Bernama reported the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) will provide US$1.5 billion in soft loans to enhance food production and achieve food security among member countries, chairman of its board of governors, Sheikh Ahmed Muhammad Al-Khalifa, announced Monday.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the 33rd annual conference of IDB governors here, he said the soft loans will be distributed over the next five years.
It will help mitigate the impact of the food crisis in IDB member countries, he added
The conference was opened by Custodian of Saudi King Abdullah Abdul Aziz.
In recent months, sharp increases in food prices such as rice have affected many countries, including several IDB members.
Short-term speculation in commodity price exacerbated the situation as it led to food supply uncertainty and concern over food security.
The two-day conference, was attended by ministers of finance, economy and planning of the 56 countries of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC).
OIC secretary-general Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, in his speech, urged Muslim countries and the IDB to find the best solution to end the food crisis.
"The high price of food has vast impact on Muslim countries," he said.
Representatives of IDB governors who spoke at the opening ceremony stressed that food security and high food prices were a major issue in many IDB member countries.
They called for smart partnerships to boost agricultural production.
IDB president Dr Ahmed Muhammad Ali, in his keynote address, said the IDB extended 10 billion Saudi riyal to finance development projects in member countries last year, up by 21 percent from 2006.
"Total financing, if we take trade operations and all expenses, amounted to 20.5 billion Saudi riyal," he said.
At the opening ceremony, King Abdullah also presented prizes to the winners of the IDB annual prizes in Islamic banking and finance, science and technology, and women contribution to development.
The Islamic Development Bank is a multilateral development bank established to foster the economic development and social progress of its member countries and Muslim communities in non-member countries.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 03 Haziran 2008, 14:43