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OPEC Fund approves more than $390m for operations in developing countries

The OPEC Fund for International Development has approved more than US$390 million of new funding to support operations in developing countries across the globe. At the virtual 171st Governing Board session, the Board also endorsed a number of key decisions related to the implementation of the organization’s Strategic Framework, which is enabling the OPEC Fund to maximize its development impact on the ground. In addition, the Governing Board endorsed a comprehensive action plan that will ensure the OPEC Fund remains a reliable and responsive development partner as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold.
OPEC Fund Director-General Dr Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said: “We recognize that many of our partners are refocusing efforts and resources to contain and mitigate the impact of COVID-19. We are committed to supporting them to do precisely this.”
The public sector loans approved by the Governing Board, amounting to US$130.5 million, will support the following projects:
Egypt: US$20m, Sustainable Transformation for Agricultural Resilience in Upper Egypt (STAR) 
To improve living standards for smallholder farmers and vulnerable women and youth. Works include strengthening rural institutions, enterprises and markets, and supporting micro-enterprises and better farming practices. The program is expected to benefit around 1.2 million people.   
Maldives: US$20m, Public Sector Investment Program (PSIP) Emergency Loan
To support the government of the Maldives’ Economic Recovery Plan that includes a package of economic relief measures aimed at mitigating the socioeconomic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in light of the anticipated downturn in tourism.
Mali:  US$20m, Rehabilitation of the Sévaré - Gao Road (Sévaré - Boré Section) 
To upgrade a 111 km stretch in the Mopti region in central Mali. Approximately 2.7 million people will benefit from improved links to economic centers and social amenities.   
Nicaragua: US$20.5m, El Tortuguero - La Esperanza Rural Electrification
To enhance energy access in remote communities in the southern Caribbean coastal region, where poverty levels are among the highest in the country. Works will include expanding infrastructure and grid connections for circa 300,000 people.   
Tanzania: US$50m, Tanzania Poverty Reduction Project IV 
To build infrastructure for education, health, water, agriculture and transportation, and implement income-generation projects in animal husbandry and vegetable growing. The project will benefit around 930,000 people.   
Under the OPEC Fund’s private sector operations, the Governing Board approved new projects amounting to US$141.5 million. US$16.5 million will strengthen energy provision in Bangladesh and US$30 million will support on-lending to India’s renewable energy sector via a financial institution.
In addition, US$50 million in subordinated debt to a financial institution will strengthen the institution’s capital base and be used to support women-owned micro, small and medium-sized businesses and low and middle-income housing projects in Colombia. €40 million (circa US$45 million) will help expand public transport services in a municipality in Turkey.
Under the OPEC Fund’s trade finance operations, US$120 million was approved, comprising two unfunded risk sharing programs totalling US$100 million; and US$20 million to support food commodity trade in Africa.

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