The Global Islamic Economy Summit announces title sponsors

Thomson Reuters and the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, the organisers of the upcoming ‘Global Islamic Economy Summit’ (GIES), announced their partnership with ADIB and Dubai Islamic Bank, who are taking on the role of Title Sponsors of the event.

The Global Islamic Economy Summit announces title sponsors

The Global Islamic Economy Summit announces title sponsors

In addition, the leading Nutrition, Health and Wellness company, Nestlé Middle East, signs up as Diamond Sponsor, while Emirates NBD, Qatar First Bank and the Global University of Islamic Finance (INCEIF) have also signed on as Gold Sponsors, while the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), Afridi & Angell Legal Consultants, Société Générale and MasterCard have signed on as Silver Sponsors.
GIES is held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. While in line with Dubai’s Islamic Economy Strategy announced by His Highness on October 5, the conference also seeks to addresses the challenges and opportunities the industry faces and its contribution to the global economy.
Russell Haworth, Managing Director – Middle East & North Africa, Thomson Reuters, said, “The calibre of sponsors supporting GIES is testament to the local and international interest in the opportunities that the Islamic Economy presents. From leading local, regional and Islamic banks that aspire to become international players, to a European bank that sees a huge opportunity in this sector, to a global food producer, education, consumer credit and legal services providers and the largest free zone in the UAE, our sponsors will be invaluable to the success of GIES.”
Tirad Al Mahmoud, CEO at A DIB said, “At A DIB, we hold an unwavering commitment to playing a role in the development of the Islamic finance industry. We are very excited to be lead supporters for The Global Islamic Economy Summit – an ideal platform to share our core values as an expanding Islamic financial services institution with the wider community in the UAE, region and beyond.”
GIES, Dr Adnan Chilwan, Chief Executive Officer of DIB said. “Being the first Islamic bank in the world, Dubai Islamic Bank is proud to play its role in the Global Islamic Economy Summit. As pioneers of Islamic banking, DIB has been at the forefront of developments in the Islamic financial sector over the past four decades. We have consistently added value to the franchise and contributed to the growth and development of all sectors of the UAE economy. Our vision of becoming the most progressive financial institution in the world is fully in line with the vision of the leadership of this great country. Today, with our rich heritage, unrivalled expertise and tradition of innovation, we are perfectly positioned to play a key role in Dubai becoming the global capital of Islamic economy.”
GIES aims to initiate critical dialogue on the development of the integrated sectors of the Islamic Economy, covering Islamic financial services, Halal food, Halal Lifestyle, Halal Travel, SME Development and Islamic Economy Infrastructure such as standardization and research.
Yves Manghardt, Chairman and CEO Nestle Middle East FZE, commented on the company’s role as a sponsor: “As the leading Nutrition Health and Wellness company, Nestlé is proud to be a partner of the Global Islamic Economy Summit. We have been pioneers in providing a wide range of Halal food options for Muslim consumers around the world, and we are delighted to be part of Dubai’s initiatives to highlight the importance of the Halal sector as a key component of the Islamic economy and culture.”
The Summit will also feature ground-breaking market studies and other announcements such as the winners of the ‘Islamic Economy Award’ which recognises a mix of regional and global leaders from 14 Islamic economy sectors.
GIES will take place on 25th – 26th November, 2013 at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. GIES will gather leading thinkers, policy makers and stakeholders from around the world to lead a discussion on the future of the Islamic economy.

Egyptian officials look to set up Islamic index

Egypt’s newly-elected Islamists say they want to introduce an index of companies that comply with sharia law as part of a wider move towards an Islamic economy.

Officials from Freedom and Justice, the political arm of the Muslim Brotherhood, and from Nour, a party of ultraconservative Salafi Islamists, argue that such an index would encourage a slice of investors who, they allege, have shunned the bourse for fear that it might somehow contravene religious law.

Finance experts from the two parties say they envision the creation of an index of sharia-compliant companies as part of a new Islamic economy, with banks and insurance companies that adhere to Islamic principles working alongside conventional institutions.

Under Hosni Mubarak, the president ousted by a popular uprising last year, the Egyptian authorities looked askance at Islamic finance and severely limited its expansion, probably associating it with attempts by its political opponents in the Muslim Brotherhood to enhance their influence in society

The FJP and Nour together occupy some two-thirds of the seats in Egypt’s new parliament, and are expected to emerge as the winners in elections for the Shura council, the upper chamber in the country’s bicameral assembly. Staggered Shura elections started on Sunday and will continue until the end of February.

“We want to reassure people that we want to increase the number of investors on the bourse,” said Tarek Shaalan, a member of Nour’s economic committee. “But how can I attract foreign investors to the Egyptian stock exchange when locals stay away from it? One reason why Egyptians don’t invest in the market is because they want halal[religiously acceptable] investments.”

Mr Shaalan, who teaches economics at the American University in Cairo, says he has researched “a cluster” of Egyptians who worked abroad and built up savings. He found that they had five times as many investments outside the country than at home and that compliance with sharia was a reason they preferred stock markets in Gulf countries.

“We [Islamists] represent 75 per cent of the population,” he said. “That’s what the population wants. These are actual needs and this system will do no harm to other [forms of investment]. Already many Egyptians do not want to work in banking because they consider it a usurious sector.”

But Mr Shaalan said the introduction of the index would have to wait until there were enough sharia-compliant companies on the exchange. The conditions range from the nature of a company’s business to whether it pays interest on credit from conventional banks.

Mohamed Gouda, an official of the FJP said that an Islamic index would draw more investments from the Gulf Arab region. He said an “Islamic supervisory authority” working with the bourse would set the standards for sharia-compliant companies. “Through presence in the market, [Islamic financial instruments] will be able to impose themselves, and customers will . . . consider them better than what already exists,” he said.

Egyptian brokers, however, are sceptical that significant demand exists for Islamic instruments. Hisham Tawfik, who heads Arabeya Online for Securities Brokerage, said some brokers had already devised their own indices of sharia-compliant companies, but that in his experience investor interest was “tiny”.