Anti-poverty projects worth US$243 million (Dh892.5m) have been approved by a fund whose members include the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development.

The projects were approved at a meeting in Riyadh on Thursday by representatives from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Islamic Solidarity Fund for Development and the Islamic Development Bank.

The money from the Lives and Livelihoods Fund will finance health, agriculture and rural infrastructure development projects in Tajikistan, Sudan, Djibouti, Niger, Mauritania, Cameroon, Uganda and Guinea.

The fund is the largest multilateral development initiative in the Middle East and North Africa for easing poverty in the member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation.

The second meeting of the Lives and Livelihoods Fund impact committee marked an important milestone in the fund’s progress, said Maher Al Hadhrawi, chairman of the fund for its first year of operations.

The fund’s first project, a malaria prevention and control project with Senegal’s government, was launched last month.

“We are here today to prioritise more projects that will have the biggest impact on the Muslim world and lift the poorest people out of poverty,” said Mr Al Hadhrawi.

Over the next five years, the fund will make $2.5 billion available for projects, and $363m has been approved for its first year of operation.

“All the donors are working closely to ensure that it is allocated most effectively,” Mr Al Hadhrawi said.