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Paraguay and Sierra Leone sign OFID loan agreements to help strengthen energy and water supply sectors
Photo left: President of the National Electricity Administration Company of Paraguay (ANDE), Eng. Victor Romero Solis with OFID Director-General Suleiman J Al-Herbish (right). Photo right: HE Jongopie Siaka Stevens, Ambassador of Sierra Leone to Germany with Al-Herbish
Vienna, Austria, February 22, 2017. The Director-General of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), Suleiman J Al-Herbish, has signed public sector loan agreements with Paraguay and Sierra Leone to help strengthen the energy and water supply sectors.
Eng. Victor Romero Solis, President of the National Electricity Administration Company of Paraguay (ANDE), co-signed a US$32m loan agreement to support the Metropolitan Area Electricity Transmission and Distribution System Improvement Project. The project will improve electricity supply quality in Paraguay’s capital city Asuncion, populated by some two million people.
During the signing ceremony, Al-Herbish spoke of OFID’s long-standing relationship with Paraguay that spans nearly four decades, which included over US$168m in funding towards the transportation, water and agriculture sectors, among others. Private sector support has also been extended in support of the country’s SMEs, he noted.
The Director-General also referred to OFID’s first energy-related project loan to Paraguay approved in 2011 for the Central and Eastern Electricity System Upgrading Project. Al-Herbish said OFID would continue to support the government’s efforts to achieve universal electricity access.
Solis thanked the DG and said the present project was important for both ANDE and the country of Paraguay as a whole: “OFID is an important provider of finance for us. We haven’t fully concluded the first operation and already we are here signing this new loan – for the sector it gives the impression that it is a very important relationship, not only with the company, but also with the government of Paraguay.”
HE Jongopie Siaka Stevens, Ambassador of Sierra Leone to Germany co-signed a US$13.15m agreement; additional funding for the ongoing Three Towns Water Supply and Sanitation Project that is improving water supply infrastructure in the towns of Bo, Kenema and Makeni, where coverage is low. The provision of safe, piped-in water supplies will improve health and living conditions for around 500,000 people. OFID also co-financed the initial phase of the project.
In his remarks to the Ambassador, Al-Herbish outlined OFID’s longstanding relationship with Sierra Leone, which dates back to the institution’s inception in 1976. Since then, nearly US$150m in public sector lending had been approved in the areas of education, energy, transportation, water supply and sanitation, he said, as well as HIPC debt relief. Regional and national programs had also received OFID grant support, noted Al-Herbish. He concluded by thanking the Ambassador for attending the signature ceremony and assured him of OFID’s continuing commitment to strengthening its cooperation with Sierra Leone.
Addressing Al-Herbish, HE Stevens outlined the “successful implementation” of the ongoing phase of the Three Towns Water Supply and Sanitation project, despite challenges his country had faced during the Ebola virus outbreak and explained the need for supplementary funds to expand the scope of the original project. He then thanked Al-Herbish, OFID and its staff, on behalf of President Ernest Bai Koroma and the people of Sierra Leone, for OFID’s continued support of his country’s development aspirations.