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 20.
“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.