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Accession Day Report 2004 - ADFD

posted on 03/08/2004: 1437 views

The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) has extended over the past 30 years around Dh 19.3 billion in form of development loans, assistance and grants to brotherly and friendly developing countries across the world, making the UAE one of the major global aid donors. 'Fifty six countries have benefited from the ADFD assistance and grant programme since its inception in 1971 up to the end of 2003. Dh 19.3 billion has been used to finance 245 projects in Arab, African, Asian and European countries,' said Sheikh Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and ADFD Deputy Chairman.

Speaking on the glorious occasion of the 38th anniversary of the accession day of H.H. President Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan as Ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Sultan said Abu Dhabi government had early sensed the serious challenges faced by developing countries and the pressing need for more constructive international cooperation to meet requirements of development in emerging Arab, African and Asian economies.

Towards this end, President H.H. Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan ordered in 1971 the creation of the fund to offer financial assistance to these countries to help them develop their local economies, achieve sustainable development and improve living standards of their peoples. The aid is being offered as grants and soft term loans, or used in direct investment projects. ' We have occupied a leading position among global donors although we are still a young developing state,' Sheikh Sultan said.

The move was unique as the UAE was among a few countries which adopted such an aid policy in institutional form. Infrastructure projects, Sheikh Sultan noted, had received the lion's share of loans and grants offered by the fund and the Government of Abu Dhabi.

By extending development aid and loans to brotherly and friendly developing countries, the UAE has joined the club of the world's most generous donors and creditors. The financial assistance is made available in the form of concessionary loans,grants and direct investments offered with a low rate of interest, lengthy period of repayment and a long grace period. A typical loan is repayable in 8 to 12 years and carries an interest rate at 3 to 6 per cent with a grace period of 3 to 8 years.

'In line with the policy adopted by the ADFD to facilitate sustainable development in recipient countries, its emphasis has been focused on projects that upgrade infrastructure (roads, airports, seaports,water, electricity, communications, agriculture and housing), improve health and educational services and generate employment opportunities, Sheikh Sultan added. In addition to financial grants and easy-term loans, the ADFD has expanded its operations to include direct investment in private enterprises to increase private sector participation in the economic development of recipient countries.

This also helps ease burden of debts, replenish stock of foreign currencies and create job opportunities. By this initiative, the report noted the relationship between the fund and developing countries has taken a new form of a partnership rather than a lender-recipient one. Sheikh Sultan affirmed that the ADFD would press ahead to deliver its mission of extending development aid to developing countries to assist them achieve sustainable development, fight poverty, improve living standards and create job opportunities.

'Emphasis is given to the tourism sector for its potentials to create new job opportunities and earn foreign currencies,' said ADFD Director General Saeed Khalfan Al Rumaithi. He added that value of direct investment in private sector in recipient countries totalled Dh 451.3 million by the end of 2003. 'Arab countries received 73 per cent of the gross value of financial commitments by ADFD, while African Sub-saharan countries received 5.8 per cent. Share of Asian countries were 19.5 per cent and other countries 1.7 per cent.

The list of countries which have benefited from the ADFD's assistance programme are : Egypt, Morocco,Syria, Jordan, Oman, Tunisia, Algeria, Palestine, Bahrain, Yemen, Sudan, Lebanon, Somalia, Mauritania and Djibouti. Development projects undertaken in these countries covered the sectors of agriculture, water, electricity, fisheries, animal wealth, transport, communications, tourism, hotel, industry, social services, housing, roads and seaports.

A total of 82.88 per cent of loans and grants of Abu Dhabi government and managed by the ADFD were given to Arab countries, and 7.44 per cent and 7.51 per cent to African and Asian countries respectively,' he added. Share of other recipients was 2.17 per cent. Sector-wise, mining and industry took 33.1 per cent of these loans, fisheries and rural development sector 20.7 per cent, transport 18.4 per cent, energy and water resources 18.3, social services 7 per cent and services 2.5 per cent.

The massive Tangiers-Mediterranean port project was one of the landmarks in the ADFD's financing portfolio. The ADFD contributed 300 million dollars to the 1.3-billion dollar project, which will include a deep-water port for merchandise shipments and passenger boats, as well as zones for export industries. Other major projects included the Nasser housing complex and the Zayed Cannal in Egypt at a cost of 480 million dollars, power, water, telecommunications and textiles project in Syria at 248 million dollars. (The Emirates News Agency, WAM)


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