Afro-Arab Summit: AU plans to tap from Kuwait’s US$ 1 billion Africa loan

Kuwait City, Kuwait (PANA) - The African Union Commission (AUC) is ready to lay out detailed plans on how African countries could effectively tap the US$ 1 billion pledged for investments over the next five years, the AUC President, Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, said here Wednesday.

“We are going to work together with the Arab League and Kuwait, which has contributed this money to determine how these can be implemented at the country level. We will engage Kuwait on how this will work but we would like to express our gratitude for this announcement,” Dlamini Zuma said.

Kuwait pledged to inject the funds in form of soft loans through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) to Africa as part of an intensified partnership between the two regions.

The development followed concerns by African leaders that investment relations between the two regions remained low since the re-launch of the joint partnership in 2010.

The planned capital injection would increase KFAED’s portfolio by almost a third from the current US$ 3.5 billion currently under the Fund’s control in Africa and the Arab world.

“There are encouraging signs in our partnership recently and I am convinced that now, more than ever before, Africa and the Arab world are poised to take advantage of their respective potentials to give concrete shape to their cooperation,” said Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn.

Hailemariam, the AU Chairman who is jointly chairing the ongoing Africa-Arab Summit in Kuwait, said although Africa had become a favourite destination for foreign investors from around the world, Arab countries lagged behind the pack.

“There is no reason why our brothers and sisters from the Middle East should not come in full force,” Hailemariam told the Summit.

Kuwait funded the construction of Bole’s international airport terminal in Addis Ababa in 2000 at a cost of US$ 9 million. Airports in Botswana, Equatorial Guinea, Gambia, Gabon, Somalia and Rwanda also received Kuwait financing in the past few years.

African leaders meeting with their Arab counterparts hope to strike deals to boost investments across the two regions.

Dlamini Zuma said unlike other diplomatic engagements with other regions of the world, the Africa-Arab engagements were based on mutual agreement.

“We hope the Arab countries will contribute to infrastructure, transport, energy and the Information, Communication Technologies (ICT) sectors. There are also charitable organisations which make grants to charities. There are already investments in oil and we hope more money will come through credit lines,” Dlamini Zuma told journalists in Kuwait.
-0- PANA AO/VAO 20Nov2013

20 november 2013 14:03:09

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