THE ACTIVITIES OF THE ISLAMIC DEVELOPMENT BANK IN SOUTHERN EURASIA: IDENTITY-FRAMED COOPERATION OR CHANNEL FOR ARAB GULF INVESTMENT?

Dr. Bruno DE CORDIER


Bruno De Cordier, Professor, Conflict Research Group and Department of Conflict and Development Studies, Ghent University (Ghent, Belgium)


ABSTRACT

This article examines the activities of the Islamic Development Bank in Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and the four other Muslim majority states of southern Eurasia, where the institution has been active, in a rather discreet but targeted way, in the fields of transport, energy and water infrastructure, finance and industrial development since about one and a half decades. Besides offering an analytical overview of the regional activities of this rather little known development institution, it discusses how it is de facto a channel and way-opener for investment form the Arab and more particularly the Arab Gulf sphere, and how its presence fits into a trend among southern Eurasian governments and economic elites to diversify sources of aid and investment.

Keywords: development aid, alternative trade, Islamic Development Bank, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, South-South cooperation, Arab Gulf countries.

Introduction

Unique among international development institutions in the sense that its membership and approaches are defined by faith and religious identity and as such challenge standard international development concepts, the Islamic Development Bank (IDB, al-bank al-islamii li-t-tanmiya in Arabic) has, rather discreetly, been working in the southern Eurasian region since about one and a half decades now. This paper examines whether there is a pattern and.


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