By Adedapo Adesanya
The fund programme of the Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries for International Development (the OPEC Fund) and the West African Development Bank (BOAD) have signed a framework agreement to further strengthen their development cooperation in the member countries of the Western African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU).
These will involve the eight nations of Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte-d’Ivoire, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo.
The agreement focuses on increased engagement and knowledge-sharing between the two institutions and ensures enhanced cooperation in co-financing public and private sector projects, as well as supporting international trade and regional integration.
It also enables the OPEC Fund and BOAD to join forces to directly mitigate the negative impact of COVID-19 on economic activity in the West African countries.
Signing the agreement on behalf of the OPEC Fund, Director-General Mr Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said: “We are pleased to grow our partnership with BOAD to work together toward our common cause. West African countries have significant potential to increase trade flows and strengthen competitiveness which will drive growth, reduce poverty, and create new jobs in the region.
“The OPEC Fund’s global expertise, combined with BOAD’s strong regional presence, positions our two institutions well to help the region to weather the impacts of the pandemic and improve its competitiveness within the global economy.”
President Serge Ekué of BOAD commended “the commitment and growing partnership between Africa and the OPEC Fund, which translated into support to BOAD for several decades now, thereby contributing to growth and sustainable development in the WAEMU member countries.”
He added that the implementation of this framework agreement will help support the objectives of BOAD’s new strategic plan for 2021-2025.
He added, “The aim of increasing the impact of its operations in terms of development outcomes by funding productive investments and creating jobs for youth and women while focusing on micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), transport infrastructure and digitalization, agriculture and food security, energy, real estate, health and education.”
The OPEC Fund and BOAD have been collaborating since 1983 and have jointly financed 25 public, private and trade finance projects. The OPEC Fund has also provided three direct loans to BOAD in support of private sector and trade finance projects in WAEMU.
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