The Prime Minister of Libya, Shokri Ghanem recently paid a courtesy call on the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development and was received by the Director-General, Suleiman Jasir Al-Herbish and senior staff.
Al-Herbish welcomed Ghanem to "familiar premises," as a former senior OPEC official. He told Ghanem that the Fund was privileged to enjoy the support of Fund Member Countries, including Libya, which have been unwavering in their commitment to the institution.
The Prime Minister was briefed about the operations of the OPEC Fund, especially its lending and grants programs and the growing involvement in the private sector. The Director-General spoke about the forthcoming 16th Lending Program of the Fund and touched upon grants extended to help humanitarian causes. Al-Herbish commended the achievements and unfolding developments in Libya.
Responding, Ghanem said his visit was more like home-coming. He assured the OPEC Fund of Libya's continued backing and said the country valued very much the work of the institution, which Libya finds to be in its interest. Ghanem said that the contributions of the OPEC Fund to development cooperation were needed more than ever, "because a huge gulf still exists between the aspirations of developing countries and the aid resources available to them, to help bridge the widening gap between rich and poor."
It was important, Ghanem asserted, that OPEC Member Countries are seen to be continuing to assist fellow developing countries, even though economic circumstances in OPEC countries are becoming difficult. He called on the OPEC Fund to do more to make itself better known within the international system. He would, indeed, wish to see the role of the Fund expand: "More resources should be channeled by Member Countries and their financial institutions through the mechanism of the OPEC Fund, rather than via bilateral arrangements, because delivery through the multilateral OPEC Fund has greater impact."
Ghanem was, until July 2001, Director of Research at the OPEC Secretariat in Vienna, where he also served briefly as Acting Secretary-General. He was appointed Libyan Minister of Economy and Foreign Trade in December in 2001, rising to become Prime Minister in June, 2003. During his tenure at the OPEC Secretariat, Ghanem worked closely with the OPEC Board of Governors, which Al-Herbish chaired for several years. — (menareport.com)
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