PM Proposes Islamic Economic Union

November 12, 2006

Author: Khalid Mustafa

Source: The International News

ISLAMABAD: The three-day second World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) kicked off here on Sunday with the resolve to come up with a comprehensive economic strategy to erase the challenges hindering a Muslim economic renaissance.

Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, the architect of the ongoing economic reforms in the country, came up with an action plan at the inaugural ceremony of the Forum, proposing an ‘Islamic Economic Union’ by entering into multilateral free trade agreements as well as promoting free flow of capital, labour, goods and services among the Muslim countries.

Prime Minister of Malaysia Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said on the occasion that Muslim countries should go for integrated trade and investment not only globally, but also internally. He said Muslim countries needed to compete in global markets with competitive cost of doing business through efficient and skilled human capital and good governance.

“To break the vicious cycle of poverty in the Ummah, we need to develop infrastructure, telecommunications, skilled and efficient human resources to strengthen our economies,” he said, adding that good governance also played a vital role in making economies strong. He said that there is a need to bridge the gap between rural and urban societies.

Badawi stressed the need for utilisation of modern technologies particularly in the fishing and agriculture sector. He also said that the sectarian divide should come to an end. Prime Minister Aziz said the Islamic countries’ eventual goal should be to create an Islamic Economic Union towards which “we can begin by entering into multilateral free trade agreements as well as promoting the free flow of capital, labour, goods and services”. He said: “We can also create a world class capital market to attract international capital which would enable us to finance our growth and development.”