Monday, July 27, 2015

Tiny emirate Huge help

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) has achieved several important milestones since its inception in 1971. The fund has played an increasingly important role in the sustainable economic and social development of many emerging economies across the world through providing critical development finance to projects that contribute to the economic upliftment of beneficiary countries.

Thanks to these efforts, the Fund that celebrates its 44th anniversary today, has emerged as one of the most prominent development aid providers in the world, and a role model in providing financial aid to fight 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, the Fund 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.

Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, said: "ADFD is committed to leading by example in the provision of development assistance worldwide. We will continue to work with our partners in the developing world to improve the standards of living for their people and achieve sustainable growth in sectors that require infrastructure development such as healthcare and education."

"The idea of establishing a development agency came to the fore nearly 40 years back when the founding father of the UAE, late Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan decided to institutionalise the country's contribution to international development and progress. The Fund was one of the many charitable and development institutions that were established under the auspices of Sheikh Zayed to take the UAE's development engagement beyond its borders."

"ADFD reflects the spirit of giving and the noble values enshrined by the country's wise leadership under the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. In line with this priority, ADFD has devoted its efforts towards supporting developing countries through the provision of financial assistance to vital projects that contribute to the well-being of their citizens, develop their infrastructure, drive economic growth and create numerous job opportunities," Al Suwaidi added.

Al Suwaidi also noted that ADFD had achieved several successful milestones due to the continued support of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of ADFD. This gives the Fund a strong impetus to pursue its development programs, and reiterate the UAE's prominent position in the arena of global development assistance.

He added: "ADFD's efforts in the area of international development complement those of the UAE government that implements a multi-pronged development and humanitarian aid program involving 30 institutions that deliver humanitarian assistance to over 145 countries worldwide. This assistance helps the beneficiary countries improve the standard of living for their citizens and achieve sustainable growth and expansion in the infrastructure sectors.

"As a result, the UAE was ranked as the largest donor of official development aid according to a report issued by the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in 2013 and 2014. This was evidenced by the fact that the country's development aid in 2014 totalled US$5 billion."

ADFD's Operational Activities ADFD's operational activities include extending concessionary loans and managing government grants provided by the UAE for projects that support sectors key to economic and social development in emerging economies. These sectors include 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 Dh8 billion to Dh16 billion, reflecting the UAE's commitment to playing an active role in supporting growth in developing countries. The Fund also unveiled its five-year strategy (2012 – 2016) that takes into consideration the anticipated growth of its operations and the overall impact on the economic development of beneficiary countries.

ADFD has today evolved as a pioneering example in the field of development aid. Staring with a capital of Dh500 million in 1971, the total value of the grants and loans provided by the Fund by the end of H1 2015 reached Dh65 billion that included Dh23.4 billion in concessionary loans, and Dh41.7 billion provided as government grants. The Fund has so far financed 442 development projects in 76 countries around the world.

Funding Operations With a total of Dh55 billion offered to the financing of 302 projects across multiple sectors, countries in the Arab world accounted for 84% of ADFD's total funding of Dh65 billion until the end of H1 2015.

The share of African countries in ADFD's funding activities stood at 5% or Dh3 billion allocated towards the financing of 70 projects. Asian countries received Dh3.8 billion in funding, which represents 6% of total amount allocated towards the financing of 58 projects. Other countries accounted for the remaining 5% share or Dh3.2 billion of the total loan and grant value earmarked for 12 projects.

These loans and grants supported key economic sectors vital to the development of recipient countries, with transportation accounting for 19% of the total financing worth Dh12.3 billion spent on 85 development projects.

The housing sector received 12% of the funding or Dh7.6 billion allocated towards 42 projects. Electricity and water initiatives received Dh7.4 billion or 11% allocated towards funding 83 projects. The share of agriculture, irrigation and land reclamation stood at 10% or Dh6.7 billion allocated for 55 projects.

The total value of loans and grants earmarked for social and health services registered Dh4.5 billion to finance 76 projects, representing 7% of total funding. The industry and mining sectors received 6% of the total financing or Dh3.7 billion spread across 38 projects.

ADFD Holds Stakes in 18 Companies The number of companies in which the Fund is an active stakeholder reached 18, spread over several countries in Asia and Africa including Egypt, Morocco, Tunisia, South Africa, sub-Saharan Africa, the UAE, Oman, Austria and Southeast Asia.

The investments covered projects focused on agriculture, fisheries, hospitality, tourism, industry, real estate, as well as private portfolios and private equity firms.

In 2014, ADFD acquired 5% of Quadria Capital Fund, an independent healthcare-focused private equity fund that invests in the high growth healthcare sector of some of the world's fastest growing economies in Southeast Asia.

ADFD also invested in Maroc Telecom, a leading telecom services provider in Morocco, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, Gabon and Mali. The company is listed on the Paris and Casablanca stock exchanges with a total customer base of 39.5 million.

ADFD pursues an investment strategy that optimises the use of its financial resources and ensures the sustainability of operations. The project selection process follows specific criteria such as: the growth prospects of the proposed project, ability to achieve desired economic and financial goals, serving economic sectors with a positive impact on the inclusive development of the local economy, driving growth in investment and key economic activities, as well as contributing to the creation of new job opportunities for citizens of the beneficiary countries.

Important Projects Among the major projects managed by ADFD is the Ma'rib Dam in Yemen, which was financed by an Dh372 billion government grant between 1984 and 1987 that is considered one of the largest projects in Yemen. Other projects include Egypt's Sheikh Zayed Canal built using an Dh348 million grant, the Tangier Port in Morocco financed through ADFD's contributory loan of Dh734.6 million and government grant of Dh367.3 million, as well as major development projects funded and managed across various infrastructure sectors.

The projects financed by ADFD are subject to regular and intensive technical and economic assessment to ensure their viability in stimulating sustainable economic development in the beneficiary countries. –End-

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