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The foundation of the Islamic economy in Dubai
Establishing Dubai as the capital of the Islamic Economy is one of the major strategies issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, based on seven key pillars and 46 strategic initiatives.
To set up an integrated platform for an Islamic economy is to position Dubai as the primary centre and reference for knowledge, education, and research across all facets of our dynamic Islamic economy.
According to a study by Thomson Reuters, Dubai's Islamic market has a potential value of $6.7 trillion, bigger than both the US and China. And a Workforce Planning Study launched by Dubai International Academic City in partnership with Deloitte revealed that dedicated Islamic banking skills are in high demand from GCC banks, particularly at entry level, closely followed by financial risk management and customer segmentation and analytics skills. However, the Islamic Economy represents more than just Islamic finance - it covers a number of sectors including food, pharmaceuticals, fashion, and media.
It is therefore essential that we lay the educational foundation to support the burgeoning Islamic economy by working closely with both academic providers and industry to bridge the gap between the two and ensure that innovative academic courses are developed, implemented, and regularly reviewed and enhanced. Particularly given that Islamic Finance is considered to be one of the fastest growing sectors in the financial market.
Today's youth are the business leaders of tomorrow. And the good news is that we have the manpower - close to 50 per cent of the population in the UAE is under the age of 25 years and both ready and willing to join an active an ambitious workforce. Therefore, it's simply a case of providing students with the right platform, to access word-class Islamic education programs so that we may enable them to evolve into the functioning workforce and a leading Islamic economy. On the industry side, the various sectors that make up our economy must lead the effort, and help to advise academic institutions on the courses, skills, qualifications required from graduates. As a result, a fully-functioning triple partnership of regulators, academics, and employers is crucial to the success of the Islamic hub.
TECOM Education Cluster is committed to creating synergies between our partners so that we are able to identify and discuss the demands of industry. By ensuring that we are providing training and knowledge development that is innovative and relevant for the future growth of both the country and this region - particularly in terms of Islamic economy growth, we are playing our part in the UAE Leadership's vision of creating an Innovation-led economy that will safeguard sustainable GDP growth. Education is a key component for our leadership's innovation agenda, but it needs to be driven on a sector-wide scale.
We recently hosted the inaugural Industry-University Partnership Forum, an event comprising of a series of panel sessions including both industry professionals and universities. The aim was to encourage discussion, collaboration and partnerships in order to nurture the human capital required in order to promote Dubai as the world's center of Islamic economy. This event was highly successful and feedback from the event confirmed that increasing dialogue between all facets of the economy is the practical next step in developing sectors of the economy. As a result, this is an event we plan to host annually, to drive development and reach our ambitious economic ambitions.
To truly become a global-leader of the Islamic Economy, the education sector must strive to develop and provide academic programs and high quality training courses that promote the concept of Islamic economics and encourage partnerships with industry so to bridge the gap between education and employment. By connecting the these two sectors, we will be able to better understand how universities and training providers could potentially deliver the types of program required to fill the gaps in the Islamic finance sector as well as sectors of the wider Islamic economy, and also how government entities can play a role by providing support in implementing the required policies and regulations.
Engaging and working with the academic sector in the development of the Islamic economy is paramount. Steps must be taken to ensure that the necessary skills and training are in place in order to supply the specialized human capital that the field requires to achieve ongoing growth and success.
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