Speech by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah
at the Inaugural Ceremony of the Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors
of the Islamic Development Bank, Thursday,
May 30th, 2006
In the Name Allah the Most Gracious the Most Merciful.
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you as valued guests of the State of Kuwait. We are delighted to host this very special event, embodying as it does the unity and cooperation of the Islamic Ummah. By working closely together we can bring about changes that will be of real benefit to the welfare and development of our nations.
Thirty one years ago, the pioneering institution that is the Islamic Development Bank was established to foster economic development and social progress in Islamic countries. Its foundation reflects the import role economics can play in fostering cooperation between different nations in order to promote development within those countries.
The State of Kuwait has long believed in Islamic and Arabic unity and recognizes the importance the economy plays in creating this.
As long ago as 1962, Kuwait set up the Kuwaiti Fund for Development. It is a pioneering institution that provides developmental and economic aid to Arabic and Islamic countries and to other friendly nations. The State of Kuwait has also participated in the establishment of several international and regional developmental institutions, and has supported a range of initiatives designed to alleviate human suffering, fight poverty and provide education and health services to a number of developing countries.
Although the public sector and official institutions have carried out this role successfully in the past, practical experience has led us to recognize it is imperative the private sector also becomes involved in the construction and development process, especially in areas like health and education that are not the absolute prerogative of the State.
We, in the State of Kuwait, believe firmly in this approach and we are always trying to enhance the role the private sector plays in projects like this either through joint ventures with the State or on its own.
Islamic nations are prey to a number of problems which unfortunately reflect badly upon the people of these countries. Our economic institutions have to double their efforts in order to come up with suitable policies that will improve living standards and end poverty, especially in countries that are still experiencing difficulties.
We look forward to a period of even greater cooperation and participation between the Islamic Development Bank and other developmental institutions so that these ambitious economic plans can be put in place.
Once again, I thank you all for being here and I hope that this conference will achieve the desired outcomes and provide the framework for prosperity.