Assistant Foreign Minister for African Affairs Ambassador Hamad Al-Mashaan has lauded the steadily developing Kuwaiti-African relations. Kuwait's relations with African countries are deeply-rooted and date back to pre-oil discovery era, Al-Mashaan told reporters following his participation in "Africa Day" celebration organized by the African diplomatic missions in Kuwait.
Africa Day is the annual commemoration on May 25, 1963 founding of the Organisation of African Union (OAU). On this day, leaders of 30 of the 32 independent African states signed a founding charter in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
He added that the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) has been playing pivotal role in financing development projects across the continent. Only six months after its inception in 1961, the KFAED offered the first loan to an African country, he said.
Till March 2013, the Kuwaiti Fund for Arab Economic Development contributed to financing projects in 40 African countries, including 19 West African nations and 21 Central, Southern and Eastern African nations.
The Fund granted West African nations 139 loans amounting overall to USD 1.640 billion, corresponding to 9.8 percent of total loans, whereas loans provided to Central, Southern and Eastern African nations reached 107 loans amounting to USD 1.217 billion, or 7.28 percent of total loans.
Al-Mashaan recalled the initiative announced by His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah in the Kuwait-hosted Third Afro-Arab Summit to launch a USD one billion fund to finance infrastructure projects in African countries.
He noted that several African delegations have visited Kuwait recent to boost bilateral ties and cooperation in various domains. The unique status of Kuwait for African nations was reflected in the African Union Summit held in July 2012 in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa to which His Highness the Amir was invited. His Highness the Amir attended the summit as the first Arab leader from the Asian continent.
Following His Highness the Amir's special participation, Kuwait shouldered the responsibility of strengthening Arab-African coordination, thus His Highness the Amir called for holding the third Arab-African Summit in Kuwait in November 2013.