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Theme: One Belt and One Road and Islamic Finance

Submission Deadline:  July 18, 2019

Overview: OBOR is an exciting global economic development agenda that will link, more efficiently, the trade between 68 countries. Interestingly, many of the core countries along the belt and road are of Islamic origin such as Central Asian republics, Iran, Turkey, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Middle Eastern countries among others. This signifies a huge potential opportunity for economic exploitation including collaborations and joint efforts that will ensure more efficient resource allocation.

However, anecdotes suggest that unfamiliarity with Islam in general and Islamic finance as a means of economic development is a main issue in China and those Islamic countries along the belt and road. For example, it was claimed that “Chinese people are not familiar with the concept of Islamic finance, and since Muslim countries do not fully understand China’s circumstances to effectively promote cultural and financial interconnectivity between China and the Islamic world requires unique and different communication techniques at home and abroad.…” (Global Times, 2016).

In theory, Islam in general promotes both individual and society wealth. Islamic finance is an economic tool to achieve such objective in which the economic transactions are to be undertaken according to the principles as outlined by the religion. In the context of OBOR, it is largely unknown to what extent Islamic finance has been practiced. This presents a great opportunity for interested scholars to explore the presence and the prospect of Islamic finance for its implementation along the belt and road. The areas of economic opportunities are immense: banking, insurance, transportation, consumer products, manufacturing, trading, tourism, retails, education, energy, environment etc.