The countries benefiting the most from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) financing are Turkey, Indonesia, Pakistan, Egypt, and Turkmenistan, IDB president Bandar Hajjar disclosed Monday at a press conference to announce IDB’s annual report.
He said IDB is committed to providing aid to countries affected by the instability in the region such as Yemen and also countries that have refugees such as Lebanon and Jordan. Other countries also on the list is Somalia. Special assistant is also given to Muslim communities in Myanmar through cooperation with neighboring countries.
IDB data showed that Turkey tops the list of countries receiving finance at $1.7 billion. This is followed by Indonesia which received $995.3 million, Pakistan $950.5 million, Egypt $942.2 and Turkmenistan $700 million. Projects financed include infrastructure, health, agriculture, and education.
Region-wise, all the four regions in which the 75 member countries of the IDB are grouped, received a fairly equal distribution of approvals, with Sub-Saharan Africa and Europe and Central Asia regions each getting $3.1 billion. The Middle East and North Africa region received $3.05 billion, and Asia and Latin America region gained the remaining $2.8 billion. The total amount approved for all 255 operations in these different regions reached $12.2 billion.
The theme of this year is youth empowerment. Answering a Saudi Gazette question about the projects or initiatives offered to youth, he said the theme is selected putting into consideration that 70% of the population of member countries are youth. He added that the sessions accompanying this event will provide recommendations which the IDB will later ensure implantation. Such recommendations might include providing financing and easing regulations, providing training and consultation to member countries to empower youth.
He elaborated that participants from the 75 member countries are here to discuss and highlight youth empowerment. “We are bringing youth to listen to their views and for them to provide initiatives for development. We then shall transfer that to programs and ensure their implementations,” he said.
The president noted that they opt to expand the partnerships to close the gap that is needed for the development in member countries. “The infrastructure sector alone needs $3.5 trillion, of which only $2.5 trillion is available. The amount is huge and IDB cannot do it on its own.” He added that financing should not be the only source that is relied on in development. It should be associated with other components such as training and consultation.
Asked about the IDB interest to invest in Aramco, he said “like any other project investment in Aramco, if considered, will be examined through comprehensive studying and based on the IDB criteria.” In the same context, he highlighted the strong relation that links the IDB with the Kingdom, particularly in the infrastructure sector.
IDB also announced issuing a published book addressing unified fatwas regarding the different modes of financing based on diversified fiqh school views. The book includes 75 decisions regarding sukuk, hire, sale, zakah and waqf. The book is a contribution that would help financing establishments and researchers.