On Monday October 5, Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus joined The UAE Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai His Highness Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to inaugurate the Global Islamic Economy Summit at Madinat Jumeirah attended by 4,000 policymakers and business leaders and finance professionals from 30 countries.
Professor Yunus also gave the opening key note speech at the Global Islamic Economy Summit. The Prime Minister took the floor after Yunus’s speech to inaugurate the Summit. Professor Yunus said that the economy is not about businesses, it is about people. Growth rate does not reflect the condition of the people; it reflects the condition of the businesses. He argued that in order to make the world sustainable we would have to redefine business; instead of keeping the businesses to aim at one P, the profit, it should aim at three P’s with equal priority– People, Planet, and Profit. Only then business can reflect the condition of people. He warned the audience that unless we reformulate the purpose of business we would end up with a world where almost all the wealth of the planet will be concentrated in hands of a few people.
The Summit organized by Dubai Chamber, Dubai Islamic Economy Development Centre (DIEDC) and Thomson Reuters is intended to examine the changing dynamics of the Islamic economy.
On the previous day, October 4, Professor Muhammad Yunus was also personally invited by the UAE Prime Minister to join him in the launching ceremony of the The Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives Foundation, as a special guest, as he would like the foundation to be inspired by the work of Professor Yunus to help poor overcome poverty. The Prime Minister discussed with Yunus about the future programs of the Foundation and requested Professor Yunus to help him shape the agenda for the Foundation. He instructed his staff to issue resident visa to Yunus so that he can come to Dubai without any difficulty. The visa was issued on the same day.
Others who spoke at the business sessions were Mubarak Rashed Al Mansouri, Governor of Central Bank of the UAE and prominent leaders from the UAE’s Islamic finance industry — Dr Adnan Chilwan, Group CEO of Dubai Islamic Bank, Tirad Al Mahmou d, Group CEO of Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank and Jamal Bin Ghalaita, CEO of Emirates Islamic Bank.
Also on October 4, Professor Yunus called for reform of the financial service sector in order to respond better to world’s most pressing problem such as poverty, unemployment and environmental crisis at Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) Ethical Finance Innovation Challenge Awards (EFICA) ceremony
During the event, Yunus highlighted how the global financial crisis had uncovered serious shortcomings in the global banking system, including irresponsible behavior by some individuals who influenced the marketplace. But he said that there are opportunities to correct mistakes and redesign the global financial system fundamentally. Professor Yunus said, “My greatest challenge has been to change the mindset of people. This is why it is so enriching to see initiatives, such as EFICA, that are focused on driving change across the industry and being a force for social good. By working together and collaborating across the industry, we can create a different kind of business – a business based on selflessness. “I believe the answer is, what I call, ‘Social business’,” defining this as a company with the sole purpose of solving a social problems in a financially self-sustaining way, rather than pursuing profits.
Yunus said that the Islamic banking sector was well placed to embrace “social business” because of its ethical roots. He pointed to his experience at Grameen Bank in Bangladesh, which provides credit to the poorest in Bangladesh, without any collateral, as means to combat poverty.
“All companies that are trying to do social good need funding to carry out their agenda – that gives banks a key role in the development of social businesses,” Yunus said. “We could have a social business funding company that will provide funding to renewable energy, healthcare or information technology, as well as funding a company that provides micro-finance to the local community.
(From Left to Right) Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Minister of UAE Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Social Development, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan and Nobel Laureate Professor Muhammad Yunus at the launching ceremony of the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives Foundation on October 4