Whatever happened to the Golden Dinar?
Tim Steel writes for DOT :
A decade ago, when undergoing the, inevitable, teething difficulties, involved with setting up serious organisations for social and economic support in Bangladesh… a common problem in LDCs… I was introduced to ‘The Golden Dinar’. My own inspiration for the organisation, designed to support, both financially, and in mentoring, aspiring young entrepreneurs, now named BYeah!…Bangladesh Youth Enterprise Advice and Helpcentre…came, in part, from my own previous involvement with HRH Prince of Wales, Youth Business International Scotland, already flourishing, and achieving results, in my home country of Scotland. My earlier work with rural CBOs in Sri Lanka, had also informed this initiative.
Ably assisted by the much trusted, and much missed and lamented, associate, Xulhaz Mannan, subsequently an aide to the US Ambassador in Bangladesh, and supported by a growing local business interest, the clear requirement for such an aid organisation was easy enough to establish in principle. The folk from YBI and ‘The Prince’s Trust’, in London, sought for us potential backers, amongst them, their partner organisation in Saudi Arabia.
Meetings were arranged, and subject to the legal registration of BYeah!, we were assured funds….although officials in Bangladesh appeared cautious.
Whilst promising initial support from Saudi Arabia, payment of which would be made in dollars, the subject of Golden Dinar, as a developing form of highly negotiable, international currency, secured by oil income, was raised.
It became quite clear that the reintroduction of what was, in fact, an ancient, and much trusted currency of international trade, could shortly materialise. I was left, at the time, by those I met, in no doubt that it was intended that the Golden Dinar would be a stable, petro chemical based, internationally negotiable, currency, certainly intended to replace the US Dollar.
It was not hard to understand the motivation for what appeared to be, even at that time, a well supported initiative.
Indeed, as early as 2002, I came to understand, the great Mahatir Bin Mohamad, then Prime Minister of the widely acknowledged, ‘Asian Tiger Economy’, Malaysia, proposed the ‘Golden Dinar’ as standard for use as a negotiable international currency, in the Islamic world.
At that time, Indonesia had already, in 2000, introduced it for Islamic Mint Nusantara.
There was, of course, never any doubt that the USA would fight, as fiercely as possible, such a development on a wider international scale as the Saudi proposal to me seemed to suggest.
It may, as usual, not always be easy to determine cause and effect, but, even before the declaration in 2014, by Abu Bakr al- Baghdadi, and his ‘Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, a catalogue of conflict had disturbed Islamic nations around the Gulf…and beyond. The can be little doubt that it was that 2014 declaration, to the unquestionable satisfaction of USA, nailed a decisive nail in the coffin of the initiative…at least, for now!
The ‘Golden Dinar’, has had a history almost as ancient as that of Islam itself. It was first established by Umar ibn Al-Khattab, one of the earliest architects of the Islamic ‘world’, probably in about 641 CE.
‘A week’, the British Prime Minister, Harold Wilson, famously observed, ‘is a long time in politics’. The record of political, and even economic, instability in the Arab world in the past decade, may cause one to wonder to what extent it derives from the threat to the dollar…if such a threat was ever realistic.
It may be interesting to watch. The Writer is a Marketing and Communications Specialist. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org