The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) is the intergovernmental development finance institution established in 1976 by the Member States of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). OFID was conceived at the Conference of the Sovereigns and Heads of State of OPEC Member Countries, which was held in Algiers, Algeria, in March 1975. A Solemn Declaration of the Conference “reaffirmed the natural solidarity which unites OPEC countries with other developing countries in their struggle to overcome underdevelopment”, and called for measures to strengthen cooperation between these countries.
OFID’s objective is to reinforce financial cooperation between OPEC Member Countries and other developing countries, by providing financial support to the latter for their socioeconomic development. The institution’s central mission is to foster South-South Partnership with fellow developing countries worldwide with the aim of eradicating poverty. OFID’s headquarters are located in Vienna, Austria. The current Director-General is Suleiman Jasir Al-Herbish of Saudi Arabia. He is currently in his third term of office at OFID, having been re-elected unanimously by the institution’s highest authority, the Ministerial Council, in June 2013.
SEE ALSO: OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) Young Professional Development Program 2017
OFID has 13 member countries: Algeria, Ecuador, Gabon,Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. Ecuador reactivated its membership in June 2014 after a 22-year absence.
OFID’s operations are organized into 10 focus areas:
- Agriculture: Funding has helped boost crop and livestock production, as well as improve rural infrastructure, such as irrigation systems and storage facilities for animal fodder. Support has also been extended to help promote agricultural research.
- Education: OFID’s financing has helped construct and rehabilitate schools, purchase equipment and teaching materials, as well as provide teacher training. OFID has also sponsored the attendance of participants from developing countries to various conferences and workshops.
- Energy: A lead partner in the UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative, OFID has supported energy projects ranging from infrastructure and equipment provision to research and capacity building.
- Financial: Support to this sector has primarily been the channeling of funds to Micro-, small- and medium-size enterprises (MSMEs) via financial intermediaries such as national and regional development banks, commercial banks and leasing companies.
- Health: Support has included construction and modernization of hospitals, health clinics and other infrastructure. Capacity building and support to primary healthcare programs has also been extended. OFID is also an active partner in the global fight against HIV/AIDS through a special grant program.
- Industry: OFID’s funding has benefited all sub-sectors, including building materials, steel, fertilizers and chemicals.
- Multisectoral: This includes undertakings that cut across more than one sector and often supports the activities of Social Investment Funds, whose projects are usually demand-driven at a local level and have a strong element of community participation.
- Telecommunications: The majority of funding to this sector was extended under OFID’s private sector facility, with financing going to mobile network operators in Africa and Asia.
- Transportation: OFID’s support has been consistently high to this sector and ranges from construction and rehabilitation of roads, seaports and airports, to railways, inland waterways and urban mass transit.
- Water and Sanitation: OFID has helped finance a wide range of operations to help provide clean drinking water and safe sanitation systems. These range from large-scale water storage, treatment and distribution projects to village pumps and school latrines, as well as to schemes to optimize water use in arid regions.