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Monday, 3 September 2007

International Forum On The Makkah Declaration: Islamic Development Bank reforms to face challenges

KUALA LUMPUR: The Islamic Development Bank is carrying out an internal reform process to streamline operations, policy and building capacity. The reforms are to meet the expectations of its members, help it face future challenges and speed up the implementation of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference’s 10-year action plan, said IDB president Tan Sri Dr Ahmed Mohamed Ali Al-Madani."The realignment efforts focus on the economic development agenda of the programme of action."A working group comprising OIC’s general secretariat and the IDB has been established."IDB is an active partner in the various thematic working groups established by the OIC general secretariat in the areas of health, education and, science and technology. The bank, he said, was considering establishing an inter-OIC Organ Meeting of chief executive officers to support the co-ordination efforts.In response to the 10-year action plan, he said the bank had established the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development in May."Contributions to the fund from member countries are voluntary. The target is US$10 billion (RM35 billion)."In this regard, operations under the fund would be supported only through returns on the investment of its core resources," he told the international forum on the Makkah Declaration: Implementing the Economic Agenda of the Muslim World. The forum is organised by Institute of Strategic and International Studies Malaysia. So far, he said, 29 out of 57 members had announced contributions totalling US$2.6 billion, which included contributions from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iran, as well as the IDB. Several African Least Developed member countries had also contributed to the fund. He urged other member countries to contribute to the fund in the spirit of solidarity.The fund will finance programmes and projects in various sectors, including health, education, agriculture, food security and infrastructure. It will be off and running by January.The OIC is also helping to promote economic development in all member countries.OIC adviser on economic affairs, Ambassador Thierno Nabike Diallo, said expanding the intra-OIC trade was one of the most important pillars for economic co-operation among OIC members.In his paper entitled "State of Development in the Muslim World and the Makkah Declaration", Diallo outlined several actions needed to increase intra-OIC trade.One of it is technical co-operation and harmonisation of laws among OIC members states in the domain of maritime transport.Diallo also felt the need to encourage investments in the maritime industry so that Muslim players in the industry would be more competitive in the international market. World Economic Islamic Forum chairman Tun Musa Hitam said implementing the economic measures outlined in the Makkah Declaration should not be left at the hands of the governments alone."If the process is left to the governments, the development would be slow due to the challenges facing them. There are problems such as bureaucracy, corruption and politics. These problems are the stumbling blocks towards implementing the action plan," he said. Implementing the Makkah Declaration action plan required the participation of institutions established by the OIC or OIC-related bodies, as well as the private sector, he said. - (Bernama, 3 Sep 07)

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