AGFUND : development alliance to help the “Arab Spring Counties” in curbing poverty
The Arab Gulf Programme for Development “AGFUND” called for creating a developmental alliance in order to help the “Arab Spring Countries” – which are currently passing through a critical phase – and to support the concerted efforts for fighting poverty in these countries that are suffering the results of major political changes. AGFUND also stressed the importance of promoting the Arab team-work so as to help the Arab spring countries overcome this current phase without any complications that would negatively impact the societies’ structures. AGFUND’s CEO, Mr. Nasser Bakr Alkahtani, presented AGFUND’s vision in this regard in the meeting of the presidents of Arab Funds and financing institutions (the Coordination Group) which was held last Sunday, March 17, 2013 at the main headquarters of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social development in Kuwait. The coordination group expressed its great relief towards AGFUND’s initiative which is based on a number of pillars starting with forming a developmental alliance responsible for unifying the efforts in the Arab Coordination Group, working in a joint manner to fight poverty in the Arab world, encouraging the Arab donors and private sector to support the microfinance industry in addition to assisting the Arab countries to prepare specified strategies for fighting poverty with the necessity of identifying the maps and pockets of poverty in every country. Likewise, AGFUND believes in the importance of basing the microfinance industry in the funding field on the concept of investing the social works. AGFUND has also given the Coordination Group an idea about the recommendations that emerged from the symposium which it held in collaboration with the OPEC Fund for International Development in Vienna – July 2012 – entitled “The Donors’ role in meeting the basic necessities of the poor through microfinance”. Here it is worth mentioning that this symposium has dealt with important aspects in AGFUND’s initiative that was presented before the coordination group. Furthermore, the symposium highlighted the absolute importance of making the microfinance an essential orientation in the donors’ activities, supporting this developmental industry and increasing its financing, establishing bodies specialized in this kind of financing in addition to facing the major challenge represented in bridging the financial gap in the microfinance industry in order to empower the poor. The Coordination Group includes 10 Funds and institutions for developmental financing and these are namely: The Arab Gulf Programme for Development (AGFUND), Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development, Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, Arab Monetary Fund and OPEC Fund for International Development. Qatar Fund for Development joined the group during the Kuwaiti meetings – Qatar Fund was recently founded for the purpose of supporting the economic and social development in the developing countries worldwide. In this regard, the meeting of the presidents of Arab financing Funds and Institutions issued a number of recommendations concerning the current developmental issues in the region. The meeting also reviewed the most significant decisions issued by the social and economic Arab summit held recently in Saudi Arabia, especially those related to supporting the collaborate Arab work via increasing the capitals of the Arab financing institutions in addition to promoting investment and Arab intra trade.