US$40m OPEC Fund loan finances key highway in Sri Lanka

VIENNA, The OPEC Fund for International Development, OFID, has signed a US$40 million loan agreement with Sri Lanka to co-finance the rehabilitation of an 18 km section of the A017 highway in the southern region of the country.

The project, known as the 'Rehabilitation of the A017 Road Corridor Project (Rakwana � Suriyakanda)' and co-financed with the government of Sri Lanka, is expected to help promote trade, reduce travel costs and time, and stimulate key sectors of the Sri Lankan economy such as agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and mining.

The loan was signed by the OPEC Fund's Director-General Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa, and Secretary to the Treasury, Ministry of Finance of Sri Lanka Dr. Ranepura Hewage Samantha Samaratunga.

Dr. Alkhalifa described the project as an "integral part" of Sri Lanka's development policy framework aimed at strengthening the transport sector and boosting socioeconomic growth. He added that the OPEC Fund hoped to maintain its "excellent ties" with the country to further the fruitful partnership, which dates back to 1976.

Under this partnership the OPEC Fund has approved a total of US$373 million in public sector financing (including the new agreement) for development projects in Sri Lanka.

The OPEC Fund has also committed US$115 million in private sector funding and trade finance to Sri Lanka in support of the country's micro-, small- and medium-sized enterprises.

OFID was established in January 1976 by the then 13 member countries of OPEC; including the United Arab Emirates.

Source: Emirates News Agency