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Posted On: 17 February 2010 01:29 pm
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:10 pm

IDB, Qatari firms eye farm projects

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The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) is looking to work with Qatari investors and institutions to invest in various sectors, particularly in agriculture in the member states, according to the bank’s vice president. “The IDB member-countries are spread from Africa to Asia and even Latin America. Many of them have plenty of resources, either water or fertile land, and IDB’s role is to be an honest broker between investors from Qatar and other Gulf countries and those who have the natural resources,” Dr Abdul Aziz Al Hinai told reporters yesterday on the sidelines of the IDB Introduction Day. He said that quite often many developing countries with such natural resources lack proper experience and also an institutional set-up, especially when it comes to legislation. “Therefore, the investor from Qatar and the region hesitates to go to those markets and IDB intends to work as a middleman for those investors to go and tap these markets,” said Al Hinai. “We are here to offer our service to various Qatari institutions and within the coming two days we will be talking to those institutions,” he said. He added that many developing countries who are members of IDB will benefit from such initiatives, whether in terms of increasing their exports, earning foreign exchange, or adding value to their agricultural products by manufacturing these products and making them available to international markets. “This would generate jobs; improve the economies of these member-countries. It is a win-win situation for both — those who have the capital and those who have the natural resources.” In the annual financing facilities that IDB provides, agriculture accounts for only seven percent of the total and the bank intends to raise this to 15 percent. On average, for the past three years, the total financing provided by IDB has exceeded $6bn a year, which mainly went into infrastructure, including roads, power plants, hospitals and schools as well as industries through the group’s affiliates. Al Hinai also said that IDB will be taking the initiative to invite Islamic financial institutions in Qatar to participate in future projects in countries that want to start Islamic financing. “Definitely, we will be inviting Islamic banks in Qatar to be strategic partners when we are invited to start an Islamic bank in a given country,” he said. He noted that as a development bank IDB does not have the necessary know-how in retail banking, thus one of Qatari banks with good experience will be invited to partner with IDB institutions. “Our intention is to have the Islamic financing industry present in the country where it is in existence. The intention is not to make money out of it, but to spread and facilitate the industry,” said Al Hinai. “I believe that in the long-run we will see a lot of perspective since IDB and the Islamic banks in Qatar maintain excellent relations.” IDB main shareholders from the GCC include Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the UAE, besides Iran, Turkey, Egypt and Libya. Al Hinai said IDB derives its strength from the support of these central eight member-countries that own 89 percent of the bank with the benefits going to the other 48 member-countries.