Overall, 55 countries have now benefited from the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) assistance programme. Inaugurated in 1971 the Fund is a public autonomous institution supervised by the Government of Abu Dhabi, which also administers funds provided by Government. The total amount of funds (including the six loan agreements to Pakistan) provided by the Fund or by Government and administered by the Fund now amounts to a total of Dh16.5 billion, covering 223 projects in 55 countries. Of this amount, Dh7.1 billion is from the Government. The ADFD is also involved in supporting development within the UAE.
In line with the policy adopted by ADFD to facilitate sustainable development in underdeveloped, debt-ridden countries, its emphasis has been on projects that upgrade infrastructure, improve health and educational facilities and generate employment opportunities. Infrastructure projects such as roads, seaports, airports, energy generation and telecommunications services, as well as agricultural, social, health, education and housing projects amount to well over a third of the total aid offered by or administered by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, not including the package of loans for Pakistan signed in November 2001.
Statistics of the Fundís activities issued in November 2001 indicate that Arab countries had received 85.1 per cent of all Fund and Government loans and grants. Countries south of the Sahara received 7.8 per cent, Asian countries 4.8 per cent and others 2.2 per cent.
In addition to financial grants and easy term loans, the ADFD has expanded its activities to include direct investment in private enterprises to improve private sector participation in the economic development of the recipient countries. By the end of 2001, such direct investment amounted to Dh464 million. Tourism and the hotel industry accounted for 62 per cent of the direct investment deployed by the Fund to provide hard currency and jobs for nationals of the recipient countries.
The total value of the Fundís loans, grants and investments increased from Dh1 billion in 1977 to Dh4 billion in 1987 and to Dh8.462 billion by the end of October 2001.
In addition, the ADFD manages, on behalf of the Abu Dhabi Government, an assistance programme valued at Dh7.116 billion as of November 2001, of which 61 per cent was offered as non-repayable grants. The balance was offered as long-term easy loans. The Abu Dhabi government grants were used, to cite some examples, to finance the reconstruction of the Marib dam in Yemen, the Sheikh Zayed hospital in Rabat, Morocco, Sheikh Zayedís city in Egypt, a social services centre in Dhaka, Bangladesh, a housing complex in Yemen and Sheikh Zayedís orphanage in Mombasa, Kenya.
Dh55 million from the direct grant programme went to finance projects undertaken by the United Nations Arabian Gulf programme (set up in 1981 by GCC countries to coordinate Arab assistance provided to 15 UN organisations such as UNESCO, UNICEF and FAO).
Between January and July 2001, new loan agreements were signed between Abu Dhabi and the following countries:
The Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan: a loan agreement of Dh36,730,000 for financing of the Unity Dam project
Republic of Djibouti: two loan agreements, one of Dh29,834,000 for financing of a housing project and one of Dh25,711,000 for financing of the expansion of Djibouti Port
Kingdom of Morocco: a loan agreement of Dh20,380,000 for financing of the Mediterranean Ring Road
The State of Eritrea: a further loan of Dh18,365,000 for the electricity generation project
Republic of Kazakhstan: a loan agreement of Dh80,806,000 to finance the construction of the Karaganda-Astana road.
Other projects funded by loans or grants from other Government bodies but under supervision by the Fund during 2001 have included several major projects in Palestine. These include the US$50 million Zayed City Project in Gaza, whose foundation stone was laid by Minister of Information and Culture, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in November 2000. The project involves the construction of 750 3-bedroom housing units, with an associated hospital, schools and gardens. Other aid projects in Palestine administered by the Fund have included the Zayed Hospital in Ramallah, which opened in March 2001.
During November 2001 the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the UAEís main development assistance agency, signed its largest ever package of loan agreements with a single country, involving the provision of nearly one billion dirhams to Pakistan in six separate loan agreements. Totalling Dh974,345,000 (US$265.49 million), the loans represent the largest single package of assistance ever agreed by the Fund in the 30 years since its establishment, and signify a major contribution to Pakistanís development programme and to the strengthening of links between the UAE and Pakistan.
The basic objective of the projects is to help Pakistan develop is power generation and water supply sectors, both in major population centres and in rural areas.