OPEC Fund Gives $1bn to Five Countries for Food Security
By Adedapo Adesanya
The Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), through its Fund for International Development, has allocated $1 billion as an aid to five developing Arab countries hardest hit by the Ukraine conflict.
As part of its Food Security Action Plan, OPEC’s development finance arm will provide “immediate assistance” to its partner countries to support them.
This mainly includes the import costs of basic commodities such as seeds, grains and fertilisers over the next three years, the cartel said.
The group, which represents oil-producing nations including Nigeria, said countries like Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Tunisia are expected to be among the hardest hit.
This is because their net food and energy imports account for between 4 per cent and 17 per cent of their gross domestic product, citing a recent S&P Global Ratings report.
Speaking on this, Mr Abdulhamid Alkhalifa, the fund’s Director-General, said: “Millions of vulnerable people could face famine over the next few months unless the international community responds swiftly and effectively to the global food crisis.”
“The OPEC Fund’s nimble model has enabled us to dedicate $1 billion of our investment programme to ensure food security where — and how — it is needed the most,” added Mr Alkhalifa.
Russia and Ukraine collectively supply about 30 per cent of the world’s traded wheat and 15 per cent of global corn exports.
The ongoing conflict means Ukraine’s grain shipments remain out of the market as seaports remained closed while new crop production is jeopardised.
The OPEC Fund was established in 1976 by the oil producers to provide aid to developing countries. To date, the fund has committed more than $22 billion to development projects in more than 125 countries, with an estimated total project cost of $187 billion.
The fund will host its inaugural Development Forum in Vienna, Austria, on June 21 with a focus on climate, energy, and food security.