Lecture by HE Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser Chairman, Islamic Development Bank Group At Mohammed V University- Rabat

“The role and impact of IsDB Group in supporting its MCs and Morocco in their inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development”

                                بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم 


الحمدُ للهِ ربِّ العالمين، والصَلاةُ والسلامُ على أفضل الأنبيـاءِ والمرسـلينْ، سيدِنا مُحمدٍ الأَمينْ، وعَلى آلِهِ وصَحْبهِ أجْمَعِين، ومَن تَبِعَهُم بإحْسَان إلَى يوم الدِّين


Dr. Farid El Bacha, President of Mohammed V University

Honorable Vice-Presidents,

Honorable Deans,

Dear students,

Ladies and gentlemen,


On behalf of all Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group staff, I extend to all of you my deep condolences and heartfelt sympathy for the tragic earthquake that struck Al Haouz Province. We pray Almighty Allah to bestow His Mercy on the victims, patience on their families and speedy recovery on the injured. The IsDB expressed its full readiness to collaborate with and support the Government of Morocco in its valiant recovery and reconstruction efforts.

It is an honor for me to be with you at this prestigious institution to talk about some development concerns, challenges and manifestations, by addressing the role of the Islamic Development Bank Group in promoting socio-economic development in its member countries in a global context marked by complexity, competition, constant evolution and aggravating geo-political and climate challenges.

The international development arena is facing crucial turning points manifested in a number of unprecedented crises, each of which has deep implications for economies and communities all over the world. Among these daunting challenges is the negative impact on international development plans resulting from the repercussions of Covid-19, the ongoing conflict in Eastern Europe and climate changes that led to a number of natural disasters, such as devastating earthquakes and catastrophic floods.

These calamities have resulted in great loss of lives and disrupted livelihoods and stability of many others. All this underscores the need for cooperation to strengthen countries and communities’ resilience and adaptability and to support affected ones.

In times of distress and adversity, the IsDB Group demonstrates the ability to swiftly respond and provide all means of support and solidarity to address humanitarian crises, providing much-needed relief and assistance to member countries facing natural disasters, internal conflicts, or health emergencies. These efforts underline IsDB Group's commitment to support its member countries in their most challenging times, and to assist them in normal conditions in carrying out their comprehensive and sustainable socio-economic development plans for the welfare of their peoples.

Highlights on the IsDB Group

Ladies and gentlemen,

The IsDB Group was established in 1974 with a clear, noble mission: foster the economic development and social progress of its member countries and Muslim communities in non-member countries while promoting the well-being of their people. This institution, permeated by the values of Islam and the principles of Islamic finance, focuses its efforts on eradicating poverty, enhancing human development, and promoting sustainable economic growth.

The IsDB Group comprises the Bank and five other institutions that work in synergy to provide holistic services, adopting the “One Group - One Goal” approach.

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) focuses on project financing through sovereign financing and public-private partnerships.

The role of the Islamic Development Bank Institute (IsDBI) is to provide training, research, advisory services, and capacity development in Islamic finance.

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) aims to promote private sector development in member countries, facilitate access to Islamic capital markets, and mobilize additional financial resources for the private sector.

The Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC) offers Shariah-compliant export credit insurance and re-insurance and provides political risk insurance to encourage investment flows.

The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) promotes trade between member countries, and helps businesses have better access to trade finance.

The sixth institution is the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), which provides concessional financing solutions to fight poverty in member countries.

To be closer to our clients and efficiently expedite the implementation of our projects, we have established several regional hubs in some member countries, and we have tens of field representatives in others.

In this respect, I would like to state that the Bank has established its first regional office here in Rabat in 1994 – this reflects the long-standing strategic relationship between Morocco and the IsDB Group.

This office now covers, in addition to the host country, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Mauritania.

Supporting Member Countries

A basis of the IsDB Group's effectiveness is its dynamic, participatory and flexible approach it has adopted vis-à-vis development. On one hand, the institution recognizes that sustainable development is a complex, interlinked endeavor that encompasses various dimensions. Thus, it offers a range of financial products and technical assistance to address its member countries’ diverse needs and challenges. On the other hand, our Group believes that development is a collective responsibility of governments, civil societies, private sectors, development banks, technical partners, and philanthropic organizations.

Bearing this in mind, we have established strong partnerships with several governments, financial institutions, and philanthropic organizations. The Lives and Livelihoods Fund (LLF), for example, is the fruit of a joint vision by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSRelief), the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), and the Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD).

This unique partnership aims to lift out of poverty society’s most vulnerable groups in member countries by providing concessional financing combining assistance from regional and international donors and IsDB projects’ ordinary financing. From around USD 8.5 billion paid up capital by the member countries, the IsDB Group was able, by Allah’s Grace and Support, to lend over USD 175 billion to finance extremely important and highly impactful projects for its member countries in various sectors. These projects not only establish infrastructure and create jobs, but also lay the foundation for long-term development, peace and co-existence, not only within the borders of each country, but at the regional level.

The IsDB Group was able, thanks to its unique position as the pioneer in Islamic finance, to provide Sharia-compliant innovative financial solutions. The Islamic finance instruments, such as Sukuk and microfinance, were effective in mobilizing resources for development projects, particularly in areas where traditional financing options are limited or less appropriate.

Due to its paramount importance to development, infrastructure gets the lion’s share of the Group financing, with over 64%. This demonstrates the role played by the Bank and the Group’s members alongside other donors in narrowing the infrastructure gap in our member countries.

Recognizing that human capital is vital for sustainable development, the IsDB Group prioritizes education, healthcare, and vocational training. The more the populations are educated and healthy, the stronger are their capabilities to contribute positively to the development of their countries and societies. By supporting educational institutions, scholarships, and healthcare infrastructure, the IsDB empowers individuals with the necessary tools to lead productive lives, fostering social cohesion and resilience.

As stated by the economist Amartya Sen, a Nobel Prize winner, “Poverty is not just lack of money; it is not having capabilities to realize one’s full potential as human being”.

The IsDB Group was able, thanks to Allah, to design a number of programs and initiatives to help build skilled workforces, improve healthcare systems, increase access to quality education, provide strong support for MSMEs, and empower youth and women to realize their potential.

Support to education

Distinguished faculty members,

Dear students,

Education lies at the heart of societal progress, empowering individuals and communities to thrive intellectually, socially, and economically. Investing in education is a basic condition to achieve sustainable development, reduce poverty and enhance human dignity.

The IsDB Group, therefore, plays a vital role in promoting education in member countries through its extensive financial support, which exceeds USD 5.6 billion for over 1,000 education projects in 57 member countries and Muslim communities in non-member countries.

The IsDB has adopted a comprehensive approach to education, covering all levels, from basic to higher education, vocational and technical education, teacher training, and curriculum development. The Bank supports initiatives that promote gender equality in education, ensuring that girls and women have equal access to educational opportunities.

The IsDB also invests in refugees and IDPs education, giving them hope for a better future through learning even in their difficult circumstances.

The Bank's commitment to promote education is further exemplified by its scholarship program, which has existed since 1983. Under this program, the IsDB has supported over 18 000 students to pursue higher education in various academic fields to contribute to their communities' development.

Climate financing and updating IsDB’s strategy

Ladies and gentlemen,

As economies in our member countries sought to recover from the profound impact of the repercussions of COVID-19 pandemic, to which we responded swiftly and effectively through approving the US$4.7 billion program, they faced another challenge, namely surging food and energy prices in the aftermath of the conflict that broke out in Eastern Europe. To address the escalating food security crisis, we rolled out the Food Security Response Program (FSRP), allocating US$10.5 billion to better cater to our member countries’ evolving needs in the short run, and to ensure sustainable food systems in the long run.

These responses align seamlessly with the overarching goals of the Bank's Inclusive Human Development Strategy, encompassing critical areas such as poverty alleviation, education promotion, healthcare, and livelihood enhancement.

In an era defined by the pressing challenges of climate change and environmental degradation, the IsDB Group has committed substantial resources to finance climate-resilient, environmentally sustainable projects, contributing to mitigating the impact of climate change and promoting sustainable practices in member countries.

Recognizing the steadfast climate-development nexus, we made an ambitious commitment that by 2025, at least 35% of our operations will be in climate finance. The good news is that we have already reached 33%. Also, the Bank contributed US$13 billion to the Arab Coordination Group’s US$24 billion Cumulative Climate Financing Package announced during COP27 last November in Egypt to address the global climate crisis by 2030.

In the same vein, last year, we realigned our strategy for 2023-2025 to revolve around two interdependent pillars, namely environment-friendly, resilient and sustainable infrastructure, and inclusive human capital development.

Given the private sector’s pivotal role in driving economic growth and development, the IsDB Group promoted public-private partnership, so as to leverage the expertise and resources of the private sector. These collaborations have facilitated investments in crucial sectors, promoted innovation, and spurred job creation, ultimately contributing to the socio-economic development of member countries.

Inclusiveness lies at the heart of the IsDB Group's development agenda. Mindful of the potential of women and youth as agents of change, we have implemented programs to empower women entrepreneurs and enhance youth employment opportunities. By fostering gender equality and youth engagement, the IsDB Group has contributed to laying the foundation for more inclusive and prosperous societies.

Similarly, the Bank attaches importance to capacity development as the most effective way for a better economic and social transformation. Our approach targets specific technical assistance at the three levels of capacities: institutional, organizational, and individual.

We are also leveraging the expertise and knowledge of our member countries in some specific areas through the Bank’s Reverse Linkage program, whereby we facilitate the transfer of knowledge and expertise from one member country to another. Under this program, the Bank brings two or more countries to benefit from each other’s technical comparative advantages and proven solutions to build capacity in priority areas of development.

The IsDB is the only South-South multilateral development whose all members are from the South. Therefore, South-South Cooperation remains one of our most significant priorities. We are working with many countries to develop their South-South cooperation ecosystem.

Also, we are promoting regional integration through many initiatives and infrastructure projects such as trade corridors, financial facilities, trade facilitation programs, and others.

Relation between IsDB and Morocco

Ladies and gentlemen,

The Kingdom of Morocco is a founding member and a key partner of the IsDB Group. Total Group’s financial approvals for Morocco reached US$ 7 billion, making Morocco the fifth largest beneficiary of the Group’s operations. Such contributions cover several sectors, namely energy, industry and mining, transportation, agriculture, education, and health.

In parallel, the IsDB plays a crucial role in supporting financial inclusion in Morocco through several technical assistance operations aiming to develop a participative finance system, economic empowerment, and access to finance.

According to the assessment undertaken by our Evaluation Department, all the Group’s projects in Morocco were highly effective, and have positively impacted infrastructure improvement, job creation and income generation.

Agriculture projects highly contributed to the reduction of poverty in the targeted areas. Remarkable progress has been noticed at the level of livelihood conditions thanks to our support for the rural electrification program. We also contributed to enhancing the economy's competitiveness through contributing to financing the energy sector and building highways. Last but not least, our support for the participative banking system has a noticeable effect on enhancing financial inclusion in the country.

The cooperation between the IsDB Group and the Kingdom of Morocco is guided by the Member Country's Partnership Strategy (MCPS), which centers on four principles, namely (i) country ownership, (ii) selectivity of interventions according to the needs of member country and expected impact, (iii) IsDB Group members’ synergy, and (iv) partnership with other development financing institutions.

In this context, I am glad to announce that the Islamic Development Bank Group agreed with the Government of Morocco to launch an MCPS that envisions a solid partnership between the IsDB Group and Morocco for 2024-2027.

The selected pillars for this strategy are intended to contribute to the country's economic transformation by unleashing the economy's potential through environment-friendly growth and supporting human capital development and social inclusiveness, particularly in the post-earthquake context.

These pillars also entail boosting South-South cooperation through Reverse Linkage and reinforcing the participatory finance ecosystem to develop entrepreneurship.

Given Morocco’s position as a hub of expertise and knowledge that other countries can benefit from, the Bank has formulated and implemented, in collaboration with some government agencies in Morocco, more than 20 projects- within the framework of the Reverse Linkage Program – that have benefited 12 sub-Saharan African countries so far. The primary targeted sectors are renewable energy in rural areas, vocational training, agriculture, water supply, health, finance, transport, and logistics.

Concluding Remarks

Distinguished faculty,

Dear students,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Through its unwavering commitment to sustainable and inclusive development, the IsDB Group has contributed to improving the quality of life for millions of people.

Yet, our journey is far from being over. We have a long way to go, and the challenges of the 21st century require a continued commitment to innovative solutions, enhanced cooperation, and adaptability to the global continued evolutions. The IsDB Group remains steadfast in its dedication to the development aspirations of its member countries, and our relations with member countries and development partners will continue to grow, guided by the principles of collaboration, inclusiveness, and sustainability.

The Islamic Development Bank Group is not merely a financial institution. It is a force for positive change, a beacon of hope, and a symbol of cooperation among its member countries in a world characterized with complex challenges that we can, by Allah’s Will and our collective efforts, turn into opportunities to promote socio-economic development, invest in human capital, and promote sustainable practices. All this contributes significantly to the goals of growth and prosperity.

As we move forward, we renew our commitment to working with our member countries to build a world where prosperity, dignity, and opportunity are within reach for all. Together, we can shape a brighter, more equitable future for generations to come.


ويسعدني أن أختم هذه المحاضرة بقبسات من لغتنا الجميلة تحيةً لجيل الغد ومستقبل الأمة الواعد من بناتي وأبنائي الطالبات والطلاب في هذه الجامعة العريقة:

حيِّ الشباب ووفِّهِ الإجلالا / واعقِدْ على عزماته الآمالا

أمل البلاد على رُقيِّ شبابها / إن كان حيّاً لا تخاف زوالا

ولا ننسى أن أساس رقي الأمم هو الجمع بين القدرات العلمية والمهارات الحياتية والاقتصاد القوي، أو كما قال الشاعر:

بالعِلمِ والمالِ يَبني النّاسُ مجدَهُمُ / لم يُبنَ مجدٌ على جهلٍ وإقلالِ

ووصيتي في الختام هي ألا تستهينوا بقدراتكم على المساهمة في تنمية وتقدم بلدكم وازدهار شعبكم:

وتحسب أنك جرمٌ صغيرٌ / وفيك انطوى العالم الأكبرُ

أو كما قال شاعر آخر:

وكن رجلاً إن أتوا بعدهُ / يقولون مرّ وهذا الأثر

والمقصود بالرجولة هنا الموقف وليس النوع، فالرجولة مواقف وأفعال، والإنسان موقف.


In conclusion, I reiterate my sincere thanks to Dr. Farid, the President of the University, to the university’s administration and faculty members, and to my daughters and sons, the students.

It would be remiss of me, however, if I omitted to thank my colleagues at the IsDB Group's Regional Hub in Rabat for organizing this event.


والسلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته.