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OFID signs first-ever public sector loan agreement with Argentina
February 23, Vienna, Austria. The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) has signed its first-ever public sector loan agreement with Argentina for a water supply project expected to boost the quality and quantity of potable water supply services for over 175,000 people in the Santa Fé Province.
The US$50m loan agreement was signed by OFID Director-General Mr Suleiman J Al-Herbish and Dr Antonio Bonifatti, Governor of the Province of Santa Fé, Argentina, who was accompanied by the Province’s Minister of Economy Mr Angel Sciara and Finance Secretary Mr Gonzalo Miguel Saglione.
The Reconquista Water Supply, Phase II project is also being financed by the Argentinian government and OFID sister organization Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (Kuwait Fund). Phase I is currently being implemented and co-financed by the Kuwait Fund.
Phase II will use a demand-driven approach to provide clean drinking water to communities in the General Obligado and Vera departments of Santa Fé Province that presently rely on unsafe groundwater sources. The project will help enhance socio-economic development and improve health indicators in what is considered one of poorest and least-developed regions in Argentina.
During the signature ceremony, Dr Bonifatti thanked OFID for its support and noted that the project supported Government’s aim to bring safe water supplies to Santa Fé Province, an area “with many possibilities.” He also explained how his country was working towards bringing other social benefits to the area, such as schools and sustainable energy initiatives.
Mr Al-Herbish briefed Dr Bonifatti and his delegation about OFID’s high-level conference that it hosted last week: The post–2015 Development Agenda and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He spoke of OFID’s commitment to supporting the water supply sector in its partner countries as this remained a key priority on the development agenda of the SDGs.
OFID’s cooperation with Argentina began in 2010 when a US$20m trade finance loan was extended in support of the country’s agribusinesses.