While Africa remains the cash cow for some developed nations, Kuwait sees it as a right economic partner to forge progress schemes with, putting focus on transport, health and energy sectors.
A frica’s colonial masters may still be viewing the continent as a gold mine to further exploit for their commercial and military power.
However, Kuwait, a tiny wealthy Arab state in the Middle East with the world’s highest valued currency – the Kuwait Dinar, sees African nations differently as friends in need.
And, with good leadership, poor states south of the Sahara need economic assistance and technological knowhow to bring positive change for their peoples. Poverty has been the biggest enemy of African states.
Most of their taxpayers know only a meal a day, living with only a dollar a day.But their country’s cooperation with the oil-rich Arab state of Kuwait has helped to improve their life and will still further facility their nations’ economic prosperity with a promise for a brighter future.
The transport sector, just as that of energy, has in many African countries taken the biggest share of Kuwait’s financial assistance with 732 US million dollars up to June 2014.
Apart from giving technical assistance to African states, Kuwait Development Fund, acting on behalf of the State of Kuwait, also contributes to the resources of regional and international financing institutions.
The Fund has, likewise, undertaken the responsibility for administering grants extended directly by the Government of the State of Kuwait to Arab and other developing states around the world.
In the fiscal year of 2012/2013 the number of projects financed by the Fund during the current fiscal year reached 25 projects with a total loan commitment of about Kuwait Dinar (KD) 211 million covering transport, energy, water and sewerage and agriculture, Industry in addition social and other sectors.
The recipient countries included 6 Arab countries, 12 African countries, 3 East, South Asian and Pacific countries – one country in Central Asia and Europe and one Latin American and Caribbean countries. Kuwait has not given assistance to every Jack and Harry for assistance.
Energy and agriculture are other big areas which have become chief recipients. According to the Fund’s financial report: “Until 2000 the Fund’s operations focused on financing projects in such sectors as agriculture, transport, communication, energy, industry, water and sewerage.
In the following years, the Fund activities included also lending to finance projects in the health and education sectors with the aim of reinforcing the contribution of other sectors to the development objectives of recipients and to help them in their efforts to achieve the targets of the Millennium Development Goals.”
The report adds: “Total loan commitments at about US$17.6bn as of June, 2014 benefitted 103 countries, including 16 Arab countries, 40 African countries, 19 in East, South Asia and the Pacific, 17 in Central Asia and Europe and 11 in Latin America the Caribbean region.”
The energy sector has, however, taken the second biggest slice of the assistance after the transport area.African states, Tanzania in particular, need assistance aimed for the development of the three areas. Given that over 80 percent of the population of many African states, agriculture and transport are vital for the nations’ development.
Take Angola, for instance, the transport alone received over US$22 between 1991 and 2002. In agriculture, the Kuwait Fund extended two loans in the year 1982 and 1992 amounting to about US$15m for financing of Fish Resources Project. The Fund also provided to the country technical aids of about US$1.9m for financing Kambambi Dam project.
The oil magnate stated its activities the Republic of Botswana in 1980, entering into its first loan agreement for financing Jabron International Airport project.
“Today, the total number of loans extended by the Fund to the Republic of Botswana is 8 loans with a total amount of about US$52.5m,” says Kuwait Fund’s 2013/2014 5nd financial report.
Kenya, Tanzania’s neighbour in the east and one of the East African states, is another beneficiary of the Kuwait Fund. So far Kenya has received 5 loans totaling US$82.9m.
Katumani-Wote Road project with over US$20m, Bura Irrigation and settlement scheme rehabilitation project and the Nuno-Modogashe Road Project further emphasize the Fund’s focus emphasize on these vital areas of the community.
In certain circumstances, explains Chairman of Board of Directors of the Fund Sheikh Sabah Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Khalid, the government of the State of Kuwait provides assistance in the form of grants of finance urgently needed projects including school, hospitals, housing facilities and other social amenities especially in post-conflict situations of where countries faced consequences of natural disasters such as earthquakes, floods and extreme drought.
“Such grants are normally administered and supervised by the Fund,” says Sheikh Al-Khalid. Kuwait has not forgotten its fellow small Africa states like Rwanda, closer home to Tanzania and has stricken a fruitful relationship with them. Rwanda received eight loans from Kuwait Fund, the first loan was made in 1975.
The total amount of loans extended is about US$85.2m. Such assistance to Tanzania’s neighbours has bolstered many spirits in the country as poverty has been a cause of much social and political turmoil.