IRTI and Oxford Initiative Organize Webinar on Multi-Dimensional Poverty

07 Mar, 2021

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The Islamic Research and Training Institute (IRTI) of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative (OPHI) of the University of Oxford have co-hosted a webinar focusing on multi-dimensional poverty assessments in IsDB Member Countries.

The webinar involved an interactive and informative conversation on the Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) among Dr. Sabina Alkire, Director of OPHI, Dr. Sami Al-Suwailem, Acting Director-General of IRTI & Chief Economist, and Dr. Areef Suleman, Director of Economic Research & Statistics.

In his opening remarks, Dr. Sami Al-Suwailem emphasized the importance of measuring poverty beyond monetary values and how a multidimensional approach to poverty fits into the principles of Islamic Finance.

During the conversation, Dr. Alkire highlighted that monetary poverty alone does not give a complete picture of poverty. According to her, the MPI recognizes that poor people’s lives are battered and diminished in various ways and hence, it is important to look at both monetary poverty and multidimensional poverty to understand the lives of poor people more accurately.

The discussion tackled how the MPI has been used by various governments across the world to inform policy interventions, even during the times of fiscal austerity and crises like Ebola and COVID-19. Dr. Alkire referred to Sierra Leone’s experience of bringing multidimensional poverty down faster than any other country during the Ebola pandemic and stated “It’s a call to all of us during the pandemic to use our compassion, our wits, and our creativity to make an inflection point on poverty.” The other Member Countries who have made improvements in multidimensional poverty are Mauritania and Indonesia.

Dr. Suleman took questions from attendees centered around policy prioritization, lessons learned from other countries’ success stories, and data. The interactive discussion highlighted the role of leadership, political will, management, organization, and solidarity as important factors in successfully fighting multidimensional poverty. It also underlined the need for relentless monitoring of data and the opportunity for a wider map of dimensions in the fight against poverty.

The IRTI/IsDB and OPHI/Oxford University signed an agreement in December last year to collaborate on multidimensional poverty assessments in IsDB Member Countries. However, the two institutions first collaborated in 2013. The renewed collaboration is in line with the IsDB President’s 5-Year Program (P5P) which aims to make the IsDB more competitive and responsive to the needs of its Member Countries.

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