The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) Fund for International Development today signed a $13 million loan agreement with the Republic of Yemen to help support the activities of the country's Social Fund for Development (SFD).
SFD is charged with raising incomes and living standards among the poorest segments of the population by creating employment opportunities and expanding access to social services.
Institutional capacity in Yemen is weak, and an effective, efficient means of delivering social services remains a challenge. Since its inception in 1997, SFD has made a concerted effort to fill this gap and has successfully carried out interventions in key social sectors. After identifying deficiencies that still exist, SFD is embarking on the third phase of its operations in 20 governorates throughout Yemen.
The focus will remain on sub-projects in the areas of education, water supply and environment, health and social protection and rural/feeder roads. As well as the construction/rehabilitation of infrastructure, institutional strengthening and capacity building measures will be implemented across all sectors.
In addition, a social protection component will target special needs groups such as the handicapped, women, children and the mentally disabled. These activities will have a lasting effect on the well-being of thousands of families by bettering educational prospects, improving health and sanitation services and boosting household incomes.
The OPEC Fund has previously extended assistance totaling $164.32 million to Yemen, including an earlier loan of six million dollars to help set up SFD. Of the other loans, three were extended as balance of payments support and the remainder helped finance projects in the sectors of energy, transportation, national development banks, education, and water supply and sewerage, as well as projects of a multi-sectoral nature.
Yemen has also benefited from seven technical assistance grants supporting regional programs in the areas of health, agriculture, social development and education and two emergency grants to assist flood victims. — (menareport.com)
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