TASHKENT: The Islamic Development Bank on Saturday signed a grant agreement worth $265,000 to provide technical assistance to Uzbekistan for the establishment of a legal framework for Islamic banking and finance.
The deal also envisages the development of the requisite regulatory, supervisory, and Shariah guidelines, creating awareness and building capacity for Islamic banking in the country.
IsDB Group Chairman Dr. Muhammad Al-Jasser told Arab News that his organization has all the necessary expertise to help Uzbekistan establish a Shariah-compliant banking sector.
He said the project aims to establish all modalities to help in the creation of Islamic financial windows in the Central Asian country.
Al-Jasser said (work on) the proposal will start soon but cannot give a time frame as to when it will end.
The IsDB is also launching an economic development fund in Uzbekistan backed by the Saudi private sector.
It is expected to generate 102,000 jobs and help address poverty in the country.
The government of Uzbekistan will contribute 35 percent to the initial $100 million, the IsDB will contribute 20 percent and the remaining 45 percent will mainly come from Saudi investors.
About 30 finance agreements valued at $1.2 billion were signed between the IsDB and 10 member countries at the bank’s annual meeting in the Uzbek capital Tashkent, according to Al-Jasser.
The agreements provided funding for projects in areas including health (COVID-19 and vaccines), water and sanitation, agriculture, transport, energy, food security, Islamic finance and SMEs, of which $330 million was allocated to the Republic of Uzbekistan, Al-Jasser said in his closing remarks.
“Recognizing that the pandemic has significantly changed the development landscape in IsDB member countries, three main forward-looking themes were considered: Boosting COVID-19 recovery; tackling increasing poverty and building resilience and prosperity; and driving green economic growth in member countries,” said Al-Jasser.
Among the initiatives launched in Tashkent was the $100 million Economic Empowerment Fund for Uzbekistan, which targets 34,000 micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises. The size of the fund may increase to as much as $500 million. The government of Uzbekistan will contribute 35 percent to the initial $100 million, the IsDB will contribute 20 percent and the remaining 45 percent will mainly come from Saudi investors, the IsDB said on Sept. 3
More than 4,100 participants from 46 member countries attended this year’s IsDB annual meeting, and 27 international and regional partner organizations joined the in- person meetings, Al-Jasser said.
The IsDB organized 16 webinars that attracted more than 100 countries and were attended by more than 6,000 participants and 150 speakers, he said.