Ministerial Council of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID)
Vienna - Arab Today
The UAE, represented by the Ministry of Finance, MoF, on Tuesday participated in the 36th Session of the Ministerial Council of the OPEC Fund for International Development, OFID, the highest policy-making body of the fund.
The council's meeting was aimed at reviewing performance and setting a policy for the institution for the coming year.
OFID's ministerial council comprises the finance ministers and other high-level representatives of OFID member Countries. It meets once a year. The next Session of the Ministerial Council will be held in Vienna, Austria on 2 June, 2016.
The UAE delegation was led Younis Haji Al Khouri, Undersecretary of MoF, and included Majid Ali Omran, Governor of the Management of the Fund's council and Hamad Issa Al Zaabi, Deputy Governor.
Al Khouri affirmed the UAE's commitment to cooperation with all regional and international organisations to develop efficient plans and innovative solutions to support sustainable development in poor and developing countries.
He noted that the UAE plays a leading role in providing assistance for development and economic projects that boost the efficiency of the private sector, enhance trade and industry, and encourage small and medium-sized enterprises, SMEs, to strengthen the economic and financial standing and sustainability of these countries.
According to figures from the Development Assistance Committee, DAC, of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD, the ranked as the world's largest donor of official development aid during 2014, and for the second year in a row, accounting for 1.17 per cent of its gross national income.
The highlight of the Vienna meeting was the approval of a new corporate strategic plan, which sets the framework for OFID's operational activities and institutional development for the next ten years (2016–2025).
The council elected Algeria, represented by its Minister of Finance, Abderrahmane Benkhalfa, as chairman, and Ecuador, represented by Wilson Pastor Morris, OFID Governor and Ambassador of Ecuador to Austria, as vice-chair.
Reporting on the work of the Governing Board since the last meeting of the Council in June 2014, Board Chairman, Abdul Wahab Al Bader of Kuwait, disclosed that some US$1.7 billion had been approved in fresh lending for 74 projects. There had also been substantial progress in institution strengthening and human capacity building.
In his own statement to the Council, OFID Director-General Suleiman J Al Herbish, presented OFID as an institution that was "scaling up its activities, growing in stature and influence, and adapting successfully to an increasingly complex and uncertain business environment."
Citing figures from the latest Annual Report - covering the period January to December 2014 - Al Herbish said that it had been a "record-breaking year," with both commitments and disbursements reaching the unprecedented levels of US$1.6billion and US$1.1billion respectively.
"These figures are not only immensely satisfying in themselves, but also a powerful testament to the success of our various restructuring programmes and our ongoing desire to more," he declared.
The Director-General highlighted OFID's strategic repositioning to focus on the water-food-energy nexus, which he described as representing "the defining challenges of the 21st century." The nexus, he said, formed the lynchpin of OFID's strategic plan for the coming decade.
"Already, however, in 2014 we allocated 68 percent of total commitments to nexus-related projects," he told the council.
The council also approved OFID's financial statements and Annual Report for 2014, presented OFID Annual Award for Development to the Children's Cancer Centre Hospital of Egypt, and named four 2015 OFID Scholars from Kyrgyzstan, Nicaragua, Palestine and Sierra Leone.