Islamic Development Bank and Bill Gates

The Economist  (12 December 2015) reports that the world’s largest charity, the Gates Foundation, is collaborating with Islamic Development Bank (IDB) to provide loans to the poorest countries for rarely funded projects such as sanitation and disease eradication as well as health, agriculture and infrastructure. As one example of the success of this symbiosis to date, polio cases in Pakistan were reduced from 267 in 2014 to 43 for the same period this year.

The connection with the theme of Islamic financing is that Mr Gates is raising USD500 m in grant money to reduce (although not entirely to eliminate) interest payments on the loans from a variety of sources including the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development. Imperfect from the standpoint of Islamic legal compliance certainly but some evidence of the IDB becoming more current and effective, and of mutual assistance on the part of a wide range of Muslim majority societies and the states in which they live.

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