OFID Director-General assures Maldivian President of continued cooperation
20.12.2016 | E25/2016
OFID Director-General Al-Herbish and President Yameen.
Vienna, Austria, December 19, 2016. The Director-General of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), Suleiman J Al-Herbish, has concluded a high-level mission to the Maldives, where he met with Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, and signed a loan agreement to co-finance expansion of the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport.
During the meeting with President Yameen, Al-Herbish spoke of OFID’s “unwavering support” to the socioeconomic development of the Maldives. OFID’s commitment, noted Al-Herbish, was reflected in its financing of high-priority projects covering a diverse range of sectors. The Director-General also gave the President an overview of OFID’s operational activities and its sharpened focus on alleviating energy poverty, particularly within the framework of the energy-water-food nexus. Al-Herbish concluded with an invitation to President Yameen to visit OFID’s headquarters in Vienna, Austria.
Thanking Al-Herbish, the President said 'We are very grateful for OFID's continued assistance and count on its support in the future.”
Earlier, Al-Herbish and Finance Minister Ahmed Munawar signed the US$50m loan agreement for the development of Ibrahim Nasir International Airport. During the signature ceremony, Al-Herbish explained how the newly-signed loan was the fourth tranche of OFID financing for the airport’s expansion, with the first having been extended in 1978. “As we at OFID are celebrating our 40th anniversary, we would also like to celebrate 40 years of fruitful partnership with your esteemed country,” Al-Herbish told the Minister.
The Minister thanked Al-Herbish for OFID’s steadfast support over the past four decades and said: “Not only has OFID provided our country with much-needed development funding, it has also assisted us in leveraging financing from the Coordination Group [of Arab aid institutions].”
The Ibrahim Nasir International Airport
The Ibrahim Nasir International Airport is the main international airport in the Maldives, located on Hulhule Island in the north/central region, approximately three km from the capital Malé. The airport expansion project will help meet present and future travel needs with a projected traffic rate of 7.5 million passengers annually. This will in turn stimulate economic growth, enhance the tourism sector and create jobs. The project is also being funded by the Maldivian government and OFID sister institutions, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development and the Saudi Fund for Development, as well as the Export-Import Bank of China.
OFID and the Maldives
OFID has committed nearly US$160m in public sector lending to the Maldives covering a wide range of sectors ranging from water and sanitation, transportation and health, to agriculture, education and telecommunications, among others. Funding has also supported the country’s private sector, including loans and lines of credit to the Maldives Finance Leasing Company; Wataniya Telecom Maldives and Villa Shipping and Trading Company. Under its Trade Finance Facility, OFID has participated under the International Islamic Finance Corporation’s syndication of US$25m to assist the State Trading Organization, Maldives, in importing refined petroleum products. In addition, grant funding has provided emergency aid for tsunami victims and supported healthcare programs.