Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development far short of target

Widespread poverty... Small aid

KHARTOUM - An Islamic poverty alleviation fund has attracted just 17 percent of its targeted $10 billion in funding, officials said Wednesday at the annual meeting of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) in the Sudanese capital.
A resolution expressed its "concern over the wide gap between the initially targeted amount of $10 billion and the announced contributions... only by a number of member countries" in the 56-nation bank, whose members all belong to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.
The Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development was established in 2007 to fight poverty and hunger, improve the productive capacity of the needy, reduce illiteracy and promote other development.
"So far members contributed over $1.7 billion to the fund," Abdul Aziz al-Hinai, an IDB vice-president, told reporters.
He said contributions were voluntary over the 10-year period targeted for the $10 billion.
"We are very optimistic that the fund's contribution will increase in coming years," he said. "The bank now is drafting a strategy for resource mobilisation."
Separately, the IDB signed a memorandum of understanding with Qatar and Saudi Arabia's Dallah Albaraka Group to establish the Mega Islamic Bank with a capital of $1 billion.
Ahmad Mohammed Ali, president of the IDB Group, said the new institution aims to help Islamic banks better manage their liquidity.
In a statement, he said the bank hopes to "facilitate the establishment of a financial market amongst the Islamic banks and provide innovative solutions to manage liquidity through generation of assets and launching of an Islamic securities market."
The Jeddah-based IDB, whose major shareholder is Saudi Arabia, was established in 1975 to foster economic development among its members, as well as non-member Muslim communities, in accordance with Islamic law.