Wednesday, April 30, 2008
King calls for economic alliance among Muslim countries
AMMAN (JT) - His Majesty King Abdullah on Tuesday said the Islamic world has the assets, combined resources and geo-economic position that make it “the key to every major economic issue of our time - from creating a green global economy, to energy sustainability”.
King Abdullah made his remarks in a speech he delivered at the opening ceremony of the 4th World Islamic Economic Forum in Kuwait.
Also yesterday, King Abdullah met with Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah on the sidelines of the forum and discussed bilateral ties, developments at the regional and Arab levels and efforts to push the peace process forward.
He also met with Afghan President Hamed Karzai, head of Bosnian Presidential Council, Haris Silajdzic, and the representative of the Indonesian president, Irman Gusman.
In his speech at the forum, King Abdullah said: “By working together, member states boost prosperity within their group, and compete more effectively worldwide.”
King Abdullah, who returned home late Tuesday, urged the world leaders taking part in the event, along with the officials, world economic experts and more than 400 businesspeople, to create the economic community needed to sustain “our people” against global financial and energy shocks and other challenges, and to determine whether Muslims, not only in Islamic countries, but everywhere in the world, will have access to the economic promise of the 21st century.
His Majesty said the world’s Muslim population is almost one-fifth of humanity, and predominantly young, which gives their countries a significant force for productivity and market growth, adding that with one-quarter of the world’s landmass, Islamic countries are channels to every corner of the global marketplace.
The Monarch said the 57 member states of the Organisation of Islamic Conference have a combined gross domestic product which is only one-fourth of Europe’s, adding which the Muslim world’s share of global trade remains in the single digits.
Stressing the importance to restore the tradition of innovation in the Muslim world, the Monarch said: “Our governments, companies and development leaders must support innovation, with the same deliberate approach that we apply to building infrastructure or attracting investment.”
The King called for creating an environment which supports and encourages young minds to help create a future of true global progress, one that engages all countries and cultures in mutual respect.
The Monarch added that the forum, which brought together leaders from across the spectrum of Muslim society, “recognises the huge role of economic alliances in our era”.
Across the world, regional and transnational communities and partnerships are providing platforms for economic success, he said.
The King added: “We stand on a long Islamic history of enterprise and learning - and we are empowered by the unity, values and purpose of Islam.”
The Monarch also reviewed the Kingdom’s experience in a major initiative on innovation in education.
“Within four years, the return on investment has been phenomenal. New technologies have accelerated, teaching skills have expanded, students have gained knowledge at a world competitive level,” the King said.
“Obviously, the growing pool of talent has near- and long-term benefits for Jordan’s business community. But there are immediate benefits to participating companies, as well - from their local reputation for leadership to knowledge transfer with their global counterparts,” he added.
At their meeting, the King and the Kuwaiti emir emphasised the need for the Palestinians and Israelis to benefit from the atmosphere the Arab and international community are trying to create, paving the way for a just and comprehensive solution to the conflict.
They strongly condemned Israeli violations against the Palestinians and called for an immediate halt to these actions, expansion of settlements and lifting the siege imposed on the Gaza Strip.
Meanwhile, King Abdullah and President Karzai discussed bilateral ties, issues facing the Islamic world, current developments in the Middle East and Afghanistan and efforts to bring about stability and security in both regions.
His Majesty stressed Jordan’s support to Afghanistan’s efforts to entrench stability and security, emphasising Jordan’s keenness to provide all types of support to help the Afghans.
King Abdullah also discussed cooperation with Bosnia’s Silajdzic, particularly in the fields of culture and investments.
Silajdzic invited King Abdullah to visit Bosnia.
Gusman also conveyed to King Abdullah an invitation from the Indonesian president to visit the Asian Muslim country.
King Abdullah also met with Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al Mohammad Al Sabah and looked into means to enhance bilateral cooperation, especially on the investment and economic fields.