Ramadan PageHow Islamic union will affect the economic development [Archives:2008/1187/Culture]
By: Harun Yahya
Contemporary world politics make it necessary for nations to integrate into international unions in the interest of their own national security and economy. In these international unions, which are usually based upon geographic location, such factors as natural resources, trading blocs, and even cultural values play an important role. Many neighboring countries combine their resources under the auspices of such organizations, create defensive alliances, and cooperate on a wide array of issues. The goal of such unions is to preserve peace, control the arms race, resolve disputes through diplomacy, promote socioeconomic development, and protect fundamental human rights and democracy. At the present time, NATO, the OSCE, the EU, NAFTA, OPEC, ASEAN, the G-8, the D-8, and APEC are the foremost international political, military, and economic unions.
These institutions are subject to organizational reforms because of new members or a widening of scope. All of these organizations, formed in the aftermath of the Second World War, have contributed to creating stability and order in the world and have played a major role in global socioeconomic development. Member nations protect their economic and military interests, and also acquire a stronger regional and international position. Even the developed world perceives the necessity of such partnerships. The creation of free trade zones, regional trade agreements, abolished customs controls, and even a common currency (as in the EU) safeguard the future of member states. Defensive pacts enable member states to reduce military expenditures and to divert those resources to cultural and educational fields.
A similar organization will provide considerable benefits to Muslim nations. For those that are desperate for technological as well as economic development, the foremost step toward stability is the creation of a central organization or, in other words, a unified Islamic world under the auspices of the Islamic Union.
Economic Development and Increasing Prosperity
Economic cooperation is necessary on two counts: stability and development. Muslim nations must bring stability and solidity to their economies. Developing industries and making the required investments is vital, as is the need for a comprehensive development plan and the simultaneous development of education, economy, culture, science, and technology. While various sectors are developed technologically, the labor force's educational levels and standards must be raised accordingly. Society must be motivated to become more productive, and the resulting economic cooperation will play a major role in eradicating poverty, illiteracy, the unjust distribution of wealth, and other socioeconomic problems rampant in Muslim countries. This partnership can be formed only by the creation of free trade zones, customs unions, and common economic areas.
Most Muslim countries have geostrategic importance as well as rich natural resources (e.g., natural gas and crude oil). These resources and strategic opportunities, however, are not being used effectively. In the Islamic world, 86% of the population's living standards fall below $2,000, 76% under $1,000, and 67% under $500 per year. When the Islamic world's total resources are considered, this is quite a paradox: Roughly half of the petrol consumed in the West is exported from the Islamic world, as is 40% of the world's agricultural production. Many economists and strategists freely admit that the world economy depends upon the Islamic world's oil and gas exports, in particular those of the Persian Gulf.
The Persian Gulf holds two-thirds of the planet's discovered crude oil reserves. Data obtained from research concludes that Saudi Arabia alone holds 25.4% of the world's oil reserves, or 262 billion barrels. A further 11% is found in Iraq, 9.6 % in the UAE, 9.2 % in Kuwait, 8.6 % in Iran, 13% in other OPEC member states. The rest is distributed across the remainder of the world. Research commissioned by the U.S. Department of Energy shows that between 2000 and 2020, oil exports from the area will increase by 125%. This means that the world will continue to meet most of its energy needs by imports from the Gulf region. Moreover, the Middle East has 40% of the global natural gas reserves; 35 % of these reserves are in the Gulf region. Algeria, Libya, and other North African countries have 3.7 % of the world's reserves.
The Caucasus and Central Asia are also rich in oil, natural gas, and other natural resources. For instance, Kazakhstan has between 10-17.6 billion barrels of proven oil reserves, and its natural gas reserves are estimated at between 53-83 trillion cubic feet. Turkmenistan has between 98-155 trillion cubic feet of natural gas reserves, making it the fourth largest producer. Some other Muslim countries have valuable mineral resources. For instance, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan are two of the world's leading gold producers. Turkey has one of the world's richest boron reserves, only recently discovered to be very important, and Tajikistan has the world's largest aluminum producing facilities.
These advantages will become more important in the twenty-first century, which some have already christened the “energy century.”” Energy is an essential element of modern society in terms of the military