Muslim Nations Meet to Plan Stronger Growth in World Economic Recovery

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, May 17 /CNW/ - With many Muslim nations among the emerging markets rebounding strongly from recession, this year's World Islamic Economic Forum is set to be closely watched by economic trend spotters around the globe.

The conference will welcome leaders and representatives of the 1.6 billion Muslims worldwide, of whom around 20 percent are from the Arab world, while the majority live in south and east Asia. Leaders of smaller nations outside this area, such as Kosovo, will also attend.

Trade between Muslim countries will account for nearly 17 per cent of global trade this year, but increased ties with the non-Muslim world will also be discussed at the gathering.

Aiming to help its members build bridges and thrive in a changing world, the sixth annual WIEF meeting, taking place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on 19 and 20 May has the theme "Gearing for Economic Resurgence".

The challenges of leadership, the need for constant innovation and new business and investment opportunities will be examined during plenary sessions.

Other issues to be tackled include climate change and the impact of the global financial crisis on already scarce water resources.

An examination of the myth or reality of Islamic branding will include a discussion on how Western companies could make their products more relevant and successful in the Muslim world.

A session on Islamic banking's potential as the world searches for a new monetary system in the post-financial crisis era will reflect how the business has grown at an annual rate of 15 per cent, reaching a volume of $1 trillion, five times higher than in 2003.

WIEF Foundation Chairman Tun Musa Hitam, from Malaysia, will make the welcoming speech followed by a keynote address and official opening by Malaysia's prime minister Tun Abdul Razak. Other high profile leaders addressing the delegates will be Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei Darussalam; Abdoulaye Wade, president of Senegal; Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, president of Indonesia; Fatmir Sejdiu, president of Kosovo; Mohamed Nasheed, president of Maldives; Sheikh Hasina, prime minister of Bangladesh; Sharif Ahmed, president of Somalia; and Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, president of Mauritania.

Reflecting that 65 per cent of the Muslim world is below 30 years of age, a young leaders' forum entitled "defining the Muslim youth in the 21st century" will be held ahead of the two-day conference. A WIEF businesswomen forum will also take place ahead of the main conference.

SOURCE WORLD ISLAMIC ECONOMIC FORUM

For further information: For further information: Colleen Baldwin, FBC Media, London, DID, +44-207-038-0969, email: cbaldwin@fbcmedia.com; Claire Gleeson-Landry, FBC Media, Kuala Lumpur, mob: + 44-7775-676-169, email: cgleesonlandry@fbcmedia.com

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