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OFID commemorates 40th Anniversary
Vienna, Austria, January 28, 2016. The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) today marks 40 years of dedicated support to poverty eradication and socioeconomic development. What started life as a temporary account—the OPEC Special Fund—has evolved into an international development finance institution with a total S$19bn in commitments for more than 3,500 operations across 134 countries worldwide.
Reflecting on this milestone, Suleiman J Al-Herbish, Director-General, stated: “OFID’s story is really quite extraordinary. From its modest beginnings, the OFID of 2016 is a fully engaged and highly respected development pioneer; one that is not merely implementing the global development agenda, but shaping it as well. This is an achievement we can all be proud of.”
OFID looks back on forty dynamic and challenging years, working in an ever-shifting landscape that has required continuous repositioning to adapt to the changing needs of partner countries. Most recently, OFID has taken the global lead in raising awareness of energy poverty as a major hindrance to development. Through its advocacy and work on the ground, OFID has led by example, earning the title “champion of energy poverty alleviation” from Ban Ki-moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations. In this role, OFID helped position energy access within the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
In line with its commitment to staying relevant and responding to current developments, OFID has dedicated its 40th Anniversary year to the plight of refugees. This move is intended as a sign of solidarity, both with the people torn from their roots and with OFID’s host city Vienna, which continues to shoulder a disproportionate burden. Explained Al-Herbish: “A new situation is developing that needs urgent attention from all. We cannot abandon helpless refugees who risk their lives to access a better and dignified life elsewhere.” OFID’s program of engagement will include advocacy as well as concrete support at local level.
OFID has always supported refugees in its operations since inception. OFID has especially a longstanding cooperation with NGOs that provide assistance, care and shelter to refugees, among them the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), and the Red Cross.
Several events will be held throughout the year to commemorate the anniversary.
The OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID) is the development finance institution established by the Member States of OPEC in 1976 as a collective channel of aid to the developing countries. OFID works in cooperation with developing country partners and the international donor community to stimulate economic growth and alleviate poverty in all disadvantaged regions of the world. It does this by providing financing to build essential infrastructure that meets basic needs—such as food, energy, clean water and sanitation, healthcare and education—and working to promote productivity, competitiveness and trade. OFID employs 195 staff representing 32 different nationalities, of which 51 percent are women.