Turin Islamic Economic Forum 2019

Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) participated in the fourth edition of the Turin Islamic Economic Forum (TIEF) as a strategic partner of the biennial event that seeks to highlight the impact of Islamic finance on socio-economic development. DIEDC led the UAE delegation at TIEF alongside the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) that supported the Forum as an international partner.


Running under the theme ‘Creating a Holistic Environment for the Islamic Economy’, the three-day gathering convened experts, academics, researchers, and executives in Turin, Italy, to discuss critical topics, including fintech, blockchain, artificial intelligence, urban policies, social impact policies, and the creative Islamic economy.


The Forum featured two roundtables hosted by the Global Islamic Economy Summit that drew the participation of DIEDC, Dubai Culture, the United Arab Emirates University, Dubai Airport Freezone Authority (DAFZA), the Halal Trade and Marketing Centre, and Etihad Credit Insurance.


Hala Badri, Director General of Dubai Culture said: “The Islamic Creative Economy is a growing global market and one that Dubai lies at the centre of. It can be broadly defined as any economic activities that include cultural or creative production, cultural events and activities, which are of Islamic origin, related to or inspired by Islamic tradition. Our entire cultural ecosystem is built upon this model and it is vital to discuss this at an international and strategic level.”


Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, CEO of DIEDC, emphasised that the Islamic economy is one of the fastest-growing economic systems in the world due to its real potential and its important role in economic integration and responsible investment. He noted that the UAE’s participation in TIEF reflects the nation’s keenness to share best practices in Islamic economy and exchange experience with international markets interested in achieving an ethical and sustainable economy.


Al Awar said: “The Centre’s participation at TIEF 2019 reinforced Dubai’s position as a pioneer in technological innovation and responding to the latest trends dominating the economic landscape. They also raised awareness about Dubai’s creative potential and progress in developing the creative Islamic economy sector.”


“Italy is the third-largest economy in the European Union and is one of the most dynamic in the world. The economic growth experienced by Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries has increased interest towards the fast-growing Halal market. The rapid growth of the Halal industry has been noticed by the Italian market, and we have witnessed interest from more than 1,000 companies that have invested in products which align with the Halal market guidelines. Some products include food and beverages, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals as well as modest clothing,” said Amna Lootah, Assistant Director General of DAFZA


“It was an honour to participate as panelists at the Turin Islamic Economic Forum alongside our partners from the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre. During the panel discussion, we contributed by providing subject matter expertise and our global value proposition, the “Halal Trade and Marketing Centre,” a global business development Centre focused on Halal economy opportunities for the industry.”


“We have had very productive and enriching exchanges with Italian companies, who have shown great interest in the tailor-made services of the Halal Trade and Marketing Centre. The Centre will support the growth of companies and elevate them to their next stages of the Halal economic journey. We believe that these interactions will benefit both Italy and the UAE by contributing to the growth in Italian exports to Muslim-majority countries as well as strengthen Dubai’s position as the Capital of Islamic Economy.”


Saeed Mubarak Kharbash Al Marri, Deputy CEO of Strategy and Planning at DIEDC, led the first session, titled ‘Islamic Creative Economy and Halal Tourism’, that explored leading trends in halal tourism and examined the role of technology in developing the sector and sharing best practices with the Italian market. In addition, it presented an overview of Dubai’s cultural vision – a key element of the emirate’s economic diversification efforts.


The second session, titled ‘The Future of Islamic Economy: Introducing Blockchain and Artificial Intelligence’, discussed optimal ways of utilising modern technologies in the UAE and neighbouring markets. The conversation revolved around cryptocurrency adoption within Islamic financial entities and the impact of technological implementation in Islamic economy sectors on regulatory frameworks.


The Turin Islamic Economic Forum is organised by the City of Turin in partnership with the University of Turin, the Torino Chamber of Commerce, and the Association for the Development of Alternative Instruments and Financial Innovation (ASSAIF), and with the support of Turismo Torino e Provincia. Focusing on the opportunities offered by Islamic finance, the event encourages financial innovation as well as initiatives related to Islamic economy that promote inclusive socio-economic development.


The Forum provides a platform for companies based in Italy to forge industrial and supply partnerships with businesses in the Middle East, in addition to offering Italian public institutions and research centres the opportunity to interact with global players in Islamic finance and the wider Islamic economy. The City of Turin is keen to attract investments from countries in which Islamic finance plays a decisive role in public policies.

Indonesia taps into Muslim tourist market with Shariah hotels

JAKARTA: With a rising awareness to promote Muslim-friendly travel, the widespread adoption of Shariah-based accommodation is not always successfully put into practice, as Octine Riyantini realized during one of her stays at a hotel that claimed to be Shariah-compliant.


Riyantini has stayed in two Shariah-based hotels in Indonesia and had a good experience with the first one, where she found that hotel staff always greeted guests with the Islamic greeting, had call of prayers blasted from a speaker and provided prayer amenities as well as a Qibla sign in each room.


“The ambiance was very much Islamic and the hotel itself was clean and well-maintained,” she told Arab News.


She had a different experience with the second one, despite the Shariah label that goes with the hotel’s name in an online hotel reservation website.


Although they provided a prayer room on each floor, Riyantini said it seemed like it was hastily prepared and a bit spooky, so she and her family chose to pray in their room. Moreover, the hotel was not properly maintained.


“Maybe they consider their hotel to be Shariah-compliant just because they provide a prayer room on each floor and a Qibla sign in the room, yet the overall ambiance hardly felt like it was Muslim-friendly,” she said.


“I learned that not all hotels that claimed to be Shariah-based are really compliant to the value. If we have to stay in such a hotel another time, we will have to consider which hotel chain it is associated with,” she said.


Muslim-friendly travel and tourism in Indonesia continues to rise, with Indonesia named as the number one destination, out of 130 countries, for halal tourism in the world by the Global Muslim Travel Index 2019.


Service providers have been quick to tap into the growing market, despite the controversy and misconceptions about halal tourism in the world’s largest Muslim-majority country.


Responding to the market demand, Airy in 2016 began offering a segment called Airy Syariah or a Shariah-based accommodation network.


“Our Airy Syariah properties offer Muslim-friendly accommodation so that guests can stay comfortably and worry-free. The market response has been good and demand for Shariah-based accommodation continues to rise every year. Our occupancy rate so far stands at 40 percent to 70 percent,” Airy vice president for marketing, Ika Paramita, told Arab News.


Paramita said Airy cooperates with more than 400 Muslim-friendly properties in some 50 cities across Indonesia and it has been growing at a triple-digit rate year-on-year.


“The food and drinks in our properties are halal-certified, and we provide Muslim-friendly amenities. Guests can immediately experience their stay in our Shariah-based properties, where hotel staff uniforms and attitudes conform to Islamic values. Moreover, we validate the marriage status when a couple is checking in,” Paramita said.


Shariah-compliant accommodation is not new in Indonesia. The Sofyan Hotel chain in Jakarta has implemented the concept in its two properties since 1992 by removing nightclubs, bars and alcoholic drinks from its facilities.


But the concept does not always appeal to all Muslims in Indonesia. University lecturer Ratna Djumala said she prefers to stay in a conventional hotel to show her children about meeting people of various backgrounds.


“I want to show my children about diversity and tolerance, especially this coming December when hotels are adorned with Christmas decorations. I want my kids to experience the ambiance, too. A family-friendly hotel doesn’t always have to be a Shariah-based one. What’s important for me is the food has to be halal,” she told Arab News.


Muslim-friendly travel was valued at $189 billion in 2018 and is estimated to reach $274 billion by 2024, according to the State of Global Islamic Economy Report 2019.

IFANCA. American Halal

IFANCA. is a U.S. corporation with a mission to promote the institution of halal by increasing awareness, educating consumers, and helping the industry in producing halal products. In cooperation with other organizations and agencies, it hopes to ensure everyone seeking halal products can find them locally, no matter where they reside. IFANCA was founded in 1982 by a group of food scientists, Islamic scholars, and industry professionals with knowledge and experience in industrial food production. The founders, halal consumers themselves, understood the challenges consumers faced in finding appropriate halal food in the USA. To tackle these issues they set up halal awareness, halal education, and halal certification programs. Many of these individuals continue to serve in leadership roles at IFANCA today.

There are several halal certifiers based in the United States but only one that is recognized by three key Islamic economies – Indonesia, Malaysia, and the United Arab Emirates – according to the latest published lists from the national authorities in those countries. Illinois-based Islamic Food and Nutrition Council of America (IFANCA) may have already made its name abroad as a leading U.S. halal certifier and now at home, the 37-year old institution is stepping up efforts to build a wider Islamic economy ecosystem.


Halal Focus interviewed Dr. Muhammad Munir Chaudry, President and CEO of IFANCA to discuss the current status and the future of the halal economy.

Q: How is IFANCA enabling the growth of the halal economy?

IFANCA is a thought leader in the halal space and a key enabler of the halal economy. We have accomplished this by being a global leader in halal science, jurisprudence, and certification. Our in-depth knowledge of industrial practices and import requirements allows IFANCA to help manufacturers produce halal products in an efficient, halal assured manner and simplifies complex product information for consumers. Our halal quality system requirements have been implemented by global multinationals, SMEs, local producers, food service providers, and new startups to produce authentic, quality halal certified products that meet the stringent halal requirements.


Q: What are some factors that have enabled you to be a leader in the halal economy?

We have been able to establish a strong position because we have qualified and respected religious advisors, technical experts, deep industry experience, and a global network of industry and governmental partners. We bring this brain trust together every year to discuss technical challenges and opportunities in the halal economy at the IFANCA International Halal Food Conference. Stakeholders come from around the world to participate in discussions to address the current and future issues in halal compliance and market development.


Q:  What are some things that are happening around the world that are facilitating the halal economy?

Outside the United States, we see a growing connectivity within the halal ecosystem that is fragmented by numerous standards and regulating bodies.

There is a movement to bring things together and it is happening right now, such as Malaysia’s new initiative, the International Halal Authority Board (IHAB) and the UAE-based International Halal Accreditation Forum (IHAF).

Last year we witnessed the official launch of IHAB in Kuala Lumpur. This demonstrates the international body’s resolve to bring greater collaboration to halal certification. We have been waiting for something like this for many years.

At the same time, Dubai’s IHAF tackles another need in the halal ecosystem: accreditation. Many countries have had halal certification body recognition systems in place for decades; now the UAE brings international standardization and quality system accreditation into the mix.

We see Southeast Asia bringing their recognition programs towards accreditation and the Middle East and North Africa bringing their halal programs towards better controls to increase reliability and credibility. Both areas coming together will give rise to a harmonized global halal standard.

IFANCA will be a part of this increasing connectivity. It will be involved in both IHAF and IHAB initiatives.


Q: America: To Halal or Not To Halal?

For Muslims in America, the struggle to find halal products is easing, not because they have been demanding halal from the industry but due to import of already certified products as well as some corporations making their entire product category halal. An example of a global brand is Godiva Chocolates, which although certified by IFANCA for the U.S. market, did not initially use the halal label in the United States. Godiva added the halal symbol, the Crescent M, in 2011.

Godiva now has the halal logo on every single product, large and small, that is certified as halal. They may have some new items that have not been certified yet or a few specialty items that are not halal. You can go to their stores and say, ‘I want a halal selection,’ and if they have a product which is not identified as halal, they will not put it in your box. Many other companies like Saffron Road, Abbott Nutrition, Organic Valley, Nestle, and others display the IFANCA halal logo on their labels.

While an array of halal certified products, both made in the USA and imported, is becoming quite evident, most U.S. based companies produce halal only for export. The problem may lie with Muslim consumers not being able to show the food producers that 8-10 million Muslims and 16-20 million halal consumers live in America.

On the non-food front, we see an increase in demand for certification of halal cosmetics and personal care products. IFANCA has experienced an average annual growth rate of seven percent in its halal certification business over the past ten years.

“To encourage growth, we support small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by providing an incubator where the companies can do their basic work, but most of our work is with the major players.”

We want the major players to offer what they offer to everybody else. We can assist the companies to make their existing product lines halal with minor adjustments to the formula, except of course in case of pork and alcoholic drinks.


Q: What does the future of halal certification look like?

Halal certification will continue to grow and witness continued harmonization of halal standards, increased reciprocity among halal certification bodies, and additional multilateral agreements among regulators and accreditation bodies. While efforts continue to develop a global halal standard, we look forward to an all-encompassing discussion to harmonize standards and lighten the accreditation burden by bringing all halal stakeholders into the discussion. That includes the industry, importing countries, regulatory bodies, and the consumers. We are working towards bringing all export oriented halal certification bodies under the umbrella of the World Halal Food Council (WHFC).

The future of halal is bright and we are excited to be a part of it.

UAE’s largest Shariah-compliant bank is about to get bigger

The board of Dubai Islamic Bank will meet on November 25 to discuss the acquisition of Noor Bank, it said in an exchange filing on Tuesday (Nov 19).


The United Arab Emirates’ largest standalone Islamic bank in June outlined plans to acquire Shariah-compliant Noor Bank, saying the smaller institution’s operations will be integrated and consolidated with DIB.


DIB said then that assets post-acquisition will reach nearly 275 billion dirhams ($75 billion). Around 80 percent of that base will come from DIB, which most recently reported 229.962 billion dirhams ($62.62 billion) in assets as at end-September.


The bank added that its “new size and scale” when combined with Noor Bank “will allow DIB to expedite its strategy to connect the dots from Far East, sub-continent, and East Africa with Dubai”.


UAE’s oldest Islamic bank currently has operations in Kenya, Pakistan and Indonesia and holds a stake in Bank of Khartoum.


UAE currently has six standalone Islamic banks: DIB, Emirates Islamic, Noor Bank, Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank, Sharjah Islamic Bank, and Ajman Bank. DIB’s acquisition of Noor Bank will cut that number down to five.


The country’s standalone Shariah-compliant banks and Islamic windows of conventional banks have been steadily growing their market share, from 17.3% of total banking assets in 2013 to 18.9% in 2015 to 20.6% in June 2018, according to central bank data.


This dipped to 19.12% in June 2019, equivalent to 565,793 million dirhams out of total banking assets of 2,958,620 million dirhams.


Dubai Islamic Bank was designated by the UAE central bank in 2018 as systematically important. It is the only standalone and full-fledged Islamic bank out of four financial institutions the regulator considers “too big to fail”.


The bank posted 0.08% increase in net profit to 1.262 billion dirhams ($343.6 million) for the three months ending September 30 compared to the same quarter a year ago.

World Halal Summit & 7th OIC Halal Expo – 28 Nov – 1 Dec 2019 in Istanbul

The World Halal Summit is the largest halal event that sheds the light on significant
issues in halal sector by bringing together prominent experts from all over the world. With
the participation of international academicians and fiqh experts, the summit aims to raise awareness about halal by hosting conferences where halal-related topics in finance, tourism, food, medicine, pharmacy, cosmetics, textile, modest fashion and other sectors are discussed at.


Being organized by Discover Events under the auspices of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey from 28th November to 1st December 2019, the event is annually held in collaboration with Islamic Centre for Development of Trade (ICDT) and the Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC) and with the tremendous support of ministries and organizations, especially the Ministry of Trade of the Republic of Turkey.


As the summit serves as a reliable platform, it annually hosts high-level bureaucrats,
scientists, businessmen/women, and business groups from over 80 countries. By bringing
experts together, it contributes to form single halal standards that will be recognized
worldwide, aims to improve halal trade by helping develop the multilateral relations
between countries, and create an environment in which new technologies, new markets,
and trends can be seen and problems and difficulties can be discussed.

7 th OIC Halal Expo


Being organized under the auspices of the Presidency of the Republic of Turkey and supported by Turkish ministries and other governmental institutions, particularly Turkish
Ministry of Economy, the World Halal Summit 2019 and 7 th Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Halal Expo is going to be organized by Discover Events in cooperation with The Islamic Centre for Development of Trade (ICDT)The Standards and Metrology Institute for Islamic Countries (SMIIC) between 28 Nov-1 Dec 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. 250 different leading companies from different sub-sectors such as finance, tourism,
cosmetics, medicine, chemistry, packing, Islamic textile & modest fashion,
and food & beverages are expected to exhibit at 7 th OIC Halal Expo 2019.


7 th OIC Halal Expo is going to be held at Eurasia Show and Art Center, new exhibition area of Istanbul that has easy access and diverse accommodation
alternatives thanks to its central location.

Baby food company For Aisha secures ‘seven-figure’ investment

For Aisha was founded in 2015 by Mark Salter, and the company claims it is the only halal baby food in the UK. The company’s product portfolio includes baby food pouches and tray meals, with flavours such as chicken & sweet potato curry, chicken dhal, fish & coconut curry and more.


According to a statement from For Aisha, the company will use the funding to expand its presence in the UK, aid its international expansion efforts, bolster its management team and further invest in marketing activities.


For Aisha has already strengthened its management team with the recent appointments of Martin Clarkson as its director of international sales & brand licensing, and former Plum Baby employee Jonathan Burr as a non-executive director.


Clarkson’s principal responsibility will be to oversee the international expansion of For Aisha to key markets including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, and develop the brand’s European opportunities in France, Germany and Holland.


Commenting on the investment, founder Salter said: “For Aisha is aimed at all parents who want to feed their children nutritious meals with real ingredients.


“We have a wide variety of meals on offer – from pouches including Moroccan Chicken Tagine with Apricots and Chicken Dhal with Lentils, to tray meals including Cambodia Fish & Coconut Curry to Green Bean and Lamb Curry with Lentils.


“They’ve been developed to help broaden the taste palates and the repertoire of little ones, to encourage them to eat a wider variety of foods as they grow.


“The For Aisha range is halal and tayyib. Our recipes have been developed by a chef and dietitian and include a delicious blend of spices and herbs so that they taste and smell great.”

India International Halal Expo 2020

India International Halal Expo is an event organised with the sole objective of Halal economy all over the world and a connecting point for the world’s Halal industries. It is a superlative platform to position your brand among the latest and most state-of-the-art Halal products and services that shape the global Halal industry. Through India International Halal Expo, people from various industries like food & beverages, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, engineering, logistics industries and IT services can establish their business in Halal Ecosystem.


  • Food And Beverages, Halal Ingredients & Pharmacy
  • Cosmetics & Lifestyle
  • Tourism & Alternative Finance
  • Logistics & Supply Chain
  • IT Services, Industrial Products & Halal Industrial Parks

Date and place:  18 – 20 Jan 2020  in Hitex Exhibition Center, HyderabadIndia.

GIES 2020 to be held under Expo 2020 Dubai umbrella

The announcement was made by the Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC). GIES is organised every other year by the DIEDC in collaboration with the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Dubai Chamber) and Refinitiv, and under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. Through highlighting the role of Islamic economy in improving standards of living and promoting sustainable economic development, the summit aims to strengthen Dubai’s status as the global capital of Islamic economy.


As part of the GIES 2020 agenda, the Islamic Economy Award will honour the most innovative initiatives and projects that leverage the Islamic economy concept of ethical business and responsible economic practices to positively impact society.


In addition, the summit will host a series of parallel discussions on a wide range of socio-economic issues. The list of distinguished speakers will feature international businessmen who have taken the halal industry to new heights through global expansion, thereby encouraging a new generation of Islamic economy entrepreneurs.


“Including the fifth edition of GIES alongside Expo 2020 Dubai supports the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to establish Dubai as the global capital of Islamic economy,” said Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai. “GIES 2020 will provide an ideal platform for a meaningful conversation about the Islamic economy and the global opportunities that can be leveraged to ensure its sustainability. Dubai has consolidated its leading position in the field due to the pioneering role it has played to date in the development of a viable Islamic economy framework.”

Global Islamic finance industry is growing

According to the 10th Global Islamic Finance Report (GIFR) 2019, the estimated figure for the global Islamic financial industry at the end of 2018 was US$2.6 trillion after recording a growth of 6.58%.


“Islamic finance as an industry has been witnessing substantial growth in the past decade, but its growth rate has steadily declined since 2013 from 11.16% to 6.02% in 2017. After five years of declining trend, the industry has once again picked up to register annual growth in assets of 6.58% during 2018,” explained Professor Humayon Dar, Director General of Cambridge Institute of Islamic Finance and Founder of GIFR.


With Indonesia taking the leadership position as the most influential country in the global Islamic finance industry, Malaysia is now placed 2nd on the IFCI 2019 rank, followed by Iran at number 3 and Saudi Arabia and Sudan are at number 4 and 5, respectively.


At number 6 is Brunei Darussalam, UAE is at number 7, Bangladesh at 8, Kuwait at 9 and Pakistan at number 10. Last year, Indonesia was ranked at 6th position in IFCI 2018.


Halal start-ups, SMEs can’t fully enter global market without Islamic financing

Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the shortage of available financing for halal start-ups and small and medium enterprises (SME) is a “glaring” deficiency in Islamic finance.

She said Bank Negara Malaysia’s Financial Stability and Payment Systems Report 2017 revealed that Islamic business financing continues to exhibit strong growth at 12.5 per cent.

“However, most of the Shariah-compliant SMEs are facing difficulties in seeking SME-suitable Islamic financing,” Dr Wan Azizah said in her speech during the Halal Inclusion Roundtable and Masterclass at the Putrajaya International Convention Centre.

Due to this, the deputy prime minister said most Malaysian SME producers of halal products are unable to fully take advantage of the global demand and supply of the halal market.

“In that respect, more concerted effort and attention should be focused on SMEs, since they are key drivers in creating new jobs and innovation in the halal sector.

“With better financing, I believe more industry players will be encouraged to expand their product lines to include halal-certified products,” she said.

Dr Wan Azizah said better financing will also give existing players a clearer direction for developing strategies in remaining competitive, as well as to meet the various challenges posed by the advent of globalisation, technology and trade liberalisation.

“Local manufacturers may be able to increase the research and development content of their products in order to add higher value.

“One should be reminded that merely relying on the Halal label alone may be insufficient to survive a challenging global market for such products,” she said.