Minister of International Cooperation, Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, announced that the parliament approved two international agreements by the ministry with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, with a value of $743.3 million to finance housing projects and the establishment of a wastewater system in the Bahr Al-Baqar region.
Pushing for a forward-looking vision, the ministry launched the “Global Partnerships for Effective Development Cooperation” multi-stakeholder platform in April 2020, which prioritizes cooperation among international development partners as well as the achievement of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It achieves this by holding several workshops with various stakeholders and international institutions to mobilize the international community towards a common goal and identify financing priorities. “The Ministry of International Cooperation aims to revive international cooperation for the benefit of humanity, focusing on three pillars: ‘People at the Core’, ‘Projects in Action’ and ‘Purpose as the Driver” Al Mashat noted. To put ‘people at the core’, the ministry has been implementing projects across multiple sectors by signing the first agreement with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, a member of the World Bank Group, last July, with a value of $500 million in additional financing for the comprehensive program to finance the housing project. This aims to primarily improve the lives of low-income people and obtain their right to adequate housing, which helps to achieve the first goal of SDGs related to poverty eradication, and the eleventh goal related to establishing sustainable cities and communities. Al Mashat explained that the agreement aims to strengthen the capacity of the Social Housing Fund and to support real estate financing through strengthening coordination between the concerned authorities, establishing an improved information management system, a structure for sound financial management and government and enhancing evaluation, monitoring and credit capacity, as well as providing support to lower-income families. She praised the existing cooperation with the World Bank Group in various sectors to support the country's development efforts. The portfolio of ongoing projects with the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development includes about 16 projects worth $ 4.889 billion, in diverse sectors such as social housing, health, education, local development, social protection, sanitation, petroleum, transportation and the environment. In the same context, the parliament approved the agreement signed last June with the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, with a value of 75 million Kuwaiti dinars, equivalent to 243.2 million dollars, which aims to finance the construction of Bahr Al-Baqar drainage water system in the Sinai Peninsula. To improve the lives of communities in Sinai, the project puts environmental sustainability at the heart of development through providing clean water and ensuring the protection of marine and coastal ecosystems in a sustainable manner against pollution. On top of that, it also helps build sustainable cities and communities through providing additional 100,000 job opportunities to help sustain families and improve the services provided to the population. It is worth noting that the estimated cost of the project to establish the Bahr Al-Baqar Bank system is about one billion dollars, and the Ministry of International Cooperation signed three previous agreements in the same framework, one of which is worth 70 million Kuwaiti dinars, equivalent to 238 million US dollars with the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, and two agreements worth 75 million Kuwaiti dinars, equivalent to 255 million dollars with the Kuwait Fund for Development.