IsDB launches second phase of lives and livelihoods fund to support 32 member countries

IsDB launches second phase of lives and livelihoods fund to support 32 member countries
Chris Elias, president of global development of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, during an interview with Arab News on the sidelines of the Islamic Development Bank Foundation Annual Meetings in Jeddah. (AN photo: Mohammed Khayat)
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Updated 16 May 2023
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IsDB launches second phase of lives and livelihoods fund to support 32 member countries

IsDB launches second phase of lives and livelihoods fund to support 32 member countries
  • The second phase of the fund mobilizes resources from the IsDB and from donors for the next 5 years

JEDDAH: The Islamic Development Bank and its development partners including the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development announced the launch of the second phase of the Lives and Livelihoods Fund on the sidelines of the IsDB annual meetings.

The launch was attended by the fund’s founding partners, including Mohamed Saif Al-Suwaidi, director general of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development; Chris Elias, president of global development of BMGF; and Hiba Ahmed, director general of Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development.

The second phase of the fund mobilizes resources from the IsDB and from donors such as BMGF and the ISFD for the next five years. The committed resources are aimed at supporting 32 member countries of the bank to achieve 10 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

ISFD committed $150 million: $50 million will be used as highly concessional loans and $100 million as temporary cash. BMGF announced its commitment to pledge 20 percent of the total granted by donors to the LLF, with up to $100 million.

The second phase of LLF serves as a flexible and efficient way to finance government social development projects to deliver on Sustainable Development Goals. It will continue to promote the equitable expansion of the fund investments and assist lower-income and lower-middle-income countries to optimize their existing financial, human and other resources for high-impact sectors.

In an exclusive interview with Arab News, Elias shed light on BMGF’s role. “We are providing through the IsDB, technical assistance and concessional financing to the 32 countries that are eligible. In the first phase of the fund, we committed over $1.44 billion to 37 projects in 22 countries that were focused on primary health care, agriculture, particularly for small farmers, and basic social infrastructure.

“We are very excited about the next phase because we’re incorporating what we’ve learned from the first phase. So, we will have a much more intentional focus on women’s empowerment, as well as addressing the effects of climate change, which are hitting particularly small farmers and other poorest individuals in poor countries.” 

BMGF is involved in poverty alleviation around the world with a main focus on sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Elias said: “We believe that everyone deserves a chance at a healthy and productive life. So, we work to improve people’s health as well as to create economic opportunities, particularly for the poorest of the poor and the poorest countries.”

Muhammad Al-Jasser, president of IsDB, said: “We all know that long-term food security is not benchmarked by crop yields and strong markets alone. It is also gauged by the survival of a child, the health of a mother, and the resilience of a community. Your continued support and commitment will make it possible for millions of people to pave their way out of poverty.”

He also highlighted the establishment of enhanced operational and monitoring systems under LLF’s second phase to drive more investments in ending the devastating consequences of hunger, poverty and disease.

Ahmed stated that the evaluation of ISFD’s participation in the first phase of LLF showed that the original objectives set for its contributions are all met in a satisfactory manner. 

Since its creation in 2016, the fund has invested more than $1.4 billion in 22 IsDB member countries. Its financing is benefitting more than three million small farmers to improve their productivity and livelihoods, providing access to quality health care for 12.5 million women and children, and is set to provide more than 7.5 million people with better water and sanitation facilities.


KSrelief continues aid projects across several countries

KSrelief continues aid projects across several countries
Updated 15 April 2024
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KSrelief continues aid projects across several countries

KSrelief continues aid projects across several countries

RIYADH: Saudi charity KSrelief distributed 1,930 food parcels on Saturday to displaced families in Sudan’s Blue Nile state. 
The initiative, part of the group’s food-security support project in Sudan, benefited 12,236 individuals, Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.
The assistance comes within the framework of a series of relief and humanitarian projects implemented by Saudi Arabia through KSrelief to help conflict-hit areas, SPA added.
In Lebanon, KSrelief provided health care services to Syrian refugees and their host community in Arsal town of Baalbek Governorate. 
The Arsal Health Care Center received a total of 3,422 patients and offered 6,128 services from various health sections such as clinics, pharmacies, laboratories, nursing and the community and mental health program. 
In Yemen, KSrelief continues its implementation of the water supply and environmental sanitation projects across several districts. If February, KSrelief pumped 36,207,000 liters of usable water and 3,194,000 liters of potable water into Hajjah Governorate.
Additionally, the center carried out 237 transportation operations to remove waste from displaced camps.
In Saada Governorate, KSrelief pumped 290,000 liters of potable water and another 290,000 liters of usable water, benefiting 30,100 people.


Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

Saudi crown prince, Iraqi PM discuss Middle East escalation

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman spoke with the prime minister of Iraq on Sunday, Saudi Press Agency reported. 

During their phone call, Prince Mohammed and Mohammed Al-Sudani discussed developments in the region and increasing escalation against the backdrop of the crisis in the Gaza Strip and its repercussions.

They also dissussed the importance of making the necessary efforts to prevent the situation from worsening and ways to spare the region from the risks of escalation, SPA added.


Saudi FM receives phone call from Iranian counterpart

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (File/AFP)
Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (File/AFP)
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi FM receives phone call from Iranian counterpart

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan and his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. (File/AFP)

RIYADH: Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan received a phone call from his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian on Sunday.

During the call, the officials discussed developments in the region and increasing escalation against the backdrop of the crisis in the Gaza Strip and its repercussions.


Saudi defense minister discusses military escalation in region with US counterpart

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.
Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi defense minister discusses military escalation in region with US counterpart

Saudi Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in Middle East with US Secretary of Defense.

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Defense Minister Prince Khalid bin Salman discussed the military escalation in the Middle East on Sunday with his US counterpart during a phone call.

The call comes after Iran launched a wave of missiles and attack drones against Israel overnight Saturday to Sunday.

Prince Khalid and US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin also discussed efforts to contain the crisis while upholding international peace and security.

The officials also reviewed their strategic defense partnership and explored ways to further enhance it, the Kingdom’s defense minister said in a post on X. 


Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones

Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones
Updated 14 April 2024
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Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones

Saudi artist seeks to beat limitations and transcend comfort zones
  • Ali Alhammadi has been passionate about visual arts since childhood

JEDDAH: Ali Alhammadi, a Saudi 32-year-old visual artist from Aldawadmi in Riyadh, has carved out a remarkable pathway in the world of art since his professional debut in 2017.

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the “Saudi renaissance” in line with Vision 2030, prompting him to embark on a creative expedition to express his perceptions through the canvas.

Alhammadi told Arab News that his art philosophy is about breaking invisible limitations and transcending comfort zones, drawing inspiration from the evergreen landscapes he encountered during camping trips with his father in the Riyadh desert.

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Ali Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the ‘Saudi renaissance’ in line with Vision 2030. (Supplied)

“During every spring season, me and my father used to go camping in the outskirts of Riyadh, when the desert turns green for a couple of months, where all the magical inspiration happens.”

Through his landscapes and abstract pieces, Alhammadi delves into his feelings, insecurities and aspirations, painting a narrative that speaks volumes.

“I use my art to express both happiness and sadness, and sometimes I start a painting with an idea in mind, but then I end up with a new one,” he said.

Ali Alhammadi, Saudi artist

One of Alhammadi’s pioneering techniques, “Invisible Limitations,” challenges traditional conceptions and societal norms, symbolizing the potential within, and beyond self-imposed boundaries. He said that his work reflects a realization that limitations are merely illusions.

“Our comfort zone sometimes restricts our ability to be inspired and inspire others. That’s why I decided to paint the Invisible Limitations theme.

“As I matured, I realized that most of these limitations don’t exist ... our limitation is the sky.”

Passionate about visual arts since childhood, Ali Alhammadi’s artistic inspiration was ignited by the ‘Saudi renaissance’ in line with Vision 2030. (Supplied)

Alhammadi’s artistic evolution has been influenced by his participation in prestigious exhibitions such as The Stars Exhibition at the German Embassy in Saudi Arabia and the second Riyadh Season Exhibition.

These platforms not only showcased his talent but also provided a catalyst for his creative development, empowering him to delve deeper into his cultural roots while embracing global influences.

Navigating between diverse cultural landscapes, Alhammadi, based between Liverpool and Riyadh, seamlessly fuses vibrant hues and styles, blending Saudi heritage and international artistic trends.

His experiences abroad have expanded his artistic horizons, inspiring him to create artworks that resonate with a global audience while retaining a distinctive Saudi essence. “Now that I have found my theme and art style, I believe that this phase will take me to different phases in my professional art career,” he said.

Looking toward the future, Alhammadi envisions his artwork evolving to explore the intricacies of human and cultural relationships, going deeper into themes that resonate with universal emotions and experiences. “Human and cultural relationships is something I’m keen on expressing through art,” he said.

His participation in international and local events such as the Founding Day in Liverpool and the National Day in London has not only spotlighted his talent but also enriched his artistic narrative with a tapestry of diverse influences.

For aspiring visual artists embarking on their creative odyssey, Alhammadi offers this advice: “Stay true to your vision, embrace your unique style, and let your art tell your story.”