The Islamic Development Bank launched a multi-billion-dollar Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development, which aims at combatting poverty and its causes in member Islamic countries around the world and in Africa.

The endowment, which aims for total pledges of US$10 billion, collected initial funding by member states at the 32nd annual meeting on May 30. Saudi Arabia contributed one billion dollars; Kuwait pledged $300 million and Iran, $100 million, the three leading contributors among the 56 member countries.

"This launching ceremony symbolizes a revitalization of the Islamic community in a world where unmatched wealth is next to absolute poverty," Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade told delegates of the bank. The fund will help meet the U.N. Millennium Development Goals approved by world leaders in 2000. (Reuters)

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