Monday, March 07, 2005
In a meeting held in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia from 4 to 7 February, the IDB board of executive directors approved the allocation of an extra two per cent of the bank's annual net income (a minimum of US$2 million) to its Merit Scholarship Programme (MSP) for doctoral and post-doctoral research.
This is in addition to the IDB's existing investment of nearly US$1 million each year.
Also at the Jeddah meeting, Faisal Abdul Aziz Al-Zamil, the IDB's executive director, called for the establishment of a foundation to award fellowships and travel grants to researchers in Muslim countries. The foundation, he said, should be financed by the private sector in Muslim countries.
The MSP provides scholarships to scientists of member nations of the IDB to undertake training in research institutes in industrialised nations, in emerging high-tech Asian countries and in centres of excellence in the Muslim world.
According to a report by Ahmed Mohamed Ali, the bank's president, 80 per cent of IDB member countries and 172 institutions have benefited from the scholarship programme.
However, he says the programme's budget is not sufficient because of the increased cost of scientific training and education in Western countries and of the falling value of the US dollar.
The report indicated that the 57 predominantly Muslim countries have 23 per cent of the world population but less than two per cent of the world’s scientists.