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Dr. Ahmed Ali: Architect of Islamic financing

Dr. Ahmed Muhammad Ali, President Islamic Development Bank

Dr. Ahmed Muhammad Ali, President Islamic Development Bank

Jeddah (IINA) – Dr. Ahmed Muhammad Ali is stepping down as president of the Jeddah-based Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group after serving at the helm of the Islamic world’s biggest financial institution for several decades.

He is set to hand over the presidency to Bandar Hajjar, former minister of Haj, at the 41st annual session of the Board of Governors of IDB, which is set to begin in Jakarta Saturday. The Board of Governors is the highest policy-making body of the IDB Group comprising ministerial representatives of IDB’s 56 member countries, and it meets each year to review the activities of the bank and decide on future policies. The Jakarta session will seek solutions to the problems faced by the member states, such as poverty, low investment, and infrastructure financing.

Ali has made immense contributions in making IDB play a remarkable role as a major engine of growth in most of its 56 member states, especially the least developed countries as well as in supporting the Muslim minorities all over the world. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The best amongst you are those who are beneficial for others.” This is true in all senses of the world while examining the immense contributions Ali has extended to the Islamic Ummah through playing a significant role in improving their economy. He is the real architect who has been instrumental in improving the lot of several Muslim communities in poor Muslim countries as well as Muslim minorities all over the world, through making available of IDB grant and financial assistance.

Born in Madinah in 1934, Ali is a holder of B.A. degree in commerce and a degree in law from Cairo University. He also secured M.A. and PhD degrees, both in Public Administration, from the University of Michigan and State University of New York in the United States in 1962 and 1967 respectively. Dr. Ali began his career in education and manpower development in 1958-59 as director of Scientific and Islamic Institute in Aden, Yemen. Later, he returned to Saudi Arabia to take over as Acting Rector of King Abdulaziz University, Jeddah from1967 to 1972. He was then appointed as Deputy Minister of Education. Upon the initiative of the late King Faisal, when the member countries of OIC decided to establish IDB, he was chosen as its first president. His education, background and past experience helped him to establish a strong base for the mission of the bank as well as taking up the challenges of managing IDB and widening the spectrum of development by addressing various issues.

Ali looks at development in its totality and has spread the involvement of the bank in several directions including trade, insurance, the private sector, etc. as demonstrated by the establishment of IDB Group of Institutions comprising the Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI), Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC). He was instrumental in developing The Vision 1440H Document of IDB, which aims at alleviating poverty, eradicating illiteracy, providing better health facilities, strengthening ties with the private sector, NGOs, and striving for the cause of development of women.

Ali looks at development as a comprehensive and integrated phenomenon that has to be continuously reviewed and closely coordinated. He seeks cooperation with all people who would like to contribute to a better life for all humans in this global village. Ali was also served as the secretary general of the Muslim World League (MWL) during 1993-95 and was given the task of restructuring the MWL, after which he returned to serve IDB once again. He has also been contributing to the welfare of the community in the Kingdom by extending his services to the Higher Education Councils of five universities and as a board member of the Saudi Fund for Development.

Saudi Arabia holds the largest stake (23.6%) in IDB, which was founded in Jeddah as a specialized institution of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). The 38th annual meeting of IDB Group, held in Dushanbe, Tajikistan, in May 2013, decided to triple the bank’s capital from $45 billion to $150 billion. The bank’s purpose is to foster the economic development and social progress of member countries and Muslim communities in accordance with the principles of Shariah. It aspires to become a global development bank by 2019 (1440 H), contributing substantially to achieve the comprehensive development of the Islamic world with a focus on the human face of the Islamic economy and regain its glory.

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