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Royal Hashemite Court (Jordan)

King addresses World Islamic Economic Forum in London
London, 29 October 2013

His Majesty King Abdullah said on Tuesday he was proud that, despite recent crises and regional turmoil, Jordan remains a resilient and safe haven for its people and its partners.

Addressing the Ninth World Islamic Economic Forum held in London, King Abdullah noted how international financial institutions have been reaffirming their confidence in Jordan's stability and growth outlook, praising the Kingdom's progress in the face of outside shocks, and its commitment to the national reform program.

The King told the opening session of the forum, in which about 2,700 world delegates are taking part to discuss economic challenges posed to Islamic countries, that Jordan has a unique geo-strategic position, in the heart of the Levant, making it a strategic platform to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the wider Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and a global East-West hub.

His Majesty said the free-trade agreements that Jordan has signed with major economies give access to over one billion consumers, adding that the country is "simply the place to be, when you need a manufacturing base and outsourcing centre, a distribution and assembly gateway, a back office and consulting hub or a base for infrastructure and reconstruction projects in our MENA region".

The King expressed hope that the forum would spearhead new ties, new ways of doing business, and new best practices for a new era of inclusive growth, adding that all Muslims around the world can, and must, share in global productivity and prosperity.

His Majesty said Jordan is proud to have been among the first homes of modern commercial Islamic banking, noting that the Jordanian parliament passed a new legislation in 2012 regarding Sukuk, which will serve as a framework for Islamic finance to take root and grow, providing new mechanisms for financing government, small and medium SMEs and other enterprise, and helping to alleviate poverty.

The King said that, in the aftermath of the global financial crisis, Islamic banking has proven more resilient and more secure than conventional methods, and it has grown tremendously. However, His Majesty added, there is still huge untapped potential for Islamic banking and Islamic finance in the region.