The coordination committee of Arab-African Partnership, which recently held a senior-level meeting in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa, was briefed by Kuwait’s Assistant Foreign Minister for Africa Affairs, Ambassador Hamad Al-Mashaan.
Speaking on the occasion, Ambassador Al-Mashaan gave an overview of initiative proposed by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah during the Third Arab-African Summit hosted by Kuwait in 2013. The ambassador noted that the Amir had stipulated on the occasion that the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) would provide US$1 billion in soft loans to the least developed nations in Africa over the following five years.
"A team of experts, led by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Anas Al-Saleh, had been set up to follow up on implementing this initiative and the funds are being channelled in annual instalments of $200 million,” noted the ambassador.
"In FY 2013-14, KFAED offered 10 loans amounting to $140 million to 10 African countries and in the following fiscal year the figure rose to $154 million in eight loans to eight countries, in addition to other agreements on financing African development projects in FY 2015-16.
"Since the launch of the initiative, KFAED has offered $493 million in soft loans for African countries, which means that the pledges are 49 percent accomplished," he pointed out.
On His Highness the Amir's initiative to commit a further $1 billion in investment guarantees in Africa in the following years, Ambassador Al-Mashaan said Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) has been investing the funds in infrastructure projects in collaboration with the World Bank and other partners in Africa.
Ambassador Al-Mashaan noted that KIA has signed deals with the World Bank and partner agencies for launching a fund for African infrastructure development with a capital of $200 million; the five-year fund is run by the International Finance Corporation (IFC). Another fund with a capital ranging between $500 million and $700 million was launched by KIA and the IFC to support the developing sectors in Africa, with KIA contributing 20 percent of the funds.
A third initiative by His Highness the Amir to launch a $1 million Abdulrahman Al Sumait Award for African development researches was being implemented under the supervision of the Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences (KFAS). "The initiative, meant to promote scientific researches and studies in key areas, is expected to have great impacts on socio-economic development in Africa," Ambassador Al-Mashaan affirmed.