KSA, Jeddah – 15 May 2017: Delegates at the first Youth Summit of the Islamic Development Bank Group Annual Meeting drew attention to the key role of youth in overcoming development issues in areas ranging from education, employment, entrepreneurship, networking to financial inclusion.
The two-day Youth Summit, which began today, has brought together youth leaders, influential thinkers, policy makers, entrepreneurs and international development policy experts to discuss critical matters of relevance to youth in IDBG member countries. It offers a unique platform to generate ideas for youth engagement in socio-economic development of member countries.z
Dr. Bandar Hajjar, President of IsDBG, in his inaugural address welcomed all the participants of youth summit and the keynote speakers for sharing their experience. “There are nearly 1.75 billion youth in the 15-29 age group in the world, about 500 million or 28.5 per cent are living in Islamic countries. It is important to empower their potentials and leverage their interests and talents. Many of the IDB member countries have realized the capability and linking them with the labor markets. However, as a part of Saudi Vision 2030, IDB for the first time is providing the youth the platform to unite and share their experience, exchange ideas and find solutions that benefits the member countries.”
“Among the millions of youth in member countries, the literacy rate is over 18 percent and challenges are many. All the member countries need to work together, unite, prosper and develop the efforts, while finding a common vision to achieve the success,” Hajjar said, adding that IsDBG group is playing a role of coordinator as it realizes the potential of youth and their capabilities.
The keynote speaker of the youth summit, Necmettin Bilal Erdogan, Board Member of TURGEV Foundation, said “The distinct Islamic values of IsDB is not only developing a nation or helping individual to rise out of poverty but also creating a summit where youth can share their voice and opinions that is very important for any developing country.”
“The symptoms of illness in youth is that they are not being addressed properly and instead of ignoring them, it is important to address them rapidly with care and diligence. As a Muslim Ummah our responsibility is to get more respect by upholding our values, our cultures and trust ourselves. The west paradigm has to reduce and a new a paradigm has to come from Muslim Ummah,” he added.
He also said that through this youth summit a vision of the 21st century can be created. “We will be the Ummah vision country that presents more peace and upheld our values.”
Likewise, another keynote speaker, Waleed S. Abalkhail, Chairman and MD of Tradekey.com, discussed the importance of supporting the SMEs as 90 percent of business around the world is SMEs and they create 50-60 percent of jobs.
During the meeting, he called the member countries for designing strategies and encourage growth of small businesses and enhance the competitive edge of youth in order to penetrate them in the international market. “The member countries should utilize the technology to create job opportunities and on the other hand youth should not restrict their ideas to the local market instead think big and target international market.”
Abalkhail also initiated that the World Bank, international organization, and IsdBG member countries should help the SMEs in enhancing the intra-trade activities and create more job opportunities.
Differing slightly from previous youth seminars, this year’s event received enormous support from IDBG member countries to be scaled-up to a Summit.
The Islamic Development Bank Group has identified the necessity to shape development strategies and initiatives aimed at empowering youth both economically and socially.
The first session under the theme “Leveraging the potential of young population empowered by digital technology” was moderated by Shereen Mitwalli, a motivational speaker, the panel began with four speakers- Adeyemi Babington-Ashaye, Head of Global Shapers Community at World Economic Forum, Ashok Regmi, Director of Social Innovation at International Youth Foundation, Lulwa AlSoudairy, co-founder and CEO of Artisia and Shougat Khan, UN Young Global Leader and Founder of H.A. Digital School and College in Bangladesh.
Lulwa AlSoudairy said, “Youth needs to take up the challenges. As it makes them stronger and more confident. The government should give the chance to the young entrepreneurs and think out of the box and invest in them.”
The 42nd Annual Meeting of the Islamic Development Bank Group is being attended by hundreds of decision makers, financial industry experts and influencers from 57 member countries and more than 2,000 participants under the theme, ‘Youth Economic Empowerment’.
The meeting, which will run until May 18 at the Hilton Jeddah, offers an opportunity to explore practical solutions to development issues, and pave the way for enhanced cooperation between member countries in a number of core development areas.