General Background

Who we are

The OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund) is a multilateral development finance institution dedicated to delivering socio-economic impact to low- and middle-income countries. Founded in 1976 by the member states of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), the OPEC Fund is a separate institution with a distinct mandate,  focused purely on international development.

The OPEC Fund is the only globally mandated development institution that provides financing from member countries to non-member countries exclusively. All developing countries, with the exception of its own members, are eligible for assistance.

The OPEC Fund has 12 Member Countries: Algeria, Ecuador, Gabon, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Libya, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Venezuela. 

The OPEC Fund's supreme authority is its Ministerial Council, composed of finance ministers of the Member Countries. The Council issues policy guidelines, approves the replenishment of the OPEC Fund's resources, authorizes the administration of special funds and makes major policy decisions. 

The Governing Board is composed of one representative and one alternate from each Member Country. Subject to directives issued by the Ministerial Council, the Board is responsible for the conduct of the OPEC Fund's general operations. It stipulates, in particular, policies with regard to the use of the OPEC Fund's resources and usually meets four times a year. 

The President is appointed by the Ministerial Council and is the institution’s chief executive officer. You can view OPEC Fund’s organizational chart here.

The OPEC Fund for International Development and the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries are entirely separate institutions with different mandates.  

The OPEC Fund, initially founded by OPEC Member Countries in 1976 as a development aid organization, is an international development finance institution focused on providing financing for 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 is fully committed to helping developing countries to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

The structures of OPEC and the OPEC Fund have evolved independently. The two organizations now comprise a different set of member countries. For instance, OPEC currently counts Angola, Congo and Equatorial Guinea among its members and does not include Indonesia, which is one of OPEC Fund members.

The OPEC Fund enjoys the benefit of strong shareholder support, and its member countries have contributed to its capital base and are equally committed to the Fund’s vision and mission. 

Member Country contributions are voluntary and have been replenished four times. The latest replenishment was in 2011, when resources were increased by a minimum amount of US$1 billion. Please see a breakdown of contributions by member countries

The OPEC Fund’s financial statements are prepared according to the International Financial Reporting Standards and are audited by an independent external auditor. Highlights are published in the Annual Report and the full financial statements are available here. The OPEC Fund has an ‘Access to Information’ policy. All signed projects are available for review on the website.

All developing countries with the exception of OPEC Fund Member Countries are in principle eligible for OPEC Fund assistance. To date the OPEC Fund has committed financing for development operations in 125 countries, primarily targeting low-income countries and those parts of the world that need assistance most. The OPEC Fund also operates in middle-income countries when it can deliver significant development impact.

What we do

The OPEC Fund provides public, private and trade sector financing, as well as grants, to support vital development projects throughout the world.  The OPEC Fund offers a broad range of financing solutions to respond quickly to the changing needs of its developing country partners.  

All projects that the OPEC Fund supports are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and support the 2030 Agenda. 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.

Partnerships are key to the work of the OPEC Fund and the institution closely cooperates with other development finance institutions, including the bilateral and multilateral agencies of its Member Countries, the Coordination Group of Arab and Regional Development Institutions,  the World Bank Group, regional development banks and specialized agencies of the United Nations, as well as a host of non-governmental organizations and private sector partners.

  • United Nations: The OPEC Fund enjoys Observer Status with the United Nations and works closely with a large number of the specialized agencies of the UN system, including UNDP, UNESCO, UNICEF, UNIDO, UNRWA, and UNODC. 

The OPEC Fund consistently delivers support to the World Food Program, the International Fund for Agricultural Development and the Food and Agriculture Organization to assist agriculture and rural development.

OPEC Fund is also a key partner in SEforALL, which has three goals: to achieve universal access to sustainable energy, to double energy efficiency, and to double the share of renewables, all by the year 2030. 

  • The Coordination Group: The OPEC Fund enjoys a particularly high degree of collaboration and procedural harmonization with the members of the Coordination Group of Arab and Regional Development Institutions, the Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB) and the OPEC Fund for International Development. The Coordination Group was established in 1975 to enhance and coordinate the development efforts of member development finance institutions in the area of project evaluation, financing and monitoring, and management of loans. It also seeks to achieve uniformity and consistency in its members’ development policies and financing procedures. The 12 members of the Coordination Group are: the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, the Arab Gulf Program for Development, the Arab Investment and Export Credit Guarantee Corporation, the Arab Monetary Fund, the Arab Trade Financing Program, the Islamic Development Bank, the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development, the OPEC Fund, the Qatar Development Fund, and the Saudi Fund.
  • GPEDC: The OPEC Fund is fully engaged in the Global Partnership for Effective Development Cooperation (GPEDC), which evolved out of the aid effectiveness movement launched in Paris in 2005 to define a more results-oriented global aid architecture. The GPEDC is based on four principles: country ownership of development programs; a focus on results; inclusive partnerships; transparency and accountability from all stakeholders.

Operational procedures and criteria

The OPEC Fund works closely with its partner countries and has co-developed multi-years financing programs that respond pro-actively to the priorities identified by the countries themselves. Private sector and trade finance projects are supported if they have the potential to foster sustainable economic growth in low- and middle-income countries.  All operations must have a clear development objective in line with Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development. And each project is subject to a thorough evaluation and due diligence process.

The OPEC Fund’s development support to partner countries is not conditioned on economic and political ideals. Our business operations and practices are determined based on the development needs of our partner countries and in line with OPEC Fund’s strategy and mission. In its nearly 50-year history, the OPEC Fund has provided development financing to 125 countries in different continents and regions, with different needs, aspirations and cultures. The principles for working with all partners are based on transparency, governance and integrity.

No. The OPEC Fund operations are financed by a combination of member country contributions and retained earnings. The amount of financing that the OPEC Fund approves is entirely independent of the level of income member countries receive from their oil resources. 

The OPEC Fund's procurement guidelines follow the general principles of international competitive bidding, which is open to all sources. The loans are not tied to procurement from Member States of the OPEC Fund or from any other countries. However, a preference is allowed for goods and services obtainable in the recipient country or originating in other developing countries, where possible.

The OPEC Fund’s main consideration is the social, economic, and environmental viability of a development project or program and its contribution to the sustainable development objectives in the partner country. The OPEC Fund also evaluates projects and programs based on commercial, technical and financial viability, as well as by doing social and environmental due diligence. 

In providing its development assistance, the OPEC Fund capitalizes on countries' own accumulated knowledge and development experiences. In addition to national governments and government entities, the OPEC Fund works with a broad range of stakeholders in the development process. Cooperating partners include the bilateral and multilateral development agencies of its Member Countries, the World Bank, regional development banks, specialized agencies of the United Nations, the private sector, and academia, as well as non-governmental and civil society organizations, among others. The OPEC Fund has established formal cooperation agreements with a number of strategic partners. Each agreement has its own specific framework and focus and serves to optimize development coordination and harmonization.

The OPEC Fund's financing instruments

The OPEC Fund provides its financial assistance in a number of ways. The main methods of funding are: public sector loans, direct support to private enterprise, trade financing, and grants (go to the 'What we offer' menu selection at the top of the page).