The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Professor Muhammadou M.O. Kah has suggested that global markets and economies can experience unprecedented growth and development by the strengthening of the emerging markets in the Muslim world.
Contributing to a roundtable discussion at the Europe-Muslim World Democracy Forum that took place at the EU Headquarters in Brussels, Belgium, on February 19, Prof. Kah, a distinguished African Diaspora intellectual and policy strategist, stated that emerging markets in the Muslim world presented opportunities to enhance and facilitate deeper and more substantive cooperation and partnership with Europe.
In three broad categories, the Professor of Information Systems & Computing shared his reflections on “Emerging Markets in the Muslim Countries: Investment, Trade and International Development,” describing the potentials for mutually beneficial growth as momentous. He as well asserted that “growth rates that can be realized in the Muslim countries cannot be realized in the European and non-European markets.”
Professor Kah highlighted the challenges facing emerging markets to include inadequacy of access to capital and sustainable financial structures for financing as well as favorable and/or fair trade systems and platforms.
“These challenges along with increase in fragility, social unrest and conflicts, negative impact of climate change, weak leadership, inadequate freedom of expressions and civil liberties, weak institutions, rigidity of regulations, poor governance, degree of poverty and inequity with a very slowly rising middle class, and lack of opportunities for women and the youthful population further exacerbate the situation.”
Professor Kah, however, foresees “unprecedented economic growth and development for the Muslim countries, their European partners and a spillover benefiting the rest of the world and global markets and economies through increased investment and trade with the European bloc.
“The key sectors with huge potential for cooperation with European countries for investments and trade are in the areas of agriculture, education, energy, finance, health, human resources, science and technologies, transport and communication.”
He identified China as a strong competitor with Europe in influence, trade, and investment. He added that by sourcing much of its huge energy resources from Muslim countries and not exerting pressure on their governments over human rights, China, whose political model is closer to those of the Muslim countries than Europe’s, “is acquiring the trust of the Emerging Muslim Countries (EMCs) for being non-interventionist in their domestic affairs.
“The Muslim world might increasingly find China as an alternative superpower patron and destination for investments and trade to counter the influence of the West and/or Europe. If the present trend continues and the continuing rise of Islamophobia, rise of protectionism and nationalism, Europe and the West may play catchup and Emerging Muslim Countries (EMCs) may not find their investments and trade attractive.
Professor Kah, therefore, urged European (and Western) leaders to rethink their engagement and mindset about the emerging Muslim markets and re-engineer their approach to cooperation, investment, and trade.
Reported by Omorogbe Omorogiuwa