Islamic Finance for Development

Islamabad

Income growth is not the sole aim of economic development. To many, an equally important, albeit less quantifiable, outcome is a sense of progress for the entire community, and a confidence that prosperity is shared equitably – and sustainably – across society for the long term. Inclusive and sustainable development looks beyond GDP growth and can strengthen nations for generations to come. However, rising income inequality has impeded social mobility, increased social tensions, and undermined effective governance in many countries in recent decades. In the World Bank Group, we are firmly committed to our twin goals of helping reduce the number of people living in extreme poverty, and to promote shared prosperity, particularly among the bottom 40 percent of the population. Investments in infrastructure are essential for meeting both goals. Whether it be by connecting farmers to markets or by providing families with electricity and clean water, infrastructure investments can transform lives for the better. However, analysts estimate that developing countries require between US$1.7 trillion annually in infrastructure investment just to keep up with the rate of growth, while actual investment pledged each year is closer to US$880 billion – far short of the region’s needs. It would be better yet if these options adhere to our principles of sustainable development, particularly given the specter of climate change.—Agencies

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