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73

OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID)

OPEC bulletin 8–9/17

OFID’s highest policy making body, the Ministerial

Council, held its 38

th

annual session in Vienna in July

to review the organization’s performance and set policy

for the coming year. The Council elected the Republic of

Ecuador to the chair, represented by Carlos Alberto de la

Torre, Minister of Economy and Finance. He replaces the

People’s Democratic Republic of Algeria, represented by

Abderrahmane Raouia, Minister of Finance.

Welcoming fellow ministers, outgoing Chairman

Raouia focused on OFID’s commitment to the 2030

DevelopmentAgendaandworkingtoward theSustainable

Development Goals (SDGs). “OFID’sworkhas focused on

addressing essential development needs — in particu-

lar food, water and energy resources — all of which are

fundamental to economic growth, the provision of social

services and improving the lives of developing societ-

ies,” Raouia said. “OFID, along with its other partners in

development, has a key role to play in ensuring that the

[SDG] goals will be achieved in 2030.” He added that

OFID’s advocacy had helped ensure the importance of

energywas recognized as a standalone goal throughSDG

7: ‘Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and

modern energy for all.’

The highlight of the Council’s public session was the

presentation of the OFID Annual Award for Development

to the aQ´on Jay Programme of the Foundation for Integral

Development (FUDI) in Guatemala. The programme will

receive $100,000 from OFID in support of its efforts to

improve maternal and child health and nutrition.

The Council also announced the winners of the

2017 OFID Scholarship Award Programme. This year,

more than 20,000 students from OFID partner coun-

tries applied for a chance to complete their higher-level

university studies with OFID’s support. Ten young and

remarkable individuals were selected from Colombia,

Egypt, Guyana, Mongolia, Rwanda (two students),

Sudan, Vietnam, Yemen and Zimbabwe. Since 2006,

OFID has supported 40 outstanding young people

to attend top ranking universities including Oxford,

Harvard and Cambridge.

In the Council’s working session, Governing Board

Chairman and Director-General of the Kuwait Fund,

Abdulwahab A Al-Bader, reported on the work of the

Board since the lastmeeting of the Council. He disclosed

that during 2016, OFID approved $1,338.6 million in

fresh financing for development; an increase of around

$200m over 2015. Operations continued to be led by

the energy-water-food nexus, supported by the trans-

portation sector. Together, these four areas accounted

for some 73 per cent of aggregate approvals for the year.

In his statement to ministers, OFID Director-General

Suleiman Al-Herbish said: “OFID has evolved over four

decades.Todaywe arebotha trusted global lending insti-

tution and a major player in the international develop-

ment arena.” Al-Herbish continued: “By the end of 2016,

through the expert management of paid-in resources of

justover $2.4billion, wehadcommittedmore than$20bn

in support of over 3,600 development operations across

134 countries. This is a remarkable achievement consid-

ering our modest size.

“The journey has been extraordinary. We have

embraced new financing instruments and models, built

a more diverse partnership network and, occasionally,

as our Annual Report shows, we have even ventured

into uncharted territory. This is shown by the subordi-

nated debt facilities provided to banks in Honduras and

Nicaragua; the first of their kind under the Private Sector

facility.”

Al-Herbish concluded his statement by thanking

OFID’s ministers and Member Countries: “For all that we

have achieved in 2016 — and indeed over the past 40

years—wearemindfulthatnothingwouldhavebeenpos-

sible without the trust of our Member Countries. Thank

you all for your unwavering support. For this we are truly

grateful. It has allowed OFID to mature into an organiza-

tion that sets agendas and drives the sustainable devel-

opment debate, month after month, year after year.”

Other matters during the session included: con-

sideration and approval of OFID’s financial state-

ments and Annual Report for 2016; and reports on the

20

th

Lending Programme and grant operations. The

Ministerial Council comprises the finance ministers

and other high-level representatives of OFID Member

Countries. It meets once a year.