IsDB Group, a Forerunner in the Global Fight Against Poverty

Today, 17 October 2021, is the International Day for Eradication of Poverty. The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, takes pride in marking the occasion by highlighting that most of its activities are aimed at combating poverty and promoting economic and social progress in its member countries and beyond.

A recent report published by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group launched at its annual meetings held in September 2021 in Uzbekistan indicates that the Group’s Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD) has succeeded in achieving remarkable results in combating poverty within its member countries and beyond.

The report highlights the effectiveness of efforts underway by IsDB Group through ISFD which is its specialized poverty alleviation arm.

A look at the document indicates that about 74 million people have benefited from health projects implemented by ISFD during 2007 to 2020, along with the construction of 2,906 schools and maintenance of 769 others. It also shows that the number of beneficiaries of ISFD’s food security projects has reached 105452 people while it has also provided 2,813,000 jobs and empowered or supported 34,000 women and girls in addition to supporting 51,400 male and female students, and training 4,650 teachers.

Alleviating poverty in IsDB member countries, especially the least developed countries, and beyond has always been at the heart of ISFD’s mission with a focus on comprehensive human development in the areas of education, women, youth, community development, and health.

The Fund was established in 2007 with a capital of US$ 10 billion of which US$ 1 billion was provided by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. During the period 2007-2020, nearly 30% of the Fund’s resources were directed to agriculture to provide job opportunities and improve the lives and livelihoods of farmers, and 23% to education to develop human capital and return students who dropped out of education back to schools as education is one of the main pillars in fighting poverty. Also, 18% of fund’s resources was spent on improving people’s living conditions.

Supporting water, sanitation, and urban services and allocating US$ 653.2 million to combat poverty in the least developed countries also feature in the report.

Since its inception, the IsDB has been placing the fight against poverty at the top of its development agenda, using all possible means to spearhead sustainable socio-economic development of its member countries, especially the least developed ones via reaching out to the least privileged.  

The Bank has also launched various initiatives in the fields of health, education, agriculture, and supporting small and medium enterprises with various available means of support extending to member countries as well as Muslim communities in non-member countries, especially in the fields of education and health.

One of the most influential means adopted by the IsDB in its fight against poverty has been its Economic Empowerment approach. The 2021 annual meetings of the IsDB Group in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, saw the IsDB’s Economic Empowerment Department launch the first edition of the Economic Empowerment Forum, which concluded with the official issuance of a set of applied economic empowerment tools addressed to financial institutions wishing to implement this innovative methodology with Islamic financing mechanisms.

During the event, the Economic Empowerment Fund for Uzbekistan was launched, whose design and mobilization of partnerships and resources was supervised by the Economic Empowerment Department, with an initial capital of US$ 100 million in partnership with the government of Uzbekistan, the Bank, and the Saudi private sector.

The IsDB Group prioritizes helping its member countries in the recovery of the COVID-19 pandemic that has posed a serious challenge to global efforts in combating poverty, especially in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, where many IsDB Group member countries with high poverty rates are located.