Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, 14 June 2020 - Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group’s Vice President Finance and CFO, Dr. Zamir Iqbal, on Sunday, 14 June 2020, virtually addressed the 12th International Conference on Islamic Economics and Finance organized by Istanbul Zaim University.
In his speech to the participants at the webinar, the IsDB Vice President stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has practically derailed the progress towards Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) triggering a chain of health, economic, and financial crises.
He then took note of the fact that under the Presidency of G20 of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the IsDB Group is playing a vital role in building consensus amongst all Multilateral Development Banks (MDBs) on critical issues such as debt-sustainability and Debt Service Suspension Initiatives (DSSI) while touching upon the Bank’s collaborative efforts with the Heads of the Arab Coordination Group Institutions that have resulted in allocation of US $10 billion to support the developing countries recover from the COVID-19 economic recession.
Dr. Zamir Iqbal then elaborated that the President of the IsDB Group, H.E. Dr. Bandar Hajjar, as the current Chair of the Heads of MDBs has been spearheading collective efforts to coordinate the most impactful response to the health, economic, and financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The IsDB Group has launched the “COVID-19 Global Coordination Platform” enabled by blockchain technology to support the Member Countries in the fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic. We are also contributing to containing the crisis through a US $2.3 billion package taking in to account short, medium, and long term requirements of its 57 member countries on the basis of a “RRR” framework focusing on “Respond,” “Restore,” and “Restart” tracks. And I am very pleased to share with you that the assistance commitments have reached US$ 1.86 billion for 27 member countries by mid May 2020”, the IsDB Vice President Finance explained.
“The IsDB Group is employing all financing tools, such as grants, soft loans, technical support, lines of financing, trade finance, investment insurance, capacity building of the public and private sectors, and activities related to economic empowerment in order to combat the pandemic and to set the Member Countries back on track to achieve the SDGs”, he added.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Dr. Iqbal stated that the IsDB Group’s swift launching of a “Strategic Preparedness and Response Package (SPRP)” for supporting its member countries in mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic is based on a holistic approach in which science, technology, and innovation play a major role adding that the Bank is committed to investing in research and development and providing technical assistance for development of innovative solutions for prevention and containment of pandemics. “In so doing, we have also launched a new call for innovation under the IsDB’s Transform Fund with a special allocation of US $1 million to encourage innovations relevant to address COVID-19 and mobilizing global tech-based solutions for partnerships against the current pandemic”, he explained.
Describing the current global crisis as an exogenous phenomenon, Dr. Iqbal went on to say that Islamic finance advocates risk sharing solutions to put the economy back on track just as Islamic social finance provides for developing strong social safety nets adding that best results are achieved only by formalizing and creating strong institutions.
In conclusion of his remarks, the IsDB Vice President Finance underlined the IsDB Group’s commitment to continue to work together with the global community to devise and implement solutions to support various countries especially those suffering the most expressing hope that the week-long conference would bring about theoretical and practical aspects of Islamic economics and finance fit for the era of the 4th industrial and technological revolution in a post COVID_19 world.