The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, ADFD, on Wednesday announced that it had financed 11 development projects worth AED1.4 billion in 2017, benefitting nine developing countries.
Totalling more than AED646 million, four of the 11 projects were allocated as concessionary loans to Egypt, Antigua and Barbuda and the Maldives, whereas the remaining seven projects were funded via development grants amounting to AED754 million, aiding Colombia, Yemen, Comoros, Eritrea, Somalia, Palestine and Maldives. This brings the ADFD’s total cumulative development expenditure and investments as of end-2017 to AED83 billion an AED3 billion increase over 2016 and expands its reach to 88 beneficiary countries.
Speaking about the achievements, H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the ADFD’s Board of Directors, said that the UAE’s comprehensive international development assistance programmes are guided by solid principles and sound fundamentals. He explained that in line with the pioneering vision of the country’s wise leadership, these programmes assist developing countries in alleviating poverty and achieving sustainable development.
He added that the determination of national institutions to play a vital role in the UAE’s development assistance and humanitarian aid efforts stems from the unwavering support of the UAE government, led by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.
Moreover, he noted that the UAE’s exemplary efforts have helped consolidate its status as the largest donor of official development aid, ODA, relative to national income worldwide. He explained that this achievement validates the country’s steadfast commitment to international development and reinforces its significant contribution to supporting the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs.
Sheikh Mansour added that over the years, the UAE has actively supported socio-economic development projects in more than 140 countries across the world. He added that the nation’s leadership views development assistance as a precious legacy handed down by the founding father of the UAE, late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
He stressed that these initiatives shape the vision of the ADFD, pointing out that since its inception in 1971, the Fund has enabled 88 developing countries to pursue their economic growth priorities and improve the standards of living for their people.
Speaking about the Fund’s 2017 results, Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director-General of the ADFD, said, "The ADFD has long adopted an unequivocal development aid policy that mandates it to work towards eradicating global poverty and achieving sustainable development in developing countries. As the leading national entity for development aid, the Fund has contributed to bolstering the status of the UAE as a respected and valued member of the international community and a key global provider of development assistance."
As part of its overarching commitment to supporting crucial renewable energy projects that ensure a reliable and sustainable power supply, the ADFD continued to fund efforts in this vital sector. In collaboration with the International Renewable Energy Agency, IRENA, within the framework of the IRENA/ADFD Project Facility, the Fund allocated US$25 million for two new renewable energy projects in 2017. Over the past five funding cycles of the facility, the ADFD financed 21 projects in 20 developing countries valued at $214 million.
The fifth funding cycle projects aim to produce 18 megawatts of photovoltaic solar energy in Mauritius and Rwanda, bringing about a significant change in the lives of more than 2.5 million people through providing affordable energy to low-income communities. These projects are expected to stimulate sustainable development through driving economic growth, reducing environmental pollution by mitigating harmful CO2 emissions and improving the quality of life, education and healthcare for the local population.
In addition, following the success of the UAE-Pacific Partnership Fund, UAE-PPF, the UAE announced the launch of a new initiative to implement innovative clean energy solutions in the Caribbean island countries. Through the newly established $50 million UAE-Caribbean Renewable Energy Fund, UAE-CREF, ADFD approved the financing of five renewable energy projects worth $15 million.
In 2017, the ADFD also commissioned the Korea Development Institute, KDI, a leading Korean think tank, to run a feasibility study investigating the need for a UAE-based export programme in line with the highest international standards. The programme aims to support the goals of the UAE Vision 2021 of diversifying the economy, reducing dependence on oil revenues, and preparing the country for the post-oil era. Furthermore, it will align with the objectives of the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 that seeks to advance sustainable socio-economic development.
The ADFD holds various investments, including direct investments, in select companies in several countries, and manages available liquidity to support financial obligations. These investments indirectly contribute to accelerating economic growth in the beneficiary countries and optimising the Fund’s resources in the long term.
In 2017, following ADNOC Distribution’s listing on the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, the ADFD invested in the petroleum products and services company, bringing the Fund’s total equity investments to 15 companies and four private equity funds.