Tue 08-06-2021 10:41 AM
VIENNA, 8th June, 2021 (WAM) -- The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) has announced the signing of a US$10 million private-sector loan agreement with the Bank of Maldives.
According to the Fund, the loan will be used for on-lending to small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) engaged in tourism and related services in the Maldives that have been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Bank of Maldives, as a leading lender to the tourism industry and the largest financial institution in the Maldives, will provide much-needed working capital to benefit businesses in the tourism and related industries.
Tim Sawyer, Bank of Maldives CEO and Managing Director, commented, "The funding comes at an opportune time as we reinforce resources for our COVID-19 response for the tourism and business sectors severely affected by the pandemic. Early on, we took the lead in mitigating the impact of COVID-19 for businesses and this support from the OPEC Fund will aid our efforts as the country continues on its road to recovery."
For his part, Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa, OPEC Fund Director-General, said, "We are pleased to have the opportunity to support the post-pandemic economic recovery in the Maldives. This private-sector lending further builds upon our established framework of cooperation with the Maldives, which dates back to 1977 and has allowed the OPEC Fund to provide public and private sector financing to support critical development projects in the country for decades."
"Our loan will help to revive businesses and sustain jobs that are critical for the stability of the local economy," he noted.
The OPEC Fund’s loan forms part of syndication led by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group. "Helping Maldives revive tourism is critical for the resilient recovery of the economy hampered by COVID-19," said Rosy Khanna, Regional Director for Financial Institutions Group for IFC Asia and the Pacific.
The OPEC Fund has provided public and private sector lending to the Maldives for decades, financing projects in transportation, multi-sectoral, water and sanitation, and financial sectors. This latest loan is aligned with the OPEC Fund’s COVID-19 Response Package approved last year to assist its partner countries in their impact and recovery efforts.
OFID was established in January 1976 by the then 13 member countries of OPEC; including the United Arab Emirates. It is the development finance institution established as a channel of aid to developing countries.