We envision a world where more people are able to lead healthier lives, attain decent livelihoods, and lift themselves out of poverty—resulting in long-term stability, healthier societies, innovative economies, accelerated prosperity, and genuine social change.

A $2.5 Billion Fund for the Muslim World

The 57 member countries of the Islamic Development Bank stand at an important inflection point. Some countries have achieved remarkable economic growth and social cohesion, improving the lives of their citizens of all religions and growing their international aid programs. For the first time, the Muslim world now contains some of the world’s largest donors.

At the same time, other countries are facing complex crises. It is estimated that more than 1 billion people live in absolute poverty worldwide and of these, 300 million live in the Muslim world. Many countries are caught in a complex cycle of poor human development outcomes leading to political instability, which in turn hampers progress on human development.

While the challenges are complex, the aspirations of the poor are easy to understand. They seek to ensure a healthy life for themselves and their families. They want a decent livelihood through which they can lift themselves out of poverty, and secure an even better standard of living for their children and grandchildren.

Serve Basic Needs: Health, Agriculture, and Infrastructure

With 30% of the world’s impoverished people living in the Islamic Development Bank’s member countries, there is a cycle of intergenerational poverty, poor health and nutrition, and little or no rural finance.

The Lives and Livelihoods Fund provides affordable financing for the least wealthy 30 countries in the Islamic Development Bank’s membership. It does this by providing a combination of grants and concessional loans. The map below shows the varying “grant element” that applies to different member countries, based on their level of wealth.


Projects funded by the Lives and Livelihoods Fund targets support to the poorest people, by focusing on three areas:

Improving health: We are funding programs that combat infectious diseases like malaria and polio, ensure routine immunization, and strengthen primary health-care systems. Our primary goal is to reduce the deaths of mothers and children.

Increase agricultural productivity: Our goal for our investments in agricultural projects is to help smallholder farmers increase their production of livestock and staple crops.

Build basic infrastructure:
Lack of access to basic infrastructure can prevent poor communities from connecting to needed resources. That’s why we invest in off-grid rural power generation, transmission, and distribution; small-scale water supply and sanitation; and infrastructure that supports financial inclusion such as digital banking.

Through these investments, the Lives and Livelihoods Fund is providing the stepping stones for prosperity and self-reliance.

Relation Between Income and Health Spending:
Investments in health stimulate economic development, with economic benefits exceeding costs by up to 20 times. [The Lancet Commission Report: Global Health 2035: A World Converging Within a Generation. 2013]

Multiplying Dollars, Multiplying Impact

While the Muslim World has a rich tradition of charity, aid alone is not enough to advance true progress on the entrenched challenges in parts of this region.

Our unique approach changes the financial model of development by blending grants with affordable loans for countries that would not normally be able to access financing. The Lives and Livelihoods Fund pools together Islamic Development Bank lending capital along with donor grant money in a multi-donor trust fund.

This is possible because each dollar donated to the fund is multiplied many times, unlocking more grant dollars and financing. We’re turning every $20 into $100.

How to Get Involved

The Lives & Livelihoods Fund was launched on 29 September 2016. Its funding members include: the Gates Foundation, the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development, the King Salman Centre (each donating up to $100 million), the Qatar Fund for Development and the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (each donating $50 million). As of today, the Lives and Livelihoods Fund’s donors have approved ~$600m worth of projects across Africa and Asia. The first project being implemented under the LLF is an anti-malaria project in Senegal worth $32m. It has been signed by the Islamic Development and the government of Senegal in January 2017 and started implementation in October 2017.

Become a donor:
The fund is seeking further contributions. The target size is $5oo million in donor grant funding.

Request funding: We encourage Islamic Development Bank countries to apply for funding. For more information please contact Zahira El Marzouki, Middle East Relations, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Waleed Addas, Head of the Lives & Livelihoods Fund Management Unit, Islamic Development Bank.