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OPEC Fund provides COVID-19 support to Bangladesh, Benin, Dominica and Guyana
Vienna, Austria, August 24, 2020. The OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund) has extended four loans to support COVID-19 response efforts in Bangladesh, Benin, Dominica and Guyana. The loans, totaling US$115 million, form part of the OPEC Fund’s US$1 billion commitment to collective and coordinated COVID-19-related assistance for developing countries.
A US$70 million budget support loan to Bangladesh will help provide social safety net programs for the poor and vulnerable, day laborers and informal workers, as well as healthcare staff. The loan will also contribute to economic packages to protect Bangladesh’s export industry. Measures include zero-cost credit to support factory worker salaries and low-interest loans to factories and small- and medium-size enterprises. Furthermore, around 600,000 tons of rice and wheat will be distributed to low-income households.
Benin will receive US$15 million to strengthen the country’s disease surveillance and treatment systems, and help purchase rapid diagnostic tests, laboratory equipment, consumables and drugs for hospitals and COVID-19 treatment centers. Seventeen decentralized laboratories across the country will be equipped to implement mass screening programs.
A US$10 million loan to Dominica will support COVID-19 containment and treatment measures and the expansion of nationwide quarantine services. This will necessitate the purchase of medical supplies and equipment, and salaries for medical personnel.
Guyana’s US$20 million loan will help bolster a national social safety net program providing, among other things: food and educational supplies to 20,000 low-income families; social assistance (including utility bill support and unemployment benefits) to around 55,000 households; and subsidized loans and loan guarantees to around 300 micro- and small-sized enterprises in sectors affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
About the OPEC Fund
The OPEC Fund is the development finance institution established by the Member States of OPEC in 1976 as a channel of aid to developing countries. The OPEC Fund 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, strengthen social services and promote productivity, competitiveness, and trade. The OPEC Fund’s work is people-centered, focusing on projects that meet basic needs – such as food, energy, infrastructure, employment (particularly relating to MSMEs), clean water and sanitation, healthcare, and education. The OPEC Fund aims to encourage self-reliance and inspire hope for the future.