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Wed 2 May 2007 01:56 AM

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Islamic rival for World Bank to open in 2008

Eamar International Bank will channel $100 billion into investments that develop Muslim economies.

An Islamic rival to the World Bank moved a step closer to launch yesterday, according to Saleh Kamel, president of the Islamic Chamber of Commerce.

Speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat, Kamel said that financial commitments have been received from across the Islamic world that will see the bank born with paid up capital of $100 billion.

A decision has not yet been made on where the bank will be based - Saudi Arabia, UAE, Bahrain and Malaysia are all options - but it does have a name: Eamar International Bank.

"The new bank, named Eamar International Bank, will operate in an Islamic way and its main mission will be investment, not financing," Kamel told Asharq Al-Awsat.

The bank will start operations early next year with a mandate to invest in projects that create jobs and economic development within Muslim communities.

"We'll invest in all projects," said Kamel. "Our main criteria will be how many jobs it will create, what will be its product and whether it will increase exports of a member country. Islamic countries must support one another, not compete with each other. This is our main concept. We will also encourage research, technology and innovations in addition to investments in traditional areas of industry, agriculture and trade," he added.

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