Vice President Boediono says Indonesia and Southeast Asia should seek to become the center of global Islamic trade, banking on the region’s economic growth and its large Muslim population.
Islamic merchants from the Middle East once flourished in the region, opening spice trading businesses and contributing to the wealth of kingdoms in the region until the 16th century before being edged out by Western merchants with their military power, Boediono said,
“With that small note in history, and the political and economic progress in Southeast Asia, it is not impossible in the future to develop Indonesia and Southeast Asia to be the center of Islamic trade and set an economic alliance for the Islamic world,” the vice president said in his opening remarks at the Third Muslim World Biz conference and exhibition in Jakarta on Thursday.
Boediono said that momentum is with Indonesia and Southeast Asia, as the West is now struggling with its economy and Asia is becoming the driver of world finances.
“But it all requires a lot of hard and intelligent work,” he said.
Indonesia’s economy alone accounts for 13 percent of the total economy of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which combines the economies of 57 member states, according to data from Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Center for Islamic Countries (Sesric). Indonesia is also the single largest contributor to the bloc’s output.
Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Brunei Darussalam account for around 28 percent of the bloc’s $8 trillion economy. The 49 OIC member countries are predominately Muslim-majority states, although Muslims are minorities in eight OIC members, such as Thailand.
(Live Trading News / 14 Sep 2012)
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