The UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), the international business development arm of the British Government, organized a networking event today at the Capital Club in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) for senior officials and professionals operating in the Islamic Finance sector in the UAE.
Keynote speaker at the event was Senior Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Rt Hon Baroness Warsi PC who is currently on her first ministerial visit to the United Arab Emirates as part of her regional tour to promote the UK as the preferred choice for the Muslim world to invest in and do business with.
Other speakers were His Excellency Hisham Al Shirawi, second Vice Chairman of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Mr. Jawad Al Ali, managing Partner – Middle East offices at King & Spalding.
The event was attended by more than 50 professionals from banking, insurance, consultancy, asset managers, legal and professional services related to the Islamic Finance sector in the UAE.
Ahead of the event, Baroness Warsi, who also co- chairs the British Government’s first ministerial Task Force on Islamic Finance said:
I want London to build on its status as the western hub for Islamic finance by going further and becoming a global player in the market. Up at the top table with Dubai, making the decisions, leading the way.
Working together we can take advantage of London’s time-zone, strong legal system, our comprehensive regulatory framework and a track record of innovation, all backed by its world class professional services.
As a British Minister of Muslim faith, it is an honour to serve in the British Cabinet as London hosts the 9th World Islamic Economic Forum in October. The first time the WIEF has been held outside the Muslim world. With 1,500 delegates from 80 countries, from political to business leaders, WIEF London will encapsulate the emergence of the new economic ties between our nations, religions and cultures. With the Prime Minister headlining the event and a British Business Pavilion running alongside, we will be showcasing why the UK should be the global partner of choice for Islamic finance.
Her Majesty’s Consul General Edward Hobart Said:
The UK and the UAE have strong trade relations. Both our countries pledged to increase bilateral trade to £12 billion by 2015; in the first half of 2013 UAE exports to the UK grew by 59% and UK exports to the UAE by 9%, making the UAE our 12th biggest export partner. Islamic Finance is a fast growing sector where total Sharia compliant assets are expected to grow beyond $2 trillion by 2014. London and Dubai can work together to establish the global standards and governance arrangements necessary to underpin future sustainability of the Islamic Finance industry.
His Excellency Hisham Al Shirawi said:
Industry sources expect that globally Islamic finance will reach $2 trillion by 2015 and approximately 42% of this projected increase will emanate from the GCC. Dubai is the financial hub for existing markets across the Middle East and Africa and therefore a natural choice to attract additional Islamic finance flows from across the region and beyond. As the leading financial centre between London and the East, we see strong potential for further cooperation between Dubai and the UK to strengthen this position and enhance the Islamic finance sector moving forward.