, board member of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) and head of the Islamic Economy Award’s jury.

“We provide a platform to those who have big ideas, and who would like to work and develop a solid business plan; and above all have the desire to succeed,” Al Qemzi told Khaleej Times in an interview.

The Islamic Economy Award was launched by the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) in 2013. Under the patronage of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the award recognises leaders in various sectors of the Islamic economy, and rewards innovative world-class business initiatives and ideas.

By bringing together the best practices and innovations annually through the award, Dubai is cementing its position as the capital of the global Islamic economy. The award recognises global and regional leadership within eight key Islamic economy categories, in addition to the prestigious ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’. The Islamic Economy Award recognises leadership within the following eight categories: Money and Finance, Food and Health, Media, Hospitality and Tourism, Waqf and Endowments, SME Development, Islamic Economy Knowledge Infrastructure, and Islamic Arts.

“The interest in the award has grown significantly, not just globally, but also regionally and locally,” revealed Al Qemzi. “With the establishment of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, Dubai has witnessed numerous initiatives that will contribute to the growth of the Islamic economy. In turn, the award has motivated many institutions and individuals, and inspired innovation across all sectors and across the world. The award has also given greater visibility to Dubai’s and the DIEDC’s efforts to accelerate and manage the development of the Islamic economy in trade, retail, tourism, aviation, hospitality, financial services and logistics.”

Nominations for the second round of the award, via the website, are underway and will close on October 7, 2014. The award winners will be announced in the fourth quarter of 2014. To ensure integrity of the award, it is managed by an independent global firm, Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading information provider, and audited by Deloitte, the world’s largest privately-held professional services organization, and adjudicated by an independent panel of judges guided by strict criteria.

“Islamic finance and banking is integral to the growth of the Islamic economy as it is the fuel that drives the Islamic economy’s engine,” Al Qemzi explained. “Awareness about one sector leads to a greater awareness of others. The Islamic Economy Award will recognise global and regional leadership within the category of money and finance, Islamic microfinance, SME and venture capital financing, corporate or sovereign sukuk issuing entities, takaful and retakaful, Islamic banking, and Islamic fund management.”

Al Qemzi further explained: “Islamic banking is not new to Dubai as the emirate has traditionally been perceived as the home to Islamic banking following the setting up of the first global Islamic bank in the emirate way back in 1975. Since then both in the UAE and across the world, Islamic banking has seen significant double digit annual  growth, although it must be conceded that it remains a tiny part of the global banking sector. Nevertheless, it is the fastest growing segment in the international financial system.”

With more than 600 Islamic financial institutions operating in more than 75 countries, the Islamic banking profit pool is projected to reach $30.5 billion by 2018, according to research done by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The industry is not only growing in size, but also in sophistication, with products offered ranging from Shariah-compliant credit cards to insurance and investment products.

Rapid growth markets (RGMs) Qatar, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, the UAE and Turkey, recently known as ‘Qismut’, are expected to see their collective Islamic banking assets reach an estimated $1.6 trillion in 2018, according to Ernst & Young’s latest World Islamic Banking Competitiveness Report 2013–2014. Globally, the growth of Islamic banking assets is expected to reach $3.4 trillion by 2018. Presently, Islamic banks serve close to 38 million customers globally, two-thirds of whom reside in Qismut.

With expanding economies and a fast-growing customer base for financial services, Qismut is fast becoming an attractive prospect for any bank looking to grow its revenues, having commanded 78 per cent of the international Islamic banking assets in 2012, and growing at a five-year CAGR of 16.4 per cent. By 2018, these RGMs are also envisaged to represent a GDP of $4.8 trillion with a mostly young population of around 419 million, making them the drivers of the next wave of development for the industry.

“There can be no doubt that the Islamic economy is gaining in importance globally; not just in Muslim majority countries, but also in countries where Muslims may be in the minority but are, nevertheless, a significant contributor to local economies,” said Al Qemzi.

“There are four major drivers of this growth,” he noted. “Global environment-based drivers are being led by the participation of global multinationals in the Islamic economy. The second driver is developed economies seeking growth markets. Then there is the growing global focus on business ethics and social responsibility that is in line with the ethical base of the Islamic economy.”

“The final major driver is the global revolution in communication technology, which is making it easier for people in all strata of society to learn about the Islamic economy and its benefits. I am confident, that together, these key drivers will shape the growth of the Islamic economy for many years to come,” he said.