Dr Ziad Khalaf Abd honoured at the United Nations

IDB chairman honoured for his effective contribution to supporting innovations to enhance sustainable development in the Arab region

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Published: Fri 28 Jun 2024, 12:21 PM

During a United Nations headquarters conference on the challenges of achieving sustainable development goals, Dr Ziad Khalaf Abd, chairman of the Board of Directors of the International Development Bank (IDB) and Member of the Board of Directors of the Union of Arab Banks, was honoured.

Dr Ziad said during a speech he delivered at the opening session of the 'Challenges of Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals' conference, organised by the Union of Arab Banks at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva, that the role of financial infrastructure and innovation of investments assumes great importance when it comes to supporting sustainable development.

He further stressed the need for support of innovations that enhance sustainable development in the Arab region. He indicated that there is a need for the betterment of financial infrastructure and boosting economic and investment innovation pertinent to sustainable development.

Prominent among the participants were high-ranking financial and banking bodies and officials of international organisations, notably including Dr Wissam Fattouh, secretary-general of the Union of Arab Banks; Dr Rola Dashti, executive secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA); and Marion Hoenicke head of financial inclusion, EU Enlargement & Neighborhood Department, of the European Investment Bank.

The event further counted with the participation of representatives from UNIDO, UNCTAD, the International Monetary Fund, and ESCWA.

Through the two-day conference, an honorary shield was awarded to Dr Ziad Khalaf Abd from Dr Wissam Fattouh, secretary-general of the Union of Arab Banks, in appreciation for his substantial contribution towards the cause of sustainable development.

He shared with the large audience the concept of money, referring to it as growth. Then, he brought to light the power of teamwork toward the economic development of a region torn for so long by instability and conflict. Dr Ziad spoke of calling for cooperation to build a better future for present and future generations.

Further, Dr Ziad emphasised the necessity of growth in the Arab region, which possesses all the essential ingredients for success. He asserted that a market system forms the foundation of our civilisation, and it is indispensable for navigating the transformative phases of our world.

He noted that in our region, the business environment has improved and has become a major component of our governments' plans; economic development and investment are key priorities. He quoted the case of the development process in Iraq as a model of cross-border investments, which would lead to financial and economic integration, mentioning out that there is also a great future for the development road project, which will link Iraq, Turkey, the UAE, and Qatar, with the aim of enhancing trade and investment, concluding free trade agreements, and linking the Gulf to Europe.

According to Dr Ziad, the path toward the achievement of sustainable development goals is riddled with multiple challenges in the Middle East. The Geneva SDGs conference introduced an opportunity where the status quo of development can be measured in the Arab region with a notation of such matters as hindrances of climate change, achievement of peace, and alleviation of poverty.

He stressed the fact that economic growth is created through the empowerment of entrepreneurs, bound partnerships, investing in research and development, and human resources. Dr Ziad emphasised on problems of innovation in bank services and the establishment of effective partnerships in a way to ensure growth in the economy. He underlined that funds and investments should be directed to projects with a positive societal and environmental impact.

In the end, Dr Ziad stated that the banking sector in Arab nations ought to be first in the innovation and implementation of financial technologies and ultimately in reaching the desired financial goals. Hence, the sector needs to assume a proactive role in developing sustainable development with the vision of a better future in collaboration with the financial sector.

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