The Arab Open University (AOU), represented by its president Prof. Mohammad bin Ibrahim Al-Zakri, participated in the 7th AGFUND Development Forum (15-17 October, 2018), which was held under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz, President of the Arab Gulf Development Programme for Development (AGFUND) in Geneva, Switzerland, as part of the International Annual Award of AGFUND Prize Ceremony for Pioneering Human Development Projects in its 9th year. The Forum started with an international Symposium entitled “Achieving SDGs 2030 in Western and Central Africa through Financial Inclusion”
On behalf of HRH Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz, the patron speech was delivered by HRH Prince Abdul Aziz bin Talal. He conveyed the greetings of HRH Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz to all the participants. During his speech, Prince Abdul Aziz emphasized the importance of financial inclusion and the need to spotlight on this concept to be a part of the society’s culture since it does not only addressee the needy people but addressees societies, and it contributes to solving social and economic problems; therefore, it is considered an essential element of the country’s economy.
On his part, the Executive Director of the Arab Gulf Programme for Development (AGFUND), Mr. Nasser Alkahtani reviewed the stages of AGFUND’s development since its establishment by an initiative of HRH Prince Talal bin Abdul Aziz in 1980. He said AGFUND’s strategy concentrates on five themes, early childhood, woman empowerment, development of civil community organizations, and financial inclusion for the poor. AGFUND supported 1560 human developmental projects in these five themes in 133 countries.
AOU President participated in the second session entitled Regional and International Stories in Advancing Financial Inclusion to the Poor, which discussed the invention and design of products of regional and international case studies that meet the needs of the poor and contribute to solving their economic and social problems. Prof. Al-Zakri addressed the model of the AOU in adding value to the society and the role of education in fostering financial inclusion in addition to the work of AOU on fostering financial inclusion through its different programs.
It is worth mentioning that the Symposium included five working sessions with the participation of development experts. Session 1 was entitled “Financial Inclusion in Western and Central Africa: Reality VS. Aspirations”. Session 2 presented “Regional and International Stories in Advancing Financial Inclusion to the Poor.” Session 3 discussed “The role of AGFUND Prize in Promoting SDGs 2030.” Session 4 was entitled “The role of donors and the private sector in achieving Financial Inclusion to the marginalized people in Africa.” Session 5 discussed “Social Performance Measurement of the Impact of SDGs 2030-related financial instruments/products.
A theme of AGFUND Prize 2018 is “Eradication of Poverty”, goal 1 of SDGs 2030.