Address by Senior Minister, Dr. Ashni Singh at the IsDB Group Annual Meetings 2022

Islamic Development Bank Group
Annual Meetings 2022
Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt

Statement by

The Honourable Dr. Ashni Kumar Singh, M.P.

Senior Minister in the Office of the President with Responsibility for Finance

Cooperative Republic of Guyana

Y.E. Dr. Hala ElSaid, Chair of the Board of Governors of the Islamic Development Bank

H.E. Dr. Muhammad Sulaiman AlJasser President of the IsDB

Excellencies, Fellow Governors and Alternate Governors

Ambassadors, Delegates, Ladies and Gentlemen

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatu

Permit me, on behalf of His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, his Government and the People of Guyana, to offer greetings to the IsDB on the occasion of its Annual Meeting for 2022 and to congratulate the Bank on yet another successful year of outstanding service to its membership.  

Permit me also to thank our hosts, the Government and People of the Arab Republic of Egypt, for the warm welcome and gracious hospitality they have extended to all of us, and for the excellent arrangements they have made for these meetings in beautiful Sharm El Sheikh.

Excellencies:

We meet at a time when the global economy is reeling from multiple intertwined shocks. First, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are still being felt in many of our countries, with productive activity still muted in many places and the global supply chain still in deep dislocation. On top of this, war in Ukraine has further disrupted production and trade in key commodities, resulting in additional inflationary pressure. As a result, global economic growth is now projected to slow from 6.1 percent in 2021 to 3.6 percent in 2022 and 2023 and, beyond 2023 is projected to decline further to 3.3 percent into the medium term. Additionally, inflation for 2022 is now projected at 5.7 percent in advanced economies and 8.7 percent in emerging market and developing economies, and many countries are experiencing their highest levels of inflation in decades. Needless to say, the impact is being felt most severely by the vulnerable, both within and across countries.

Alongside the immediate crises before us, we continue to face a global climate crisis of no less urgency, with gaping gaps between stated ambition and policy action, a matter that will be the focus of attention right here in Sharm El Sheikh in just a few months at COP27.

These combined realities make the work of this Bank even more important to our countries in the months and years ahead. They also make the theme of this year’s meeting very apt – Beyond Recovery: Resilience and Sustainability captures the essence of the mission that lies ahead of us.

Excellencies:

In my own country Guyana, we took a number of actions to limit the effects of COVID-19 on people’s lives and on the economy, as well as to contain the passthrough of imported price pressure on the most vulnerable. And, we structured these measures as far as possible to ensure they help stimulate productive activity in key areas such as agriculture. As a result, despite the unhelpful external conditions, we project real growth of over 7 percent in our non-oil economy in 2022.

At the same time, in order to sustain strong non-oil growth into the medium and longer term, we are putting in place the prerequisites for diversifying the productive sector, improving competitiveness, and increasing resilience. Particular areas of focus include investing in: adequate, reliable, affordable, and cleaner electricity which is essential for a competitive manufacturing sector; expanded and upgraded transport infrastructure, including to increase the economic space in which we operate, and to improve internal access; ramped up food production by bringing more acreage under cultivation and by widening the range of crops we grow, and animals we rear, at scale – corn, soybean, and tropical varieties of wheat being of special focus in the near term; and greater climate resilience, so that we can be better able to withstand the consequences of climate change, in such areas as coastal defences, flood control, and water management.

On the climate front, despite being a new oil producer, Guyana places the highest level of importance to our climate credentials. As a low low-lying coastal state, we are ourselves extremely susceptible to rising sea levels and flooding. At the same time, as a heavily forested country with low rates of deforestation, we are making an outsized contribution to the global fight against climate change. Our Low Carbon Development Strategy articulates these two intersecting realities, outlining a plan to ensure that the role of our standing forests in the global effort to flight climate change is recognised and remunerated, in order to enable us to make the required investments to achieve accelerated economic growth along a low carbon climate-friendly trajectory.

Excellencies:

As we confront the myriad challenges still before us, the Islamic Development Bank will continue to be a highly valued development partner. We are already at an advanced stage of developing new projects for our portfolio with the Bank, including one in transport infrastructure that is due to go to the executive board in September. Others, mostly in advancing the infrastructure upgrade and build-out agenda, will follow later.

As I conclude, I thank you once again on Guyana’s behalf for the support provided by the Bank over the years, and we look forward to this support being further ramped up as we advance the development agenda for our country in this very exciting but also challenging era.

Thank you very much.

Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatu

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