Muscat: The board of directors of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) has approved $447.6 million towards financing new development projects in member countries. It also approved three grants under the IDB Waqf fund for educational projects for Muslim communities in Kenya, Lesotho, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The major part of the financing, $304 million, went to the energy sector — $220 million for a power grid extension project in Bangladesh, and $83.75 million for 132KV Mirama-Kable transmission line and distribution project in Uganda.
Other approvals granted at the board's recent 298th meeting included $87.5 million for improvement of wastewater management and sanitary services in Al Ghadir drainage basin, Lebanon; an additional $25 million for the second phase of Queen Alia Airport expansion project, Jordan raising the IDB financing for the Queen Alia airport expansion to $125 million; $15 million for primary healthcare services expansion project in Chad; and $15 million to support to the development of technical and vocational schools project in Guinea.
Also, a $450,000 technical assistant grant was provided under the IDB Waqf fund towards capacity development of laboratory technicians (microbiology) in seven West African countries — Burkina Faso, Benin, Guinea, Malli, Niger, Senegal and Togo. It is expected that such capacity building measures would help fight TB, Aids, Malaria among other diseases and support educational and vocational programs aimed at tackling poverty and unemployment.
The members of the board further approved of IDB's continued contribution to the International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA), Dubai, the UAE, as it represents a successful example of mutual cooperation between the Bank and the UAE.
The ICBA has developed into a world class research centre with an international team of scientists and researchers working on innovative solutions to improve the status of poor farmers and to implement development programmes aimed at upgrading productivity in agricultural regions.
The ICBA was launched at the initiative of the IDB, in recognition of the important role played by the Gulf states in line with supporting the bank IDB and the UAE's Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries in June 1996. The bank cooperated with the UAE in managing and operating the ICBA until April 2010 when the responsibility was transferred to the UAE's Ministry of Environment and Water.
The board took note of two grants previously approved by the IDB president — $ 100,000 grant for CÔte d'Ivoire to help organise the 56th Conference of African Ministers of Education and $300,000 for Guinea to support the fight against Ebola, respectively. The board members reviewed the latest arrangements underway for the bank's 40th anniversary celebrations as well as the 39th annual meet of the IDB.