Innovation 'key to Islamic world development'
Istanbul, November 9, 2009
Innovation is the driving force for the development of the Islamic world, said Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, UAE Minister of Economy in his special address at the Comsec Ministerial Meeting in Istanbul.
Al Mansouri urged Islamic nations to join hands and strengthen the level of co-ordination to explore promising investment opportunities and also called for more co-operation in small and medium businesses, industries and agriculture.
He pointed out that the Islamic world with a population of over 1.7 billion contributed more than $ 2.2 trillion to the global GDP and was a compelling economic bloc that could achieve more if the resources were better managed.
"This can be achieved through innovation and establishing centres that drive new thinking," he opined.
“Innovation creates a big difference for each country and is essential to build a superior and talented new generation. We are aware of this powerful concept in the UAE and have planned to establish one of the best innovation centers in the region,” the minister added.
Al Mansouri also underscored the need to address the food security issue that is of crucial importance to all Islamic and Arab countries.
"The UAE has prioritized this issue a long time ago and is now taking concerte actions by investing in various countries such as Sudan, Cambodia, Egypt, Pakistan and India.We hope that other countries are also aware of the need for food security and will take steps to tackle this issue for the long term," he added.
Al Mansouri pointed out that the Islamic world has faced the challenges of the global crisis remarkably well. "Islamic banking, which is inherently averse to risk, has withstood the global financial crisis with limited repercussions," he observed.
"One of the lessons of the crisis is the need to adopt strong corporate governance measures and the highest standards of transparency. These are basic ethos of Islamic banking,” he explained.
Al Mansouri said the UAE was the first country in the world to establish a full-fledged Islamic bank, back in 1972. Today, the UAE has six Islamic banks contribute significantly to the financial sector in the UAE with a combined capital of $4 billion, representing 14.5 per cent of the total banking assets in the UAE.
Many foreign banks in the UAE have special divisions providing Sharia-compliant products and services. But the growth in Islamic banking is not restricted to the UAE; it is a worldwide phenomenon, the minister said.
Today, there are more than 300 Islamic bank and institutions in 90 countries around the world, and their average annual growth rates have reached 10 to 15 per cent, Al Mansouri added.-TradeArabia News Service