Imperative of economic integration among Muslim countries: Lessons from European globalisation
Purpose – The paper was written to highlight the advantages of initiating economic integration among Muslim countries across the globe, drawing special lessons from Europe's experience; its successful economic integration and challenges which trailed the process. Design/methodology/approach – The methodology is basically descriptive and analytical. Theoretical construct and model on economic integration was developed for adoption by the Muslim countries. The model seeks to enhance their economic strength through intra and inter trade relations and reduces their weaknesses through specialization. Secondary data from Organization of the Islamic Conference and Islamic Development Bank member countries were exhaustively used in the study. Findings – The paper found out that integration is plausible and beneficial, however, a concerted effort must be made in promoting technological development, raise human capital, and improve the product diversification among Muslim countries while developing stable institutions and infrastructures. Two, the potential benefits of integrating exceed the costs. The emphasis needs to be, not in cutting costs/inputs (reductionist approach), but on generating more wealth/revenue/income (incrementalist approach) that results in reducing the huge external debt, poverty, diseases, frustration, and corruption in most Muslim countries. Three, key to Muslims' socio-economic happiness is through mutual cooperation for growth and development (Qur'an 42:38, Q3:159). Research limitations/implications – The major contributions of this paper are three, firstly, the paper explores a faith-based integration effort, and secondly, it identifies reasons for low success in the integration efforts among Muslim countries and finally suggests an econometric model based on faith that neglects the artificial geographical barrier. Practical implications – The practical implication of the paper is the recommendation to establish a Muslim Economic Bloc because Muslim countries are economically heterogenous group, with uneven development and growth pattern. Originality/value – The paper is major contribution in the field of Islamic economics and applied economics. Contrary to what we know in the conventional economics, this paper advocates a faith-based economic model and bloc in a globalised world economy. It is a contribution to existing literature.
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