OPEC Fund Governing Board holds 101st session



December 10, 2002

Vienna, Austria

The Governing Board of the OPEC Fund for International Development today convened its 101st Session at the Fund's headquarters in Vienna, Austria.

1. Following adoption of the meeting's agenda, the Director-General of the Fund, H.E. Dr. Y. Seyyid Abdulai, reporting to the Board on the Fund's activities, indicated that on a cumulative basis, and as of the end of October 2002, US$5,060.8 million had been approved in loans to the public sector and US$3,254.9 million disbursed. These loans, which were extended for project and program financing and balance of payments support, as well as within the framework of the HIPC Initiative, number 936. All major economic and social sectors have benefited from the Fund's assistance, including agriculture, transportation, health, education, water supply and sewerage, industry, energy, etc.

The Director-General further indicated that a total of 37 operations had been approved under the Fund's Private Sector Facility. As of the end of October 2002, cumulative commitments through this window totaled US$178.7 million.

In addition, the Fund has approved a total of 598 grants in support of various activities in the areas of technical assistance, food aid, emergency relief and research. Cumulative grant commitments, as of the end of October, amounted to US$268.1 million, of which US$178.1 million has been disbursed. Moreover, the Fund has contributed, in grant form, substantial amounts to the resources of other international development institutions benefiting the South; these contributions total US$971.8 million, most of which has been disbursed. To date, the Fund has provided financial assistance to 110 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and Europe.

2. In today's session, the Board approved seventeen public sector project loans worth a total of US$95.18 million and detailed as follows:

(US$ million)

Golden Stream-Big Falls-Guatemala Border Road Rehabilitation
Second Technical and Vocational Education
Export Corridor Santa Cruz-Puerto Suarez
Burkina Faso
University of Ouagadougou Campus Facilities
Cape Verde
Secondary Education
Pastoral Livestock Support
National Printing Press
Dominican Republic
Border Provinces Rural Development
Grain Silos Complexes
Gambia, the
Serrekunda-Mandina Ba Road Project, Phase II
Road Rehabilitation, Phase III
Rosso-Boghé Road Construction
Poverty Reduction and Local Development
Electricity Rehabilitation
Linguère-Boulal Road
Sri Lanka
Road Improvement
Regional Power Modernization

All of the above loans have a maturity of 20 years, including a grace period of five years, and carry interest at rates ranging from 1% to 1.5% for the low-income countries, i.e., Benin, Burkina Faso, Chad, The Gambia, Mauritania, Nicaragua, Rwanda, Senegal and Tajikistan, and from 2.75% to 4% for the low-middle income countries, namely, Belize, Bolivia, Cape Verde, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Grenada and Sri Lanka. 

The projects will be cofinanced with the governments of the beneficiary countries and with other donors including three OPEC aid institutions – the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the Islamic Development Bank and the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development. Other contributors include the African Development Bank, the African Development Fund, the Asian Development Bank, the European Union, the Inter-American Development Bank, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Nigerian Trust Fund (administered by the African Development Bank). 

3. One grant was also approved by the Board and directed at financing activities in the health sector. It totals US$200,000 and will help strengthen radiotherapy services in Africa (see press release no. 120/2002). 

4. The first grant to be extended within the framework of the OPEC Fund's Special Grant Account for Palestine was also approved by the Board (see press release 121/2002) in the amount of US$2 million to help educational institutions. The Special Grant Account was established with an initial endowment of US$10 million mainly to provide assistance to education and health schemes in Palestine.

5. The Board also discussed the Fund's Private Sector Facility; three new private sector investment proposals were approved, a number of pipeline proposals considered and policy papers examined. 

6. Also in this session: the Board reviewed financial and budget matters and approved the administrative budget for 2003; examined progress reports on ongoing grants; and, assessed public sector operations under active consideration by the Fund. 

7. The next Governing Board Session will take place in Vienna, Austria on March 18, 2003.