IDB launches digital platform for sustainable development

The Islamic Development Bank launched in the UK a digital platform called Engage, which will promote technological and scientific solutions to accelerate progress toward the UN’s sustainable development goals. (AN Photo)
Updated 21 February 2018
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IDB launches digital platform for sustainable development

RIYADH: The Islamic Development Bank (IDB) launched in the UK on Tuesday a digital platform called Engage, which will promote technological and scientific solutions to accelerate progress toward the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs).
Dr. Bandar Hajjjar, president of the IDB — one of the world’s largest multilateral development banks — announced the launch at an event hosted by Bloomberg’s European headquarters in London.
He made the announcement alongside Dr. Shamsad Akhtar — UN undersecretary-general and executive secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) — Dr. Hayat Sindi, chief scientific adviser to the IDB, and business, innovation and development experts.
The IDB “understands the need to innovate and collaborate across all sectors to help build capacity within countries to address their own development requirements,” Hajjar said.
“Engage will provide the right tools and a supportive environment so innovators and businesses can harness the great potential of science, technology and innovation as strategic drivers for economic growth among their local communities,” he added.
“We are grateful to our partners at UNESCAP and the Shell Foundation for their support, and look forward to collaborating with many more companies, entrepreneurs, investors, governments, academics and NGOs as we focus on the importance of investing in science, technology and information.”
Sindi said: “Engage offers three main services: Matchmaking, technology transfer and calls for innovation.”
She added: “Through Engage, innovators, SMEs (small and medium enterprises), private sector companies, governments and NGOs will benefit from tailored mentoring services and expert knowledge sharing that will help activate their ideas and proposals to an internationally recognized standard.”
The platform will focus on six SDGs: Greater food security, healthier lives, inclusive and equitable education, sustainable management of water, access to affordable and clean energy, and sustainable industrialization across the developing world.
“Engage will power the policy shifts needed for science, technology and innovation to have a positive impact, not just on our economy but also on our society and the environment,” said Akhtar.
“The initiatives will also spur a new era of open and collaborative innovation to ensure no country is left behind in the technological revolution,” she added.
“The partnership agreement between the IDB and UNESCAP will bring together skills and sources of capital needed to support innovation solutions for sustainable development.”
To ensure members have access to financing for innovation, the IDB has established the new Transform Fund, which will finance innovative ideas linked to development solutions.
It will provide seed money for innovators, start-ups and SMEs, as well as fund partnerships between researchers and entrepreneurs that will tackle development challenges in line with the SDGs.
The launch event also saw the signing of two landmark memorandums of understanding by the IDB, said its spokesman Abdulhakim Elwaer.
The first, with UNESCAP, commits to building a global network of scientists, technologists, innovators, entrepreneurs and investors, and to nurturing and scaling high-potential innovations to achieve sustainable and inclusive development.
The second, with the Shell Foundation — an independent, UK-registered charity — commits to sharing market insights and investment opportunities to support enterprises that provide energy access and affordable transport for people in low-income areas.


Iraq, Iran discuss boosting bilateral trade

Updated 17 November 2018
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Iraq, Iran discuss boosting bilateral trade

  • Both countries could raise annual bilateral trade to $20 billion from the current level of $12 billion
  • Iraqi President Barham Salih arrived Saturday and met with his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani

DUBAI: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday Iran and Iraq could raise annual bilateral trade to $20 billion from the current level of $12 billion, in remarks carried live by state television.
“Today, the economic relations between the two countries reach about $12 billion (per year) and, through bilateral efforts, we can raise this figure to $20 billion,” Rouhani told visiting Iraqi President Barham Salih.

Salih's Iran visit comes less than two weeks after the United States restored oil sanctions that had been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal.
State TV says Barham Salih arrived Saturday and met with his Iranian counterpart, President Hassan Rouhani.
Iran, which has had major influence over Iraq since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, is hoping to maintain exports to its neighbor despite the renewed sanctions. Iraq is Iran’s second-largest market after China, buying everything from food and machinery to electricity and natural gas.
Trade between the two countries was some $7 billion in 2017, and they have vowed to boost it to $8.5 billion this year.

(With AP)