King Mohammed VI has urged the Islamic Development Bank to help its member countries to diversify their economies and stimulate the private sector, a growth engine and a source for the creation of wealth.
In a message to the 44th annual meeting of IDB Group, convening in Marrakech (April 5-6), the Moroccan Sovereign said most IDB member countries have been facing real economic and social challenges due to a decline in global economic growth, heightened trade tensions, growing protectionist policies, volatile world commodity prices and increasing external and financial pressure on emerging markets.
This situation requires Islamic countries to increase the pace of inclusive, sustainable growth, particularly capacity building for young people and the creation of jobs, stressed the Monarch in his message read out by royal advisor, Omar Kabbaj.
“Despite our nations’ achievements in terms of structural reforms in the financial and economic sectors, our countries still have a great deal to do in order to modernize their economies and achieve sustainable development goals as well as social justice and territorial cohesion”, said the King.
To achieve this goal, “it is necessary, today more than ever, to expand and strengthen the role of the IDB Group, enhance its performance and develop programs to meet the growing demands of our countries as well as our peoples’ aspirations”, underlined the Moroccan Sovereign.
He urged the IDB Group to step up its efforts and muster all its resources and energies to respond positively to the need to upgrade member states’ development models.
The Sovereign also called in this connection for collective action to strengthen solidarity among Islamic countries and ensure the transition to an economic model conducive to development at all levels.
“Given the magnitude of the challenges faced today, collective action is required to strengthen the foundations of inter-Islamic solidarity, transition to an economic model that allows for development across the board and give strong impetus to economic relations between Islamic countries. The aim is to serve our nations and contribute to economic development and to our peoples’ social advancement,” he stressed.
The IDB’s top priorities should be human resource development, support for small and medium-sized enterprises, the creation of employment opportunities for young people, the harnessing of capacities to set up social welfare networks on a broad scale, the promotion of women’s conditions and the reduction of poverty, vulnerability and regional inequalities, King Mohammed VI went on to say.
He also called on the Islamic Development Bank Group to play a pioneering role in supporting member countries’ efforts to tackle climate change, enhance environmental safety, ensure optimal use of natural resources and contribute to the global commitment to provide concessionary financing in order to enable its member countries to achieve agreed objectives in this area.
The Moroccan Monarch urged the IDB to grant a special attention to infrastructure rehabilitation projects and to development projects that contribute to inter-Islamic economic integration, particularly in Africa. These include energy and infrastructure projects to enhance electrical, land and sea connectivity, as well as farming projects that ensure food security.
The royal message cites in this regard the Morocco-Nigeria Gas Pipeline project as a model of South-South integration and structural cooperation, which can be funded by the IDB Group, especially as most of the African countries concerned by the project are members of the Bank.
The 44th annual meeting of IDB will discuss the bank’s funding activities, assess its future challenges and look into the most effective means of enhancing cooperation between Islamic countries.