The IsDB Group will be mobilizing US$1.2 billion toward aiding its member countries to recover economically from the COVID-19 pandemic. VINEETA TAN reports.
At its recent annual meetings held in the Uzbek capital of Tashkent, some 30 MoUs and agreements were signed between IsDB Group entities and counterpart institutions from across Africa and Asia.
As the host of the meeting, Uzbekistan was a major beneficiary of the IsDB aid. Among fresh commitments for the Central Asian nation include a US$100 million fund, the Economic Empowerment Fund for Uzbekistan, designed to create 100,000 new jobs by supporting local MSMEs. Launched in cooperation with the Uzbek government and private sector players from Saudi Arabia, the IsDB has committed US$20 million to the impact investment fund, said to be the first of its kind in the country of 34 million.
The former Soviet republic will also receive a US$200 million investment to drive economic development in rural regions. The IsDB also agreed to finance the second phase of a project devoted to expanding access to oncology services in Uzbekistan by equipping treatment centers and expanding medical training.
Other notable agreements include financing two projects in Benin worth US$150 million and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation providing trade financing to a handful of member countries to support strategic commodities including EUR330 million (US$391.97 million) to Comoros and EUR85 million (US$100.96 million) to Burkina Faso, US$100 million to Guinea and US$75 million to the Maldives. The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector entered into an MoU with Azerbaijan Investment Holding to explore the potential of issuing Sukuk among other things, while the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit formalized collaboration with the likes of the Islamic Organisation for Food Security in Kazakhstan.
Last year, the IsDB Group, which has 57 member countries, approved US$6.9 billion in funding commitments to support its member countries to weather the effects of the pandemic.