World Bank Group

US$50 million to Support Health Services to Poor Jordanians and Syrian #Refugees [EN/AR]

The World Bank Group has committed US$50 million to support the Government of Jordan in maintaining primary and secondary health services to poor uninsured Jordanians and Syrian refugees. The assistance approved today is part of a larger US$150 million project, which is financed by the Islamic Development Bank and the World Bank. The Jordan Emergency Health Project will help the Ministry of Health continue to provide critical health care to target populations. According to Aaka Pande, World Bank Senior Health Economist, the refugee influx has been associated with a reemergence of communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and measles. Moreover, the influx has led to increased waiting times and a shortage of health workers. In addition to its short-term objectives, the project aims to prepare a roadmap of ways to improve the efficiency of the health system in the medium to long term.

IDB/World Bank #report details role of Islamic finance in ending poverty

A report published by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group and World Bank Group has outlined the potentials of Islamic finance in curbing income inequality and ending poverty worldwide. The report was unveiled by IDB President, Dr Bandar Hajjar, on the sides of the 42nd Annual Meeting of the IDB Group in Jeddah. It details the trends in Islamic finance, identifies the major challenges and recommends policy interventions to leverage Islamic finance. The report notes that the Islamic banking sector needs innovative risk-sharing products and services, enhanced scale and access to Islamic finance, improved liquidity and stability, and bolstered human capital and literacy in Islamic finance. The report also provides an overview of recent policy initiatives taken by several IDB member countries to promote shared prosperity.

New Report Outlines Actions to Leverage Islamic Finance for Development

The World Bank Group and the Islamic Development Bank published the first Global Report on Islamic Finance. Subtitled “A Catalyst for Shared Prosperity?”, the report provides an overview of trends in Islamic finance, identifies major challenges hindering the industry’s growth, and recommends policy interventions to leverage Islamic finance. According to the report the Islamic finance industry needs to expand beyond banking, which is currently a dominant component of Islamic finance, accounting for more than three-quarters of the industry’s assets. Another area of development is Islamic capital markets. The use of sovereign sukuk to mobilize financing is essential to develop the market. The report also notes that using Islamic social finance can alleviate poverty and create a social safety net for the extremely poor. By tapping into the potential of the institutions like zakat and waqf, the report estimates that resource needs for the most deprived in South and Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa could be met.

The World Bank Group’s Mission to End Extreme Poverty: A conversation with President Jim Yong Kim

Ahead of the World Bank's annual meeting, president Jim Yong Kim will set out his vision for ending extreme poverty by 2030 and boosting shared prosperity. He will speak about the links between growth, poverty and inequality, the changing face of poverty, and the role the World Bank Group. Following an introduction by the host of the meeting, Strobe Talbott, Jim Yong Kim will deliver his speech, then will engage in a conversation with Kemal Dervi?, vice president and director for the Global Economy and Development program at Brookings. Questions and answers will be fielded at the conclusion.

Return of the Socially Useful #Sukuk is a Wake Up Call to a Lost Islamic Finance Industry

After a string of sukuk issued for purposes of liquidity, Senegal’s recent sukuk bought a welcome return to an Islamic finance transaction for the purposes of social good. Senegal closed its sukuk in late July, marking its second sovereign sukuk issuance. The West African nation will use the proceeds of the CFA 150 billion transaction to finance a drinking water supply program and an implementation program of road network and street lighting. The International Finance Facility for Immunisation (IFFIm) sells bonds on the capital markets to raise funds to save children’s lives. IFFIm has so far issued two sukuk with a December 2014 transaction for $500 million and a September 2015 transaction for $200 million. The International Finance Corporation (IFC) issued a five-year Sukuk in 2015 which was used to support IFC’s developmental financing activities in the Middle East and North Africa. Mahmoud Mohieldin of the World Bank Group said the group planned the issuance of an inaugural humanitarian sukuk program.

IDB Group and World Bank Group Produce Global Report on Islamic Finance

The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group and the World Bank Group have jointly produced a global report on Islamic finance. The full report, titled 'Islamic Finance: A Catalyst for Shared Prosperity?', will be launched during the World Bank/IMF Annual Meeting later this year. Some of the key recommendations include having adequate policy interventions and financial infrastructure to enable Islamic finance serve as a catalyst for poverty alleviation and inclusive prosperity.

Pakistan Microfinance Network commits to reaching 50 million new depositors through UFA2020 initiative

Two billion people worldwide still lack access to formal and regulated financial services. In 2015, the World Bank Group with private and public sector partners committed to promoting financial inclusion and achieving Universal Financial Access by 2020. According to the Pakistan Microfinance Network
the estimated potential market size for microfinance is 20.5 million in Pakistan, yet the current Microfinance outreach is close to 3.7 million active borrowers, showing there is a long way to go.

World Bank Group, United Nations, and Islamic Development Bank Pledge Support for Stability in Middle East and North Africa

World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and President of the Islamic Development Bank Group Dr. Mohamed Ali Al-Madani arrived in Lebanon today at the start of a joint visit to rally global support for the shared responsibility of promoting peace and development in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The three organizations are jointly supporting an initiative to raise additional financing needed to help countries in the region cope with the immediate consequences of conflict, while laying the foundations for recovery and reconstruction. Following the Lebanon visit, World Bank President Kim and Secretary General Ban will travel together to Jordan and Tunisia.

Islamic finance gains traction in search for alternative models

Islamic financing is gaining traction even among non-Muslim countries in a bid to use sustainable and equitable form of alternative models, the Malaysian Prime Minister said on Tuesday. London issued its second Islamic sukuk after its first bond issue was oversubscribed 14 times. In addition to London, Luxembourg and South Africa, Hong Kong has also issued sovereign sukuks.
“Ever since the global financial crisis in 2007-08 there has been a sharp demand for alternative economic and business model that reduces the level of speculation as conventional model that has inherent weakness,” Najib Razak told journalists. “Over-leveraging is believed to have been the root cause of the disaster — but again, that is prohibited in Islamic finance. As a result, Islamic banks remained strongly capitalised and resilient against financial market volatility, while continuing to contribute positively to equitable and sustainable growth,” he said.

New report examines payment aspects of financial inclusion

The Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) and the World Bank Group have issued a consultative report on Payment aspects of financial inclusion. The report examines demand and supply-side factors affecting financial inclusion in the context of payment systems and services, and suggests measures to address these issues. Financial inclusion efforts - from a payment perspective - should aim at achieving a number of objectives. Ideally, all individuals and businesses should have access to and be able to use at least one transaction account operated by a regulated payment service provider, to: (i) perform most, if not all, of their payment needs; (ii) safely store some value; and (iii) serve as a gateway to other financial services.

World Bank Group’s GIFDC announces launch of Annual Symposium on Islamic Economics and Finance

The World Bank Group’s Global Islamic Finance Development Center (GIFDC) has announced the launch of its Annual Symposium on Islamic Economics and Finance. The symposium is organised by GIFDC in partnership with Borsa ?stanbul, Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), and Guidance Financial Group. The inaugural symposium, “Islamic Finance: A Catalyst for Shared Prosperity,” will be held on September 8-9, 2015 in Istanbul, Turkey. The organisers hope that the symposium will contribute toward a better understanding of the role Islamic finance can play in promoting inclusive growth, reducing inequality, and accelerating poverty reduction.

Extreme poverty reduced from 2b to under 1b in 25yrs – WB President

The number of people living in extreme poverty has been cut by more than half in less than three decades, President of the World Bank Group Jim Yong Kim has said. He gave a speech on ‘Ending Extreme Poverty by 2030: The Final Push’ at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, D.C., United States. Despite the massive global migration to urban areas, 70 percent of the world’s extreme poor still live in rural villages, he added. They are mostly farmers or work in informal jobs – providing services to rural populations. The WB's experience in China shows that, in poorer economies, growth in agriculture is four times more powerful in lifting people out of poverty than growth in manufacturing and services.

UN, World Bank and Islamic Development Bank commit 8 billion dollars in Major New Development Initiative for the Horn of Africa

Leaders of global and regional institutions pledge political support and major new financial assistance for countries in the region, totaling more than $8 billion over the coming years. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the World Bank Group (WBG) President, Jim Yong Kim, as well as the President of the Islamic Development Bank Group and high level representatives of the African Union Commission, the European Union, the African Development Bank, and Intergovernmental Agency for Development (IGAD) are combining forces to promote stability and development in the Horn of Africa. The initiative covers the eight countries in the Horn of Africa -- Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda.

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