IDB joins hands with AfDB to boost development
JEDDAH: The signing last week in Jeddah of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) to cooperate in coinvestment in projects in member countries mutual to both multilateral development banks (MDBs) is long overdue.
Under the MoU, the two MDBs will commit to contribute $500 million each in a $1 billion cooperation spanning three years starting in 2011 and based on the AfDB's medium term strategy and the IDB special program for the development of Africa (SPDA), whose main focus is to assist in scaling-up interventions in Africa in agriculture, infrastructure, water and sanitation, education and healthcare.
A few years ago the IDB also launched the Ouagadougou Declaration signed in Burkino Faso in the mid-2000s during the IDB board of governors annual meeting. The Ouagadougou Declaration is a $2 billion 5year program investing in education, primary healthcare, technical assistance and capacity building. The program has in fact disbursed over $2.38 billion to date and has been rolled over.
"The objective of this cofinancing MoU will be to foster economic development and social progress in order to coordinate co-financing projects and to promote economic development and technical cooperation in common member countries. This is aimed at reducing poverty level in the African continent and uplifting the level of revenues", said AfDB vice-president Kamal El-Kheshen.
Africa is a major constituency for the IDB, which its critics also stress is its weakest link because of the entrenched governance problems in these countries. Some 27 of the IDB's 57 member countries come from Africa including some 21 from subSaharan Africa. Indeed these latter member countries are some of the poorest on earth according to UN criteria and are classified as Least Developed Countries (LCDs).
African member countries of the IDB are diverse and do not have to be Muslim majority countries. For instance Mozambique and Uganda, both of which have smallish Muslim minorities, are both member countries and benefit from IDB financing and investment. -PB News