Friday, April 17, 2020 / 1.00PM / Bukola Akinyele for WebTV / Header Image Credit: @isdb_group
As the confirmed number of cases of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) hits over 2million, the adverse effect of the virus on the global economy has been unprecedented with leading economies like the United States, United Kingdom, China, France amongst others beginning to show early signs of recession.
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) a deep recession is looming over the globe, with Low-Income countries expected to feel a severe impact of the downturn.
Understanding this challenge the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has stepped up its intervention commitment with a $2.3bn response fund for the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC).
The week's edition of WebTV's Islamic Finance Weekly highlights some of the areas of intervention of the $2.3bn fund.
In an innovative manner the Multi-lateral Development Bank has taken the bold step of leveraging technology, by deploying blockchain as a means of funds disbursements.
The fund is part of the Strategic Programme for Preparedness and Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic for OIC Member Countries.
According to the President of the IsDB Dr Banda Hajjar, "I believe this is an opportunity to shift towards actively shaping and creating markets that deliver sustainable and inclusive growth, rather than continue limiting our role at the government and international community level to reacting to market failures. We can proactively invest in creating and strengthening institutions that prevent crisis. We can coordinate research and development activities while steering them towards public good. We can forge Public-Private-Philanthropy-People-Partnerships to ensure both citizens and economies benefit".
The ISDB has already provided funds to assist the following countries;
In addition to the aforementioned countries the IsDB has expanded its assistance to other nations in another round of interventions, and these include;
Also through the already established "Transform Fund" which has a take -off fund of $500m, the IsDB is also providing an avenue to catalyze innovation and technology in the area of science and health.
The focus is on improving the healthcare infrastructure and research activities to provide solutions to public health challenges like the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Through the fund IsDB has created innovation challenges to incentivize scientists, innovators, research centers, universities and entrepreneurs to present trailblazing projects to address the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Last week the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning Mrs Zainab Ahmed informed a press conference that Nigeria will also approach the IsDB, to access funding to combat the COVID-19 virus.