IsDB Group Chairman Calls for Economic Diversification, Youth Empowerment at Qatar Economic Forum

Doha, Qatar – May 14, 2024 –, The Chairman of the Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB) H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, participated in a panel discussion at the Qatar Economic Forum today. The session titled "Reshaping Middle East Economies" brought together prominent leaders to debate pathways towards economic resilience and diversification in the region.

Speaking at the side event, H.E. Dr. Al Jasser emphasized the critical role of economic diversification in enhancing the robustness of Middle Eastern economies against external shocks. He noted that innovation and entrepreneurship are vital for fostering sustainable and inclusive growth, underlining IsDB's commitment to supporting member countries on their diversification journeys.

"Strategic transformations tailored to the specific contexts of our diverse member countries are crucial for realizing the aspirations particularly of high-income economies like those in the GCC," stated Dr. Al Jasser. He highlighted ongoing transitions towards post-oil economies, with significant initiatives across the GCC to promote competitive industries and digital services. 

The IsDB Group Chairman underscored the demographic advantage of the region, with a significant youth population poised to drive future economic transformations. "Empowering our youth, equipping them with the right skills, and fostering their entrepreneurial spirit are essential to reshaping and diversifying our economies," he asserted.

Dr. Al Jasser also pointed to the IsDB's innovative programs aimed at youth development, such as the SME Funds, the Education for Employment (E4E) initiative, and partnerships like the Youth Digitalization for Employability and Entrepreneurship Program with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP).

Discussing the role of multilateral development banks (MDBs), Dr. Al Jasser described them as "crucial development partners" that enhance governmental efforts with financial resources, expertise, and global cooperation. Celebrating over five decades of service, he reflected on IsDB's contributions of more than $182 billion towards development projects worldwide.

On the global economic stage, Dr. Al Jasser highlighted the strategic economic position of GCC countries, noting their resilience and innovative policies which have allowed them to maintain stability and growth despite global economic pressures. 

While noting the region's economic resilience amid recent crises, the Chairman cautioned about risks from persisting conflicts, economic fragmentation disrupting trade and financial flows, high inflation and debt levels in some countries. He urged greater revenue diversification to reduce exposure to oil market volatility.

The Islamic Development Bank Group remains committed to its role as a development maximizer, providing impactful financing solutions and fostering strong partnerships to advance economic progress and prosperity in the region.