the 33rd annual meeting for the board of governors of the islamic development bank concludes with a number of major initiatives announced

Published June 12th, 2008 - 07:59 GMT

The 33rd Annual Meeting for the Board of Governors for the IDB Group concluded its sessions in Jeddah, with the major announcement of the Jeddah Declaration launch which aims to allocate $1.5 billion to support efforts to meet immediate, medium and long term food crisis in its least developed member countries (LDMCs), though some programs will benefit other members as well. Twenty-six least developed Muslim countries including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Palestinian Authority, Senegal, Sudan and Yemen would benefit from the landmark $1.5 billion food initiative of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group that was announced.

IDB President Dr. Ahmed Muhammad Ali made the announcement while addressing a press conference at the conclusion of the three-day annual conference of IDB’s board of governors at Jeddah Hilton. Finance, economy, planning and agriculture ministers of 56 countries attended the conference, which was opened by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah.

The IDB initiative is significant as many Muslim countries, especially those in Africa, have been hit by an unprecedented food crisis as a result of growing commodity prices including rice and other foodstuff. Under the five-year initiative IDB would give soft loans to member countries to increase their agricultural production and make adequate stock of food grains.

Other beneficiaries of the initiative are: Uganda, Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, Togo, Gambia, Djibouti, Sierra Leone, Tajikistan, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Comoros Islands, Kyrgyzstan, Cameroon, Maldives, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique and Niger. “This food initiative will be implemented immediately,” the president said.

Ali commended the recent initiative taken by Saudi Arabia to boost agricultural production and said IDB would extend all support to the Kingdom’s projects. Last month, Saudi Arabia announced plans to invest in agricultural and livestock projects in foreign countries and establish a holding company to manage such projects as part of its efforts to curb rising commodity prices and ensure food security.

The board of governors also decided to allocate more money for IDB’s $10 billion Solidarity Fund to eradicate poverty in the member countries, the president said. The fund was officially launched at IDB governors’ last conference in Dakar, Senegal. Saudi Arabia and IDB have contributed $1 billion each to the fund, which became operational in the beginning of this year.

Dr. Ali, the longest-serving president of the group, said the governors had also approved plans for the reform of IDB, the largest development bank in the Muslim world that has provided more than $53 billion in loans to carry out health, agricultural, industrial and educational and infrastructure projects in the member countries during the last three decades.

The IDB chief hoped that the bank could attract more funds from the market to meet the growing development requirements in the Muslim world. The bank has already increased its capital from 15 billion to 30 billion Islamic dinar (one dinar is equal to 1.5 US dollar). Qatar, which has been named a permanent member of IDB’s board of executive directors, will increase its contribution to the bank’s capital from ID97.2 million to ID1.25 billion.

Finance Minister Dr. Ibrahim Al-Assaf, who represents the Kingdom at the Board of Governors, said the bank’s total allocations for development projects in 2007 rose by 16 percent. He expressed his satisfaction over the triple A rating received by the bank from international agencies. He commended the efforts of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) to promote its activities in member countries. However, he noticed an increase in ICD’s losses last year “as a result of stumbled operations.” The Saudi minister emphasized the need to improve methods of risk management in order to ensure quality and safety of financing operations. He also urged ICD’s board to look into $30 million in delayed payments and take necessary measures to ensure repayment of loans by its clients.  Delegates were unanimous that the IDB governors’ conference was a big success in terms of participation and adoption of important resolutions.

The Supreme Council for Al-Aqsa Fund, which met on the sidelines of the conference, took a number of decisions for the welfare of Palestinians, especially those besieged in Gaza. Tenders will be called soon to establish an electricity power network between Egypt and Gaza, a senior IDB official said. The fund has already financed several health, educational and infrastructure projects in Palestine with the support of other organizations.  Asked whether the unit for women at IDB would be expanded into a department, the president said the bank would continue its efforts for the empowerment of women by supporting their activities.

In conjunction with the 33rd IDB Annual Meeting, several seminars, sessions and symposiums have been conducted including the IDB's 19th symposium under the title of "Upholding the Cooperation between the Capital Markets in the IDB Member Countries". The Symposium has emphasized the importance of the cooperation role between capital markets through the unification of the legalities and systems in the Member Countries and "Forum of the Capital Markets in the IDB Member Countries" aiming to exchange expertise and innovate new financial tools. The main speaker of the symposium was H.E. Dr. Moe'en Quraishi, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan and renowned international financial advisor.

The 15th Annual Meeting of the Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Investments and Export Credits (ICIEC) has convened in which the board decided to increase the corporation's capital to reach 225 Million US Dollars. Also, during the 8th Meeting for the General Assembly of the ICDPS the memberships of Albania and Union of the Comoros have been endorsed and approved.

The IDB Group Board of the Governors has approved that the 37th Annual Meeting of the Board will be hosted in Sudan pending approval on location and timing in cooperation with the authorities in Sudan.  The upcoming 34th Annual Meeting for the Board of Governors will be hosted in the city of Ashgabat of Turkmenistan.

About IDB Group
The IDB Group is an international organization comprises five major entities. Each entity has its own administration while they are unified by the mission and the vision. The entities are the International Development Bank (IDB), the Islamic Corporation for Insurance of Investments and Export Credits (ICIEC), the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICDPS), the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and the Research and Training Institute (IRTI). These entities employ 942 person and they are serving the Islamic world across 56 countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.

About IDB
Islamic Development Bank is an international financial institution that aims to uphold the economical development and social advancement of all Member Countries and the Islamic communities in the non-Member Countries in accordance to Shariah. The Bank has been established upon the Declaration of Intent issued by the conference of the finance ministers of Muslim countries that was held in Jeddah in Shawwal 1393, December 1973. The Bank officially commenced operations in the 15th of Shawwal 139, 20th of October 1975.
The Bank has disbursed 45.9 billion US Dollars financing 5’272 project for the Member Countries since 1975 until 2007; Where 99% of the disbursement was provided by the Bank itself. Such support was executed by the financing and investment methods that are derived by Islamic Shariah that reckons both Quran and Sunna to be the ruling and governing constitution for the Islamic world.


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