Statement by H.E. Mr. Abdoulahe Diop, IDB Governor for the Republic of Senegal on the ocassion of IDB 31st Annual Meeting, Kuwait

Kuwait : Tuesday, May 30, 2006

(Original: French)

Your Highness, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, Emir of the State of Kuwait,
Your Excellencies the Governors and Alternate Governors,
Your Excellency, Mr President of the Islamic Development Bank,
Excellencies, the Ambassadors,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

It is a great pleasure and privilege for me to address this august assembly, on behalf of the Governors and Alternate Governors of the African group.

In this context, allow me at the onset to express our most sincere thanks and deepest gratitude to the government of Kuwait that kindly accepted to host the 31st annual meeting of IDB Council of Governors, for their kind hospitality and excellent arrangements for the success of this important event.

For the past three decades, since its foundation, the Islamic Development Bank has done its utmost to be in the service of all its member countries, without any exception. In parallel, our institution has succeeded in sidestepping all obstacles and resisting the passing of time. It has also lent a hearing ear to the member countries to provide assistance and help them carry out their projects, in the service of their populations.

We, African Governors, express our appreciation of these efforts and take this opportunity to pay tribute to the President of the Islamic Development Bank Group, Dr. Ahmad Mohammad Ali, for his dynamism, competence, devotion and sense of selflessness.

Your Highness,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Africa has always been considered as the most problem-ridden continent, with the lowest growth rates. The Islamic Development Bank has indeed strongly contributed in building schools, hospitals, roads, power plants in our continent, as well as supporting integrated rural development operations.

However, the number of persons living in a state of extreme poverty, with less than one dollar a day, represents the larger part of the population. The international community, including our institution, has launched various innovative initiatives to support the efforts aiming to alleviate poverty and reach the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the least developed countries.

In this regard, I would like to remind you that, in the framework of the Ouagadougou Declaration, which has completed gone into its third year of implementation, the Bank set for itself a funding programme amounting to USD 2 billion, to be carried out over five years. I am pleased to see that the projects approved in this Declaration have reached up USD 1.3 billion, i.e. 65.3% of the Declaration overall objective.

While commending these momentous achievements, the Group of African Governors wished to reiterate their concern over the insufficiency of the concessional funds dedicated to the funding of projects in Africa, the lack of the private sector financing projects and the insufficient field presence of our institution in our countries.

We are convinced that the Resolution adopted by OIC Extraordinary Summit, held in Mecca, mandating our institution to create a fund for the alleviation of poverty, will help accrued mobilisation of concessional funds. We are looking forward to the completion of the initiative.

We also hope that the increase of capital proposed by the Bank will energise the role of our institution and allow for greater financial support and technical assistance to our member countries, mainly in Africa. The Bank also planned to open a regional branch in sub-Saharan Africa. This is excellent news and we hope the project will materialise in a few months.

I would also like to stress that combating poverty and illiteracy in Africa requires the joint efforts of all partners in order to multiply the interventions of the private sector, both African and foreign, via adequate financing instruments and mechanisms. This is a field where the Bank’s actions and contributions should be given more impetus.

The building of institutional and human capacities plays a vital role in the countries’ economic and social development. It is comforting to learn that our institution, in collaboration with a few more advanced member countries, such as Malaysia, has launched a cooperation programme offering other member countries an institutional support to build their productive capacities. We hope the programme will be extended to other African member countries. We express our gratitude to the participating countries and urge them to further support this commendable initiative, thus making more concessional resources available to our institution, in the spirit of Islamic solidarity and South-South cooperation.

Your Highness,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

By way of conclusion, allow me to reiterate our thanks to His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, the Emir of Kuwait, to the government and people of brotherly Kuwait for their kind hospitality, to all the participating personalities, to H.E. Dr Ahmad Mohammad Ali, President of the Islamic Development Bank Group, to the senior managers of the Bank and to all the audience for their kind attention.

Assalamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh