Heal the world

With the annual IMF and Word Bank meetings soon to take place in Dubai, Arab Aid, a regional development organisation is launching an international advertising campaign to raise its awareness across the globe.

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By  John Irish Published  September 8, 2003

Viewers switching on their satellite channels are set to learn more about Arab Aid, a Middle Eastern development organisation, after the association launched a series of adverts on BBC, CNN and TV5.

The commercials, which will air in the run up to the IMF and World Bank meetings scheduled for Dubai between September 22-24, are aimed at raising international awareness of Arab Aid, the umbrella name for the Arab National and Regional Development Institutions.

“With the annual meetings coming up, it is important for us to announce the size of aid we are participating in,” Ahmed Hussein Baqer, senior assistant director general, Abu Dhabi Fund For Development, one of the institutions making up the organisation, told Arabian Business.

While raising the Arab World’s image prior to the Dubai meetings seems to be the primary objective of these commercials, Arab channels will not air the adverts. According to Baker regional television channels have widely publicised Arab Aid’s work over the years.

The 60 second to 3 minute slots were filmed at project sites throughout the world ranging from Albania to Egypt and Senegal.

“This will be the first time the group has undertaken such a large-scale communication exercise to promote its work,” said Mohammed al Suwaidi, operations director of the Abu Dhabi Fund.

“We were determined to create something that would have impact and reflect both the geographical spread of our work and the breadth of work undertaken through the loans granted by the funds to support development projects all over the world,” he added.

Arab Aid claims to have provided loans totalling US $70 billion to over 147 countries since its inception in 1974, providing support for projects aimed at eradicating poverty and generating economic investment opportunities.

With certain Middle Eastern states such as Yemen, Iraq and Palestine in desperate need of investment, some observers are questioning whether Arab Aid should not focus its efforts entirely on the region.

However, Baker indicated that the organisation’s contribution to the Arab World stood at 60%, while it was actively looking to participate in the reconstruction of Iraq once the situation on the ground enabled them to enter the market.

Arab Aid comprises the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, the Saudi Fund for Development, the Islamic Bank, OPEC Funds for International Development, Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, Arab Bank for Economic Development, Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa and the Arab Gulf Programme for United Nations Development Institutions.

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