Kuwait's assistance helps improve living standards of hundreds of millions of people: Khoja

KUWAIT: His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah receives a memento from the World Bank Group yesterday. — Amiri Diwan photos

KUWAIT: The World Bank Group's honoring of His Highness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah comes in recognition of his role in supporting international efforts to achieve sustainable development and fight poverty by providing aid to some 100 developing countries. The volume of Kuwaiti government aid is about 1.2 percent of its gross national income, said Ghassan Khoja, the World Bank Group Resident Representative in Kuwait.

"Kuwait provides such assistance without conditions or political interference," Khoja said, adding that Kuwait's assistance directly contributes to improving living standards of hundreds of millions of poor people around the world. He said that this aid also contributes to the construction of infrastructure facilities of developing countries, to enable them to achieve economic development and join global economy.

Kuwait development fund
He pointed out to the establishment of Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) is evidence of Kuwait's commitment to help developing countries by allocating part of its resources to serve development efforts. The total value of the loans provided by KFAED since its inception exceeded $16 billion, while the value of grants amounted to about $7 billion, he pointed out. He further noted that Kuwait supports many regional and international development institutions, including the International Development Association (IDA), which is one of the most important institutions in the World Bank Group, which supports development in low-income countries.

Moreover, Khoja praised His Highness the Amir's contributions to Arab and international conferences by allocating large sums to support small projects and encouraging entrepreneurs, as well as the technology sector. Kuwait has been a key member of the IDA for over 55 years, he said, adding that the World Bank Group recognizes the importance of Kuwait as a long-time financial contributor to the Foundation since 1977.

As one of the World Bank Group's institutions, IDA is one of the most effective platforms to fight poverty in the world. As a long-standing donor to IDA during the fiscal year 2018 (July 2017-June 2018), Kuwait assisted in achieving important results, including 1.9 million farmers in relying on improved agricultural technology methods and 530,000 trained teachers, he said. Moreover, 5.8 million people have access to improved sanitation facilities; 18.1 million children have been vaccinated; social safety net has covered 12.1 million people; nine million people have benefited from financing procedures that focus on job creation; 8.9 million people were provided with improved electricity; 36.8 million people have basic health, nutrition and population services and 13.2 million have access to improved water sources.

World Bank's office
On the World Bank's office in Kuwait, Khoja said that it had participated with the Kuwaiti government in a number of technical reports and advisory services. He noted that at the opening of the office in 2009, the World Bank participated in number of activities to support various ministries, as well as a number of strategic projects dealing with education and financial management, which worked to improve the social and economic conditions in Kuwait.

Khoja added that the Kuwait has supported the establishment of several public bodies such as the Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha), the National Center for Education Development, and Kuwait's National Fund for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). He pointed to the development of the five-year (2016-2020) World Bank's strategy to support the Kuwaiti government's efforts to promote public sector reforms, encourage non-oil businesses, create jobs, and promote the development of vital infrastructure. He said that the World Bank's program will focus on supporting the seven pillars of the Kuwaiti development plan, to be in line with His Highness's the Amir 2035 vision. He also underlined the efforts exerted by the office to intensify its role in the region, especially in Iraq, referring to Kuwait's pledges during the Kuwait Conference for Reconstruction in Iraq, held in February 2018. - KUNA