Where we work

The work of the IsDB can be seen around the world, with operations in four core regions: Asia and Latin America; Europe and Central Asia; the Middle East and North African; Sub-Saharan Africa.

Beyond our countries we also provide support to Muslim communities in non-member countries, including those afflicted by conflict and natural disasters. Altogether, our work touches the lives of 1 in 5 of the world’s population.

Asia and Latin America

By population, Asia and Latin America is the largest of the four regions that the IsDB operates in with close to 700 million people to support.

There is wide spectrum of income levels in the region, where many nations are low-income countries, and the remainder either middle-income or high-income. This creates a number of unique and diverse challenges.

The short-term challenges of the countries in this region range from sustaining growth momentum and strengthening fiscal and financial stability, to managing capital outflows, achieving food security and reducing income inequality.

Looking ahead, in the medium to longer-term, the objective is to help promote higher and more inclusive growth, build infrastructure that will help to boost productivity, address the risk of climate change and environmental crises, and promote the development of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs).

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) is the third largest region by population with over 420 million people.

There is a spread of income levels, with high-income countries such as Saudi Arabia or Bahrain benefiting from oil-dominated economies, in contrast to lower-income countries such as Yemen.

As with Europe and Central Asia, the member countries face a diverse range of challenges. In the short-term, sustaining economic growth, containing the large fiscal and balance of payment deficits, and building resilience to external shocks are all key. In the medium-to-longer term the region must improve competitiveness, and diversify its production base and exports, address youth unemployment, and promote regional integration.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan Africa is the second largest region by population size, with close to 500 million people.

The region has the lowest per capita income of the four regions, with only Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Gabon and Nigeria considered middle-income countries, the rest being low-income.

While significant progress has been made in reducing poverty since 2000, it remains pervasive. The region faces an enormous infrastructure gap, the investment climate and regulatory environment are relatively poor, and there are still weaknesses in governance and institutional capacity. Of the 16 countries worldwide, experiencing ‘alarming’ situations of hunger, five are IsDB member countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Consequently, the region’s short-term challenges include sustaining growth momentum and strengthening fiscal stability, achieving food security, developing the agricultural sector and tackling youth unemployment. Medium-to-longer term challenges include the development of human capital as well as infrastructure.

Europe and Central Asia

Europe and Central Asia is the smallest region by population for the four regions, with circa 161 million.

Member countries in the region face a diverse set of challenges due to their differing historical backgrounds and geopolitical positions. As a result, stability in the short-term is crucial and the challenges to be overcome include enhancing their resilience to external shocks, strengthening their fiscal, financial and political stability, addressing food insecurity and reducing income inequality.

In the medium to long-term, countries in this region must enhance cross-border infrastructure in order to support trade with landlocked member countries. They will also need to foster inclusive growth and create jobs for their young people. Other challenges include moving their economies away from natural strengthening regional cooperation by lowering regional trade barriers and bolstering SMEs.