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Job creation in Colombia


T 32


OPEC Fund and Davivienda support women-owned MSMEs, social housing and green building


he OPEC Fund has signed a US$50 million term loan agreement in favor of Banco Davivienda in Colombia. This financing will enable the bank to strengthen its capital base under Basel III requirements (New Tier 2) and sustain the growth of its lending portfolio to women-owned, micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), social housing, and green


building projects in Colombia. This subordinated loan is the OPEC Fund’s first private sector transaction in Colombia and is part of a syndication arranged by the International Finance Corporation (IFC). By providing the loan, the OPEC Fund is helping to address the lack of financial access for underserved segments of the Colombian population. Specifically, the project will support low-income households’ access to mortgages and


improve female entrepreneurs’ access to funding. It will also drive a counter-cyclical action, since many people are facing additional challenges as a result of COVID-19. In addition, the project’s support for certified green buildings will benefit the Colombian people through an improved quality of life and job creation. OPEC Fund Director-General Dr Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said: “The OPEC Fund is pleased


to be providing funding to a systemically important bank in Colombia. Liquidity in the banking sector is more vital than ever, given the economic effects of COVID-19. Alleviating credit constraints for women and MSMEs will help to diversify the economy and support job creation. Supporting development must have equality and inclusiveness at its core. “The OPEC Fund supports development projects aligned with the United Nations Agenda 2030 and Sustainable Development,” Dr Alkhalifa continued. “This loan supports inclusive development in Colombia, impacting Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 8 on decent work and economic growth, SDG 5 on gender equality, and more generally, SDG 10 on reduced inequality.” Efraín Forero, CEO of Banco Davivienda, stated: “This operation came at an excellent moment to support our clients and strengthen our sustainability strategy of supporting female entrepreneurship, financing sustainable projects and helping Colombian people fulfill their dreams of owning their own home. Also, this credit allows us to strengthen our capital ratios in today’s challenging business environment.” While this is the first OPEC Fund private sector project in Colombia, the organization has supported the country's development via public sector and grant finance for more than two decades.


Development projects provide major boost to the Central American country’s transport network


A


major transportation project in Belize is set to ease travel constraints in the Central American country, particularly for the agriculture and tourism


sectors – the two main drivers of GDP growth. Supported by a US$10 million loan from the OPEC Fund, the ‘Upgrading of Caracol Road Project, Phase II’ will improve a 42.9 km stretch that provides the sole link between the George Price Highway (which originates in the country’s largest city, Belize City) and the Caracol Archaeological Site in the Cayo district, one of Belize’s most important tourism areas. In addition to improving this primarily


unpaved road, works will include the reconstruction and replacement of eight bridges and installation of drainage systems that will be resilient against torrential rains and flooding experienced in this tropical region. The OPEC Fund is partnering with


the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development and the government of Belize to finance the project. The first phase of the project was also co-financed by the OPEC Fund, with a US$40 million loan that will rehabilitate a 42.5 km segment of the Caracol Road. In addition to the anticipated boost in tourism upon the project’s completion (estimated at more than 100,000 visitors per year), construction activities will provide job opportunities for both skilled and unskilled workers. Transport costs will fall, benefiting agricultural producers


PHOTO: Jeffrey Isaac Greenberg 20+/Alamy Stock Photo


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