Muslim or not, If you want to succeed in the global economy you must be involved in the Islamic economy. Islamic economies are among the fastest-developing markets in the world, with a 1.7 billion population growing at twice the rate of the global population, and there is no question the many opportunities the Islamic economy presents will be important contributors to world economic growth in the coming decades, a fact recognized by an increasing number of governments and corporates across the world.
There are many factors that point to a bright future for the global Islamic economy. Large, young and fast-growing global Muslim demographics is one of them; according to Pew Research Center, the worlds Muslim population is expected to rise to 2.2 billion by 2030, when 29% of the global population aged 15-29 will be Muslim; expansion in intra-OIC trade; rapid growth emerging markets in Asia and slow US and European economies, all mean the global economy is shifting from Western-centric growth to emerging market-centric growth.
In addition, 10 out of the 25 largest growth economies are Muslim-majority countries and the 57 Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries represent more than $6.7 trillion of GDP. And, while growth in conventional economies is forecast to average 3.6% between 2015 and 2020, the economies of the OIC countries are projected to grow at a robust 5.4%, according to the International Monetary Fund.
It is these realities that prompted His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to announce his vision, in 2013, to make Dubai the capital of the Islamic economy. Since then, every sector of the Islamic economy has seen strong growth, with the global Islamic economy projected to reach $3.75 trillion by 2020, according to the State of the Global Islamic Economy Report 2014-15. So, whether it is Islamic finance, halal products and services, fashion and cosmetics, travel and tourism, media and recreation, or pharmaceuticals, it is clear the Islamic economy is fast approaching a tipping point.
The growth of the Islamic Economy will be given a further significant boost in October, when Dubai hosts the Global Islamic Economy Summit (GIES) 2015. The conference will bring together over 2,000 policymakers, thinkers and business leaders to build a roadmap for capitalizing on the opportunities within the global Islamic economy. Organized by the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Center and the Dubai Chamber, in partnership with Thomson Reuters, the GIES will offer insights into the trends that are emerging in the global Islamic economy and inform business leaders and practitioners with real world success stories, across sectors, that they can build upon, as they seek to capture the demand from Muslims and non-Muslims for products and services that reflect the values inherent in Islam.
Dubais holistic approach to the development of the Islamic economy recognizes the interdependency of the different pillars that make up the Islamic economy. The GIES will build on this approach by exploring the synergies between, for example, Islamic finance and the Halal and lifestyle sectors. It will also facilitate engagement with key policymakers and business and thought leaders, who are actively shaping the Islamic economy, in order to identify the emerging opportunities that will fuel future growth, thus marking a change in focus from what the Islamic economy is, to how it can benefit everyone.
As the Islamic economy assumes greater importance, entrepreneurs and established businesses are shifting their own focus from establishing a business case to executing innovative strategies that build on successful business models. At the same time, the walls of the silos, that previously separated the various sectors that constitute the Islamic economy, are being broken down. As a result of the new collaborations and partnerships that are being born, the true potential of the Islamic economy is inexorably being unlocked.
Events, such as the GIES, that explore growth ideas, share experiences and knowledge and identify innovative solutions to the challenges the Islamic economy faces, are just one example of how Dubai is seeking to work with global partners to develop and embrace the complete concept of the Islamic economy. It is a huge responsibility but also a great opportunity to create a better, more equitable and sustainable world, for Muslims and non-Muslims alike.