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Academic Support is Key in Promoting Regional Islamic Economy

Publish Date :- Monday, 01 February 2016

In order to achieve Dubai’s goal of becoming a centre for the Islamic economy, it is vital that academic programmes and high quality training courses support and promote the emirate’s vision, said Dr. Ayoub Kazim, the Managing Director of Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) and Dubai Knowledge Village (DKV).

Despite a global value of around $7 trillion, the potential of the Islamic economy remains vast. And as Dubai continues its quest to become a pioneer in the field of Islamic finance, the demand for more skilled industry professionals means DIAC and DKV have a prominent role to play in this journey.

Dubai’s seven-pillar strategy to put itself at the centre of the Islamic economy focuses on: finance; the halal food industry; family friendly tourism; the digital economy; fashion, arts and design; economic education; and standards and certification.

Both DIAC and DKV are making great progress in supporting the creation of a hub for the Islamic economy in Dubai. With knowledge, formed by education and research, the path to developing a world class centre for Islamic finance will be a far easier one.

DIAC and DKV continue to encourage their business partners to offer specific Islamic-focused courses for students. For example, ESMOD, the French Fashion Institute, introduced an academic program in Islamic fashion, and the British University in Dubai has put in place a Masters in Islamic Finance. By offering such niche courses, Dubai will ultimately create a workforce of skilled, educated professionals that meets the needs of industry and supports the broader UAE economy.

The signs of progress are clear. The UAE now has 31 course providers and 21 university degree providers related to Islamic Finance. This ranks it in the top 3 countries for global Islamic finance education providers, according to the Islamic Finance Development Indicator (IFDI), an ICD Thomson Reuters initiative. Also of note, IFDI data places the UAE in the top 10 countries globally for the number of research papers published on Islamic Finance over the past three years.

To facilitate closer ties between academics and corporations, DIAC and DKV have held a number of key events to promote the Islamic Economy. The 2015 Industry and University Partnerships, or “I-UP” Forum, held in November included a panel session where finance industry leaders such as Mr. Jassem Mohammed Hassan Al Blooshi, Head of Retail Banking Group at Sharjah Islamic Bank, Dr. Khalid Al Janahi from Dubai Islamic Economic Development Center, and Mr. Rafi-uddin Shikoh, Founder & CEO of Dinar Standard™ discussed the challenges and future of the Islamic economy.

By welcoming business partners such as DinarStandard, a growth strategy research and advisory firm focused on the Islamic and global ethical economy, DKV is providing a platform that enables greater understanding of the Islamic economy. DIAC has looked further afield to build better knowledge of Islamic finance, sending international delegations to other leading Islamic economy countries like Malaysia where a DIAC delegation attended the World Halal Summit in Kuala Lumpur last year.

Commenting further, Dr. Ayoub Kazim said: “At DIAC and DKV we are proud to support the government’s ambition of making Dubai the global capital of the Islamic Economy. To achieve this vision, we need a large number of skilled workers to meet the demands of Dubai’s seven-pillar plan. On the industry side, the various sectors that make up our economy must also contribute to the effort and help advise academic institutions on the courses, skills, qualifications required from graduates. Only through greater collaboration can we truly support the UAE’s development and fuel the growth of the economy.”

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