Dubai’s ruler Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum has issued a decree to establish the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, which will aid the emirate’s ambitions to become a global Islamic finance hub.
According to official news agency WAM, the centre’s role includes “promotion of the emirate of Dubai to become the global capital of Islamic economy, promotion of economic activities compatible with Islamic law in goods and financial services sectors, as well as the non-financial sector.”
The centre will also work towards promoting sharia compliant goods and will help in building a database of Islamic economic activities while encouraging arbitration in the same. It will also conduct specialised studies and research to determine the contribution of sharia complaint economic activities to Dubai’s GDP and ways of developing it further.
Sheikh Mohammed also issued a decree to form a board of directors, comprising of members from the local and federal government, to oversee the centre.
Mohammed Abdulllah Al Gergawi, the UAE’s minster of Cabinet Affairs and chairman of Dubai Holding, has been appointed the chairperson of the board. Sami Daen Al Qazmi, the director general of Dubai Department of Economic Development was named the vice chairman of the board while Essa Abdul Fattah Kazim, chairman of Dubai Financial Market, was appointed as the body’s secretary general.
Dubai has been aiming to tap into the potential of Islamic finance with plans to become a global hub that will rival other Islamic finance centres like Kuala Lumpur and London.
According to a report by Thomson Reuters and Dubai authorities, the global Islamic economy has a potential value of $6.7 trillion and is bigger than most of the economies in the world except China and the United States.
The report estimates that Muslim consumers’ global expenditure on the media, food, and lifestyle sectors such as cosmetics and tourism touched $1.62 trillion in 2012. This figure is forecast to touch $2.47 trillion by 2018.
Islamic financial assets, valued at $1.35 trillion, are expected to grow 15 to 20 per cent per year in the core markets, the report said.