Vienna, Austria, September 20, 2016 (Reuters) - Twenty-two partner countries stand to benefit from the latest round of financing, totaling nearly US$300m, which was approved at the 156th Session of the Governing Board of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID).
The public sector loans, which total nearly US$162m, will support the following projects/programs:
Burkina Faso, Zano-Koupela Transmission Line, US$13.00m.
To reduce energy losses and provide a reliable source of power, particularly in poor, rural areas, for over one million people. In addition to raising living standards, the project will help decrease the use of biomass, thus having a favorable impact on both the population's health and the environment.
El Salvador, Rural Economic Transformation for Living Well National Program-"Rural Adelante", US$50.00m.
To increase incomes of poor rural families, amounting to around 107,000 people, and facilitate their adaptation to climate change. This will be achieved via programs that include crop diversification, improving irrigation infrastructure and capacity building, among other activities.
Grenada, Agricultural Feeder Roads (Phase III), US$20.00m.
To upgrade 40km of roads and build five bridges in five parishes across the country, thus linking farming communities with local markets, reducing the cost of marketing and transporting produce and opening up new employment opportunities.
Maldives, Development of the Ibrahim Nasir International Airport, US$50.00m.
This airport expansion project will help meet present and future travel demands 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.
Mali, Kwala - Mourdiah - Nara Road, US$10.40m.
To upgrade a 188 km-long stretch that serves 24 villages, where key economic activities include agriculture and animal husbandry. At least 16,000 inhabitants will benefit from improved links to marketplaces and social services, as well as job opportunities.
St Vincent & the Grenadines, Agricultural and Feeder Roads, US$18.52m.
To rehabilitate 25 sections of road, totaling circa 43km, with a view to improving trade, boosting tourism and enhancing socioeconomic development. The cost of marketing and transporting produce is expected to lower, thus boosting farmers' incomes and encouraging the production of higher-value fruit and vegetables. In all, over 66,000 people are expected to benefit from the project.
Six grants totaling US$3.55m were also approved to the following organizations:
Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor - US$400,000.
To boost access to improved water sources and WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) services in urban areas of Antananarivo, Madagascar, and Beira, Mozambique, where access rates are low. Activities will include expanding infrastructure, capacity building and sensitization and awareness campaigns, directly benefiting around 47,000 people.
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) - US$600,000.
To reduce the burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular and pulmonary illnesses, cancer, diabetes and mental health disorders in Bolivia, Guatemala and Honduras, which have a combined population of 35 million people. This will be done through health promotion and risk reduction, prevention, treatment and monitoring of NCDs and their risk factors, among other activities.
UN Development Program/Program of Assistance to the Palestinian People (UNDP/PAPP) - US$1m.
To support the second phase of a project aimed at improving living conditions of marginalized, low-income Palestinian families living in East Jerusalem through the rehabilitation of 60 houses for around 450 people. Phase I of the initiative was also supported by OFID.
Birzeit University, Palestine - US$500,000.
To expand the scope of the university's laboratory testing center which carries out testing on food, water, pharmaceuticals, animal feed and petroleum products. The grant will help purchase new equipment and reference materials, benefiting at least 500 individuals per year from the university's researchers, faculty and students. The population at large will indirectly benefit from the services of the agencies and institutions that use the testing services.
Shell Foundation - US$700,000.
To create local renewable power sources to provide cheaper, more reliable and better quality energy in rural, low-income households in India, Kenya and Tanzania. This will entail the installation of solar/biomass hybrid mini-grids and processing units that transform agricultural waste to energy, benefiting nearly 10,500 people.
EarthSpark International - US$350,000.
To launch a solar-powered smart grid in Tiburon, Haiti, to supply some 1,000 individuals with electrical power. A key component of the project is to develop a micro-grid model that could be implemented in 80 additional towns in Haiti by 2020 to boost access to affordable, reliable and sustainable energy.
Under OFID's private sector facility, seven financing facilities totaling over US$132m were approved. Four will help strengthen the energy sectors in Jamaica, Jordan, Mali and Uganda. Another will support a financial institution in Rwanda in expanding its lending activities to micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises. Funds were also approved to help a lending institution in Honduras strengthen its capital base and expand its lending activities, while another will support the metal manufacturing industry in Zambia.
Content provided by OFID via Reuters.