The Director-General of the OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund) Dr Abdulhamid Alkhalifa has signed a US$25 million loan agreement in support of a water and sanitation project in Havana, Cuba.

The newly-signed loan is the seventh OPEC Fund co-financed development operation to support Cuba’s water and sanitation sector.

The loan will finance the West Havana Sanitation and Pluvial Drainage Project with additional funding provided by the Cuban government. Dr Alkhalifa signed the agreement with Antonio Carricarte Corona, Deputy Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment of Cuba, while on a high-level mission to the country.

Dr Alkhalifa, who met with President of Cuba Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez during the mission to discuss development cooperation, said the project would help improve health and environmental conditions for around 320,000 Cubans and noted the project is well-aligned with the country’s National Water Plan.

“The new investment will support the Cuban government’s efforts to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6: ensuring access to water and sanitation for all. Working together, we have made good progress on improving the quality, quantity and sustainability of safe water and sanitation for the people of Cuba. We look forward to making further strides with this new project.”

The OPEC Fund’s delegation also visited a number of co-financed projects in Cuba, including the site of the new water and sanitation works and the Havana Electricity Rehabilitation project.

The OPEC Fund financed the latter project with three loans totaling US$32 million – co-finance was provided by BANDES (Banco de Desarrollo Económico y Social de Venezuela) and the Cuban government. Dr Alkhalifa also visited sites financed under the ongoing Solar Energy Development project, to which the OPEC Fund contributed US$45 million.

Also during the mission, meetings took place to discuss the status of ongoing projects and new financing priorities with many high-ranking officials including (in chronological order): Antonio Rodriguez Rodriguez, President of Cuba’s National Hydraulic Resources Institute; Vice Presidents Ricardo Cabrisas Ruíz and Inés Chapman; and Raúl Garcia Barreiro, Minister of Energy and Mining.

The OPEC Fund’s partnership with Cuba began in 2002. Since then, more than US$278 million has been approved to support the development of the country’s water and sanitation, energy, and agriculture sectors.

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