Five African Countries Get $140m from OPEC Development Fund
By Adedapo Adesanya
Five countries in Africa have been given access to the $140 million set aside by the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) targeted at improving the public sector on the continent.
OFID approved $310 million to be disbursed to different developing countries in line with the organisation’s goal of providing responsive and impactful development which will improve the lives of underserved people across the world.
In 2019, the organisation had given out $85 million to four African countries while this newly-approved public sector loans of $140 million, will support five African countries namely Niger, Congo Dr, Lesotho, Malawi, and Uganda.
Nigeria’s neighbouring country, Niger got a total of $15 million assigned to strengthen the resilience of rural communities against Food and Nutrition Insecurity. It was noted that about 2.7 million people which makes up 20 percent of the population in Niger require urgent food support.
This funding will help to enhance food security for more than 1.4 million people through the construction and rehabilitation of farming facilities, better rural marketplace infrastructure, amongst others.
The Democratic Republic Congo got $45 million which will be spent on two projects, the majority of the loan ($30 million) will be used to provide clean water supply for 1.4 million people living in western Kinshasa with clean drinking water.
OFID said that this will be achieved through the construction of a water supply infrastructure capable of producing 220,000 cubic metres of water per day.
The remaining ($15 million) will be used to support the North Kivu Agriculture Sector and improve food security and incomes of more than 170,000 people and is expected to help one-fifth of the DR Congo population faced with emergency levels of food insecurity.
To improve the health and living conditions of about 118,000 people in Lesotho, OFID gave $30 million which will aid the construction of new water delivery and treatment infrastructures under the Lesotho Lowlands Water Development Project. This funding combined with others from the European Bank and The World Bank will aid the completion of the cleaner water supplies which is critical to improving the quality of life of locals in Lesotho.
On its part, Malawi was allocated $20 million to support the transformation in agriculture through diversification and entrepreneurship, about 1.3 million people are to benefit from this funding.
Also, the fund will support the Malawian value chain by helping smallholder farmers and rural organizations with access to rural financial schemes and business development services.
The final beneficiary Uganda got $30 million from OFID, and this will support smallholder oilseed producers of 120,000 households in about 53 districts in Uganda. The construction and repair of feeder roads, water harvesting mechanisms for crops and livestock, and supply chain development will also take place to enhance seed planting.
Through these public-sector loans financing different disadvantaged areas, OFID said it was committed to help stimulate economic growth and alleviate poverty in these African countries.