The Qatar Development Fund, which coordinates and implements foreign development assistance on behalf of the Qatari government, has announced a $50 million commitment to the Lives and Livelihoods Fund, a partnership between the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Islamic Development Bank.
Launched in December 2015 in collaboration with IDB's poverty reduction arm, the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development, the fund aims to leverage $2.5 billion in affordable financing to address the basic needs of the poor in the thirty least developed IDB member countries. To that end, the fund will focus its support on efforts to improve health, increase agricultural productivity, and build basic infrastructure. According to the Lives and Livelihoods Fund, 40 percent of the world's poorest people live in IDB member countries, where they are often trapped in a cycle of intergenerational poverty and struggle with challenges such as poor health and nutrition and little or no access to rural finance.
IDB and the Gates Foundation have each pledged $100 million to the fund and hope to raise a total of $500 million, which in turn will unlock an additional $2 billion in financing from IDB.
"The Lives and Livelihood Fund, an innovative means of development financing, will unlock a sizeable quantum of much-needed access to finance, especially for the poorer segments of IDB member countries," said IDB president Ahmad Mohamed Ali Al Madani. "Qatar's timely intervention will certainly augment our combined efforts to deal with the scourge of poverty for those who need [assistance] most, and therefore, we applaud this effort and call for others to join us in this noble effort of fighting poverty and restoring dignity."