Abu Dhabi, Asharq Al-Awsat- Muslim countries would be able to face current formidable challenges only if they strengthen their cooperation and coordination towards making a common Islamic market to support the flow of intra-trade and services among them, UAE Minister of State for Finance and Industry, Dr. Mohammed Khalfan bin Khirbash told Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Governors who recently convened in Kuwait for the 31st annual meeting.
Ahead of the opening session, IDB member countries signed an agreement establishing the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) to facilitate trade among Islamic countries with an authorized capital of $3 billion, and with a subscribed capital of $500 million. ITFC was established as a result of the UAE government’s proposal presented during the 29th Annual Meeting of IDB which was held in Tehran in 2004.
Dr. Khirbash stressed the need for IDB member countries to consolidate their economic ties and offer assistance for member countries with social, financial, and economic reform agendas.
“We face fierce foreign competition intensified by the forces of globalization. This is the time where Islamic nations should come together and improve their economic ties through meaningful partnerships and pursue economic reforms to attract more FDI,” Dr. Khirbash added.
The UAE became a member of IDB in 1974 with a total subscription of 561.84 million Islamic Dinars, or a 7.03% of the total IDB authorized capital. Until January 31, 2006, IDB conducted 35 initiatives in the UAE with a total investment of $453.2. The total operations approved under the Bank’s Trade Financing operations in favour of member countries (exports/imports) by the end of April 2006 stood at $24.4 billion for 1,811 operations.
IDB board of governors also approved during the meeting the establishment a fund within the Bank’s Group for poverty alleviation, as more than 430 million people in the member countries live below the poverty line.
The board also approved the audited statements of the Bank and its Programmes and Specialized Funds, and selected the external auditors for the coming Financial Year. About 5 % of the Bank’s annual net profit was allocated Technical assistance, and $2 million (2 % of net profit) assigned for scholarship grants for distinguished students.