Capitalising the economic potential of Muslim world will take centre-stage at the second World Islamic Economic Forum

Published September 5th, 2006 - 12:25 GMT

The second World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF), an initiative dedicated to the exchange of ideas, business collaboration and economic cooperation among Muslim nations and between Muslims and non-Muslims, will bring together political leaders, industry heads and prominent personalities to explore the theme, “Unleashing the Economic Potential,” at the Jinnah Convention Centre in Islamabad, Pakistan from November 5 to 7, 2006.

Announcing the event at a press conference in Dubai today (September 5, 2006), Dr Michael Yeoh, CEO of WIEF Foundation and the Asian Strategy and Leadership Institute (ASLI) said: “The Muslim world is at a crossroads today, with governments, leaders and citizens of Islamic states faced with the dilemma of fulfilling their economic aspirations within the value system of their societies while at the same time, having to positively deal with the challenges, perceptions and expectations of the wider non-Muslim world.”

“This historic meeting of business leaders, experts and decision makers from around the world is unique in the sense that it addresses a very important and powerful trend that has acquired centre-stage in the world today and that is the steady emergence of Muslim markets in the context of an ever increasing significance and integration of Islamic finance and services into the international financial system,” he said.

“We are not meeting merely for business collaborations but we are actually saying that we are doing so in the context of a changing system, one that is increasingly favouring and accepting Islamic finance and service as an important component of the international financial system. Thus, the Forum acknowledges this underlying strength and advantage and offers participants with discussion topics that take into account this renewed vigour, unleashing the economic potential that is inherent in our emerging markets,” Yeoh added.

Hosted by the Government of Pakistan, the event is organised by the WIEF Foundation, and co-organised by ASLI in association with the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Islamic Centre for Development of Trade. The conclave will be addressed by a host of distinguished personalities including the Pakistani Prime Minister, Shaukat Aziz and the Malaysian Prime Minister, Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.

Similarly, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf will join other global Muslim leaders in a special keynote leadership panel on ‘Muslim Leadership in a Globalised World.’ The inaugural WIEF held in Malaysia in October 2005 was attended by more than 600 participants.

Speaking at the press conference, Mazwin Meor Ahmad, Executive Director of WIEF and Vice President of ASLI said: “In today’s energy-dominant economic order, it is important to ensure that revenues from the vast oil and gas reserves found in Islamic countries are channeled into assisting sustainable economic development of other Muslim countries. The Forum will address this and other issues that promote cross-border trade, commerce and investment by providing a conducive ground for interaction and networking among government representatives, industry heads, regional experts, professionals and corporate managers. ”

Jean Wong, Senior Vice President and COO of ASLI said: “Considered as one of the world’s best-performing markets, Pakistan today is an important player in the international community, given its strategic investment location and geopolitical role. Recent measures such as economic reforms, liberalisation, deregulation and privatisation policies have created exciting opportunities for foreign direct investments, boosted investor confidence and driven up economic growth, making the country the ideal venue for holding the prestigious meet.”

“This year’s WIEF programme is aimed at tackling core issues that have been hindering economic progress in the Muslim world. Delegates to this conference are sure to take part in formulating breakthrough ideas and initiatives," said Shuckri Bundakji, CEO of DSL Exhibitions and Conferences and WIEF's representative in the Middle East.

The WIEF will focus on key issues such as Muslim economic renaissance, revitalising the 56-member strong Organisation of Islamic Conference, the body devoted to promoting Muslim solidarity in economic, social and political affairs; the role of Muslim leadership in a globalised world, the development of entrepreneurship and leadership qualities among youth and women, promoting inter-faith harmony, understanding trends in science and technology and Islam and the Western world.

In keeping with the Forum’s theme, deliberations at the event will also focus on exploring investment opportunities in the sectors of tourism and infrastructure development; information, telecommunications and outsourcing; water, energy and resources and enhancing the competitiveness of Muslim companies and businesses.

 


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