Sixteen agreements for loans totaling $99.2 million were signed last week between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development and fifteen developing countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean.
The financing was extended to Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Egypt, The Gambia, Ghana, Grenada, Lebanon, Mauritania, the Maldives, Nicaragua, Pakistan, Senegal, Tanzania and Tunisia. Twelve of the loans will help support public sector projects in the areas of education, multi-sectoral, transportation and water supply and sewerage.
Through the Fund’s private sector window, an agreement for a line of credit was concluded with Banco Bisa, S.A., and three loan agreements signed with Lister Medical Services Ltd., the Pakistan International Container Terminal and Villa Shipping and Trading Ltd.
All twelve public sector projects will be co-financed by the concerned governments and by a number of international development institutions, including OPEC aid agencies such as the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Islamic Development Bank, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development and the Saudi Fund for Development.
Other contributors include the Asian Development Bank, the African Development Fund, the Nigerian Trust Fund (administered by the African Development Bank) and the International Fund for Agricultural Development.
The majority of OPEC Fund project loans carry interest at rates ranging from one percent to 1.5 percent for the low-income countries, while the loans to the middle-income countries Egypt, Grenada, Lebanon, and Tunisia bear interest rates ranging from three and four percent. All loans have a maturity of 20 years, including a grace period of five years.
As of the end of April 2003, cumulative public sector lending of the OPEC Fund, for project and program financing, balance of payments support and HIPC debt relief, stood at $5.2 billion. A further $218.9 million had been extended in support of private sector operations.
Total commitments, inclusive of grants and contributions to other international institutions, had reached $6.7 billion and benefited 110 countries. Total disbursements had amounted to $3.3 billion. — (menareport.com)
© 2003 Mena Report (www.menareport.com )