Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, June 2, 2022 – The Lives and Livelihoods Fund (LLF) organized a major roundtable on the sidelines of the 2022 Annual Meetings of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group in Sharm el-Sheikh, Arab Republic of Egypt.
The panel, which was organized in conjunction with the Egyptian Ministry of Local Development, saw panelists share their respective experience with the LLF over the past six years, referencing how engaging with policy makers, partners and donors at country level has been beneficial for investing in human capital, especially in the current global context and post-pandemic environment.
During the discussion, the implications and role of multilateral development cooperation platforms in strengthening the capacity of recipient countries to build resilience to emergencies and their economic impact in the future were unveiled.
The panel also highlighted the importance of executing practical cooperation models to support sustainable growth and development in the health, agriculture and basic infrastructure sectors and the role this cooperation plays in achieving of the human development goals of the SDGs.
Commenting on the importance of investing in human capital, HE Mahmoud Shaarawy expressed his appreciation for such an initiative: “The Ministry of Local Development is proud to co-organize this roundtable. Muslim countries, like other countries, suffered on many fronts due to the pandemic and its implications, so to see representatives of key development organizations and policy makers coming together today to discuss human capital investment opportunities is reassuring” .
The Minister then shared his perspective on the implementation of socio-economic projects after the pandemic, stating that despite the global disruption, the continued focus on developing essential systems and securing the livelihoods of most vulnerable remains critical to mitigating future threats: “By integrating innovative investment models that improve underlying systems of health care and economic empowerment, countries will be able to drive a resilient post-pandemic recovery and to lay the foundations for more equitable, sustainable and robust growth”.
According to Minister Shaarawy, Egypt’s commitment to structural reform of the economy predated the pandemic. He pointed out that Egyptian government initiatives such as Decent Living and the Upper Egypt Local Development Program (UELDP) have introduced multiple growth opportunities to improve competitiveness, raise living standards and empower people. to direct economic development.
Invited panelists represented a wide cross-section of the international development community, including: Dr. Abdul Hakim El Waer, Assistant Director-General of the United Nations FAO and Regional Representative of the Regional Office for the Near East and North Africa; Dr. Waleed Addas, LLF Leader and LLF Donor Representatives; Mr. James Carty, Head of Middle East and East Asia at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; and Mr Khemais El Gazzah, Senior Advisor to the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development.
For his part, Mr. James Carty emphasized the integration of effective partnerships to achieve results while ensuring the principles of development effectiveness: “The LLF represents one of the most influential investment models in human capital in the Middle East. Since its inception in 2016, the Fund has been leveraging the capacities and grants of six major development partners in the region; the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD), King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center KSRelief and Qatar Fund for Development (QFFD) in addition to IDB funding.”
“Through this innovative model, we are not only addressing an immediate need, but helping to create fundamental change in national systems for generations.” Mr. Carty added.
Dr Waleed Addas, Head of LLF, commented: “This panel has convened in line with the theme of the annual meeting Beyond Recovery: Resilience and Sustainability with the aim of sharing LLF’s experiences and building on on these through the reflections of other panel members.As LLF, we strongly believe in the impact of collaboration, a key theme that panelists described and agreed upon.
To date, LLF has 37 active projects in 22 countries to help lift the poorest out of poverty in IDB member countries through projects in health, agriculture and basic infrastructure.