Dubai – MENA Herald: The Department of Economic Development (DED) in Dubai unveiled today the ‘Global Islamic Business Excellence Centre’ (GIBEC), which aims to expand Islamic economic activities beyond Islamic finance and contribute to the development of an Islamic business ecosystem in line with the emirate’s Islamic economy capital initiative. The Centre will also institute the ‘Global Islamic Business Award’ to promote best practices and excellence among organisations and enterprises conducting their business based on Islamic values. GIBEC is also likely to extend its services to the 56 member countries of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation (OIC) at a later stage.

“The Global Islamic Business Excellence Centre will facilitate the further development and integration of Islamic quality management standards into economic activities in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to position the emirate as the capital of the Islamic economy,” His Excellency Sami Al Qamzi, Director General of DED said.

“The excellence centre along with the award will help align the strategic goal of the Department of Economic Development to promote quality, excellence and innovation, with the Islamic economy capital initiative,” added Al Qamzi.

Abdulla Mohammed Al Awar, the Chief Executive Officer of The Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre said: “With the rapid increase in activities focused on the Islamic economy, and with Dubai and the wider UAE emerging as an incubator for responsible Islamic investments, this initiative offers us an opportunity to shape a competitive Islamic economy landscape. Institutions will now have the chance to deliver excellence based on the ethics of Islamic economy to ensure financial safety and sustainability.”

“Dubai is consolidating its business advantages as a pioneer in Islamic banking as well as a diversified economy by combining them into a single management and governance framework based on Islamic values. This will allow Dubai to move Islamic standards beyond product certification, to management and business practices as well,” commented Khalid Al Kassim, Assistant Director General for Economic Development at DED.

GIBEC seeks to address the lack of a specialised entity dealing with qualitative aspects of the Islamic economic paradigm by developing and promoting Islamic value-based standards. Ensuring both qualitative and quantitative development in Islamic economy is expected to attract new foreign direct investment (FDI) and further promote economic and business sustainability. Supported by IDB, the Centre aims to serve as a global centre for applied Islamic economics, promoting Islamic values across all aspects of doing business and creating value for all stakeholders.

GIBEC is envisioned to play a central role in expanding the realm of Islamic economy by providing a management framework that addresses the issues of sustainability and business growth.

The move from Islamic banking and Islamic finance to a more comprehensive operationalisation of the Islamic economic paradigm has become important, particularly in light of increasing awareness globally on the sustainability advantage of socially responsible businesses. In the US alone, socially responsible investors are said to manage over AED 10 trillion. GIBEC aims to make a positive impact on business and economic sustainability overall while attracting socially responsible investors.

Initially, GIBEC will seek to promote Islamic business excellence and organisational growth through awarding performance and commitment to shari’a principles. DED held extensive discussions with various stakeholders in the local, regional and global private as well as public sectors before launching GIBEC, to ensure that the Centre addresses the evolving requirements of Islamic economy. The Global Islamic Business Award was thus incorporated into the GIBEC portfolio to bring in best practices and motivate organisations to fully comply with shari’a principles.

Participants in the Global Islamic Business Award stand to benefit from the comprehensive prior assessment process on the level of integration of Islamic value-based standards, business excellence, and sound corporate governance principles. The Award will also complement Dubai’s continuing efforts towards improved quality, productivity and competitiveness.

GIBEC will provide, at a later stage, advice on shari’a compliance and certification while also developing research capability to support awareness promotion and education on Islamic business practices. In addition, the Centre will train assessors and experts in Islamic business excellence, support the development of shari’a auditors and shari’a board members, and disseminate practical knowledge about Islamic economics and governance.

Dr Ahmed Iskanderani, Director, Islamic Finance Capacity Development Department, said: “The Islamic Development Bank Group is keen to be part of this project, and support the efforts of the Government of Dubai towards realising the vision of Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid for Dubai to be the capital of Islamic economy and disseminate Dubai’s experience in this area to the rest of the IDB Group member countries to promote economic and social development”.