6th World Islamic Economic Forum opens in Kuala Lumpur

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More than 2,500 business and political leaders from 67 countries gathered in Kuala Lumpur on May 19 for the 6th World Islamic Economic Forum amidst a fragile recovery Muslim nations are "gearing for economic resurgence." 

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said in the opening address that there should be no return to the old financial status quo and that the world now needs more effective governance.

He said that the Muslim world should plan an entire ecosystem, moving beyond conventional frameworks and may require a new economic model.

He added that although recovery from the financial crisis is fragile at the moment the countries that will succeed are those that take long term decisions and initiate bold reforms to make them competitive in the new global economic area.

Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, President of Indonesia, told delegates that Muslim nations now have a good opportunity to achieve greater growth, but must overcome impediments by making Muslim world economies attractive to all investors - both Muslims and non-Muslims.

The World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) provides a platform for developing countries, especially Muslim countries, to engage in and discuss trade and economic issues affecting the globe, pushing their economic resurgence to much higher levels.

One example of collaboration among Muslim countries is an MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) signed between the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA) and the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) in which both sides propose to invest USD 5 billion to investigate investment opportunities in Malaysia, including a 215-hectare real estate development in the country's Klang Valley.

The forum also aims to develop business partnerships in an effort to build bridges towards peace and prosperity between the Muslim and non-Muslim world.

Other delegates at this year's Forum included the President of Senegal, Adboulaye Wade; Sheikh Hasina, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh; Mohamed Nasheed, the President of the Maldives and Chris Bowen, Australia's Minister for Financial Services and Corporate Law

Leading business people included Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of Britain's advertising group WPP, Dr. Halil Kulluk, Chairman of Turkey's Intekno Group and Sir Humphrey Percy, CEO of the Bank of London and the Middle East.

The Deputy Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Aset Issekeshev, also attended the forum. The next WIEF conference, in 2011, is to be held in Kazakhstan.

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