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

Interview: Abdulwahab Al Bader

To what extent does the fund coordinate with other funds and institutions to prevent overlaps and also create synergies?

ABDULWAHAB AL BADER: The Kuwait Fund for Arabic Economic Development has always welcomed cooperation and coordination with other development funds and institutions. In doing so we can mobilise resources for financing proposed projects and adopting agreed policies and procedures for the timely and orderly implementation of co-financed projects. Such coordination eases the burden on developing country partners. These problems can arise due to the co-financiers’ different policies and procedures with respect to the procurement of the goods and services required for to implement supported projects and development operations. Over the past 54 years the fund supported the financing of about 900 projects in 105 developing countries, providing about $18.7bn for their implementation. About 55% of these projects have been co-financed with one or more of the national, regional and international development institutions and country donors.

The Kuwait Fund and other Arab national and regional development institutions, such as the Islamic Development Bank and the OPEC Fund for International Development, recognised the importance of coordination as early as 1975, when they established the Arab Coordination Group (ACG), with a secretariat at the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development. The main objective of the ACG is to consult and coordinate efforts to optimise resources used and to derive benefits from coordinating financing.

What are the key metrics used when deciding to fund a potential project?

AL BADER: To become eligible for financing from Kuwait, a potential project has to meet a set of requirements. The project should be a priority in the development strategy of the applicant country.

While the fund respects country priorities, a project submitted to the fund will be thoroughly reviewed and evaluated to ensure that it is technically sound, economically viable and conducive to the economic and social development of the recipient country. In this respect, a comprehensive feasibility study must have been prepared by competent and qualified consultants. The report should cover the technical, economic, financial and other aspects pertaining to the implementation, management and operation of the project in question.

Based on such a study, a team of the fund’s experts appraises the project in the field, in cooperation with the partner country’s authorities. The team reviews all aspects of the project, and makes all the necessary recommendations in terms of project costs, schedule of implementation and other related matters, such as the procedures to be followed for the procurement of goods and services and the selection of consultants, contractors and suppliers. Once the management of the fund is satisfied that the potential project meets all required criteria, it will be recommended for approval by the fund’s board of directors.

In what ways does the fund work to cross cultural and geographical boundaries?

AL BADER: It is the fund’s policy to provide development assistance to all eligible developing countries across different regions of the world. Such assistance is provided regardless of their political and socio-economic systems or their cultural background and religious beliefs. The 105 countries that have received assistance from the fund represent a broad spectrum of geography, population size, politics, socio-economic status and culture. Such diversity of country partners in development shapes the fund’s solidarity with developing countries and Kuwait’s strong commitment to helping them in their efforts to improve the well-being and livelihoods of their population.

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