Malaysia ranked first among 81 countries and regions in the Global Islamic Economy Indicator for the ninth straight year, thanks to its thriving market for Islamic finance and a range of halal products and services.
The indicator, published in the annual State of the Global Islamic Economy Report by U.S.-based DinarStandard, compares economies worldwide in terms of market size, innovation and their regulatory landscape as it pertains to Islamic law.
Malaysia led decisively over second-ranked Saudi Arabia, earning top scores in terms of halal foods, Islamic finance, Muslim-friendly travel and media as well as recreation. The Southeast Asian country also stood in the top 10 for pharmaceuticals and modest fashion and cosmetics.
Gaining the top rank for the 9th consecutive year, Malaysia scored especially high in Islamic finance, benefiting from a 20% jump in the value of funds compliant with Islamic law. In the media sector, educational animated series “Omar & Hana” has been a major hit.
With an estimated population of 1.9 billion, the Muslim world logged an 8.9% rise in consumer spending for 2021 to around $2 trillion, while Islamic financial assets grew 7.8% to $3.6 trillion, the report said. It forecast Muslim spending to reach $2.8 trillion by 2025.
Indonesia remained fourth in the overall rankings. The country saw an upswing in Islamic fintech, such as digital financing for retail customers and smaller businesses. Singapore jumped to seventh from 15th, making strides in Islamic-friendly fashion and travel.
The report said demand for halal pharmaceuticals has grown amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“While a halal-certified vaccine is not in sight, the pressure to improve self-sufficiency in pharmaceuticals” among members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation “will encourage the development of locally produced active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) and medicines, including halal-certified ones,” it said.