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Celebrated 60th anniversary of its founding and journey of development
Celebrated 60th anniversary of its founding and journey of development
Kuwait Fund .. a march packed with achievements, countless development efforts across the globe
- Al-Ghanim congratulates His Highness the Amir on the advent of New Year 2022, and commencement of another new year in the Fund's journey of development.
- Over the past 60 years, the Fund never stopped backing development causes in developing nations.
- COVID-19 caused grave losses to economic sectors and impacted the development action march.
- The Fund is an important backup for serving Kuwait's foreign policy and supporting its causes and interests.
- The Fund has a key role in boosting local development through its contributions to the housing issue.
- The Fund shifted KD 376 million of its net profits to PAHW since 2003.
As December end approaches, Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development completes 60 years of its establishment and celebrates its Diamond Jubilee, starting a new chapter of its journey of development, which has become a Kuwaiti source of pride par excellence.
Over the past 60 years, Kuwait Fund continued to support development causes in developing nations, whether through supervising and managing Kuwait's loans and aid, or financing projects of top priority to beneficiary countries' governments.
The Fund also had notable presence in backing humanitarian endeavors during several major humanitarian crises such as the Syrian refugees, and effective contributions in the reconstruction efforts in Lebanon, Gaza Strip, and Iraq.
Even during the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, the Fund went on to extend financial aid and support to developing nations and meet its commitments toward them, defying the heinous invasion.
Ultimately, Kuwait was able to reap the fruits of its aid efforts via Kuwait Fund in that year when the international community rushed to defend the Kuwaiti cause, proving, thus, the significance of Kuwaiti foreign policies that won global support and stand.
On this occasion, Director-General of Kuwait Fund Mr. Marwan Abdullah Thunayan Al-Ghanim offered, in his name and the name of all the Fund employees, sincere congratulations to the Kuwaiti Amir, government, and people on the advent of New Year 2022, and the Fund's 60th anniversary.
"As we celebrate the Fund's Diamond Jubilee, and commemorate its march, which has been decorated by significant successes and achievements throughout the past 60 years, we must recall this establishment's beginnings when His Highness the late Amir Sheikh Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah, who was the finance minister at the time, thought of establishing an entity to operate as a development arm for the country".
"Eventually, Sheikh Jaber's idea became a reality on December 31, 1961 when an Amiri Decree was issued to establish Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development as the first development institution in the Arab region." said Al-Ghanim.
"Since its inception, the Fund has continued to carry out its duty and move forward to attain the aspirations of Kuwait and its political leadership in assisting developing countries with their development endeavors," he noted.
"Such an occasion presents a chance to affirm our determination to continue supporting development causes around the world. It is also an opportunity to recall the Fund's efforts from the day it was founded until the present day," added the Fund chief.
Serving Development Goals
"The Fund's action strategy includes financing projects that contribute to achieving Sustainable Development Goals, among which, notably, poverty reduction," said Al-Ghanim.
Other goals include giving priorities to the agriculture sector in order to contribute to boosting food security, as well as taking a great interest in financing projects of community development banks and social funds due to their effective role in backing small and medium-sized enterprises, in addition to providing new employment opportunities, he added.
Al-Ghanim also mentioned that Kuwait Fund has also increased the pace of its activities over the past years by financing projects in education and health sectors due to their significant role in inclusive development efforts.
Furthermore, the Fund has expanded the scope of its operations in recent years by financing projects that employ hi technologies to elevate their efficiency in infrastructure-related fields such as power generation plants, water, irrigation, agriculture, road network management systems, renewable energies for environmental protection, and natural resources, he said.
Al-Ghanim also pointed out that the Fund's contributions continue to help recipient countries build a productive economy that provides job opportunities, makes optimal use of natural resources, protects the environment, and improves public health.
"Such endeavors are carried out through the Fund's support in implementing primary infrastructure projects that are necessary for economic development, and enhancing health and educational facilities that are essential for attaining social development," he said.
"Since its establishment until end of this year, the Fund has extended some 1008 loans valued in total at KD 6.7 billion (around USD 22.8 billion) to 107 countries, of which KD 5.4 billion was withdrawn and KD 3.25 billion has been repaid by 60 percent.," noted Al-Ghanim.
He also pointed out that the Fund had also benefited greatly from its distinctive six decade-long expertise, particularly in developing financial mechanisms, adopted by its administration, that contributed to alleviating the country's financial burdens.
Al-Ghanim also mentioned that Kuwait Fund has become a self-financed institution since 1986, and does not rely on the State to finance it anymore, adding it generates its own income from the revenues of its operations and loan interests.
The Fund also had several significant contributions to the development process inside Kuwait, he noted, adding it uses a portion of its revenues to pay off Kuwait's financial obligations to international organizations.
"As part of its local contributions to solve the housing issue, the Fund inked a deal in 2002 to purchase KD 500 million-worth of Kuwait Credit Bank's bonds, with an annual interest of two percent over a 20-year duration," Al-Ghanim said.
Since 2003, the Fund has shifted 25 percent of its annual net profits to the Public Authority for Housing Welfare to back its resources, he noted, adding the total money transferred amounts to KD 376 million, he noted.
Moreover, the Fund has contributed to financing a number of local initiatives, specifically in the education field such as launching an 18-month program in 2004 to train newly-graduate Kuwaiti engineers, called "Training Newly-Graduate Kuwaiti Engineers and Architects", he said.
The program aims at helping newly-graduate engineers develop their skills, gain experience, and acquire practical knowledge necessary to empower them to compete in local and global markets, he added, indicating the total number of graduates, since the launch of the program and until September 2021, is 789, added Al-Ghanim
The Fund has also launched "Be Among High-Achievers" program in 2010, which aims to encourage high school students to excel in their studies and raise their awareness on the importance of joint cooperation by arranging overseas trips for them, in cooperation with the Ministry of Education, to the Fund-recipient countries, he said, adding the Fund has arranged trips to more than 15 countries for 264 high-achieving male and female students.
The Fund has also sought, since the beginning of its finance activity, to get Kuwaiti-based companies involved in supervising and implementing its financed-projects in order to help them gain an experience in that field, Al-Ghanim said, adding these companies, alone and in partnership with foreign companies, have benefited some KD 730 million (USD 2.4 billion) as a result.
Crises and Challenges
Al-Ghanim indicated the world has faced unprecedented challenges in the past two years, 2020 and 2021, due to the global outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19), which paralyzed the world and caused massive losses to economic sectors around the globe, adding as a result; the development process now needs greater efforts and cooperation than ever.
Kuwait has stressed the importance of international cooperation in facing this pandemic, as well as doubling international efforts to counter global diseases and health crises, and limiting the severe impacts of diseases on societies through providing greater humanitarian aid, said Al-Ghanim.
In this context, he commended the tireless efforts exerted by the Fund employees during those difficult times to fulfill the Fund's obligations, adding the staff's dedication and determination contributed to the Fund's participation in several conferences and signing new agreements.
On the local level, the Fund has contributed KD 30 million-worth grant to support the Kuwaiti government's anti-COVID-19 efforts, Al-Ghanim mentioned, adding it has also contributed to regional and international anti-coronavirus efforts by allocating some USD 198.5 million-worth funds to Lebanon, Palestine, Uzbekistan, and the Syrian refugees via Kuwait Red Crescent Society and other organizations and institutions.
Al-Ghanim also mentioned the Fund's participation in the Debt Service Suspension Initiative, endorsed by World Bank Group and G20, to help countries concentrate their resources on fighting the pandemic.
Kuwait Fund has rescheduled some USD 165.7 million-worth of debt-service (installments and interests) payable, including delays, between May 1st and December 31st, 2020 for the initiative-eligible nations that submitted official request in that regard, he added.
Al-Ghanim indicated that Kuwait Fund has recently adopted a future strategic planning approach as part of its commitment to enhance action mechanisms, achieve financial sustainability, diversify and expand the scope of its activities, particularly on the development finance level.
The Fund is currently examining, in consultation with its board of directors, the activation of two additional financing instruments stipulated by its articles of association; "providing bails for development" and "participation in the capital of institutions with juridical personality in developing countries" to encourage the private sector in these nations to take part in implementing development projects, he said.
The activation process is part of the objectives of strategic plan (2020/2021 – 2034/2035), developed by the Fund in an aim to create a comprehensive vision for the future of its activity during the plan period, he explained.
This is accompanied by developing action plans every five years (the first of which covers the period 2020/2021 – 2024/2025), and contain details of the practical steps to achieve the objectives of the Fund's strategic plan, he added.
Al-Ghanim also mentioned that evaluation findings on the outcomes of each action plan would be used in the development of the Fund's next action plan.
The future strategic plan (2020/2021 – 2034/2035) consists of five major objectives, first of which is "boosting Kuwait Fund's pioneering role as a global bilateral development institution", he said, adding this is done through the private sector lending program in developing nations, in addition to providing best advisory services and institutional support, strengthening contributions in regional and international development organizations, and activating finance tools available.
The second strategic objective is about "preserving financial stability for Kuwait Fund" via developing an investment portfolio, providing liquidity, following up on repayment of outstanding loans, and studying possibilities of increasing the Fund's capital, he mentioned.
Al-Ghanim said the third strategic objective is based on "strengthen Kuwait Fund's social responsibility inside Kuwait" by backing the Kuwaiti private sector, supporting the housing care sector, developing and training national cadres, and intervening quickly in meeting urgent local needs.
The fourth strategic objective is about "developing human resources, and business systems governance within Kuwait Fund", he mentioned, adding the fifth strategic objective focuses on "highlighting Kuwait Fund's distinctive development role inside and outside Kuwait".
According to its future strategy, the Fund will continue to work toward backing development endeavors in Arab states and other developing nations, depending, in doing so, on its own resources and expertise that have been gained throughout the past years, he affirmed.
The Fund would remain one of the key pillars in serving Kuwait's foreign policy, and a main factor in strengthening friendship bonds between Kuwait and recipient countries, and serving Kuwait's causes, interests, and global status, Al-Ghanim concluded.