Tuesday 29 October 2013

The Mayor of London Boris Johnson has welcomed the arrival this week of the World Islamic Economic Forum to London, the first time this major international conference has been held outside Asia.

The 9th annual WIEF conference (29-31 October 2013) is bringing together government leaders, captains of industry, academic scholars and regional experts to discuss opportunities for business partnerships in the Muslim world and beyond. The conference has attracted 2,300 attendees, its largest number to date, from 120 countries. Staging this prestigious international event gives London an ideal platform to promote its credentials as a leading hub for Islamic finance; London is both the largest Islamic financial centre in the West and the ninth-largest in the world.

Global Islamic banking assets were estimated at $1.2trn in 2012, up from $826bn in 2010, an increase of almost 50% in 2 years. Only last week CityUK’s Islamic Finance Secretariat published a report showing that this sector will continue to grow. Hosting the forum itself will provide an immediate economic boost to the capital whilst also exposing new markets to the attraction of London as a business hub, driving international investment in the capital and helping to create jobs for Londoners. From2003 to 2012 London has welcomed over £11.7 billion in investment from Islamic countries. At last year’s Forum, deals worth an estimated £5.8billion were struck.

The Mayor has worked closely with WIEF Chairman Tun Musa Hitam and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to bring the event to London, and will deliver the keynote address on Wednesday morning, before taking part in a question and answer session with delegates. The Mayor’s overseas investment agency, London Partners, will run a business programme at the forum promoting opportunities in the capital for Islamic investors, including potential investments in finance and infrastructure.

Previously held in Malaysia, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Kuwait and Pakistan, the forum aims to bring together Muslim and non-Muslim communities through business, promoting opportunities for collaboration for social and economic progress. The forum is committed to helping communities with the greatest needs benefit by supporting big and small companies, entrepreneurs and start-ups.

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson said: ‘It is a great honour to welcome the World Islamic Economic Forum to London. The ethos behind this prestigious event is to foster international collaboration, tolerance and cooperation making London the ideal place to come. No other city on Earth can beat our openness, diversity and appetite for new ideas.

‘Hosting this high-powered gathering recognises London’s status as Europe’s pre-eminent hub for Islamic finance, products and professional services, which is playing an increasingly important role in the fortunes of our city. The newly opened Shard, the extraordinary redevelopment of Battersea power station and the Olympic village were funded at least in part by Shariah compliant finance. These developments are catalysts for high profile, ambitious regeneration schemes and as such, are driving significant economic growth and creating tens of thousands of jobs for Londoners.’

Tun Musa Hitam, Chairman of the World Islamic Economic Forum, said: ‘’This is the first time that the WIEF is held in a non-Muslim European capital. The choice of this vibrant, cosmopolitan, yet ancient city is no coincidence. London is home to a vast multicultural population and a great gateway for trade and commerce, finance, culture, ideas and philosophy.

‘I hope we can stimulate further business between the Islamic and non-Islamic world in the years ahead, delivering growth and prosperity for people all over the world. By doing business together can we build bridges worldwide for the greater good of mankind.’’

The Mayor is committed to exploring new and emerging markets from around the world and exploiting London’s export potential, as well as helping overseas firms set up and invest in the capital. He has recently led trade missions to India, the Gulf and China to promote the capital to international investors and business leaders.

Notes to Editors

About the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) Foundation – The WIEF Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation based in Kuala Lumpur, organises the annual World Islamic Economic Forum, a world-class business platform showcasing business opportunities in the Muslim world, and runs programmes of the various initiatives of the Foundation that strengthen people partnership and knowledge exchange between Muslim and non-Muslim communities across the globe


True to its commitment to ‘Build Bridges Through Business’, the WIEF Foundation also formed the WIEF Businesswomen Network (WBN), WIEF Young Leaders Network (WYN) and the WIEF Education Trust (WET) to focus on initiatives such as roundtable discussions, leadership programmes, business networking forums, and even creative arts festivals. For more information, visit: www.wief.org or www.9thwief.org.


Please contact Richard Webster-Smith at London Partners on  020 7234 5788 or rwebstersmith@londonandpartners.com