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Experts: Islamic economy shaping global trade

Islamic economy and finance have become a critical component of the global economy, according to experts who participated in the recently-concluded Dubai Week in Africa 2021 virtual conference.

 

The event was attended by UAE’s Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Dr Abdullah Belhaif Al Nuaimi, Cabinet Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock & Fisheries in Kenya, Peter Munya, CEO, Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre , Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar and Chairman, Nairobi Securities Exchange, Kiprono Kittony. During the panel sessions, it emerged how important Islamic finance products such as sukuk bonds have become to those seeking to raise capital in a post-pandemic global economy.

 

Munya said Kenya was seeing this as an opportunity, a partnership that could be strengthened focusing on agro-processing of products available in the country that are required in the UAE currently.

 

“Government has passed a cabinet memorandum allowing idle government land to be leased out to private investors who may want to invest in production, and I’m told in UAE there are a lot of investors who are interested in that space,” he noted.

 

According to Al Nuaimi, the UAE had ranked amongst the top Islamic economies in the world last year through in-depth expertise in the field, a robust trade infrastructure and initiatives such as Dubai Capital of Islamic Economy. The government aims to reinforce the UAE’s position as a global hub for Islamic finance and trusted export partner for Halal products.

 

“As we come out of the COVID-19 outbreak, we firmly believe the Islamic economy has the potential to drive global post pandemic economic recovery. A major opportunity in this regard is investing in halal food trade with the aim of enhancing national food security.

 

Corona virus has highlighted the need for diversifying and boosting the international food supply chains to enhance uninterrupted availability of food at times of crisis,” added Dr. Al Nuaimi.

 

Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO, Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, said: “What better way to end the week than to focus on the Islamic economy sector I personally believe that Sukuk holds a lot of potential especially when it comes to the post Covid-19 recovery plan for a lot of nations, we’ve seen some countries already announcing plans for this purpose.

 

“The Kenyan financial markets provide the UAE a great entry point to establish its economic presence in this region We signed an MoU with Nasdaq – Dubai to work together towards supporting the issuance of sukuk by the Kenyan government.

 

Our regulator, the Capital Markets Authority of Kenya has prioritised this growth by supporting the reforming of the regulatory landscape to allow for the even treatment of Islamic and non-conventional finance,” said Kittony.

 

Douraid Zaghouani, Chief Operating Officer, Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD) said: “We have difficulty of movement today especially with the corona virus the idea is to create a hub/eco system where we have all the buyers and sellers from all around the world so if we could have a space where I can put my goods, present my capabilities in one place with a lot of people coming there, it would make a lot of sense because I will do one trip instead of five or six.

 

“In Africa one of the interesting things is that over half of the countries in Africa are members of The Organisation of Islamic Countries, so this brings a very good nexus of global halal trade on one hand and huge domestic consumption,” added Dr Ashraf Mahate, Chief Economist – Trade & Export Market Development, Dubai Exports who acted as moderator for one of the panel sessions.

 

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