LONDON: Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday proposed five-point strategy to realize the true socio-economic potential of the Islamic world that constitutes 23 per cent of the world population.
In his address to the 9th meeting of World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) in London on Tuesday, the prime minister elaborating on his five points said apart from responsible exploitation of our physical resources‚ we also need to focus on human resource development and scientific advancement.
The prime minister regretted that today only one percent of the scientific research articles are produced in the Muslim countries as against 90 per cent published by Muslim scientists in Middle Ages.
Sharif called for quick movement from mere consumption to increased production of economic goods and services. He said we must transform our natural resource and labour based economy to private sector led and value added economy.
The Pakistani premier said there is need to adopt an inclusive and collaborative growth models for benefit of our people.
The prime minister also proposed focus on transparent and merit based governance with greater emphasis on performance and service delivery.
Sharif said Islamic system of finance may provide answer to multi-faceted problems of interest based financial system. He pointed out that assets of banks and financial institutions practicing Islamic finances have reached impressive figure of 1.3 trillion dollars. 375 banks and financial institutions are practicing dedicated Islamic finance while 110 conventional banks and financial institutions offer Islamic finance windows. Globally listed and Islamic Sukook market has expanded rapidly in the last seven years to reach 500 billion dollar mark. These are very encouraging signs as Islamic finance explores new markets and is no longer confined to Muslim countries.
The prime minister said problems and challenges of the Muslim world and the rest of the world offer scope for cooperation in sectors like energy‚ water‚ infrastructure‚ trade and investment.
The prime minister also referred to movement towards knowledge-based economy‚ revolution in information and communication‚ and unprecedented movement of goods and services and flow of capital in the past two decades. He said these developments have positive impact on the world as the global wealth has more than doubled since 2000 reaching to 241 trillion dollars but many economies have lagged behind and absolute number of poor in these countries has actually increased.
Sharif said Islamic nations have much to offer to the world both in economic contribution as well as social and political philisophies. Muslim countries have combined GDP of 6.6 trillion dollars which is only eight percent of the world GDP. Our countries are spread over a land mass constituting one third of world and possess vast amount of natural resource. We connect East with the West yet our exports are only 14 per cent of the global exports. Average GDP Per Capita Income in 57 Islamic countries is 4900 dollars which is less than half of the global average of 10400 dollars.
The premier emphasized the need to make sustained efforts by the Islamic countries for rapid socio-economic development of their people and contribute towards growth in the world economy. There is need to identify factors which are inhibiting growth in Islamic countries and learn from experiences of those who spearheaded journey of development.