Parallel Session: Dubai Islamic Economy Round Table, Organized by Dubai Exports and Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre

An economy that addresses special needs of the industry is growing worldwide and not exclusively in the Muslim majority countries. This is particularly true for halal product market which is now faced with growing challenges to meet increased demand, create a legal environment that taps into this multi-trillion dollar market and define and harmonize standards. This was the topic of the special round table dedicated to Islamic economy which was organized as a parallel session at the Sarajevo Business Forum 2017.

The organizers of the meeting were the Dubai Exports and the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC). The round table was attended by international and regional officials, entrepreneurs, representatives of the academic world and investors from Dubai as well as from the entire region.

The aim of the round table was to refocus the traditional Islamic business discourse and consider the possibilities for improving cross-border trade, particularly in the field of halal products. Moderator of the round table was Dr. Ashraf Ali Mahate who said that Islamic economy was a lifestyle movement. It has a huge potential, since 1.8 billion of Muslims have a need for halal certified products.

“Real challenge for Islamic economy is to connect the markets. Future of this economy rests on trade and there is no country that can do it alone.”

Ali Mahate explained that it was difficult to work out the real value of Islamic economy because there was no unified codification system. Estimates vary from 3 to 12 trillion dollars.

More and more people think that there should be alternative methods of increasing halal production, making it more efficient and finding more comprehensive method of accreditation and halal certification which would be recognized globally. Dr. Khaled Al Janahi, adviser at the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center, United Arab Emirates, said that halal industry had a great potential but that there was a lot of work that needed to be done.

“We see Dubai as the center of Islamic economy in the world. Besides, there are some regional hubs of Islamic economy. Sarajevo has a chance to become a hub for the Balkan region,” said Al Janahi.

During the round table on Islamic economy, Al Janahi presented a promising project that Dubai had started three years ago, which was planned to make Dubai a “house of Islamic economy trade”.

“Islamic finance industry is growing day by day and it is crucial for many projects. Now, our goal is halal industry. We want to standardize it and it is our final pillar. Digital economy is also one of goals”, Al Janahi said at the round table session.

One of the steps in the standardization of Islamic economy is having a unified law that will support Islamic finance. It is an international project with main objective of unifying Islamic finance codes. Upon finalization, these standardized codes will be a point of reference for all projects related to Islamic economy and this will be the first time for this standardization to come into existence since the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

Presenters agreed that entire system should be standardized, whether it involved food industry, pharmaceutical and textile industry, or hotel and restaurant services.

Dr. Humayon Dar, President & CEO of Edbiz Consulting Limited, United Kingdom supported the idea of standardized codes in Islamic economy. Dr. Dar also pointed out that Islamic economy was not related only to Muslim majority countries, naming Western economic centers as the ones that assumed leadership in the development of Islamic finance services. At the panel, the participants also mentioned that the poorest Muslim countries should not be forgotten in this process.

Dr. Velid Efendić, Assistant Professor at Faculty of Economics, University of Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina, noted that this growth should be supported by an established knowledge base.

“Somebody must manage these projects in order to know how these standards will be applied. It is not an alternative way, but rather a necessary one. Uneducated persons are huge obstacles to implementation of Islamic economy standards.”

The participants also discussed the role of governments in the promotion of the principles of Islamic economy and the experiences of developed centers in United Arab Emirates and Malaysia.

Mr. Abdur Rahim Ghulam Nabi, Senior Adviser, Dubai Airport Freezone, United Arab Emirates, mentioned the example of Dubai Free Zones which could be a good example for Sarajevo.

“We offer the companies whatever they need, particularly simple procedures for export and trade. Dubai Free Zone is one of the best in the world and companies from Bosnia and Herzegovina can come and open their offices and start doing business,” said Ghulam Nabi.

The round table on Islamic economy was closed with the message that the partnership between regional hubs must be a priority for future development projects in Islamic economy.

One of the steps in the standardization of Islamic economy is having a unified law that will support Islamic finance. It is an international project with main objective of unifying Islamic finance codes. Upon finalization, these standardized codes will be a point of reference for all projects related to Islamic economy and this will be the first time for this standardization to come into existence since the fall of the Ottoman Empire.

 

Dr. Khaled Al Janahi, adviser at the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center, United Arab Emirates, said that halal industry had a great potential but that there was a lot of work that needed to be done.