In Indonesia, most Middle East investors were interested in investing in the infrastructure sector, including power and water, mines and energy, and transportation projects. Many were also interested in investing in the natural resources, agriculture and finance sectors, Mumtaz told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of the Second Indonesia Investment Forum here.
"Tapping these major funding sources for high-priority projects is the key to securing much-needed foreign investment," he said.
Indonesia, as the country with the largest Muslim population in the world, stood a good chance of becoming the primary recipient of funding from Muslim countries.
However, he added: "Indonesia tends to beg for investment from the Western countries, ignoring the huge potential that exists in the Gulf countries."
Accordingly, Indonesia needed to aggressively market itself in places such as Riyadh, Jeddah, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Doha, Muscat, Kuwait and Bahrain.
"These are the places where there are billions of dollars waiting to be invested. I would suggest that Vice President Jusuf Kalla and other senior officials lead missions to these places," Mumtaz said.
"There is a trend toward greater investment in the Gulf countries following the recent visit by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia to China, India, Malaysia and Pakistan," he said.
Meanwhile, Singapore Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew also visited the UAE and Qatar to promote Singapore as a conduit for GCC's investment in Asia.
"Singapore and Malaysia are fast-movers in tapping these opportunities," he said.
GCC member countries hold 50 percent of the total assets of the global Islamic finance market, which amount to US$700 billion.
According to Afaq Khan, global head of Standard Chartered Bank Islamic Banking, there are currently over 250 Islamic funds worldwide managing over $300 billion in assets comprising equity, real estate, currency, leasing and bond funds.
EMP Bahrain, which has been actively acting as a bridge between investor groups in the Middle East and Asia, is in the process of setting up a $1 billion Islamic energy fund, to be based in Dubai.
Afaq said that the establishment of the Islamic finance industry and the creation of Islamic financial institutions in Indonesia would provide opportunities for attracting more Middle Eastern investors.
"Middle Eastern investors would be more confident about their investments in Indonesia if they were channeled through such financial instruments," Mumtaz said. - The Jakarta Post