Vienna, Austria, March 20, 2013. The Governing Board of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), meeting in its 142nd Session, has approved 16 loans and grants totaling over US$166 million to boost socio-economic development in over 25 partner countries. The majority of the funding will co-finance projects aimed at combating energy poverty, followed by loans to help bolster the transportation and water supply and sanitation sectors.
Another important outcome of the meeting was the election of a new Governing Board Chairman, Mr Abdul Wahab Ahmed Al-Bader, Director-General of the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development and Governor of Kuwait. Mr Al-Bader succeeds HE Jamal Nasser Lootah of the United Arab Emirates. OFID Director-General, Mr Suleiman J. Al-Herbish, thanked Mr. Lootah, who was first elected as Chairman in 2003, for his unwavering, dedicated commitment to the work of OFID. Mr Al-Herbish welcomed Mr Al-Bader and assured him of the institution’s full cooperation and support.
The approved public sector loans are as follows:
Burundi US$10.0 million
Bubanza-Ntamba Road. To rehabilitate and upgrade a 24.1 km long road situated in Bubanza province, one of the country’s most impoverished areas populated by around 400,000 people. This will facilitate access to social services and the movement of agricultural goods and inputs.
Djibouti US$7.0 million
University of Djibouti. To construct and equip a fully-integrated university campus to accommodate 10,000 students. A capacity-building component for staff is also envisaged. The improvement of the higher education sector will have a positive impact on the country’s socio-economic development.
Ethiopia US$20.0 million
Arba Reketi – Gelemso – Michata Road Upgrading. To pave a 57.5 km stretch of gravel road that traverses areas where important cash crops are cultivated. This will help boost revenues and improve food security for around one million individuals.
Rep. of Guinea US$7.0 million
Bridges Construction. To build two concrete-reinforced bridges in two of the country’s most productive agriculture and livestock areas. This will benefit some 1.7 million people from increased incomes and better access to health, education, marketplaces and administrative services.
Maldives US$20.6 million
Outer Islands Water Supply and Sewerage Facilities. To help improve health standards and living conditions for approximately 12,000 people residing in five islands by providing access to safe water and sanitation services.
Morocco US$60.0 million
Rural Electrification. To provide modern electricity services to nearly 520,000 people living in some of the most remote areas in the country, focusing in particular on mountainous zones and areas that experience harsh weather conditions. This will not only raise living standards but also promote job creation and reduce reliance on fuelwood.
Mozambique US$10.0 million
Niassa Rural Electrification. To extend the national grid to rural areas to provide the predominantly rural population of the Niassa Province access to electricity supply services. This will help enhance economic growth and reduce poverty for some 105,000 people.
Nepal US$16.0 million
Kathmandu Valley Wastewater Management. To carry out infrastructure improvement works, provide training and promote community development and capacity building schemes. This will increase the number of people connected to the wastewater network by around 760,000.
Senegal US$10.0 million
Joal - Djiffer Road Rehabilitation. To pave a 42 km road that passes through key agricultural areas, thus helping reduce travel time and transport costs and improving the delivery of inputs and produce to marketplaces. Around 2.1 million individuals are expected to benefit from the project.
Total US$160.6 million
Seven grants totaling just over US$6 million were also approved at the meeting in support of the following projects/programs:
International Labor Organization: US$1.5 million. To co-fund a joint program Strengthening HIV Prevention, Care, Treatment and Social Protection in the World of Work. Beneficiaries will include vulnerable populations not covered by HIV services due to their mobility (construction and transport sector workers) or remote working locations (miners). Activities will be carried out in Bolivia, Ethiopia, Haiti, Honduras, Kenya, Paraguay and Senegal.
United Nations Industrial Development Organization: US$600,000. To co-fund the project Establishing a Beles Agro-industrial Processing Plant in Ethiopia. Aims are to boost incomes and food security in the “Beles Belt regions” in Northern Ethiopia that are periodically affected by drought and famine.
International Committee of the Red Cross/Special Fund for the Disabled: US$600,000. The Physical Rehabilitation Program for the Disabled in Eastern Africa. To provide prostheses or orthoses to around 3,000 disabled people and provide physical rehabilitation centers with wheelchairs, walking aids and other equipment. Training of local technicians is also planned. Activities will take place in Madagascar, Somalia, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Austrian Red Cross: US$550,000. Integrated Community-based Water, Sanitation and Risk- Reduction in Timor Leste Project. To improve water supply and/or sanitation facilities and enhance communities’ knowledge on various health issues, benefiting around 10,000 people.
Multidisciplinary Water and Sanitation Interventions in Four Regions. US$800,000. To help fund the following projects/programs:
o Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit: To provide scholarships for young professionals from MENA region countries on water resource management;
o World Health Organization: To improve water supply systems in Laos and Bhutan to deliver a safe supply of drinking water and prevent waterborne diseases;
o Triangle Génération Humanitaire: To establish sustainable access to water and sanitation for rural communities in the Central African Republic;
o UNDP Water Governance Facility, hosted by The Stockholm International Water Institute. To promote good water management in the Torola River Basin of El Salvador.
American Near East Refugee Aid: US$1 million. Water Reuse and Food Security Project in the West Bank. To install a water storage and distribution system in Jenin, thereby enabling farmers to use treated wastewater to grow high-value crops and conserve scarce drinking water supplies.
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization: US$1 million. To co-fund the project Improving Access to Quality Education for Palestinian Children in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
Since its inception, OFID has committed over US$15.1 billion in much-needed concessional development financing to 133 developing countries around the world, with priority given to the poorest amongst them.