Kuwaiti Development Fund Pledges Aid to Lebanon and Sudan

Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Aug. 4 (Getty Images)

Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Al-Mohammed Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, Aug. 4 (Getty Images)

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The Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) has pledged millions of dollars to projects in Lebanon and Sudan.

According to Kuwaiti state news agency KUNA, a ceremony was held in Nabatiya, a town in south Lebanon, on Aug. 23, to mark the launch of a series of KFAED-funded projects in the area.

Projects slated for implementation include sanitary drainage systems, water supply improvements and the construction of roads in 25 villages across south Lebanon. The total cost of the projects is estimated at $185 million [USD].

“Our Kuwaiti brothers proved to be true supporters in our hour of need,” MP Ali Bazzi, who was representing Lebanese Parliamentary Speaker Nabih Berri at the ceremony, told local media.

“You are really our partners in achieving victories, and you have helped us make achievements in human as well as material development in south Lebanon,” he added. “KFAED’s support of Lebanon played and is still playing a key role in liberating the southern Lebanon area and rehabilitating the infrastructural projects here.”

Nabatiya Governor Ali Al-Mawla encouraged other Arab countries to follow Kuwait’s lead in lending support to Lebanon in its reconstruction efforts. So far, Kuwait has approved $300 million in grants to Lebanon since the war with Israel in July 2006.

Meanwhile, in Africa, KFAED Managing Director Abdulwahab Al-Bader signed a loan agreement worth $52.5 million with Sudanese Minister of Finance and National Economy Awadh Al-Jaz on August 25.

The money is aimed at funding the Marwi Dam project in Sudan and brings Kuwait’s total contribution to the project to around $200 million. The loan is the third the KFAED has provided for the project, following a loan in 2002 worth $113 million and another earlier this year worth $59 million.

After the signing, Sudanese President Omar Al-Bashir reiterated his country’s commitment to developing economic relations with Kuwait and welcomed investment from other Arab nations.

The fund was established in 1961 with the goal of extending foreign aid to Arab, Islamic and Third World countries, primarily in Asia and Africa. According to its website, it was the first foreign-aid vehicle entirely financed by a developing state.

Established to aid other Arab countries, KFAED’s recipient list grew following the rapid rise in world oil prices in the early 1970s to include developing countries around the world.

KFAED supplies project aid, mostly in the form of concessional loans, technical assistance and training. Its capitalisation reached $7.5 billion in 1981 and, since then, it has been self-financing. Repayments serve as the source of funds for subsequent loans and grants.

Kuwait itself has not been left out of KFAED’s activities. Focused on education and practical training, the agency’s programmes include a training programme for engineers to equip them with practical skills and knowledge for the private sector.

KFAED also encourages the participation of Kuwaiti consultants, contractors and suppliers in the implementation of its projects, and now dedicates up to 25 percent of its net annual income to the Kuwaiti Public Authority for Housing Assistance.