OPEC Fund Development Forum advances collaboration and solutions for global development challenges

VIENNA, June 27, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — The third OPEC Fund Development Forum, a global South-South cooperation event, concluded with firm commitments, new project signings and partnership agreements in Vienna today. Partners vowed to tackle urgent global development issues such as climate change, food security and energy transition and to accelerate progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

OPEC Fund President Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa at the opening of the Development Forum

The Forum, hosted by the OPEC Fund for International Development, attracted more than 350 public and private sector development partners, who discussed pressing topics such as strengthening institutions, developing smart infrastructure and building human capacity. Focusing on concrete results, the OPEC Fund announced US$585 million in fresh financing approved by its Governing Board.

The institution also celebrated the 25th anniversary of its private sector operations and inaugurated its extended Headquarters in Vienna, following the renovation of the Palais Colloredo-Mannsfeld on the historic Ringstrasse.

OPEC Fund President Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said: “Our collective efforts at this Forum have laid the groundwork for impactful initiatives that will drive progress in addressing global challenges. Collaboration and innovation are key to our success. We are committed to turning plans into action and to delivering effective solutions together with our partner countries.”

New signings and announcements during the high-level events week included:

Partnerships for global food security and climate resilience:

  • The OPEC Fund and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced the establishment of the OPEC Fund’s Food Security and Climate Adaptation Facility to strengthen climate-resilient food systems and improve food security in the most vulnerable regions of the world. An initial US$3 million grant from the OPEC Fund will seed the facility, which aims to catalyze US$500 million in investments by 2030 and will kick-off with pilot initiatives in sub–Saharan Africa.
  • The OPEC Fund and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) signed a cooperation agreement to expand their partnership and boost co-financing of projects that enhance food security and climate resilience and provide critical support to smallholder farmers.

Promoting climate resilience and the global energy transition 

  • The OPEC Fund provided a US$200,000 grant to Sierra Leone for the establishment of a Climate Finance and Energy Innovation Hub. A round table event with the President of Sierra Leone, Julius Maada Bio, and representatives of the international development community aimed to mobilize investments for renewable energy and agricultural investments in the country. The OPEC Fund also announced its intention to earmark US$250 million until 2030 in support of planned projects for energy access and transition and food security in the country.
  • The OPEC Fund, its member country Saudi Arabia, and Somalia entered into a three-way arrangement to reduce Somalia’s debt burden with the OPEC Fund and restart financing operations in the country. The transaction is aligned with the IMF and World Bank’s Enhanced Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative and followed Somalia’s recent progress in reducing its financial burdens. Saudi Arabia provided a bridge loan to allow the clearance of arrears by Somalia. Meanwhile, the OPEC Fund approved a US$36 million loan. Two separate grants totaling $6.06 million will support project implementation in coordination with the United Nationals Development Program (UNDP).
  • The OPEC Fund signed a cooperation agreement with the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OESC), an intergovernmental body dedicated to promoting sustainable development. The partnership will ramp up collaboration to boost sustainable development and climate resilience in the region. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) joined the OPEC Fund’s Climate Finance and Energy Innovation Hub, which works towards unlocking investments at scale to accelerate the energy transition, with a particular focus on clean cooking in low-income countries. SEforALL and UNIDO are also members of the hub.

Strengthening commitment to Central Asia: 

  • The OPEC Fund signed Country Partnership Framework agreements with Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan, defining a five-year roadmap for areas of cooperation such as infrastructure development, energy transition and regional integration. The OPEC Fund also signed a Framework Financing Memorandum with Tajikistan for US$100 million support to co-finance the Rogun Hydropower Plant Project, designed to boost Tajikistan renewable energy capacity.

Mobilizing the private sector for development:

  • The OPEC Fund signed a US$25 million loan agreement with Nepal’s Global IME Bank to increase access to finance for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, including women-owned businesses, as well as climate-smart projects in the country.
  • The OPEC Fund and Saudi Eximbank signed a Memorandum of Understanding to deepen cooperation in partner countries.
  • On June 24, the OPEC Fund hosted an event to mark the 25th anniversary of its private sector operations. With over 600 projects for a total commitment of more than US$10.5 billion to date, private sector operations have directly contributed to the OPEC Fund’s development impact in more than 70 countries globally.

The OPEC Fund also signed cooperation agreements with member countries Saudi Arabia to expand cooperation and the UAE to collaborate with the World Governments Summit Organization, a global brain trust dedicated to shaping the future of governments and organizer of an annual summit of global leaders.

About the OPEC Fund
The OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund) is the only globally mandated development institution that provides financing from member countries to non-member countries exclusively. The organization works in cooperation with developing country partners and the international development community to stimulate economic growth and social progress in low- and middle-income countries around the world. The OPEC Fund was established in 1976 with a distinct purpose: to drive development, strengthen communities and empower people. Our work is people-centered, focusing on financing projects that meet essential needs, such as food, energy, infrastructure, employment (particularly relating to MSMEs), clean water and sanitation, healthcare and education. To date, the OPEC Fund has committed about US$27 billion to development projects in over 125 countries with an estimated total project cost of more than US$200 billion. The OPEC Fund is rated AA+/Outlook Stable by Fitch and AA+, Outlook Stable by S&P. Our vision is a world where sustainable development is a reality for all.

Basak Pamir

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WFP Executive Director, Cindy McCain and OPEC Fund President Abdulhamid Alkhalifa
Alvaro Lario, President of IFAD and OPEC Fund President Abdulhamid Alkhalifa
Chief Executive Officer of Global IME Bank, Ratna Raj Bajracharya and OPEC Fund President Abdulhamid Alkhalifa
Tajikistan Finance Minister Faiziddin Qahhorzoda and OPEC Fund President Abdulhamid Alkhalifa
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