From Gulf News, October 4, 2017.
Sharjah: Non-oil sectors in the UAE have achieved an average growth of 5 per cent during 2010-2016, said Sultan Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy and Chairman of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre.
During the second Sharjah International Conference on Islamic Economy, Al Mansouri said that there is a plan to raise the contribution of the industrial sector to the GDP by 16 per cent by 2021, and to 20 per cent by 2025.
He pointed out that the flow of direct investments received during the past year stood at $9 billion (Dh33 billion), an increase of 2.2 per cent compared to 2015.
The two-day conference, held under the patronage of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member, Ruler of Sharjah and President of the University of Sharjah (UoS), is being organised by the university’s Sharjah Islamic Centre for Economy and Finance Studies.
Al Mansouri said that the conference opens a window of opportunity for Islamic economy, and ways to boost its contribution in sustainable development operations would be a valuable addition to currently exerted efforts. He pointed out that according to statistics by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation for 2016, Islamic economy has become a key component of the global economy, and that the volume of investments in its various sectors globally is estimated to be $8 trillion, with its clients exceeding a quarter of the world’s population.
Al Mansouri noted that the primary reason for this growth is that crises have driven people to look for safe alternatives, and Islamic economy has proven its credibility in this aspect. He added that Islamic financing has become a primary contender as a method for financing major international projects, such as the One Belt One Road initiative launched by China.
The minister said: “On a national level in the UAE, the country’s historic roots regarding the availability of an environment that is friendly for Islamic economic institutions gives us a clear vision on the extent of growth achieved by this vital sector in the UAE, such as the development of Islamic banks and financial institutions or the journey of economic progress and its accompanying legislations, laws and systems.”
“We may not find another country in the world like the UAE that is rich with diversity when it comes to factors concerning an Islamic economy-friendly environment. However, we fully agree that we are required to exert more constructive efforts to build on these achievements. If we stop working hard to build on what we have already accomplished, we will lose our way and our position will decline,” said Al Mansouri.
“We are confident that in light of the UAE leadership’s care and wise approach, come 2021, we will find that we were very modest with our expectations on what we can actually achieve,” he added.