The Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank Group , which marks its 40th anniversary next year, has spent nearly $100 billion to finance infrastructure, health, educational and other projects in member countries, including the 4,500-km Sahara Highway. "This week IDB has received the highest rating of AAA from Standard & Poor's and for the last 13 years we have been maintaining this credit rating," Ahmed Mohammed Ali, president of IDB , said. He attributed this achievement to the tremendous support the bank has been receiving from its 56 member countries, including Saudi Arabia and other GCC states. Saudi Arabia has the largest stake in IDB , which has a subscribed capital of $150 billion. "Since its inception in 1975, IDB has financed projects worth $98 billion in member countries," the president said, while addressing consuls general of different countries in Jeddah. "We have also financed a large number of educational and health projects of Muslim communities in non-member countries," he added. Speaking to Arab News on the sidelines of the event, Ali said a high-level ministerial committee has been set up to discuss the bank's future programs. The committee will meet in Kuala Lumpur on Dec. 16-18 to review the bank's performance in the last 40 years and set out strategies for the next 10 years. "The anniversary will be held simultaneously with the annual meeting of the board of governors in Jeddah in June 2014," Ali said. Asked about the bank's future programs, the president said it would be decided on the basis of the assessment report to be presented by the committee. "Insha Allah (God willing) we'll try our best to meet the growing development requirements of member states. We want to live up to their expectations," he said, adding that the increase in capital would certainly help the bank finance more projects. He said the bank wanted to establish greater cooperation with foreign embassies and consulates as well as offices of international organizations in the Kingdom to support its developmental activities. The bank has set up a $10 billion solidarity fund for the eradication of poverty in member countries. Saudi Arabia has contributed $1 billion to the fund. Farid Kamil Azhar, deputy director general of the Foreign Ministry's office in the Makkah region, highlighted the bank's progress during the past four decades. Saleh Attiyah, consul general of Algeria and head of the diplomatic corps in Jeddah, praised IDB for giving $1 billion to Arab Spring countries to boost development and create jobs. "I am also happy to know that the bank has allocated $12 billion for development projects in Africa." Attiyah underscored the bank's efforts to expand its activities by opening its offices in Egypt, Turkey, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Nigeria. He also noted the bank's efforts to facilitate the distribution of meat of animals sacrificed by pilgrims during Haj among the poor in different countries.
© Arab News 2013
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