Istanbul, Türkiye, December 4, 2023 – During his official visit to Türkiye for the 39th COMCEC Ministerial Meeting in Istanbul, the President, and Group Chairman of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, emphasized the need for escalated investment and improved economic cooperation within the COMCEC framework.
In his role as the keynote speaker at the opening ceremony, Dr. Al Jasser addressed the gathering under the auspices of the President of the Republic of Turkiye, H.E. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He highlighted IsDB's forthcoming 50th anniversary, to be celebrated during the Bank Group's Annual Meeting from April 27-30, 2024, in Riyadh. He described this milestone as a testament to the enduring partnership and collaboration that has greatly benefited Islamic nations.
Dr. Al Jasser commended all member countries, partners, and stakeholders of the IsDB Group for their steadfast support and cooperation in furthering the Bank's noble mission. He outlined a future vision centered on increased solidarity for shared prosperity, enhanced economic cooperation and integration, amplified investment in seamless connectivity infrastructure, and the development of human and institutional capacities, leveraging South-South Cooperation.
Established in 1981, the Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (COMCEC) is the principal multilateral economic and commercial cooperation platform in the Islamic world. Meeting annually in Türkiye, it serves as a pivotal forum to address and provide solutions to the economic challenges facing the Islamic world.
At the outset of his keynote address, Dr. Al Jasser expressed gratitude to Hon. President Erdogan for hosting the COMCEC meeting and for the warm reception in Türkiye. He also extended condolences for the tragic loss of lives and widespread devastation in Gaza and in countries like Türkiye, Syria, Morocco, Libya, and Afghanistan, which suffered from natural disasters in 2023.
Dr. Al Jasser discussed the significant economic challenges faced globally, including rising inflation, declining economic growth, and increasing vulnerabilities to food insecurity and climate change. He highlighted the IsDB Group's initiatives, such as the Arab Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) Program and its US$1.5 billion Food Security Program, to mitigate these issues. He also mentioned the Arab Coordination Group's recent allocations, including US$50 billion for resilient infrastructure in Africa and a US$24 billion climate action financing package.
Moreover, Dr. Al Jasser stressed the importance of bolstering e-commerce, the focal theme of this year’s COMCEC meeting. He noted challenges in digitalization and sustainable ICT, such as underdeveloped network infrastructure and high data costs. In response, IsDB has developed the ICT Roadmap 2025 and the Digital Inclusion Strategy 2024-2027. He also mentioned ongoing studies and initiatives to boost e-commerce and SME competitiveness in COMCEC member countries.