Wednesday, April 01, 2020 / 5:52 PM / Bukola Akinyele for WebTV / Header Image Credit: @isdb_group
In view of the need to strengthen the health system framework to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has set up a $500m innovation fund.
Described as the "Transform Fund" it is designed to develop innovative solutions to global health challenges like the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
With concerns raised by the World Health Organization that the COVID-19 pandemic could hit an unprecedented 1m cases, the Islamic Development Bank is joining other International Development Agencies to support efforts to curb the spread of the disease.
Through the fund IsDB is encouraging applications from scientists and technicians working to develop low-cost rapid tests, screening methods & diagnostics for the virus.
According to the President of the Islamic Development Bank Dr Banda Hajjar "At the IsDB Group, we believe that investment in science, technology & innovation is key to Global Health breakthroughs & the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals 3 that covers healthcare".
Raising serious concerns on the state of the global economy and the adverse impact of COVID-19, Dr Hajjar said "The scale of the COVID-19 outbreak demonstrates that we are not prepared for large-scale pandemics. So, where are we today? On average, there are more than 1,000 new cases of COVID-19 every day with rapid exponential growth. The crisis has already shattered capital markets and the picture for economic growth in 2020 looks bleak. COVID-19 disrupted global supply chains and created poor trading conditions. SMEs are hardest hit in certain IsDB member countries and will deteriorate further. As a result, the world is set to lose 25 million jobs according to many studies."
"This pandemic has shown us that our survival on this planet depends on how much we keep investing in science, technology and innovation. So, we are calling on world leaders to support all these efforts especially around scientific research and development and re-evaluate what threats deserve more of our individual and collective action" Said Hajjar.
The IsDB President emphasized the need for building capacity around the 4th generation of industrialization (4IR) that uses science and technology to prevent global value chain disruptions under such pandemics, while maintaining zero environmental footprint.
He enjoined partner development agencies to give priority to investments around research & development in order to support developing and emerging countries to combat the threat of the Coronavirus.
Earlier the IsDB had set up a "Recovery Fund" for member states of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) earmarking over $730m.