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Eye of Riyadh
Business & Money | Monday 6 May, 2024 8:52 am |
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Islamic Development Bank, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation & Partners Pledge New Support of US$ 219 million to the Lives and Livelihoods Fund

The city of Riyadh, the capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has seen the announcement by four global development partners jointly announced an additional US$ 219 million in donor support for total 37 projects in 22 IsDB member countries through the Lives and Livelihoods Fund 2.0 (LLF 2.0). The announcement was made during the Charter Signing Ceremony at the IsDB Annual General Meetings in Riyadh.  

 

Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) President and Group Chairman, H.E. Dr. Muhammed Al Jasser presided over the event. He was joined by the heads of the participating donor agencies, including H.E. Mr. Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), Mr. Bill Gates, Co-Chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), and H.E. Dr. Abdullah Al Rabeah, Supervisor General King Salman Humanitarian Aid & Relief Centre (KSrelief).

 

This announcement follows closely after the UAE’s commitment of US$ 50 million to LLF 2.0 via ADFD. The UAE’s latest contribution was declared by the Fund during the AVPN conference held in Abu Dhabi last week. 

 

Addressing the ceremony, H.E. Dr. Al Jasser said: “Today, we stand at a pivotal moment as we gather to pledge robust support for the Lives and Livelihoods Fund 2.0. Since its launch in May last year, our focus has been on securing the necessary resources for this next phase of the Fund. Now, we are ready to commit a total of US$ 219 million in grant funds, complemented by up to US$ 325 million in concessional loans from the IsDB. I extend sincere thanks to our partners for their generous contributions. Each pledge you make attests to your trust in the LLF and its potential to enact real change.”

 

The ISDB President then reaffirmed IsDB’s dedication and support to ensure the effective utilization of these resources that will enable the LLF to not only fund projects but to also establish sustainable models for development.

 

Highlighting the UAE’s commitment to sustainable development, H.E. Mr. Al Suwaidi said: “Under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, our commitment to LLF 2.0 will be instrumental in addressing some of the most pressing issues faced by the developing world and ensuring that vulnerable communities are not left behind. By focusing on key sectors such as smallholder agriculture, food security, women’s empowerment, and essential services like water, sanitation, and healthcare, we can build a more resilient and sustainable future for all. We ought to ensure that by investing in LLF we are investing in results.”

 

“Eight years ago, our foundation was proud to partner with the Islamic Development Bank and the countries who jointly built the Fund - Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. Our goal was to build a new multilateral financing mechanism—something that could fund efforts to improve everything from agriculture, to healthcare, to better sanitation across more than 30 member countries of the Bank. It’s great to see the Lives and Livelihoods Fund succeed in those efforts,” said Mr. Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

 

Last year, the IsDB through the Islamic Solidarity Fund pledged US$ 50 million and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation a 20% match of total funding up to US$ 150 million.   

 

In the joint communique, all partners agreed that the dire impacts of climate, conflicts, and economic instability in some of the IsDB’s poorest member countries are mounting every day, having a regional and global spillover effect. This necessitates for a cohesive and coordinated donor response for the member countries and their people. 

 

The Lives and Livelihoods Fund is a US$ 2.5 billion development initiative launched in 2016 and funded by an unprecedented global coalition including the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief), and the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD). As the largest development initiative in the Middle East, its goal is to lift the poorest out of poverty across 33 IsDB member countries by addressing nine Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through projects in health, agriculture, and basic infrastructure.

 

With US$ 1.5 billion already invested in 22 member countries, the renewed pledges are a visible demonstration of the commitment to international cooperation that underpins the collective mission of the LLF partners to provide financial assistance needed for inclusive human capital development in target countries. While a major tranche of LLF 2.0 grants will be directly disbursed to country projects, key investments in technical assistance and implementation support are envisioned to maximize countries’ value for money. 

 

The cumulative impact of the investments is already being observed as some the first generation of projects are either coming to an end or have been completed in critical development sectors. Translating into number, the Fund has:

 

  • Financed 15 health projects that strengthen primary healthcare systems, combat infectious diseases, and support routine immunization. Its healthcare funding contribution has amounted to US$ 681 million. This has resulted in 43 million children in Pakistan getting vaccinated against the deadly Polio virus. Additionally, 38 million malaria cases are being treated through the provision of insecticide-treated bed-nets for 2 million people in Senegal.
  • Funded 17 agriculture projects across 13 countries, improving 719,000 hectares of arable land through on and off-farm infrastructure development. Furthermore, the Fund introduced climate-smart agricultural practices and methodologies and provision of improved seed varieties and essential farm inputs to 65,000 farmers in Morocco, Nigeria, Uganda, Cameroon, and Indonesia, etc.

The collaborative efforts forged by the Fund aim to empower and ensure a safety net for vulnerable groups, especially women, to overcome poverty through strategic social investments.

 

LLF 2.0 will employ blended finance approach in recognition of the fact that grant funding alone isn’t sufficient to meet the US$ 2.4 trillion SDG financing gap. Hence, this approach multiplies available concessional financing. The second phase of LLF will continue to promote equitable expansion of the fund investments and assist lower-income and lower-middle income countries to optimize their existing financial, human, and other resources for high-impact sectors. This is expected to mobilize additional in-country resources along the way and create more co-financing opportunities.  

 

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