Islamic Development Bank Group voices strong support for greater economic cooperation and integration in Central Asia

Istanbul, Turkey, 07.03.2015 – The Turkmenistan International Investment Forum was held in Istanbul, Turkey, under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Turkey, HE Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the President of Turkmenistan, HE Gurbanguli BERDIMUHAMEDOV.

The Chairman of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group, Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, addressed the Forum which took place over two days (5-6 March 2015) and was hosted by the Foreign Economic Relations Board of Turkey (DEIK) and Turkmenistan Business Council in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Turkmenistan. The Forum was attended by a large number of Cabinet Members from both Turkey and Turkmenistan as well as high profile representatives from international organizations and
global investors.

In his statement, Chairman of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group, Dr. Ahmad Mohamed Ali, appreciated the support rendered by the Government of Turkmenistan to the implementation of the IDB Group Projects. He also congratulated Turkmenistan on the successful completion of the construction of the Bereket-Etrek Railway Project which links Turkmenistan to neighboring countries and helps in giving it access to the sea.
Dr. Ali expressed hope that the event contributes to attracting further foreign investment to the priority sectors in Turkmenistan while benefitting from a strong Turkish economy sitting on a unique strategic gateway between the East and the West. “Forging greater regional economic cooperation amongst the Central Asian Republics will expand developmental opportunities and advance social progress for the people of the region. The IDB Group is, therefore, committed to assist in facilitating and
enhancing intra foreign direct investment flows amongst member countries within the context of investment promotion”, the IDB Group Chairman underlined.

Dr. Ali further underlined that the IDB Group is currently seeking to foster the regional cooperation framework in the Central Asian region through the Special Program for Central Asia (SPCA), under the framework of the OIC Plan of Action for Cooperation with Central Asia. The main objective of the SPCA Initiative is to further enhance the economic cooperation and complementarity between the Central Asian countries and other IDB regions, through supporting regional high-impact activities, mainly
transport, energy, trade, and agriculture sectors.

Since Turkmenistan joined IDB in 1994, the cumulative IDB Group development assistance for Turkmenistan has amounted to US$ 638 million for 18 operations. The Bank prides itself in having approved US $371.2 million as financing for Bereket-Etrek Railway Project, which links Turkmenistan with its neighboring countries, the largest single operation ever financed by IDB in any member country.

In his remarks, Dr. Ali also appreciated the strong support rendered to the Central Asian economies by Arab Coordination Group Members such as the Kuwait Fund, the Saudi Fund, Abu Dhabi Fund, OPEC Fund, AGFUND, and Qatar Fund, in addition to the IDB Group. Since the independence of the CIS Countries, the Coordination Group has organized 13 Round table meetings which led to financing of priority projects in the region amounting to US $1.1 billion.

Elsewhere, the IDB Group Chairman expressed strong admiration and support for Turkey’s recent measures to promote its “Participation Banking Industry”. “I strongly believe that there is an enormous opportunity in Central Asia, especially in Turkmenistan, to leverage Turkish experience in this area”, he reiterated. Dr. Ali also touched upon the role that the Republic of Turkey is playing as the 2015 chair of the G20 in promoting the interests of developing countries and advocating a more
inclusive G20 agenda. He stated that the IDB Group highly values the strong support of Turkey to place Islamic Finance in the G20 agenda. “The priorities of the Turkish Presidency have clearly highlighted the positive features of Islamic Finance principles and the need to benefit from them in the different working groups on development, investment and infrastructure”, he concluded.