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OIC chief urges private sector to take on real role in developing Muslim Umma.

The Secretary General of the Organization of The Islamic Conference (OIC), Prof. Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, urged the business community in OIC Member States to embrace a more substantial role to contribute to the prosperity and development of the Muslim Umma. The Secretary GeneraleCOs call was made during a speech he delivered at the opening of the Business Forum held in Kampala, Uganda, on the role of the private sector in enhancing trade and investment in joint venture projects between OIC Member States. The two-day forum kicked off on Monday, June 16. The OIC chief pointed out that 2008 has been the African year for the OIC, as could be seen from the Islamic Summit hosted in Dakar, Senegal. The Summit adopted the amended Charter of the Organization in addition to the ratification of several key resolutions slated to implement the Ten-Year programme of Action adopted at the Extraordinary Summit held in Mecca. The resolutions will contribute to the development of OIC Member States, in general, and African countries, in particular. Prof. Ihsanoglu emphasized that the main objective of the Business Forum was providing a platform for businessmen and political decision-makers in OIC Member States to exchange their experiences and explore the resources and the potential the private sector could tap in a bid to generate wealth, create jobs and fight poverty. The Secretary General highlighted the critical resources the African continent possesses, notably its natural resources, fertile land, abundance of water and mineral resources. He shed light on a number of key resources, namely, millions of hectares of reclaimed land, the Nile, the Congo and the River Niger. Other factors, Ihsanoglu mentioned, include businessmen in OIC Member States with huge capital and on the look-out for investment opportunities together with a large pool of human resources in the Muslim Umma.He raised the question as to what would hamper the investment of these three key factors, namely natural resources, financial capital and human skills, in real development projects, in agriculture and food security, as well as industrial production and services. He expressed his confidence that the private sector, through the Islamic Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI) and the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), could deploy its efforts to pump more investment in a number of OIC Member States, especially in African countries, like Uganda. In the sphere of trade exchange between OIC Member States, the Secretary-General stressed that work is ongoing based on the stipulations of the Ten-Year Programme of Action, in order to move the volume of bilateral trade upwards from 13 to 20 percent by the year 2015. He added that a notable development has unraveled, as the rate has soared from 14.5 percent in 2004 and reached 16.3 percent in 2006. Ihsanoglu stated that the OIC will engage in coordinating with the initiatives announced by international institutions, as is the case with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Bank, to tackle the food crisis at the level of OIC Member States. He referred in this connection to the proposals submitted by the OIC Standing Committee for Economic and Commercial Cooperation (COMCEC) to the 35th session of the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers to be held in Kampala in the coming days. The objective of the proposals is to address the food crisis faced by some OIC Member States. Upon concluding his statement, the Secretary-General urged participants in the Business Forum, to adopt a set of practical procedures and measures to help achieve development in the Member States and improve the living conditions of the people. He stressed that the OIC will spare no effort to support all initiatives likely to contribute to achieving these laudable goals.

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Publication:AKIpress News Agency
Date:Jun 18, 2008
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