Part of GCC program to improve Bahrain’s economic situation

MANAMA: KFAED’s Director General Abdulwahab Al-Bader (left), Bahraini Minister of Finance and Economy Sheikh Salman bin Khalifa (center) and Bahraini Minister of Electricity and Water Affairs Wael Al-Mubarak sign the agreement. — KUNA

MANAMA: Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) signed yesterday a KD 29.5 million ($100 million) loan agreement with Bahrain to help finance the development of a 400-kilovolt (kV) transmission network. Present at the signing of the loan agreement was KFAED’s Director General Abdulwahab Al-Bader, Bahraini Minister of Finance and Economy Sheikh Salman bin Khalifa and Bahraini Minister of Electricity and Water Affairs Wael Al-Mubarak.

Bader told the press on the sidelines of the signing that this agreement came within the financial balance program signed by Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and UAE last year with Bahrain, for the next five years to improve the economic situation. KFAED is administering grants provided by Kuwait’s government worth $1.5 billion, under the framework of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Development Program, he added. The Fund’s loan covers about 10.5 percent of the project’s total cost, he said, stressing that the project was financed under loan agreement No. 1/62 of $261 million. The total contribution of the fund to the project is equivalent to about KD 140.8 million. He explained that the project aims to reduce the high short currents for the safe operation of equipment, provide greater flexibility in the network, and transfer electricity power reliably and economically.

Bader added that it aimed to raise the capacity and efficiency of the electricity transmission network, as well as exchange electricity with the Gulf interconnection network economically. The project includes the construction of three substations of 220/400 kV in Al-Hidd, Umm Al-Hassam and Riffa areas and a 400 kV substation in Ras Legrain area, he added. It contributes to achieving Sustainable Development Goal 7 on attaining clean energy at affordable prices, he noted.

Meanwhile, Sheikh Salman bin Khalifa thanked Kuwait for its great and unlimited support to the development process in his country. He commended the historic ties between both sides, noting the role played by KFAED in supporting various economic development processes in Arab countries. KFAED’s loan for the 400kV power transmission networks project represents the Fund’s 18th loan to finance projects in Bahrain. It is worth mentioning that KFAED provided 17 loans with a total value of about KD 150 million (about $510 million) to finance projects in various sectors, in addition to 13 grants worth KD 33.7 million (approximately $115 million). Withdrawals from loans amounted to KD 149 million and repayments amounted to KD 98 million, or 66 percent of repayment obligations.

The signing ceremony was attended by Bahraini Deputy Prime Minister Sheikh Khaled bin Abdullah Al-Khalifa and Kuwait’s Ambassador to Bahrain Sheikh Thamer Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. The finance ministers of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and UAE signed last year the framework arrangements for financial cooperation between their governments and Bahrain’s government by contributing $10 billion in financing and soft loans to the financial balance program aimed at stabilizing the public finances of Bahrain. – KUNA