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22 Aug, 2016

Exclusive Compilation: Highlights of the 12th World Islamic Economic Forum

A compilation of progressive, positive, inspiring and motivating events and developments in the world of Islam for the week ending 22 August 2016 (19 Dhul Qa’dah 1437). Pls click on any of the headlines below to go to the story.




Proclamations of “Merdeka” or “Freedom/Independence” are often heard nationwide this August as it is Malaysia’s Independence Day on 31st August. The country marks its independence in 1957 with the Merdeka Day Parade at Dataran Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur. K-Poppers mustn’t miss the first ever iKoncert Showtime Tour in Kuala Lumpur. But if you are looking for local culture engagement and music, then head to Penang for the Boria Festival. Meanwhile, mark the date for these home-grown music festivals, i.e. Sarawak’s Rainforest World Music Festival or Good Vibes Festival in Pahang. Love sports? Challenge Iskandar Puteri 2016, Merdeka Day Open Regatta 2016 and Padawan Raft Safari 2016 are events you shouldn’t miss. Have fun, stay healthy, enjoy quality time with the family and explore the surrounding of Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur Fashion Week returns to Pavilion, KL with up-to-date and exclusive fashion trends. Meet your favourite designers and celebrities while you feast your eyes on amazing fashion collections. To give you some ideas of what to do in August, here’s a line-up of well-balanced events to enjoy in Malaysia. http://www.tourism.gov.my/media/view/experience-malaysia-august-1

For more information about what makes Malaysia one of the most popular destinations in the Islamic world, as well as on planning your next holiday or MICE event in Malaysia, please click: http://www.malaysia.travel.

facebook: http://www.facebook.com/friendofmalaysia

twitter: http://twitter.com/tourismmalaysia

Blog: http://blog.tourism.gov.my



Visitor arrivals from Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim country, to Thailand are rising steadily in the first half of 2016, thanks to low-cost airlines and growing promotions of the availability of Muslim-friendly services and facilities. The launch of the Tourism Authority of Thailand’s app promoting Muslim-friendly products and services, growing availability of halal food and new flights by AirAsia and Thai Lion Air are among the major factors contributing to a 16% increase in Indonesian visitors in May 2016 and 10% increase in June 2016. As citizens of a fellow ASEAN country, Indonesians don’t need visas to Thailand. They love to shop for clothes and enjoy Thai food. The TAT is seeing a growing number of first-time visitors, especially to Bangkok and the beach resort of Pattaya. The TAT marketing office in Jakarta is stepping up promotions of Muslim packages, and Family & Children packages covering attractions such as the Dinosaur Planet, Dream World, Cartoon Network, Pipo Pony, Madame Tussauds, and Sea Life. Destinations surrounding Bangkok are getting popular, namely Hua Hin and Nakhon Pathom. Honeymooners like Krabi and Ko Samui. The TAT is also targetting the ladies and friends market, including housewives and office workers, and young travellers.

A special app has been created by the TAT to help Muslim visitors find the appropriate facilities and services. It can be downloaded by clicking here: http://www.tourismthailand.org/muslimfriendly


Watch Islamic Travel Newswire Executive Editor Imtiaz Muqbil’s landmark TEDx lecture on “Peace through Tourism” on YouTube — the first travel industry journalist in Bangkok invited to speak at this prestigious forum. CLICK HERE.



Highlights of the 12th World Islamic Economic Forum

Jakarta – The 12th World Islamic Economic Forum, held in Jakarta between Aug 2-4, attracted a record turnout of 4,080 top delegates from around the world. Renowned worldwide as a yearly gathering for world leaders and top CEOs, the WIEF continues to make inroads into new territories, shedding light on new business opportunities in and around the Muslim world.

The 12th WIEF in Jakarta looked into the theme of decentralisation of growth, namely in acknowledging the urgent role of small and medium businesses in driving economic growth in national economies around the world, away from the previous dominance of big multinationals, which represent only a small portion of the business community of any particular country.

Decentralisation of growth towards empowering small and medium business sectors is pivotal to ensure the participation of a larger number of the population in mainstream economy. The outcome is inescapable – a resilient domestic sector, and a strong globally competitive economy. In a world led by cutting-edge technology, the only way economies can survive is to embrace change and empower future businesses to chart the business landscape of tomorrow.

Islamic Travel Newswire Executive Editor Imtiaz Muqbil was one of the hosted media. This dispatch contains a compilation of the key speeches, presentations and media releases made available at the various events. They will prove a useful, time-saving source of research and information for those seeking new opportunities in the Islamic world.

This effort is exactly in line with one of the key recommendations of the Jakarta Statement which underlines “the importance of enhancing media strategy to improve global perception of Islamic world investments and business potentials”.

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Nominations invited for US$500,000 Mustafa Prize

The Mustafa Prize is a top science and technology award granted to the top researchers and scientists of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states biennially.

The Prize seeks to encourage education and research and is set to play the pioneering role in developing relations between science and technology institutions working in the OIC member countries.

It also aims to improve scientific relation between academics and researchers to facilitate the growth and perfection of science in the OIC member states.

The Prize is awarded in four categories, namely “Life Science and Medical Sciences”, “Nano Science and Nanotechnologies”, “The Information and Communication Science and Technologies”, and “Top Scientific Achievement in other fields”.

The laureates in each section will be awarded 500,000 USD which is financed through the endowments made to the Prize. The winners will also be adorned with a special medal and certificate.

The Mustafa Prize was launched in 2013. The Policy making Council of the Prize which is tasked with supervising various procedures of the event is comprised of high-profile universities and academic centers of OIC member states.

The prize will be granted to the works which have improved the human life and have made tangible and cutting-edge innovations on the boundaries of science or have presented new scientific methodology.

Further details: http://mustafaprize.org/

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The Way Forward: Jakarta Statement on 12th WIEF

The 12th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) with the theme, “Decentralising Growth, Empowering Future Business” was held in Jakarta on 2-4 August 2016. The Forum was held in the wake of global economic challenges, geopolitical uncertainties, financial market turbulences and effects of climate change.

The Opening Session of the 12th WIEF was addressed by the President of Indonesia, Prime Minister of Malaysia and Patron of the WIEF Foundation, Leaders from Tajikistan, Guinea, Sri Lanka and Jordan, Special Representatives of the Governments of South Africa, Cambodia, Qatar, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Algeria, the Minister of Finance of Indonesia, the President of Islamic Development Bank and the Chairman of the WIEF.

The Forum was also attended by 4,080 participants from 73 countries including 2 former Leaders, 12 Ministers, 10 Vice Ministers, leading corporate figures, businesswomen, young entrepreneurs, thought leaders, academia, representatives of the creative arts and the media.

The Forum discussed topics relevant to the expansion of the global halal ecosystem, enhancing the inclusiveness of Islamic finance, the improvement of the MSME environment, the support of startups and the development of the creative industry.

The Forum continued to promote the Islamic economy with emphasis on creativity and innovation through a variety of formats including Panel Discussions, Masterclasses, Business Exchange, Ideapad, Pitching Sessions, LinkedUp, Special Complementary Programmes, Sponsors Programmes, Country Investment Programmes, an SME Exhibition, Marketplace of Creative Arts and a Business Networking Breakfast.

The Leaders highlighted that:

  • Growing inequality continues to defy solutions for inclusive development,
  • Centralised development tends to overlook or even marginalise large sections of society in many countries,
  • The unintended consequence of innovative technology often was the enrichment of a few,
  • The potential of the young population of the developing world has not been effectively utilized,
  • The importance of enhancing media strategy to improve global perception of Islamic world investments and business potentials.

Notable recommendations for overcoming these challenges and addressing the issues of decentralisation and empowering business include the following:

i. To promote and support an enabling environment including access to finance, for the development and corporatisation of MSMEs and co­operatives to address job creation, income generation and to unlock economic opportunities in rural communities,

ii. To harness the use of innovative training to provide youth with modern skills to enhance their economic exchange value as well as to infuse Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for promoting wider social benefit out of the application of innovative technology,

iii. To expand the use of Islamic Finance to grow the halal ecosystem, modest fashion industry, infrastructure development and Social Finance,

iv. To harness the use of disruptive technologies for the wider benefit of a more inclusive society,

v. To develop strategies to enhance the potential of creative industries to spread economic growth.

Eleven agreements relating to real estate, medical facility, halal industry, franchise industry, Islamic finance and capital market amounting to USD899.6 million were exchanged during the Forum.

The Forum recorded its appreciation to H.E. President Joko Widodo and the Government of the Republic of Indonesia for hosting the 1ih WIEF in Jakarta, Indonesia and for the warm hospitality accorded to all participants.

The Forum also acknowledged the contribution and support of Members of the International Advisory Panel, Partners, Sponsors, Role Players, Secretariat and Volunteers.

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First Global Entrepreneurship Community event to be held in KL

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that Malaysia will host the first Global Entrepreneurship Community (“GECommunity”) event in Kuala Lumpur on 2-3 November 2016. The GECommunity will offer a platform for Malaysian, ASEAN and global entrepreneurs, policymakers, industry leaders, investors and other startup community participants to connect and participate in specially curated programmes designed to build strategic linkages and drive real change.

The GECommunity, part of a week-long Malaysia Entrepreneurship Week, reinforces the government’s strong commitment to transform Malaysia into the world’s next innovation capital. The event is a programme under the National Entrepreneurship Development Office (NEDO) under the Ministry of Finance, the Malaysian Global Innovation and Creativity Centre (MaGIC) and supported by Community Partner the Global Entrepreneurship Movement (GEM).

In his speech, the Malaysian Prime Minister said, “Malaysia has put in place a robust entrepreneurship and ecosystem framework. We recognise that entrepreneurs are key drivers of the nation’s economic and social progress, helping build new economies critical to sustainable development. The GECommunity will help to strengthen and develop an inclusive entrepreneurship ecosystem, putting in place platforms and policies that catalyse cross-border partnerships and affect real change. We are excited that GECommunity will put Malaysia on the map for global entrepreneurs and unleash greater opportunities for startups to engage and collaborate on solutions for the new economies of the future.”

The GECommunity will focus on 12 main business clusters: Biotechnology, Food and Agriculture, Retail and Tourism, Smart Cities, Alternative Resources, Education and Finance, Media and Creative Industries, Healthcare, as well as Transport and Logistics. Each cluster will bring together 100 key players from the sector to exchange ideas, share industry best practices and leverage on the knowledge-based economy to integrate local businesses into the global market place. The event also aims to initiate cross-border collaboration and partnership, as well as create real and measurable impact on the future of the global entrepreneurship ecosystem.

Aside from the cluster discussions, the GECommunity expects another 1,200 entrepreneurs to attend special fireside chats or mentoring sessions with key personalities from each of the business clusters. Members of the public could also participate in the GECommunity by attending the event’s open exhibition for promising startups as well as research and innovation agencies.

To cater for startups in the later stage of business growth, the GECommunity will also hold a Malaysian Commercialisation Year segment, the result of a partnership with the Malaysian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (MOSTI). The segment will offer commercialisation opportunities for Malaysian entrepreneurs within the technology, innovation and research space.

The GECommunity will conclude with the Global Startup Awards ceremony, where the world’s best startups will be celebrated after months of careful curation, screening and judging process. Although the GECommunity is by-invitation only, interested entrepreneurs are invited to visit www.gecommunities.org and explain how and what they can contribute to the event.

Tan Sri Dr. Mohd Irwan Serigar Abdullah, Secretary General of the Treasury, Ministry of Finance Malaysia as well as Chairman of MaGIC and Patron of GEM, said, “Entrepreneurs are a critical component of the drive for Malaysia to achieve fully developed nation status by 2020. Through their innovation, creativity and inherent willingness to embrace risk, entrepreneurs make invaluable contributions to our country’s growth. They are the cornerstones of the knowledge economy and integral to helping achieve our goal of becoming a high income nation. Through GECommunity, we intend to create a global entrepreneurship ecosystem in which growth-oriented entrepreneurial business can thrive and contribute to innovation, employment and the economy.”

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Islamic Montessori school to expand in Indonesia

Jakarta – Brainy Bunch International Islamic Montessori, the fastest growing and the largest Islamic Montessori preschool in the world, inked a Master Franchise Agreement in Indonesia during the World Islamic Economic Forum WIEF in Jakarta Indonesia. The agreement between Brainy Bunch Sdn Bhd and PT Brainy Bunch Indonesia gives rights to PT Brainy Bunch Indonesia to setup Brainy Bunch Islamic Preschools in Indonesia. Brainy Bunch Malaysia is planning to invest USD 10 Million in the next 5 years for its campus expansion plans in Indonesia. Local investors will be able to participate in this business expansion plan as well.

Indonesia has over 28 million children aged 0-6 years old as of the recent count and this number is rapidly growing. Brainy Bunch believes that the expansion in Indonesia will benefit the population of children who will have access to a premium education system which adopts Montessori as it’s pedagogy, Islam as it’s way of life and guidance, and English at the core of its curriculum. Children who have attended the Brainy Bunch Preschool program show that they are more independent, confident, engaged, expressive and have a very strong Islamic character as the system focuses primarily on the child’s behavioral development. In doing so, their academic progress and continued development traverses through a smooth transition into mastery of subjects.

Started in 2010 with only 1 campus and 70 students, to date, Brainy Bunch runs and operates a total of 72 campuses in Malaysia, two in Singapore, one each in China and Indonesia, and a charity school in Gaza with a student population of over 5,000 and 600 teachers and staff. They also have their own International school in Malaysia registered with the Cambridge programme in the UK.

The first Brainy Bunch campus in Indonesia is located at Tebet Raya in south Jakarta province. The school started operations on 171 July 2016 with a target to have 100,000 students within the next 10 years. Last May, Brainy Bunch also signed an MOU with Universitas Islam Indonesia on preschool teachers training and teachers supplies to support the Brainy Bunch expansion plan in Indonesia. There will be more than 10,000 employment opportunities to be created with Brainy Bunch in Indonesia.

Brainy Bunch’s local partner is an academician Dr Robi Nurhadi who completed his Philosophy Doctorate on Strategic and International Studies from National University of Malaysia (UKM). He has been a senior lecturer in the International Department of Universitas Nasional, Jakarta, since 2003. He is currently working for the Jakarta’s Parliament (DPRD DKI Jakarta) since 2007. He used to work for the House of Indonesian Senate (DPD Rl) from the years 2008 to 2014, National People’s Assembly (MPR Rl) 2014-2015, and the Minister of State Apparatus (Menpan RB Rl) 2014-2016. He is also the Secretary of Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI) Jakarta.

Brainy Bunch aspires to be the world No 1 brand in International Preschool market. Brainy Bunch is inviting likeminded strategic investors from countries all over the world to partner with Brainy Bunch in its mission to change the world through the right education.

For more information, please contact: robi@brainybunch.com, Dr Robi Nurhadi, Country Manager of PT Brainy Bunch Indonesia (PMA), +6281399027129, or Fadzil@brainybunch.com, Group CEO & Founder of Brainy Bunch, +60193303849

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Launch Of Ulama Nusantara, A Documentary On Arrival Of Islam In The Malay Archipelago

JAKARTA, 2 AUGUST 2016 – Malaysian Prime Minister Date’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Hj. Razak and his counterpart Indonesian President H.E. Joke Widodo today witnessed the launch of a new documentary series on the arrival of Islam and the key figures involved in the spreading of the faith within the Nusantara archipelago 1,400 years ago.

Entitled Ulama Nusantara, the 13-episode historical documentary travelogue was launched on the sidelines of the 12th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF 2016) in Jakarta.

Present at the launch were Datuk Seri FD Iskandar, Group Chairman of Media Prima Berhad, and Ahmad Izham Omar, Chief Executive Officer of Primeworks Studios.

The documentary, which will be aired in Malaysia and Indonesia, is produced by Primeworks Studios in collaboration with the Department of Arabic and Islamic Civilisational Studies, Faculty of Islamic Studies, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). Researchers from three renowned Indonesian universities – Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University, Jakarta,the State Islamic University Imam Bonjol, Padang and the State Islamic University Ar Raniry, Banda Aceh, were also invited to play crucial roles in the production of the documentary.

The programme traces how, through the spice route around the Malay Archipelago, Islam had helped further propagate integration of society especially in education and culture.

A 14-man panel of researchers and evaluators led by Professor Dr Wan Mujani, Dean of Islamic Studies Faculty, UKM, sifted through mountains of records and archives for documentations that reveal the manner Islam was spread in the region.

Several well-known historians from the Indonesian academia,including Prof. Dr. Azyumardi Azra and Prof. Dr. Oman Fathurahman from the Syarif Hidayatullah State Islamic University (UIN) were also instrumental in providing valuable research information.

“This collaboration is a great opportunity to share our knowledge and history about how Islam first arrived and the important role played by the region’s Ulamas in spreading the religion throughout the archipelago. We expect the documentary to attract academicians, history buffs and casual viewers given the extensive research conducted prior to filming,” said Ahmad lzham Omar.

The filming took the crew to six countries including Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei Thailand, Egypt and Turkey.

Ulama Nusantara is a Corporate Responsibility initiative by Khazanah Nasional Berhad, the strategic investment fund of the Malaysian Government, and Yayasan Hasanah, a foundation of Khazanah Nasional Berhad. The programme, based on historical facts, will take the viewers to different parts of the early Nusantara to trace and re-enact historical accounts of Islamic scholars (or Ulama) and their impact on the region.

It took the team more than three years to complete the project – from research down to filming the programme, with the first episode of Ulama Nusantara expected to be aired in October this year.

Primeworks Studios Sdn Bhd is the award-winning content creation subsidiary of Media Prima Berhad and one of Asia’s largest production companies. Producing over 5,000 hours of compelling content annually for a range of platforms including television, cinema and digital, the production house is the creative force behind a wide range of genres including entertainment, magazine, documentary, sports, and drama. Flagship and popular shows include Anugerah Juara Lagu, Majalah 3, Nona, Welcome to the Rail World, Best in the World, Hip-Hoppin’ Asia, Jalan Jalan Cari Makan, Mentor, Melodi and Jejak Rasul. Primeworks Studios’ Asian Stories for the World content offering is marketed through its distribution arm, Primeworks Distribution.

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Outlook on Global Islamic Economy 2016: a Perspective by Thomson Reuters

Thomson Reuters, the world’s leading provider of intelligent information for businesses and professionals, held a session today in the World Islamic Economic Forum in Jakarta, Indonesia. The session provided an outlook on the growth of the global Islamic finance industry and the broader Islamic economy. It also gave key insights from the Indonesia Islamic finance report that was recently launched at ceremony last March in Jakarta.

1. Islamic Finance Assets grew by 10 percent to reach $2 trillion in 2015

Islamic Finance is considered the most developed sector within the various pillars of the Islamic economy. The growth in the global industry is broadly measured by the value of Islamic Finance assets. In 2015, Islamic Finance assets were $2 trillion, with Islamic Banking representing 73 percent of these, followed by sukuk which represented 17 percent. This was based on the initial findings of lCD Thomson Reuters Islamic Finance Development Indicator (IFDI 2016) that was presented during the session. The increase in assets was driven by strong growth in all sectors -­ Islamic banking, takaful, outstanding sukuk and net value of Islamic funds. According to Thomson Reuters ‘ projections, Islamic Finance assets are projected to grow to $3.2 trillion by 2020, with Islamic banking reaching $2.6 trillion.

Saudi Arabia, Iran and Malaysia lead Islamic banking by holding almost 65% of global Islamic assets in 2015, reflecting significant concentration within the top three countries.

2. Sukuk market suffers with the dearth of new issuers

The sukuk market on the other hand has struggled in the past couple of years due to the global economic uncertainty which has caused the dearth of new players. The sukuk market dropped significantly to $66 billion in 2015 (2014: $101.8 billion), a performance that was not anticipated by market players after ending 2014 on a strong note. According to the Sukuk perceptions and forecast study, the drop in sukuk market is also attributed to cessation of short terms sukuk by Bank Malaysia Negara (BNM) m Malaysia, the world’s biggest sukuk market, holding approximately 50% market share.

In 2016, the sukuk market continued to struggle as a number of issuers have shifted to the bonds market for raising liquidity. However, in the past couple of months the sukuk market has become somewhat active, on the back of recent issuances from Malaysia and Turkey. As of July, 2016, the sukuk market has relatively picked up to stand at $38.7 billion, although remains slightly below 2015 levels of $40.9 billion. The amounts issued so far are in line with our forecasts in our last year’s sukuk report. Our supply and demand model expects the total issuance to be around $70 billion by end of 2016. The outlook remains positive with new countries announced to issue next year such as Kenya and South Africa among other existing countries.

3. Indonesia Islamic Finance: Prospects for Exponential Growth

Thomson Reuters also shared some of the key findings from their Indonesia Islamic Finance Report titled “Prospects for Exponential Growth”. The study, prepared in collaboration with the Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), an affiliate of the Islamic Development Bank Group, and in strategic partnership with CIMB Islamic Bank, was launched in March 2016.

The presentation highlighted how Indonesia’s vast natural resources and strategic geographic location, offers great potential for economic growth, and an array of opportunities for the Islamic finance industry. Unlike other countries, the Islamic finance industry in Indonesia has largely been built up on community based initiatives. This has led to the development of unique features such as the presence of rural Islamic banks, retail sukuk, Hajj funds and various innovative social finance initiatives.

Now with the government making the development of the Islamic finance industry a key pillar in their overall economic growth strategy, the industry is expected to grow into a strong and sustainable sector of the financial services industry, while still maintaining many of its unique products and services. The government is expecting this to drive up the market share of Islamic banking from 5 percent today to 11 percent by 2020.

For more information, go to www.thomsonreuters.com.

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UMLand and J-Biotech Signs Landmark Agreements to develop Halal Industrial Parks

JAKARTA, 2 August 2016 – UMLand J-Biotech Park Sdn Bhd (UJP), a joint venture company between United Malayan Land Bhd (UMLand), one of Malaysia’s leading property developers, and Johor Biotechnology & Biodiversity Corporation (J-Biotech), an investment arm of the State of Johor (Malaysia), signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with three (3) separate entities during the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) 2016.

UJP was set up to spearhead the development of Johor Halal Park, which is envisioned to become the first premium bio-halal industrial park in Malaysia. This is a strategic development to position the State of Johor (Malaysia) to be one of the best halal industrial park in the world in terms of world class facilities and halal eco-system.

The first MOU was signed between UJP and Johor Toyyiban Laboratories Sdn Bhd (JTLab) to formalise the establishment of an international scientific and halal laboratory in two (2) stages by 2017 and 2018 with incubator facilities of international standards, within Johor Halal Park. The agreement, is a commitment that JTLab will provides comprehensive scientific services for regional and international markets in the state of Johor with a value at approximately RM20 million.

The second MOU was signed between UJP and Majlis Agama Islam Negeri Johor (MAIJ) for the purchase of freehold properties located in Johor Halal Park. These purchases include six (6) units of Link-Detached and Cluster Factories worth approximately RM16.5 million and five (5) units of Shop-Office valued at approximately RM4.0 million.

The third MOU was signed between UJP and SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp) to form a partnership that will boost the collaborative role SME Corp will play in the development of Johor Halal Park into a platform that is conducive to the growth of small and medium enterprises in Malaysia.

SME Corp will also help to enable SMEs to lease premises in Johor Halal Park with an option to purchase at a later date.

Dennis Ng, Group Managing Director of UMLand said, “The MOUs signed today mark a significant step forward in making Johor Halal Park into a globally-recognised premium bio­halal industrial park.”

“In line with our philosophy of Built World Class, we believe that the success and growth of Johor Halal Park can only be achieved with the continued support and buy-in from key stakeholders, be it from the public or private sectors locally and internationally. As such, we are delighted to be able to finalise these important MOUs in conjunction with WIEF, which is one of the world’s most significant economic forums,” he added.

En Wan Amir Jeffery, CEO of J-Biotech said, “The development of Johor Halal Park is progressing positively, and this is reflected by the MOUs signed today. JTLab, MAIJ and SME Corp will play an integral role in Johor Halal Park in making this revolutionary platform for businesses and investments from around the world. In turn, Johor Halal Park will become a successful growth catalyst for the entire State of Johor.”

“Johor Halal Park is located about fifteen minutes from Pasir Gudang Port and within close proximity of Iskandar Malaysia’s Eastern Gate. As a freehold land, Johor Halal Park has a gross development value of approximately RM1.5 billion and will be developed in different phases across the span of five to seven years. Components in Johor Halal Park will include a regional marketing and clearing house, an integrated packaging, warehousing and logistic one-stop centre as well as a scientific and halallaboratory” Mohd Noor Abd Salam, Chief Executive Officer of UJP added.

Present during the signing of the MoUs were Yang Berusaha Tuan Haji Mutalip bin Abdul Rahim, Chairman of JTLab and an Exco member of MAIJ, En. Raja Taufik Azad b. Ahmad Suhaimi,Chief Operating Officer of J-Biotech and YBhg Dato’ Haji Nooh Gadut, advisor for MAIJ. All three were representatives of the Johor State, while YBhg Datuk Dr Hafsah Hashim, Chief Executive Officer of SME Corp and Puan Hilyati Mohd Nasir, Deputy Director for Business Advisory and Support represented SME Corp.

About United Malayan Land Bhd (UMLand)

UMLand is an award-winning company with two property development divisions: Township Development and Niche Projects. In addition, UMLand has a hospitality division that operates Suasana Suites serviced apartments and a construction division under UMLand Builders Sdn Bhd.

UMLand’s Township division has five township developments: Bandar Seri A/am (Iskandar Malaysia), Taman Seri Austin (Iskandar Malaysia), Bandar Seri Putra (Bangi, Selangor) Makhota Hills (Semenyih, Selangor) and the new world-class integrated biotech park in PasirGudang, Johor Halal Park; a joint venture initiative with J­ Biotech, a Johor State Government arm.

UMLand’s Niche division has completed several premier residential developments in Kuala Lumpur and Johor. These include SuasanaSentral Loft (KL Sentral, KL), SuasanaBangsar (Bangsar, KL), Seri Bukit Ceylon (Bukit Ceylon, KL), Suasana Bukit Ceylon (Bukit Ceylon, KL), and Somerset Puteri Harbour(lskandar Puteri, Johor).

On-going niche projects include Suasana Iskandar Malaysia, a mixed development in Johor Bahru City Centre; Medini Lakeside, a multi-phased mixed development comprising UMCity , a mixed-use commercial development and winner of the International Property Award, and Viridea Lakeside, a green residential development, in Medini Iskandar Malaysia; and Star Residences, a joint venture initiative with Symphony Life Berhad to develop an upmarket serviced residences in the Kuala Lumpur City Centre.

UMLand has a strong industry track record that spans more than two decades and the company continues to embrace excellence and innovation as its main tenets to drive growth. The Group currently has over 1,800 acres of undeveloped landbank located in strategic areas across Malaysia.

For more information about UMLand, please visit www.umland.com.my

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Indonesia: Innovations create values, and lower costs

Opening Speech by Minister Of Finance Of The Republic Of Indonesia Sri Mulyani Indrawati


Assalamu’alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh,

May God Blessing be upon Us.

Praise be to Allah the Almighty, the most Gracious and the most Merciful, Who has devoted all the graces to us, therefore we are meeting here in a good health, in the occasion of the 12th World Islamic Economic Forum. Prayers and peace be upon the noble prophet Mohammad, Shalallahu Alaihi Wassalam, his family, his companions and followers.

First of all, I would like to extend a very warm welcome to all of the 12th World Islamic Economic Forum’s (WIEF) delegates and distinguished guesses to Jakarta. It is truly great honor for me to speak at this very important event. This is also my first international meeting after resuming the role of Minister of Finance only last week. I would like to express my deep appreciation to Minister Bambang Brodjonegoro, the previous Minister of Finance and the current State Minister of National Planning Agency, for all of his leadership in preparing today world forum.

As the host of this event, I would like to express my appreciation to leaders and representatives of partner countries, head of corporations and businesses, academics, investors, and professionals who have taken time to be present here. Your contributions to this Forum demonstrate continuing support not only to WIEF but, more importantly, your commitment to developing a stronger foundation for the business community to enhance the well-being of Muslim nations and communities.

Your Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

This year, the 12th WIEF is held in home country of the largest Muslim population in the world, Indonesia. Being the 4th largest population in the world, with around 250 million people, Indonesia also has around 45 million people under the consuming class category. Approximately 50% of its population is categorized as productive age under 30 years old. The World Bank reports elucidates that this favorable demographic profile of Indonesia could serve as one of the powerful drivers of sustainable growth.

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has also acknowledged that market size is one of Indonesia’s key competitiveness factors. (Indonesia is ranked 1Oth in the market size category among the 140 countries observed in WEF’s Global Competitiveness Index).

With burgeoning middle-income class and educated workforce, WIEF is timely in putting Indonesia as an enormous potential key player in the Islamic economic sectors, such as Islamic finance, halal business, as well as modest fashion and the creative industry.

Business Leaders, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

The WIEF 2016 features Decentralizing Growth and Empowering Future Business, underlines on the important role of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in stimulating economic growth, brings big aspirations going forwards in three important steps from my point of view.

First, I would like to emphasize the importance of engagement and cooperation between government and business. The second, is the need for government and business to nurture innovation, and the third is the need for us to work together to deliver these concrete actions.

On the importance of engagement and cooperation, we should place high expectations on the engagement of leaders and high level government delegates, policy makers, and market leaders with SMEs, start-up players, and inventors. Through this, we hope decentralizing growth will provide more opportunity for SMEs to be in the driver’s seat of economic growth. The Government of Indonesia strongly supports the development of the SME sector, and is encouraging enhanced cooperation between stakeholders both domestically as well as with international partners. I am also glad that WIEF is not only bridging this engagement, but also creatively include cultural exchange like the “Mocafest” to motivate younger generations to start doing business.

My second point is on the importance of innovation. “Ideapad” is an example of how to we can facilitate new ideas available in the community to become commercially feasible concepts, where start­up business players meet experts. I hope this event will also give birth to innovation and inventions. We find nowadays that community driven businesses, supported by digital technology development, are increasingly prevalent across our economies in almost unstoppable manners. Innovations create values, and lower costs. We will also enjoy various good opportunities Islam is offering from halal food, fashion, halal tourism, and of course, Islamic finance.

And on my third and final point, I would like to emphasize that the previous two points will be pointless without real and impact oriented actions. It is cultivating the basic principle that policies, strategies, fruitful discussion will only benefit everyone if all work together. I hope the fruit of this event will be down to earth to moving the real sector economy promptly and steadily. Insha Allah

Excellencies, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,

Concluding my speech, allow me to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to all Leaders and distinguished delegates and participants for participating this 12th WIEF, and to His Excellency The President of the Republic of Indonesia, Bapak Joko Widodo. I would like to extend my humble request to grace us with his willingness to officially open this Forum.

To this end, I would also like to thank the WIEF foundation for providing a high level forum so that the international Muslim business community can annually gather and explore wider opportunities for incorporating cross boundaries halal business opportunities.

May Allah SWT grace all of us with his blessing and guidance during this important meeting and during our cooperation for years to come.

Thank You.

Wassalaamu’alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakaatuh

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11 Agreements Signed During 12th WIEF

The 12th World Islamic Economic Forum yields 11 business deals in various sectors from port, industrial estate, stock exchanges to start up companies.

Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak said in a press conference that he expected the forum could serve as instrumental platform in connecting the ideas between participants with influential leaders and give practical solutions businesses.

Prime Minister Najib said, during a joint statement conference on the sideline of the forum, he was excited to see many initiatives being done to promote Islamic finance and industry as well as encouraging FDI.

Minister Sri Mulyani said part of the homework within the Islamic community is to promote the image of the Muslim world as the focus of profitable trade and investment that will attract Foreign Direct Investment and business partner around the world.

The following are the deals announced during the forum:

1 PT Amanah Nusantara Internasional, Malaysia, and PT Pelabuhan Indonesia II (IPC): Form a Joint Team to coordinate their activities and to discuss and prepare the legal terms on which they will cooperate together.

2 Jakarta Industrial Estate Pulogadung, Malaysia, and PT Pelabuhan Indonesia II (IPC): Collaboration Agreement

3 Sime Darby Berhad, Malaysia, SP Setia Berhad, and I & P Group Sdn Bhd (Malaysia) and PT Hanson International TBK (Indonesia): Memorandum of Understanding

4 Bursa Malaysia and Indonesia Stock Exchange (IDX): Memorandum of Understanding

5 Johor Toyyiban Laboratories Sdn Bhd, (Malaysia) UM Land J-Biotech Park Sdn Bhd (Johor Halal Park): Collaboration Establishment Agreement

6 Majlis Agama Islam Negeri Johor (MAINJ) and UM Land J-Biotech Park Sdn Bhd (Johor Halal Park), both Malaysian companies. Collaboration Agreement

7 SME Corporation Malaysia (SME Corp) and UM Land J-Biotech Park Sdn Bhd (Johor Halal Park), both of Malaysia, Collaboration Agreement

8 Kumpulan Perubatan (Johor) Sdn Bhd of Malaysia and Sojitz Corporation and Capital Medica Co. Ltd, both of Japan, Collaboration Agreement

9 Brainy Bunch Sdn Bhd (Malaysia) and PT Brainy Bunch Indonesia, Master Franchisee Agreement

10 Aladdin Group Sdn Bhd (Malaysia) and Achmad Riawan of PT Aladdin DotKom Indonesia: Acquisition of Shares by Aladdin Group Sdn Bhd in PT Aladdin DotKom Indonesia from Achmad Riawan

11 Kementerian PPN/Bapenas (Indonesia): Launch of Indonesia Sharia Financial Architecture Masterplan

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Azerbaijan pitches its Asia-Europe landbridge connectivity

Address by Dr. Tamerlan Garayev, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Azerbaijan to the Republic of Indonesia

Assalam aleikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

Let me start by extending my profound gratitude to the Government of Indonesia for the excellent organization of present session of the World Islamic Economic Forum. While having patticipated in almost all previous sessions, Azerbaijan regards this forum as an effective platform for discussions and deliberations in the field of promotion of economic cooperation through the exchange of best practices in Asia-Pacific region and well beyond. Azerbaijan is keen to render its modest contribution to the objectives of this Forum.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Following the theme framework, Decentralising Growth, Empowering Future Business, I would like to share Azerbaijan’s achievements. Azerbaijan, one of the world’s most dynamically developing economies, has done a lot to improve the business enviromnent in the country. Serious comprehensive reforms have been and are being implemented and business regulations further simplified. International financial institutions, such as The World Bank for example, in its report Doing Business, has honored Azerbaijan with a high place. The Davos World Economic Forum has awarded Azerbaijan 40th place in terms of economic competitiveness. Azerbaijan is in 40th place globally and in 1st place in the CIS.

Since Azerbaijan re-gained its independence in 1991, for the last 20 years it has received around 200 billion US dollars of investments, half of them is direct foreign investments and almost another half is of domestic origin. Only in the first half of 2016, which is also regarded as a year of continuing world economic crisis. especially for oil producing countries, 6,3 billion USD have been invested in Azerbaijan. Poverty level within less than 15 years has dropped from 49 to 5% only. Azerbaijan has turned from a poor into upper middle income country. Azerbaijan’s financial position is stable. We have accumulated sufficient foreign exchange reserves. Despite decline of revenues of almost all oil producing countries, the revenues of Azerbaijan’s State Oil Fund keep growing, owing to transparency and discipline in the financial system, reforms and policy of diversification with cost savings. Azerbaijan steadfastly eliminates the dependence on the oil factor.

Favourable business environment also depends on effective public governance. In this field Azerbaijan, through introducing a model of ASAN Service, that is one window for everything, has levelled down red-tape and corruption to zero. ASAN has proved to be a highly effective tool by ensuring transparency and responsibility, increasing public confidence in state bodies and citizen satisfaction rate by state entities’ performance standing over 98%. ASAN service centres combine state entities and private companies in a single administrative building and render over 200 services including business licensing, and thereby paving the way for e-government through the use of modern information technologies. It is not surprising that ASAN has been awarded with the United Nations Public Service Award 2015.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It is known that no country can develop in the absence of two factors – security and stability. Considering ongoing processes around Azerbaijan, security in the country is provided at very high level. As for stability, the guarantor of it is the Azerbaijani people through unity with the government.

Azerbaijan has initiated trilateral formats Azerbaijan-Turkey-Georgia and Azerbaijan­

Iran-Russia. This is not just a formality, because many important issues are addressed within the framework of trilateral cooperation, projects related to security, economic cooperation, energy and transport are implemented.

In this regard, implementation of the “Southern Gas Corridor” must be mentioned. The

“Southetn Gas Corridor” is a strategic project. It will enable Azerbaijan to obtain additional large profits for yea rs and decades, and this is a new format of cooperation. Countries participating in the “Southern Gas Corridor” are turning into natural allies. This alliance goes beyond our region. Azerbaijan is becoming an indispensable partner for Europe.

By the end of this year we expect to commission the Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, which is essential part of East-West Transportation Corridor, or a New Great Silk Road. Currently, negotiations are under way with relevant shippers and this shortest route from Asia to Europe will be put into operation very soon.

Another important project that Azerbaijan is implementing together with its neighbors – North-South transportation corridor which will connect Persian Gulf, South and South­East Asia through Iran with Northern Europe through Russia.

Azerbaijan has turned from a land-locked into a land-linked country becoming thereby a rare pattern of successful and sustainable economic growth.

Azerbaijan welcomes investments and invites partners to do business. In this connection, I would also like to urge businessmen and business entities to operate legally and avoid involvement into illegal activities in the territories of Azerbaijan occupied by Armenia and, therefore respect internationally recognized territories of the Republic of Azerbaijan, relevant norms and principles of international law, Resolutions of the United Nations Security Council 822, 853, 874 and 884, decisions adopted by international organizations.

Mr. Chairman,

In conclusion, let me wish all success to this Forum and stress once again my country’s determination to contribute to and support its work in coming years.

Thank you.

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Indonesian, Malaysian stock exchanges sign collaboration pact

Jakarta, 2 August 2016 — Islamic economy has been developing rapidly to become one of the fastest growing markets in the world, which is in contrast to the slowdown of global economy. With a consumer base of 1.7 billion Muslims around the world, dominated by young population, and a growth rate as twice as that of the world population, Islamic market offers solution to support global economic growth in the future.

Based on a report in the State of the Global Islamic Economy 2015, global Islamic markets are estimated to have US$1.81 trillion assets in value. From that number, US$295 billion is an outstanding value of sukuk with an average 6% growth per year.

The value of global Islamic financial market assets in 2014 had increased of 9.69% compared to US$1.65 trillion in 2013. With the growth of the Islamic financial market in the world, the assets of the global Islamic financial market is expected to grow to US$3.24 trillion in 2020

Based on the total assets of the Islamic markets, there are two countries in the ASEAN that are included in the top 10 countries with the largest Islamic financial market in the world: Malaysia which is currently the largest Islamic financial market in the world and Indonesia which has the largest Muslim population in the world. With a total population of 250 million people, Indonesia also has the potential to become a large Islamic market in the future.

In order to increase the potential growth of the Islamic financial markets, today the Indonesia Stock Exchange and Bursa Malaysia announced the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for cooperation to develop Islamic capital markets both in Malaysia and Indonesia.

Through this MOU, the two exchanges have agreed to develop their Islamic capital markets through several efforts, including joint studies, product development, joint events and promotions, as well as the improvement of human resources. This MOU is the renewal the Memorandum of Understanding that has been made by the two countries earlier in 1996. The memorandum was last updated in 2006.

IDX’s President Director Tito Sulistio said that that this cooperation is a further step taken for the benefit of the two countries in order to establish Indonesia and Malaysia as a leading Islamic capital markets hub in the world. “Through this partnership, we hope Indonesia Stock Exchange and Bursa Malaysia can continue to develop instruments and products of Islamic capital markets together as a reference at the global level,” said Tito in his speech at the signing ceremony of the MOU that took place at the 12th World Islamic Economic Forum.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of Bursa Malaysia Datuk Seri Tajuddin Atan said “I am pleased to deepen our collaboration and existing working relationship with IDX. This MoU serves to formalise the earnest intent of both exchanges to collabora te in enriching offerings in our capital markets, and broadening the usage and availability of Islamic liquidity and products. Leveraging on our leadership in the Islamic capital market, I am optimistic that the collaboration could fuel the growth of the Islamic capital market for both Malaysia and Indonesia, be it via product development or market promotion.”

For Malaysia, Indonesia is the seventh largest trading partner and third among the ASEAN Countries as of 2015, with a healthy level of current and new business opportunities between the two countries. With a combined total population of almost 300 million, both countries have much to offer and benefit from this MOU for retail and institutional investors.

Bursa Malaysia Berhad Rizal Lynam Matjeraie Strategic Communications, Bursa Malaysia Berhad Phone: +603 2034 7437. Email: rizal@bursamalaysia.com

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Indonesian Finance Minister Highlights three key take-aways from 12th WIEF

Closing Remarks H.E. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia


Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

On behalf of the Government of Indonesia, I have the honor to deliver this closing speech of the 12th World Islamic Economic Forum.

During these last three days, the forum has provided a high level platform for prominent global government leaders, captains of industries, academic scholars, professionals, innovators, and investors to explore opportunities for business partnerships in the Muslim World.

This year’s forum has successfully explored the crucial role of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in driving economic growth under a theme of “Decentralizing Growth, Empowering Future Business.” This effort reaffirms the conception that empowering MSMEs, by facilitating their larger participation in the mainstream economy, will spur innovation and improve efficiency that provides enterprises the competitive edge to navigate through the ever-evolving business landscape.

Your deliberations in the last three days have touched on various issues President Joko Widodo highlighted in his opening remarks. Among them, he underlined the need for strengthening media strategy, developing technology, education and training, as well as promoting innovation. Many of these issues are echoed by other attending leaders.

President Joko Widodo also called the Muslim leaders to spur innovation that really ensure the well-being and security of the people. All of these are crucial for the empowerment of Islamic finance, culinary, fashion and arts, should the Muslim economies like to keep up with the rest of the world.

During the three days’ engagement, we have witnessed how participants from many parts of the world got to know each other better, shared their brilliant ideas, performed their best creative works, resulting in business agreements exchanged, including MOU signings by Indonesian corporations in the area of halal hub and halal securities and investment. The Government also used this very right moment to launch the master plan of the national shari’ah finance architecture.

This 12th WIEF has provided opportunities for our young entrepreneurs and those who are about to enter the very competitive global industry a know-how that equips them better. It has also offered opportunities for more established Indonesian entities to promote their businesses more globally, giving them better access to international markets. These all are evidence that this 12th World Islamic Economic Forum in Jakarta has benefited both national participants as well as international ones.

In more specific, out of this three-day discussion and in reference to all of the above issues, I could identify the concrete takeaways that we can gain from this event among others are:

  1. Addressing the lack of knowledge about Islamic financing products, as well as the lack of ability for financial companies to see the long-term prospects offered by halal-related businesses, is key to solve the quest for advancing Islamic finance at a global stage.
  2. Developing prompt regulations and incentives to establish a long-term infrastructure pool of fund, is paramount to fill the gap between demand and supply in Islamic financing for infrastructure.
  3. Building better collaborations between grass-root businesses like cloth making and food selling, and the mainstream industry, will foster innovation further and eventually transform them into high value added industries of Islamic fashion and halal cuisine.

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

Ending my speech, on behalf of the Government of Indonesia, I would like to congratulate The Honorable Tun Musa Hitam and his team for the successful organization of this 12th World Islamic Economic Forum.

To the Honorable Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, and all of our distinguished guests, I offer our sincere appreciation for your coming to Jakarta and participating at this forum.

And finally my thanks and appreciation to the national organizing committee, corporate sponsors, and all parties who have contributed to the success of this event.

For those coming from abroad, please extend your stay and enjoy Jakarta better. For all, we wish you a safe journey back home.

Thank you.

Wassalamualaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh.

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Malaysia Islamic Children’s Fair in Dec 2016

The Malaysia Islamic Children’s Fair 2016 will be held from 2 – 4 December 2016 at the Tunku Mizan Zainal Abidin Mosque, Putrajaya. Entrance: FREE! For further details, pls click here: http://micf.my/

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World Halal Conference 2017 in Malaysia

The next World Halal Conference has been set for 5-6 April 2017 at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. Further details: http://whc.hdcglobal.com

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President Jokowi: “To Face Big Challenges, We Must Do Complicated Works”

Jakarta – President Joko Widodo admitted that Muslim community nowadays must face big challenges, for example, high rate of unemployment particularly in young people. “We are not strong enough in social media as well as technology, thus, we will not win perception competition,” the President said in opening remarks at the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) at Jakarta Convention Center ( JCC), Jakarta, on 02 August 2016.

The Muslim community must be educated and trained so that they can win the competition, the President added. “If we don’t educate our community, if we don’t train our community, the world will leave us behind,” the President firmly said.

The President also stated that at the moment, the world is in a situation where innovation is important. However, the world is also unstable; there are a lot of differences of opinion, weak economy, and vulnerable recovery. Nevertheless, the President believes innovation can fix it, but we must be careful and do not use innovation to satisfy our greed. It is only for the sake of people’s welfare.”

“There is no shortcut, there is no miracle. We must do complicated and difficult works to build an industry that creates employment, to build on education system for our children, as well as to train the skills and attitude of young people that ore needed in this 21st century,” the President said.

He also said that for countries that ore still facing poverty problems, they must overcome their basic problems, such as electricity, clean water, and transportation. “We must ensure that the people live in a clean and secure place. Moreover, food must also be available and affordable.

The most important and hardest thing is to build a culture of openness. A culture where we are not only tolerate differences but also respect them.

“How to do that? The answer is easy: one by one ond step by step,” the President said.

In regards to WIEF, President Joko Widodo said that the 21st Summit is beneficial for all participants.

A Challenging Year

The President explained that 2016 is a challenging year. This year, the world’s economy is in crisis, the world trade decreases to the lowest point since the Second World War, and acts of terror took place in several parts of the world.

“In this era, political situation in some parts of the world cannot be predicted. Therefore, Muslim community around the world must use fundamental power,” the President firmly said.

The President said that Muslim communities have the best demography compared to others, where the average age is 23 years old, while other communities are 30 years old.

“Sharia finance now becomes an industry that is worth millions of dollar, either from fashion, culinary, arts, and architecture sectors and it has the potential to create a new economy,” the President added.

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Bangladesh economy forging ahead

Speech by AHM Mustafa Kamal, Minister of Planning, and Special Representative of H.E. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, People’s Republic of Bangladesh

Assalamu Alaikum and Good Morning,

I am indeed privileged to represent the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh at this August Meeting who was supposed to attend the Meeting. But due to unavoidable circumstances she won’t be able to attend the session, but she expressed her best wishes for successful holding of this session.

Let me express on behalf of Hon’ble PM of Bangladesh profound thanks and gratitude to the organizer of the 12th World Islamic Economic Forum for arranging and inviting Bangladesh to this gathering. I would also like to extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to the Government and the friendly people of Indonesia for their warm welcome and gracious hospitality, accorded to me and my delegation. I would also like to place on record our deep appreciation to the World Islamic Forum Foundation for their sustained drives in further cementing economic and business cooperation among the OIC nations and beyond.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The theme chosen for the current Forum – ‘Decentralizing Growth, Empowering Future Business’ – is absolutely timely and thus deserves genuine attention. It speaks about the crucial importance of decentralization, particularly financial and economic sectors, in fast-tracking the socio-economic development.

The historic adoption of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015 calls for a revitalized global partnership and coordinated approaches to development. It recognizes the role of business, investment and also science-technology-mnovation as major drivers of productivity, inclusive economic growth and job creation. It is, therefore, an imperative to encourage the flounshment of micro-, small – and medium-sized enterprises in ensuring sustaiinability of the economic growth. We need to underline the importance of restructuring global financial regimes in a way that will foster access to fair and equitable sharing of benefits, and ensure ‘no one is left behind’.

Distinguished guests,

We in Bangladesh have been pursuing for quite some years a liberalization and decentralization policy. The government has been pursuing a private sector led growth strategy with particular emphasis on SME sector growth. For doing so, a series of pragmatic reform initiatives has been undertaken through a facilitative role of the regulatory bodies. These have also at the same time been simultaneous efforts to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers and the improvement of forward and backward linkages to make the industries more competitive.

You will be happy to learn that, Bangladesh is a country with huge potentials.

■ Last 8 years Bangladesh has achieved on averaged 6.2% GDP growth and in the fiscal year 2015-16 for the first time in the history of Bangladesh has achieved 7.05% GDP growth rate. We hope it will reach more than 7.2% in the coming fiscal year.

■ Recently Bangladesh has graduating to the Lower Middle Income Country group. Our Per Capita Income become double in 7 years (were 598 USD in 2006-07 and became 1466 USD in 2015-16).

■ Private sector plays a vital role in the economy of Bangladesh. During the last two and half decades, contribution of industry in the GDP nearly doubled to 31.28 7o with the private sector investment reaching 22.02% of GDP. Manufacturing accounts for 70%, of industry and SME comes out as a significant component of the manufacturing sector in Bangladesh. Share of SME in GDP in Fiscal year 2015 was 4.28 and in 2016 is 4.35.

■ Export earning of Bangladesh has reached 34 billion USD in fiscal year 2015-16, nearly 2.5 times than 2016-07 (was 12.1 billion USD);

■ It is noteworthy that Bangladesh has been treated as one of the most-desired destinations for foreign direct investment in in terms of competitive labour, managerial and service costs. According to UNCTAD report, FDI of Bangladesh has reached 2.23 billion USD in June, 2016 which is 4.4%, higher than the previous year.

■ In 2015-16 more than 2.0 million people has been employed within and outside Bangladesh.

■ Achievements of Bangladesh in the social sectors like health and education is noteworthy. Bangladesh is role model in achieving most of the UN Millennium Development Goals, including attaining universal primary education, gender parity in primary and secondary schools and access to safe drinking water for all. In 1972 after the liberation of Bangladesh, the literacy rate was 30% which reached to 62.3% in 2015. In 1975 there was only 6 universities (all public), at present it stands at 120 (public 37 and private 83). In 2009 rate of technical education was less than 1% which is now around 10%. Multimedia class room has been established in more than 23 thousand schools. 13 million students got government stipend in the year 2015-16.

■ Mass people are getting health services from the private hospitals, clinics in parallel to government owned hospitals, clinics. Life expectancy has risen to 70.9 years in 2015, which was 66.5 years in 2006. Maternal mortality rate has fallen to 1.81 percentages in 2015 which was 3.37 percentages in 2006. Infant Mortality rate has come down to 29 per thousand in 2015 which was 35 in 2011.

■ Upper poverty rate came down to 23.5 percentages in 2015 which was 31.5% in 2010. Hard core poverty has come down to 12.1 in 2015, which was 17.6% in 2010.

■ We have spent 2.19% of GDP for Social safety net programmes and we have plan to gradually increase the percentage.

The investment banker Goldman Sachs has named Bangladesh in a study among the “next eleven” countries likely to emerge as economic successes.

Excellences and distinguished guests,

Today Muslim Ummah is facing numerous challenges. Although, the Islamic world constitute more than a quarter of the world’s population and perhaps, control a significant portion of the world’s strategic resources, their share in the global economic and business activities remains less than satisfactory. Our potentials are enormous, but yet to be tapped, let alone realized. We are often divided and debilitated in debates and disputes. We need to seriously contemplate and address these challenges comprehensively and effectively.

We need to ensure secured, stable and peaceful societies for peoples. For that, unity and solidarity is paramount. In these trying times, we must join hands in tacking global issues like climate change, migration as well as terrorism and violent extremism.


Bangladesh has been making phenomenal progress in terms of growth and stability in recent years. We have registered remarkable advancements in the socio-economic development under the visionary leadership of our Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Our government offers ample opportunities for investment under a liberalized trade and investment policies, and export oriented, private sector-led growth strategy. Due to our proactive policies, we have maintained a sustained growth of over 6% over the past six years. For the first time of our history, we achieved over 7% GDP growth rate in the immediate past fiscal year. The 7th Five Year Plan seeks to raise this GDP growth progressively to 8% by 2020. Coupled with growth of SME sector, rural economy is thriving. All these advancement accelerate the income of the underprivileged portion of the society (i.e. women, farmers) in particular, and turned them into major players of Bangladesh economy.

Excellencies and Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is encouraging to see that a large number of entrepreneurs and businesspersons across the world have gathered here in Jakarta. Your presence bears the testimony of your sincere desire to catapult business, trade and investment cooperation among the OIC countries to a new height. In this critical juncture of global economy, we should work together for establishing a predictable, equitable, creative, transparent and knowledge based business mechanism through concerted efforts and collective approach. I would urge the WIEF to prioritize areas of cooperation focusing on deliverables, which present a win-win situation for all. I am confident and convinced of the strength and ability of the World Islamic Economic Forum to be playing a key role in such endeavors. Bangladesh stands ready to consider any forms of partnership in maximizing the well-being of Muslim Ummah in particular and the people of the world at large.

Thank you all.

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Sri Lanka to Become a Geo-Economic Centre in Indian Ocean

Speech by The Hon. Ranil Shriyan Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

Let me thank you at the outset for inviting me to this, the twelfth World Islamic Economic Forum in the dynamic city of Jakarta. This Forum takes place at a pivotal time for the Global Economy, which is still, 8 years after the event, coming to terms with the after-shocks of the Global Economic Crisis of 2008. The Islamic nations of the world have, by and large, weathered this economic storm far better than other countries. Being blessed with a vast array of natural resources that have been judiciously harnessed to bring rapid economic and social progress to your societies, the Islamic crescent of nations stretching from Africa to South East Asia has seen progress and prosperity for several decades.

I come here from the multi-religious, multi-ethnic island nation of Sri Lanka, where there has been a co-existence and intermingling of the various sects and segments of the religions of Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism and Islam for many centuries.

What brought together this rich and diverse mixture of faiths?

It was trade – the historical process whereby communities and nations establish bonds and augment their collective prosperity. Thus, we saw the early Arabic traders dominating trade across the Silk Route and traversing the cusp of the Indian Ocean until around the 16th century when western European merchants started competing with them for a share of a burgeoning East-West trading relationship. Similarly, an earlier historical development saw how the flow of goods overland and through sea routes scalloping between China, India and Europe, spread the teachings of the Buddha from Myanmar and the Sri Vijaya Empire to the furthest extremities of North East Asia,

We can easily surmise that the spread of the Buddhist and Islamic religions across Asia (carried largely by traders and merchants) added significantly to the widespread practice of tolerance, compassion, charity and inter-connectedness among religions, and societies, and cultures in this vast region.

Coming to the present time, we are witnessing momentous changes in the core structure of the global economy brought about by the relentless winds of globalization and the current manifestation of Western neo-liberalism. These changes will take years, if not decades to fully manifest their impact.

While the western nations will continue to dominate global trade and capital flows for many years to come, the persistent stagnation in real middle-class incomes in these developed nations looks set to persevere.

Yet the whole dynamic of West-East trade will become more complex as cheaper, younger and productive workers proliferate across emerging markets and turn into significant consumers of the goods and services that they produce.

Sitting astride the Atlantic and Indian Oceans and Central Asia, Islamic societies will be able to reap the advantages of rapidly growing populations connecting to the largest emerging consumer markets on earth – in China, India and Africa.

There will, of course, be innumerable challenges and opportunities thrown at us.

By harnessing the latest developments in science and technology and coupling these with the solid foundations laid by vigorous trading relations among our societies over several millennia, I am confident that good policies and strong leadership will be able to resolve these contemporary challenges. For instance, our youth have rising aspirations that continually challenge us in government – to deliver a productive environment to enhance livelihoods and bring them on par with developed societies. Digital literacy is key to providing viable options to fulfill their dreams and ambitions

But alongside these challenges there are also many opportunities.

The most obvious opportunity staring at us in the face is the removal of the historical barriers to trade, which have impeded the growth of commerce between Africa, the Middle East and South and South East Asia.

We must not forget that a key driver of growth for the entire Asian region will be the expansion of intra-Asian trade in the coming century. And, I see significant advances in the liberalization of intra-Asian trade barriers in the coming decade. This will be primarily as a response to a slowing in demand for Asian exports in the West. But more importantly, it will also reflect the strong growth of individual consumer incomes throughout Asia.

Today, with a population of 1.7 billion and an impressive growth rate that the World Bank calls the highest in the world, South Asia is very much the place to be in.

While maximizing on the opportunities presented by Western economic policies, we also need to learn from our own cultures of Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. For instance, there is much that secular states can learn from the principles of Islamic Commercial Law – in particular, the notion of fair industrial relations, the notion of fair contract, the notion of commercial integrity, and the notion of freedom from usury.

My country, Sri Lanka, pioneered economic liberalization in South Asia in the 1970s. Even at present, Sri Lanka enjoys the highest ranking for economic freedoms in the region. Today, the National Government consisting of the country’s two major political parties headed by His Excellency President Maithripala Sinsena is introducing a politics of convergence to consolidate democracy.

This political initiative will bring about political stability and a bi-partisan agreement to formulate a stable economic and political framework-an urgent need given decades of highly partisan and parochial politics. In this background, economic reforms in Sri Lanka have received a fresh impetus. Sri Lanka has long been acknowledged as having the potential to become a geo-economic centre in the Indian Ocean. With this in mind, we are implementing the next round of macro-economic structural reform in conjunction with an ambitious programme of infrastructural development.

■ Firstly, the Kandy-Colombo-Hambantota Corridor. This Corridor consists of a series of major infrastructure developments consisting of:

■ The Kandy City Expansion Programme,

■ The North-Western Industrial and Tourism Development Programme will be the dynamo for employment and growth,

■ The Western Megapolis Plan, which is designed to urbanize the entire Western Province, will make it an environmentally conscious, sustainable mega city of the 21st century (with a population of 8.5 million people).

■ The Southern Tourism Infrastructure Development Programme centering on the historic city of Galle.

■ The Hambantota Economic Development Programme, which will bring industrialization to the Southern territories and enhance its tourist potential. Incidentally Hambantota, in the southern tip of the island, is the historical port to which sampans arrived from the straits of Java and Malaya.

■ Furthermore, 269 hectares is currently being reclaimed from the sea to become a Financial City. This will provide a base for logistical and financial services in South Asia, and will complement the chain of business hubs from Hong Kong, to Singapore to Dubai.

■ These initiatives will be supported by two international airports in Mattala and Katunayake and two harbours in Colombo and Hambantota.

■ Finally, the Government has also signed an agreement with Surbana Jurong Private Limited to prepare a master plan for the Trincomalee Economic Development Project on the East Coast.

Moving on to the trade front – we are currently navigating trade liberalization through a mixture of initiatives.

We have undertaken several bilateral trade enhancement initiatives, which will accelerate Sri Lanka’s access to the world’s major markets. This is expected to reap maximum benefits taking into account existing global policy constraints.

The Governments of India and Sri Lanka will finalize the Economic Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) by the end of the year.

The ETCA will enhance the scope of our existing economic partnership agreement to extend freer movement of goods and services with the added emphasis of cooperation in the development of technology.

We are also taking other trade liberalization measures such as:

a. Negotiating with the EU for the reinstatement of the special trade concession afforded to Sri Lankan products in the single market – the GSP+.

b. Finalising a Free Trade Agreement with China in 2017. This will connect us to the One Belt-One Road initiative.

c. Negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with Singapore, which we plan to conclude very soon.

d. Establishing closer Economic Cooperation with Japan.

e. Expanding the existing trade treaties with our neighbours in South Asia.

f. And we are also looking to explore trade agreements with other Bay of Bengal nations – Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Myanmar, and West Asia.

I would like to conclude by proposing to you a vision of convergence for our future – a convergence of our heritages from our historic trading past, the multiple forces of globalization and secular western economic models, our own religious ethics and practices, and the challenges and opportunities of the present times that are inextricably interwoven with the future of Islamic and secular societies worldwide.

It is only through engaging in dialogue and accepting the convergences of these systems and cultures that we can enrich our own nations in a time when social equities and equalities of market economies as well as religious extremism have come to the forefront.

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Cambodia: Reforms under way in every sector

Speech by Oknha Datuk Othsman Hassan, Minister Attached to the Prime Minister & Secretary of State, Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training and Special Representative of H.E. Prime Minister Hun Sen, Kingdom of Cambodia

Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh,

Today I have a great honour to join and give speech on behalf of the Royal Government of Cambodia in Jakarta, Indonesia forum of the auspicious 12th World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) that has brilliant tradition in giving the opportunity to every personnel to participate at a high level and cutting-edge forum, obtain first-hand industry knowledge, and to discuss with international and inter-industrial colleagues on the changing dynamics in the global business today.

Last year, the Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia, Her Excellency Dr. Men Sam An, a highest representative of Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo HUN SEN, Prime Minister of Kingdom of Cambodia, appreciated highly the successful WIEF Phnom Penh Roundtable 2015 which is very helpful in promoting Cambodia on business and investment in international scene.

In early June 2016, the 25th World Economic Forum in Malaysia was successfully conducted by giving the good experiences and learning from all ASEAN countries leading to increase the mutual business and investment, and I hope strongly that the 26th World Economic Forum which will be hosted by Cambodia in year 2017 will also provide more opportunity for the young entrepreneur in taking part of developing their own country in field of business, vocational training.

His Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen!

Cambodia has renovated its own economic from the empty hand after the complete destruction of the unmerciful regime of Kampuchea Democracy until today speedy growth of economic. It is from the great effort of Royal Government of Cambodia which Samdech Akka Moha Sena Padei Techo HUN SEN, Prime Minister of Kingdom of Cambodia.

Guaranteed peace, security, and public order has created favourable condition for socio-economic development, people’s peaceful life. Process of democratic development, respect of human rights, freedom, and rule of law are on the right track. Every state institutions fulfill their roles and duties according to law with efficiency and responsibility. Every state reform fronts have continued make fruitful achievements. Along with this, political parties are conducting active political actions towards the fourth term elections of the communal councils.

As for economic sector, in 2016, the country would be able to realize a growth around 7.1%. Inflation will stay below 1.97%, while trade will improve because of speedy export compared to import. Foreign exchange reserve has increased to roughly 5,450 million US dollars, which could sustain imports up to 4 months and a half and prevent negative impacts from external crisis. Simultaneously, use of local goods has surged thanks to local and foreign direct investments, which create jobs and income for our people. In actual term, average income per person has reached 1,215 USD in 2015. It would continue to rise to 1,301 USD in 2016.

In a few months early this year 2016, Cambodian economic activities sustain growth led by service, industry and construction sectors. Particularly, public financial management continues to increase effectiveness owing to the fact that collection of incomes from all sources has augmented, while procedure of expense implementation has strengthened.

In labor, in the first three months of the year, Cambodia has created 27,921 jobs in the country and for those who travel to work abroad. Workers’ minimum wages in garments and apparels have gone from 128 USD to 140 USD, while mechanism to discuss about wages for 2017 is underway. Overall, movement of reform in every sector is underway in a correct direction and providing fruitful results improving people’s livelihood.

Finally, I hope that WIEF will continue strengthening the good collaboration with relevant institutions of all ASEAN country in looking for the mutual investment opportunity. I would wish His Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen with good health, longevity and success.

Thank you for your kind attention!

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Pakistan Presents Its Four Good News

Speech by Engr. Khurram Dastgir Khan, Minister of Commerce and Special Representative of Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Islamic Republic of Pakistan

Bismillah ArRahmanir Rahim

Assalam-o-Alaikum and Good Morning

It is a singular honor for me to address the 12th World Islamic Economic Forum. I deeply appreciate the WIEF Foundation for organizing this essential event and thank warmly the Government and people of the Republic of Indonesia for their traditional, earnest hospitality.

Excellencies & Distinguished Delegates,

Muslim countries are endowed with abundant natural and human resources. Our strategic locations add further significance to our respective geo-economic positions. Through concrete partnerships, we can create prosperity for the entire Muslim Ummah, particularly for the millions of underprivileged poor in our midst.

Together we can scale new heights. This will, however, require intellectual as well as political leadership. Let us join hands for deeper trade liberalization among ourselves, and for more extensive technical and knowledge collaboration in other fields of the economy, principally in agriculture.

Excellencies & Distinguished Delegates

Pakistan is committed to strengthening intra-OIC economic and trade cooperation to further the cause of economic integration of Muslim States leading to the establishment of an Islamic Common Market. OIC countries account for 40% of Pakistan’s global exports and 56% of Pakistan’s global imports.

Trade Preferential System among the Member States of the OIC (TPS-OIC) is one of the most important projects of the Organization to foster intra-OIC trade.

Pakistan has already signed and ratified all three agreements pertaining to TPS-OIC; and have already submitted the concession list to OIC Secretariat.

Pakistan has also been pursuing trade partnerships with OIC member countries through Preferential Trade Agreements, Free Trade Agreements and various other bilateral arrangements.

Pakistan has, in addition, signed and ratified the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, which reflects our commitment to a transparent, simple, de-regulated and private-sector-driven business environment.

Excellencies & Distinguished Delegates

In Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif’s leadership, Pakistan has overcome violent insurgency and energy shortages to become identified as one of the top ten next emerging markets in the world, offering immense opportunities for investment, growth, and trade.

Today Pakistan offers four good news:

  1. Public finances have stabilized. Tax revenues, foreign exchange reserves, foreign remittances and Pakistan Stock Exchange Index are all at record high. The stock exchange’s recent classification as one of the emerging markets has energized the financial sector. Pakistan’s economy is poised for vigorous growth.
  2. Pakistan today is peaceful from the tribal areas in the north down to the bustling southern port of Karachi. We have won this peace after the greatest sacrifice by tens of thousands of our citizens, police and army personnel across the country.
  3. Pakistan is getting reconnected to the world through roads, sea and air infrastructure. A significant portion of the $46 billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor will drastically improve road connectivity with neighbouring countries; while the sea port of Gwadar is heading towards a world-port status by connecting Central Asia to the Arabian Sea and beyond.
  4. Pakistan has taken a decisive step towards energy security. Through regional energy connectivity as well as ajudicious fuel mix that includes substantive portions of renewable energy, we will by 2018 have abundant capacity to fuel economic growth and large-scale international investment.

Excellencies, Ladies & Gentlemen:

Pakistan has one of the most liberal foreign direct investment regimes in the region as well as among Muslim States. Prime Minister Sharif’s government is embarked upon accelerated economic development through liberal trade and investment policies. We are determined to make Pakistan a knowledge-based economy through necessary institutional and structural reforms.

In recent years, Pakistan has made good strides in facilitating cross-border trade with neighboring markets, through greater regional connectivity linking Pakistan with China, Central Asia, SAARC and ECO countries.

Excellencies & Distinguished Delegates

I conclude by emphasizing the need for more frequent interaction among policy-makers, academic experts, and private-sector of the Muslim world.

We are suffering not only from pervasive poverty of our people but also from a poverty of ideas on how to create at the earliest an OIC common market. We suffer from a poverty of ideas to facilitate our private sector within OIC behind our borders, at our borders, and beyond our borders. Pakistan offers its fullest support to initiatives for liberalization of trade, investment and services as well as travel facilitation between Islamic countries. By freeing our trade, travel, and economic engagement, let us free the poor in our midst. To paraphrase Thomas Paine, “We have it in our power to begin the Islamic world over again”.

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Prof. Alpha Condé, President of the Republic of Guinea

(In French)

Download: http://wief.org/forum/12/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/H.E.-Prof.-Alpha-Conde%CC%81.pdf

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Malaysia: WIEF “Represents True Face of the Muslim World”

It is a great pleasure for me to be in Jakarta for this 12th World Islamic Economic Forum, and I am delighted to see so many distinguished guests and leaders here with us today.

I wish to thank His Excellency President Joko Widodo and the Government of the Republic of Indonesia for hosting the Forum, and for Indonesia’s continuing support of the WIEF.

Now, I know that this is an economic forum, but let me make one related point first.

Without political stability, there can be no economic progress. And there has been far too much turmoil in the Muslim world in recent years.

The invasion of Iraq in particular set in motion a disastrous chain of events. Chaos, destruction, and the possible break-up of nation states are spectres that have been visited on countries such as Iraq, Syria and Libya.

The so-called Arab Spring yielded a harvest of instability across the region. Thousands have paid with their lives, while terrorists and other armed militias now roam freely over once secure lands. A Pandora’s Box of sectarian conflict has been unleashed.

Foreign interventions in Muslim countries have led to intended and unintended consequences – which are still being felt today.

By comparison, majority-Muslim countries such as Malaysia and Indonesia, which have not been subject to foreign intervention, are oases of peace and stability.

This is why the leaders here today must work to solve our problems and issues together. I have always been a proponent of openness to the world and collaboration. But we must insist on respect for our own sovereignty, our own laws, and our own democratically elected governments.

For we have seen the devastating results of foreign intervention in the Muslim world, often based on incomplete, wrong or partisan information. We must make clear that we reject it. And reject those who, out of political motivation, call for foreign powers to intervene in their own country. We, as the ummah, will take responsibility for ourselves, and we pray for guidance to do so.

The theme of WIEF this year, “Decentralising Growth, Empowering Future Business” is certainly apt, considering the multiple political, economic and security challenges the world faces today, including new developments such as the British referendum to leave the European Union.

While it is not for us to comment on the internal political matters of another nation, and of course we respect the will of the British people, there is broad agreement that the UK’s decision to leave the EU is likely to have a knock-on effect on Europe and the global economy.

Many members of the EU have yet to fully recover from the 2008 global economic crisis. Now there are new uncertainties they must be prepared to adapt to.

However, there are also causes for optimism.

According to recent reports, the world’s Muslim economy grew at almost double the global rate in 2014/2015, and Muslim consumer spending is set to reach US$2.6 trillion in 2020.

And, taking ASEAN as a whole, GDP growth was robust at 4.5 per cent last year. In fact, despite the prevailing global uncertainty, it is even expected to grow marginally higher in 2016.

Why is the European scenario so different from that of ASEAN and the global Muslim economy? There are several reasons for this.

Firstly, the pace of recovery in Europe since 2008 has been sluggish and the Eurozone GDP is still below its pre-crisis rate. The Euro weakened when the European Central Bank pressed ahead with quantitative easing to create more money after introducing negative interest rates in June 2014.

Secondly, in contrast, ASEAN’s economic growth has been rapid and stable since 2000. It recorded a combined GDP of US$2.6 trillion in 2015, making it collectively the seventh largest economy in the world.

The region has become a major global hub for manufacturing and trade, and it is also one of the fastest growing consumer markets in the world.

And thirdly, the global Islamic economy is thriving. More Muslims are becoming increasingly active as investors and manufacturers, bankers and traders, competitors and suppliers.

Muslim consumer spending is also rising as demand increases for ethical finance, investment and insurance services, halal food, modest fashion and halal tourism. Even non-Muslims are attracted to the Islamic economy’s underlying socially-conscious ethos. There’s an opening here for dialogue with the West, which longs in some sectors for a more just and compassionate economy of its own.

I am glad to say that in Malaysia, since 2009 we have created 1.8 million jobs, increased Gross National Income by nearly 50 percent, kept inflation low and boosted FDI to record levels.

Our national transformation programmes have helped Malaysia remain resilient during the global financial turmoil, and we continue to record good economic growth, despite the steep drops in the prices of oil and commodities.

Now, it is true that the Muslim world has some very serious issues to address. Education, poverty and barriers to female participation in the workforce remain challenges in many Organization of Islamic Cooperation member states, and too low a percentage of GDP is spent on research and development.

All this, despite the fact that collectively the OIC holds 70 percent of the world’s energy resources and 40 percent of global natural resources.

We also face the scourge of Daesh, the terrorists who blaspheme our religion by falsely claiming the mantle of an Islamic State. There is nothing Islamic about a group that practises such barbarities, and it is crucial that Muslim-majority countries take the lead in condemning them.

We must fight their lies with the truth about Islam. We must oppose with all our might their attempts to indoctrinate our young people, and to take advantage of those on the margins or who have lost their way.

And we must ensure that appropriate legislation is in place to let our security and police forces take all measures necessary to stop attacks before they take place, and to root out those who would spread fear and chaos in our lands.

Malaysia stands firmly against Daesh and their accomplices, both at home and abroad. This is why we have set up a Regional Digital Counter-Messaging Communications Centre just outside Kuala Lumpur.

It is soon to be operational, and we will gladly share our expertise in preventing radicalisation, and in helping to deradicalise men and women who have fallen for the deceits of this wicked, and un-Islamic, group. We will be steadfast in this fight – for it concerns us all.

But, while it is right that we should recognise the challenges that face the ummah, we should also reflect on our achievements.

Islamic finance, for instance, is rapidly gaining traction not just in Muslim-majority nations but also in international financial centres such as London and Hong Kong.

Increasing numbers of people are recognising that it can be a model for socially responsible and sustainable investment, and a more secure way of supporting the world’s financial system.

Malaysia’s US$1.7 trillion Islamic capital market has more than tripled in size over the last ten years, and is strengthening its status as the premier destination for Shariah-compliant businesses and transactions.

Malaysia continues to be the global leader in the sukuk market, commanding 54.3 percent of the global sukuk outstanding at the end of 2015, while total assets under management of our Islamic fund management industry remains the world’s second largest.

Going forward, we have identified Islamic wealth management as a new growth area. And we look forward to opportunities to collaborate with other jurisdictions, as well as with industry and academia, to expand international connectivity, strengthen talent and capabilities, and grow the global Islamic capital market for the benefit of all.

While we acknowledge the issues we must address, I believe it is also important to state clearly that this gathering, and the discussions you are going to have, represent the true face of the Muslim world. For authentic Islam means moderate Islam.

I am happy to see that the 12th WIEF is going to focus on vital topics relating to sukuk, infrastructure development, halal industries, female empowerment and disruptive technology, to name a few. We must encourage more merit-based economic opportunities in the Muslim world.

We seek a world that includes all of our citizens, and shares the proceeds of growth with all. One that educates all of our children; one that supports all our entrepreneurs and small and medium sized businesses; one that prizes knowledge and innovation; and one that appreciates that our diversity is our joy and our strength.

As it says in the Quran: “Oh mankind! We have made you into nations and tribes, that you may know each other.”

With that, I wish this Forum every success, and I am sure that you are all going to have a very productive and enjoyable three days.

Thank you.

Wabillahi Taufik Walhidayah Wassalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuhi

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Qatar seeking to reduce dependence on hydrocarbon exports

Speech by Sheikh Ahmed bin Jassim Al Thani, Minister of Economy and Commerce, and Special Representative of H.H. Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani, Emir of the State of Qatar

This forum is of a pivotal importance to the world’s largest economies for both Islamic countries as well as others as it is a platform that enables discussion of the most significant issues and economic developments in the world. The theme of this year’s forum (“Decentralized Growth – Strengthening The Future Of Business”) is in line with the State of Qatar’s economic development strategy aimed at reinforcing the role of small and medium sized enterprises and instigating a policy of economic diversification so as to shift to a knowledge based economy in line with Qatar National Vision 2030.

Supporting small and medium sized enterprises and enabling them to play an active role in our economies does not only provide jobs and reduce the burden on governments but also contributes directly to the diversification of sources of income and expanding bases of production Small and medium sized enterprises embody the primary nucleus of projects and contributes to the revitalization of many economic sectors, for instance, commerce, tourism and services.

Being aware of their vital role many countries have adopted policies and procedures to raise the efficiency of the small and medium sized enterprises sector due to their role in raising gross domestic product and for being a successful tool to mobilize and reinvest in savings.

Small and medium sized enterprises are considered an effective tool to produce and provide low-cost services that will enhance the exporting abilities of our economies.

As part of this strategy the state of Qatar has placed small and medium sized enterprises at the forefront of its strategic priorities through the implementation of a range of programs and policies within a common framework to represent the complementary relationship between various government bodies signifying the principle of meaningful and constructive partnerships with the private sector.

Consistent with these efforts to stimulate the business environment and reduce the obstacles and challenges faced by owners of small and medium sized enterprises, a new commercial companies law was introduced which represents a quantum leap forward in the field of exercising commercial activity by facilitating company establishment procedures and eliminating procedures relating to minimum capital requirements needed to establish limited liability companies which constitute a high percentage of the companies that are founded by young investors and entrepreneurs.

Ladies and gentlemen

The efforts instigated by the State of Qatar to diversify the economy and enhance competitiveness have resulted in concrete changes to the structure of our national economy. The growing role of the private sector and at the forefront the small and medium sized enterprises sector which has now become a major partner in overall economic development as confirmed by various economic indicators. For instance Qatar’s non-hydrocarbon sector grew from less than 42% in 2005 to approximately 50% towards the end of 2014. It is estimated that the non-hydrocarbon sector will grow in 2016 by 10%.

These indicators have placed the State of Qatar in advanced positions on a global competition level. For instance, according to the annual report issued by the World Economic Forum for the year 2015-2016 Qatar ranked first among Arab countries and fourteenth globally in the Global Competitiveness Index.

This great achievement would not have been possible without the wise policy adopted by the State of Qatar under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani.

We have all seen the exceptional circumstances witnessed by various economies around the world as a result of declining growth rates and fluctuations in oil prices. Circumstances which have had an impact on all our countries, without exception. In order to rneet these challenges effectively we must look beyond the capabilities available to each country individually which requires serious cooperation between countries in the Islamic world by taking several measures and most notably the need to increase investments between Islamic countries and building a private sector that is proficient in carrying out the developmental duties of our economies.

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