x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Islamic Development Bank joins Gates foundation

IDB follows Abu Dhabi in becoming one of the latest donors to the Gates Foundation in the Middle East.

Bill Gates says he is enthusiastic about the collaboration with Islamic Development Bank.
Bill Gates says he is enthusiastic about the collaboration with Islamic Development Bank.

ABU DHABI // The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has agreed to a partnership with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to "combat communicable disease and food insecurity in low-income countries", the bank says.

A memorandum of understanding signed by IDB, based in Jeddah, and the Gates Foundation establishes a collaboration over five years for agricultural development, and the elimination of malaria and polio across Pakistan, Afghanistan and Nigeria.

"I am enthusiastic about our collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank," said Bill Gates, the co-chair of the foundation.

"The bank's innovative approach to financing is helping to address some of the world's most pressing health and development challenges, including the urgent need to end polio forever."

IDB follows Abu Dhabi in becoming one of the latest donors to the Gates Foundation in the Middle East.

It is working with the foundation and the Pakistani government to develop a US$227 million (Dh833.8m) package to rid the country of polio, and a $12m grant for Afghanistan.

"The Islamic Development Bank is committed to catalysing new approaches to funding economic and social development in its member countries around the world," said Dr Ahmad Mohamed Ali, president of IDB.

"I am confident that our partnership with the Gates Foundation will also inject new resources and momentum into the fight against polio, malaria, food insecurity and other pressing development challenges."

IDB provides financial assistance to 56 countries in the Islamic world in loans and grants.

It recently signed two financing agreements worth $236m with the Tunisian government to develop a power plant project in Sousse and provide vocational training programmes for young Tunisians.

Mr Gates will be giving the keynote speech at the Abu Dhabi Media Summit today, focusing on global development and digital frontiers in emerging markets.

thamid@thenational.ae