The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and its development partners, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD) today announced the launch of the second phase of the Lives and Livelihoods Fund (LLF 2.0) on the sidelines of the IsDB Annual Meetings 2023.
The launch event was attended by the principals of the Fund’s founding partners, including His Excellency Mohamed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), Dr. Chris Elias, President Global Development, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and Dr. Hiba Ahmed, Director General, Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD).
The next phase of the Fund mobilizes resources from the IsDB and from donors such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development (ISFD) for the next five years. The committed resources are aimed at supporting 32 member countries of the Bank to achieve 10 of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development committed USD 150 million – USD 50 million as highly concessional loans and USD 100 million as temporary cash waqf, whereby, the investment returns are earmarked to LLF 2.0. Similarly, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced its commitment to pledge 20% of the total granted by donors to the LLF, up to USD 100 million.
Referring to LLF 2.0 as ‘the Fund of Tomorrow’, H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, President IsDB, said, “We all know that long-term food security is not benchmarked by crop yields and strong markets alone. It is also gauged by the survival of a child, the health of a mother, and the resilience of a community. Your continued support and commitment will make it possible for millions of people to pave their way out of poverty.” He also highlighted the establishment of enhanced operational and monitoring systems under LLF 2.0 to drive more investments in ending the devastating consequences of hunger, poverty, and disease.
“It’s great to see founding partners to the Lives and Livelihoods Fund committed to ensure that together we help drive economic growth across 32 IsDB member-countries,” said Dr. Chris Elias, President for Global Development at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “ISFD’s new contributions to the fund show their engagement to sustainable development across the world and kickstart the LLF’s new round of funding. I hope their commitment will encourage our other partners to further support the LLF’s critical efforts.”
LLF 2.0 is a flexible and efficient way to finance government social development projects to deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals. The second phase of LLF will continue to promote equitable expansion of the fund investments and assist lower-income and lower-middle income countries to optimize their existing financial, human, and other resources for high-impact sectors. This is expected to mobilize additional in-country resources along the way and attract more co-financing. The LLF recognizes that grant funding alone isn’t sufficient to meet the USD 2.4 trillion SDG financing gap. Hence, the blended finance approach multiplies available concessional financing.
Dr. Hiba Ahmed, the Director General of the ISFD stated that the evaluation of ISFD’s participation in the LLF phase 1 shows that the original objectives set for its contributions are all met in a satisfactory manner. She said: “The objective of scaling-up the availability of concessional resources for poverty-focused projects in member countries, especially LDMCs, has been met through the provision of a total financing of $1,433 million under LLF 1.0, almost doubling the concessional resources for the LDMCs from IsDB Group.”
She added that ISFD’s contribution in LLF2 reflects “the success of LLF1.0, in terms of the results and impact in member countries, scaling up of the concessional resources of the ISFD, the performance of the portfolio, and the refinements being introduced in LLF2.0 for better portfolio performance and visibility. The LLF2.0 maintains its focus on primary healthcare, agriculture, and basic infrastructure, while women empowerment, and climate change adaptation are being introduced as cross-cutting themes, which will be addressed in all the LLF2.0 projects.”
Since its creation in 2016, the Fund has invested over USD 1.4 billion in 22 IsDB member countries. Its financing is benefitting over 3 million smallholder farmers to improve their productivity and livelihoods, providing access to quality healthcare for 12.5 million women and children, and is set to provide over 7.5 million people with better water and sanitation facilities. While a major tranche of LLF 2.0 grants will be directly disbursed to country projects, key investments in technical assistance and implementation support are envisioned to maximize countries’ value for money.
From COVID-19 to climate change, economies are faced with unique and formidable challenges. These challenges are fast-evolving in IsDB-member countries and have long-term impacts for which LLF provides a more responsive funding mechanism, aligned with the needs and priorities of countries.
Recognizing the gender inequality trends and human-induced climate crises disproportionately impacting the most vulnerable, LLF 2.0 will make direct and robust investments to support climate action and gender mainstreaming throughout the Fund’s programming and processes, while continuing the focus on health, agriculture, and social infrastructure.
LLF 2.0 was launched during the IsDB’s Annual General Meetings 2023, preceded by the meeting of the Fund’s Impact Committee to reaffirm the goals and commitments of the Fund.