Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the Abu Dhabi government-controlled leading provider of foreign development aid, is marking its 43rd anniversary this month.
Established on July 15, 1971 on the directive of the UAE’s founder President, the late His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, ADFD is today one of the most prominent development aid providers in the world and a role model in providing financial aid to fight the cause of global poverty.
ADFD articulates the UAE’s continued commitment to support the development process of emerging countries. Towards this priority, ADFD offers soft loans and manages government grants to projects that play a key role in shaping the growth of these countries. In addition, it also makes long-term investments and direct contributions that stimulate the private sector in the recipient countries and plays an essential role in accelerating economic growth.
ADFD’s funding strategy focuses on sectors that are vital for both economic and social development such as agriculture, electricity, water, transportation, industry, renewable energy, as well as social, health and housing services. Over the years, the fund has consistently responded to the changing directions of global development aid by increasing its capital from Dhs8bn to Dhs16bn, and lately by developing its five-year strategy (2012 – 2016).
His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD, said, “On the occasion of ADFD’s 43rd anniversary, we would like to record our appreciation and gratitude to late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan who established this fund out of his deep conviction that it is the duty of the UAE to lend a helping hand to friendly countries, and contribute to the economic development and improved living standards of those countries.”
Al Suwaidi added, “The fund has become a pioneering example in the field of development aid. Starting with a capital of Dhs500m in 1971, the total value of the grants managed and loans provided by the fund by the end of the second quarter of 2014 reached Dhs61bn including Dhs27.7bn short and long-term loans, and Dhs41bn provided as government grants. The Fund has so far financed 416 development projects in 69 countries around the world, reflecting its continuing commitment in playing an effective role in alleviating poverty in developing countries, and setting them on a development path.”
Among the major projects managed by ADFD are Ma’rib Dam in Yemen, which was financed by a government grant in 1986 and is considered one of the largest projects in Yemen. Other projects include Egypt’s Sheikh Zayed City, a housing projects funded with Dhs735m government grant, Sheikh Zayed Canal built using an Dhs348m grant, and the Tangier Port in Morocco financed with Dhs367m. On a global scale, the Fund has contributed to the financing and managing of several projects in sectors including water and electricity, road and transportation, education and health in Arab, Asian and African countries.
In the Arab world, ADFD has provided more than Dhs54bn to finance projects in Bahrain, Oman, Jordan, Palestine, Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Sudan, Algeria, Mauritania, Tunisia, Lebanon, Somalia, Djibouti, and the Comoros Islands. In Asia, ADFD has financed projects worth Dhs3.691bn in Indonesia, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Mongolia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, and the Maldives.
Additionally, it has provided around Dhs2.73bn to fund projects in Africa that have widely benefitted countries including Mauritius, Seychelles, Gambia, Eritrea, Burkina Faso, Benin, Guinea, Tanzania, Lesotho, Senegal, Uganda, Congo, Congo Brazzaville, Kenya, Burundi, Guinea Bissau, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Niger, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Zambia, South Sudan and Cape Verde. Elsewhere, the Fund has provided Dhs1.2bn to finance development projects in countries such as Turkey, Malta, Albania and Montenegro, among others.
In 2009, ADFD signed a partnership agreement with the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) to provide soft loans worth Dhs1.28bn to finance renewable energy projects in developing countries, across a seven year period (Dhs183m a year). In 2013, the UAE Government provided three development grants within two GGC programmes to support development in Jordan, Morocco and Bahrain, estimated at a total value of US$19bn. Of this Dhs9.19bn has been allocated to Bahrain and Dhs4.6bn to Jordan and Morocco towards developing vital growth projects in these countries.
In 2013, the fund continued its support for developing countries by providing loans to finance projects in Mauritania, Albania, Bangladesh and Kenya. In the first half of 2014, ADFD signed a number of financing agreements with countries including Gambia, Senegal, Zambia, Serbia, Sierra Leone and Mauritania to provide development aid totaling over Dhs534m. The projects financed by ADFD undergo intensive technical and economic assessment to ensure their viability in stimulating sustainable economic development in the beneficiary countries.