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DOHA: At the first summit of Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD) that began in Kuwait yesterday and graced by the Emir
H H Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, Kuwait’s Emir has proposed the setting up of a $2bn corpus to fight poverty in Asia.
The summit is also likely to discuss promoting investments by the cash-rich GCC sovereign wealth funds in Asian countries.
Kuwait, after proposing the $2bn fund, said it will be contributing $300m to the said initiative, wire agencies reported yesterday. Also present at the summit were the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister H E Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabor Al Thani and other delegates accompanying the Emir.
“In a bid to fight poverty and improve the standard of living... I propose an initiative to set up a $2bn programme,” H H Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, Kuwait’s Emir, said during the opening session of the two-day summit. “In this context, I am pleased to announce that Kuwait will contribute $300m to the fund,” he was quoted as saying.
Sheikh Sabah also proposed that a pan-Asian development agency, like the Asian Development Bank, manage the programme that will finance development projects in the least developed Asian countries.
The summit is set to review the promotion of investments in Asian countries, especially by sovereign wealth funds.
Founded in Thailand in 2002, the ACD members include all 10 countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations (Asean), the economic powerhouses of Japan, China, India and Arab-speaking nations such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and Iran, as well as Russia and its former colonies of Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. The latest entry into this grouping is Afghanistan.
The summit will discuss a variety of issues including energy, supply, food security, financing of projects, IT and development of human resources among others.
Many leaders, heads of states as well as representatives of 32 Asian countries along with officials of various regional and international organisations are participating in the two-day summit.
ACD had functioned as a ministerial dialogue for the past 10 years before it was upgraded to a full summit involving representatives of heads of government.
The summit will focus on augmenting the means of fostering cooperation among Asian countries in fields like economy, politics, social issues and environment, among other things.
Participating countries are looking forward to converting the ACD summit into a permanent and secretarial system and a headquarters to follow up and help implement its resolutions, Qatar News Agency (QNA) reported.
Earlier, the Emir and the delegation accompanying him were welcomed on arrival at the Emiri Airport in the capital of Kuwait by Kuwaiti Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah. The Emir was also welcomed by the Qatari Ambassador to Kuwait H E Abdulaziz Saad Al Fuhaid and Kuwaiti Ambassador to Qatar H E Ali Salman Al Haifi.