By Gokhan Ergocun and Bahattin Gonultas
Business leaders from Muslim nations will gather in the Tunisian capital on Sunday to review last year's performance by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), and discuss and approve its development agenda for the year ahead.
Representatives of 57 member states, senior government officials and ministers of finance, economy, planning and international development will attend the 43rd annual meeting of the bank in Tunis from April 1-5.
Several events have been organized on the sidelines of the conference from April 1-3 which deal with a wide range of issues, such as women empowerment, youth, preventing blindness, sustainable development, fintech, efficient water usage, global partnerships and Islamic bonds.
The governing board of the bank, which has been rated AAA by the three major credit rating agencies of the world for the past 14 years, will meet on April 4-5.
President of Islamic Development Bank, Bandar Hajjar
Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Hajjar, group president for the bank, said: “We are committed to the development needs of our member countries.
"In the last one year, we have introduced several initiatives that would help in building capacity of our member countries, particularly by leveraging on the opportunities offered by science and technology."
He added that the bank will decentralize its operations in order to be closer to its clients.
"No institution can solve development challenges alone. That is why the annual meeting in Tunisia is focusing on partnerships for sustainable development,” Hajjar said.
$11.2B for Turkey's development
Deputy Prime Minister Mehmet Simsek will represent Turkey at the summit, where Ankara's participation in a major international humanitarian health project in cooperation with the Alliance to Fight Avoidable Blindness (AFAB) will be announced. The project will span across 12 African countries.
Turkey is among the founding members of the bank and a major development partner.
The bank maintains an office in the Turkish capital Ankara and another in Istanbul, from where it handles projects in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Albania and Bosnia Herzegovina.
Since its inception, the bank has provided $11.2 billion in funds to 483 different projects in Turkey.
On April 3, the bank will officially launch a $500-million fund called TRANSFORM to provide direct and immediate support to scientists, innovators, and entrepreneurs from all over the world, to find solutions to socio-economic challenges member states face.
The bank will also present awards for women empowerment, science and technology, and Islamic banking and finance.
The 2018 IDB Prize for Women’s Contribution to Development will be presented to three winners from Togo, Uganda and Nigeria. The award for Islamic banking and finance will be presented to a scholar from Sudan.
$128 billion of funding
In recent years, the institution which is the most successful Multi-lateral Development Bank (MDB) of the Muslim world, has been boosting its cooperation with major players in the global development arena while focusing on innovative ways of financing.
The Jeddah-based bank started operations in 1975, as the development arm of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the largest such entity in the Muslim world.
Since starting operations 43 years ago, the bank has provided nearly $128 billion of funding to various development projects in all its member countries in Asia, Africa, Europe and Latin America.
The institution is also focusing on fighting poverty and preventable diseases and epidemics, capacity building, and creating job opportunities, especially for the youth.