Abdulwahab Al Bader, Director-General, Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development: Interview

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 Abdulwahab Al Bader, Director-General, Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (Kuwait Fund)

Interview: Abdulwahab Al Bader

What is the process through which loans are distributed both sectorally and geographically?

AL BADER: Kuwait Fund extends loans on concessionary terms to finance development projects in developing countries. We also provide technical assistance to finance the cost of feasibility studies for projects and for training of nationals of the recipient countries. In addition, the fund contributes to the resources of regional and international development institutions.

Over 50% of our loans go to Arab countries and the rest benefits other developing country regions. By sector, transportation, energy, and agriculture get a large share of our loans, as these sectors are given top priority by our partner countries. Kuwait Fund loan recipients include over 103 countries, with total commitments of about $18bn. The sectoral distribution of Kuwait Fund loans reflects what each recipient deems to be its own priority, which differs among countries. Projects vary by country and sector according to the objectives to be achieved, including poverty reduction, job creation, infrastructure construction and improvements to social services. By responding to their needs, we ensure that recipients get maximum benefits.

What are the main challenges when funding international projects?

AL BADER: The main challenges are those related to ensuring the implementation of projects according to planned activities, without delays or interruptions that can reduce the viability and benefits of projects. We consider the vulnerability of recipient countries to external shocks and their capacity to service their debts. We have been able to weather out the impact of the global economic crisis through maintaining a risk management attitude. Along with the challenges, there are lessons to be learned and experiences gained that can guide our work to be more beneficial and effective.

We provide the opportunity for Kuwaiti youth to be engaged in visits to our partner countries to see the fund in action and its achievements on the ground.

How are regional instabilities affecting the growth of the fund and charitable efforts as a whole?

AL BADER: Regional instabilities pose challenges to our efforts to deliver orderly and timely assistance. We do our best to provide help. As I already mentioned, over half of our loans go to the Arab region, which was meant to be the beneficiary of operations of the fund when it was established in 1961. Today, conflicts and civil unrest in certain Arab countries exact a heavy toll on the livelihoods of their people and their economies. Under these circumstances, we deliver assistance taking into consideration the prevailing situation.

What do you consider to be the most important achievements of the fund over the last five decades?

AL BADER: The fund’s achievements have to be measured in terms of its objective, which has been that of assisting developing countries to establish those conditions necessary to help them improve the livelihoods of their people through economic and social development. To this effect, the fund had over the last five decades responded to the needs and priorities of its partner countries through the provision of concessional loans and technical assistance to help them implement projects in various sectors, including agriculture, transport, communications, energy, water and sanitation, health and education, among others. Such projects have helped not only in creating infrastructure and social services to facilitate progress toward growth and development, but they have also provided new job opportunities in situations of high unemployment rates.

In pursuing its objectives, the fund maintains close cooperation with recipient countries and provides them with technical advice throughout the project cycle to ensure that projects eligible for financing are studied and evaluated to ascertain their technical soundness and economic viability. With its experience in development cooperation, the fund will continue its cooperation with partner countries in the years ahead to help them progress and develop a poverty-free world.


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The Report: Kuwait 2015

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