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Islamic Solidarity Fund now operational
A microfinance programme of about 500 million dollars for the Least Developed Countries of the Islamic Ummah has been adopted by the governing body of the Islamic Solidarity Fund, official sources said in Dakar on Tuesday.

The vice-president of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Boubacar Cissé, told Panapress in an interview alongside the meeting of ministers of foreign affairs in a prelude to the 11th summit of the Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) that the approval of this first programme of the Fund took place last February during a meeting of the Governing body in Iran.

"This important programme concerns the Least Developed Countries, mainly African OIC member countries," he explained, saying a second programme on technical training and preparation for youth employment was also approved during the meeting.

Cissé, who said he hoped there would be more financial contributions from other OIC member countries for the Islamic Solidarity Fund during the meeting of heads of state in Dakar, added that 2.6 billion dollars had been raised since the launch of the Fund in Dakar in May 2007, representing about 25% of the 10 billion dollars set as the goal.

"Extra efforts still need to be made," he said, affirming that the Dakar Summit would be the opportunity to see to what extent the support of the highest authorities of the Islamic Ummah can help accelerate the resource mobilisation process.

Asked about the amount allocated to the special programme for Africa by the OIC, Cissé said it was estimated at 12 billion dollars adding that it was "a major step in the fight against poverty" within the OIC.

"This special programme for Africa takes into account not only the needs necessa ry for the alleviation of absolute poverty, the assistance to countries for the a ttainment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), but is also going to help c reate conditions for higher growth through the setting up of infrastructure so a s to boost not only growth but also create jobs."


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