The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development has approved $233 million in new funding to support economic recovery, new infrastructure funding, and boost food security.

The agreement was approved at the 179th session of its Governing Board in Vienna and will benefit public sector projects promoting sustainable development around the world starting with four countries – Kosovo, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, and Zimbabwe.

In Kosovo, a $40 million loan was approved by OPEC Fund for the Public Finances and Economic Growth Programme to support the government’s priorities set out in its National Development Strategy 2030 aimed at strengthening partnerships, transitioning to a greener economy and improving socio-economic indicators.

The programme, developed with the World Bank Group, will improve fiscal transparency, promote private sector development by streamlining the country’s regulatory framework, and enable environmental reforms in the energy and waste management sectors.

In Pakistan, $72 million was granted in loan for the Mohmand Dam Multipurpose Project will finance the construction of a hydropower dam and the provision of equipment. The dam will have a 1.6 million square meter reservoir and diversion tunnels that will feed into new and existing irrigation canals.

Once completed, the Mohmand Dam will increase the country’s installed renewables capacity by 800 MW and provide sustainable potable water to two million residents in Peshawar city.

The project will also enhance food security through higher crop yields on almost 15,000 hectares of farmland while improving the region’s resilience to floods.

For Uzbekistan, it got a $100 million loan for the Accelerating Uzbekistan’s Transition Program will support the country’s transition to a market economy by improving resource allocation and enabling private sector investment.

The programme includes enhancing the role of the private sector, improving the management of state-owned enterprises, enhancing fiscal transparency and accountability, and increasing economic and social inclusion, particularly for women and people with disabilities.

In Africa, Zimbabwe was handed a $15 million loan for the Smallholder Agriculture Cluster Project aims to increase household incomes, and improve food security and nutrition of more than 390,000 people in five provinces of the country through the value chain development and provision of infrastructure.

The OPEC Fund’s loan will finance the construction of small-scale, climate-resilient irrigation schemes, the repair of 90 kilometres of feeder roads and the installation of water supply and sanitation facilities.

The Governing Board also approved three grants totalling $6 million for joint OPEC Fund technical cooperation facilities with three co-financing partners – the Asian Development Bank ($3 million), the Development Bank of Latin America ($1 million) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development ($2 million).

The facilities will primarily be used to finance project preparation related activities, such as feasibility studies, in order to help ensure improved project readiness, and build a strong pipeline of bankable sovereign and non-sovereign operations. Potential sectors will include agriculture, energy, transportation, water & sanitation, and manufacturing and services.

The OPEC Fund was established by the member countries of OPEC in 1976 with a distinct purpose which includes driving development, strengthening communities and empowering people.

To date, the OPEC Fund has committed more than $22 billion to development projects in over 125 countries with an estimated total project cost of $187 billion. It is rated AA+/Outlook Stable by Fitch and AA/Positive Outlook by S&P in 2021.

Source : Business Post