UAE - The Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) has today (Monday, August 21, 2017) hosted a roundtable on the ‘Belt & Road Initiative’ and Islamic Finance Executive Strategy to promote economic cooperation between China and the UAE in the non-oil commercial and production sectors. The event was held with the support of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre and provided an opportunity to capitalize on the leading experiences of the UAE in Islamic finance to support China’s ambitious initiative of connecting the economies and trade activities of more than 60 countries. The meeting was jointly organized by HBMSU’s Dubai Center for Islamic Banking and Finance, the National Development and Reform Commission of the People's Republic of China (NDRC), the China Islamic Finance Club, and ZhiShang Inter-Culture Communication.
Held under the theme ‘Sukuk and Economic Development: Opportunities and Challenges,’ the roundtable provided an international platform for exploring bilateral cooperation in the fields of trade, education, scientific research, and knowledge exchange under the Belt and Road Initiative. Discussions also centered on the challenges and opportunities in promoting Islamic financial instruments in China with a focus on Islamic sukuk. The impact of Dubai’s emergence as the largest Islamic sukuk hub in the world on Chinese companies was tackled as well.
Participants discussed the pivotal role of Dubai as a global capital for the Islamic economy to the success of the Belt and Road Initiative. They emphasized the need for more international investments in Islamic finance, which they agreed is a key pillar for the success of China's efforts to consolidate the historic economic ties between European and Asian markets. The roundtable featured high-profile thought leaders, researchers, banking and economic experts, decision-makers, investors and Policy makers who underscored the importance of strengthening China-UAE cooperation in the field of Islamic economics. They also shared innovative ideas and strategies for harnessing international investment and finance to best serve the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative.
Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor of HBMSU, highlighted the importance of maximizing the transfer of knowledge and expertise between intellectual and research institutions involved in Islamic finance in the UAE and China. He explained that this would help identify and propose strategic priorities for driving economic growth and comprehensive and sustainable development through Islamic finance, in line with the objectives of the ‘One Belt, One Road’ strategy.
The Chancellor pointed out that today’s gathering provided a high-level platform for exploring the opportunities offered to China by Dubai which acts as a gateway to lucrative markets in the MENA region and Sub-Saharan Africa. He noted that Dubai is backed by an advanced Islamic finance infrastructure supported by Nasdaq Dubai, mentioning that Islamic financial instruments open new prospects for reinforcing economic ties between China and countries along the economic belt of the Silk Road which engaged in trade worth USD 900 billion in 2016.
Dr. Al Awar said: “The roundtable has been a great opportunity for Chinese intellectual, research and investment institutions to look closely at promising opportunities available in Dubai which has emerged as the world's largest Islamic Sukuk hub. The local sukuk market was worth AED 135 billion in 2015 – a remarkable achievement on the path to Dubai’s becoming a global capital for the Islamic economy in line with the wise vision of our leadership. HBMSU is honored to have hosted this event which forms part of our commitment to continue supporting efforts to enrich knowledge, advance scientific research, and drive social and economic development in line with the objectives of Dubai Plan 2021.”
During the gathering, Abdullah Mohammed Al Awar, CEO of the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, delivered a speech titled ‘China-UAE Relationship: The Road Ahead’ which pointed out the numerous promising opportunities in the UAE that can contribute to the success of the ‘One Belt, One Road’ initiative. Al Awar said that the revitalization of the Silk Road means that the world will witness the emergence of more huge development projects – providing favorable conditions and a suitable environment for the products and culture of the Islamic economy to grow further.
He also referred to the importance of creating a legal and legislative environment for driving the growth of Islamic financial institutions and their offerings under the Silk Road Initiative; supporting and developing laws for the issuance of Islamic sukuk; and enhancing coordination between Chinese banks and Islamic finance institutions in the Arab World and the international Muslim community. Al Awar further emphasized the role of the Islamic economy as a vital pillar of the global economy in the 21st century. He shared that the activities of vital sectors of the Islamic economy generated USD 1.9 trillion in 2016, providing new opportunities for supporting regional and international economic development.
Professor Nabil Baydoun, Vice Chancellor for University Advancement, HBMSU, said: “The ‘Belt and Road’ initiative will pave the way for the further growth and sustainability of the global economy, while also reinforcing economic cooperation between Asia and Europe. HBMSU has organized a roundtable meeting that brought together the most influential economic figures, to discuss the different means of enhancing the role of Islamic finance to support China’s comprehensive plan, whilst benefitting from China’s role within the regional economic landscape. We are confident that the roundtable meeting will further encourage Chinese firms to cooperate with the Islamic economy with Dubai as a base, as the emirate is taking great strides towards becoming the global capital of Islamic economy. The meeting aimed to enhance cooperation between China and the UAE in the field of Islamic finance, and outlined framework to encourage the exchange of best intellectual and cognitive practices, as a main driver for international economic development.”
Li Lingbing, Chinese Consul General to Dubai, also delivered a speech about the prospects for relations between China and UAE, while Dr. Fan Hengshan, Deputy Secretary-General of NDRC, briefed the audience on the latest developments under the Belt and Road Initiative. Other keynote speakers included Prof. Nabil Baydoun, HBMSU’s Vice Chancellor for University Advancement, who spoke about ‘Dubai as a Gateway for the Belt and the Road Initiative,’ and Cao Wenlian, Director General of NDRC’s International Cooperation Center, who discussed the opportunities and challenges in financial cooperation between China and the UAE under the Belt and Road Initiative.
Saeed Mubarak Kharbash, Head of Strategy and Planning at the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre, also provided an overview of the Centre’s strategy and its impact on China. Sohail Zubairi, Ex-Founding CEO of Dar Al Sharia, on the other hand, discussed how sukuk could be structured in China without changing the current regulatory framework. Dr. Ashraf Mahate, Chief Economist at Dubai Exports and the Dubai Economic Department, shared ways to build a diversified cooperative economic platform between China and the UAE, while Dr. Moinuddin Malim, Managing Partner at Alternative International Management Services, delved on the optic of ‘Raising Finance for Chinese Firms Overseas: A Practical Approach.’