ABU DHABI - Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) continued its support and investment activities across developing economies in 2021, despite the challenges posed by COVID-19. The Fund stepped up its efforts to strengthen the local private sector and promote exports as part of its priority to bolster the national economy.

ADFD’s annual report for 2021 highlights its achievements since its inception 50 years ago. The report gives an overview of the 10 key development projects it implemented last year with a total outlay of AED743.9, including six soft loans worth AED642.5 million allocated to five countries.

The Fund also earmarked AED101.4 million in government grants for four strategic projects in four countries. This takes the cumulative value of the loans and government grants provided by ADFD till the end of last year to AED52 billion and AED52.9 billion respectively.

ADFD’s investments totalled AED11 billion allocated to four different segments in 22 countries covering a wide range of sectors. This includes strategic contributions to 12 companies in various countries. Additionally, ADFD contributed to the foreign reserves of countries by depositing a total of AED41 billion with their central banks.

Together, ADFD’s finances, investments and bank deposits stood at AED156.9 billion by December, 2021, articulating the UAE's futuristic vision and pioneering model to achieve comprehensive development.

In the foreword of the annual report, H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Presidential Court, and Chairman of the ADFD Board of Directors, said, "Fifty years have passed since the establishment of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, which coincided with the historic decision of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan that led to the formation of the State of the Union. On July 15, 1971, the Abu Dhabi Fund began its journey creating remarkable socioeconomic impacts at the local and global levels along the way through developmental work, eventually carving out a place for itself among the most prominent development institutions in the world. Today, the organisation is widely recognised for its contributions to social and economic successes of many developing countries and as a catalyst of sustainable development and diversification of the UAE’s economy."

He added, "The success of the Abu Dhabi Fund owes to the late President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan; as well as President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Their care and support enabled and encouraged the Fund to work tirelessly towards consolidating the UAE’s global position as the largest donor for development assistance.

"The various strategic projects ADFD financed and programmes it launched in partnership with governments, national institutions and regional funds contributed to the realisation of sustainable development goals for 103 countries, improvement of the quality of life, and achievement of the objectives of the 2030 development plan.

"The Fund actively pursued the UAE’s policy of economic diversification through a strategic partnership with the private sector and enhanced the global competitiveness of national exports.

"To fulfil our country’s vision and objectives to stimulate the economies of developing nations and achieve sustainable development at the local and global levels, we have invested heavily and disbursed more than AED150 billion in soft loans and grants.

"All this would not have been possible for us to achieve without the hard work and dedication of our employees. I thank all of them whose exceptional efforts have enabled the Fund to fulfil our mission and the vision and mission of our leadership."

For his part, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Vice Chairman of the ADFD Board of Directors, called the establishment of ADFD a milestone in the UAE’s history. He highlighted the Fund’s contributions to sustainable development efforts around the world by saying, "ADFD devoted efforts to promoting the UAE’s development agenda in line with the vision of its leadership to achieve prosperity for the people of developing countries. To this end, it has forged strategic partnerships with several regional and international financial institutions, which in turn helped our country to maintain its developmental leadership.

"Over five decades, the Fund has made great strides in fulfilling its developmental mandate, enabling the UAE to solidify its enviable position on several global competitiveness indices. The Fund’s flexible strategies and proactive initiatives have also contributed significantly to the diversification and competitiveness of the national economy. Domestically, the Fund's specialised expertise and diligent efforts in creating new investment opportunities for Emirati enterprises helped local businesses to expand and enter new markets around the world, while enabling an attractive investment environment within the UAE and abroad. Furthermore, ADFD's innovative tools and bespoke financing solutions created new avenues in global markets for our national exports."

"We look forward to a better future for the world as we continue to support developing countries in their effort to achieve progress and prosperity, build a solid base to sustainably develop a knowledge and innovation-based economy and improve its competitiveness," he added.

Mohamed Saif Al Suwaidi, ADFD Director-General, noted that the unwavering support that ADFD received from the leadership enabled it to make an exceptional accomplishment and maintain a lead among developmental institutions around the world. "The directives of H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan have enabled the UAE to achieve recognition for the fifth consecutive year as the world’s largest provider of development financing, while ADFD’s strategic projects and other unique initiatives in many developing countries have boosted their economy," he explained.

Al Suwaidi pointed out that over half a decade, ADFD’s activities expanded to 103 countries in different continents, while the volume of its financing doubled to reach AED156.9 billion. Additionally, the Fund supported the national economy through exceptional initiatives and innovative tools.

He also noted that ADFD, as a strategic partner in national development, has made meaningful contributions to the UAE’s private sector growth. The Fund created opportunities for national companies by enabling them to develop and implement projects in beneficiary countries.

"We are confident that we will set many more milestones and continue to lead and act decisively to ensure that the UAE’s global development model remains a benchmark for excellence. We will leverage knowledge and innovation to build a prosperous future for all, while also expanding our contribution to the long-term development of the UAE," he said, in conclusion.

Sustainable projects.

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development provided soft loans, managed government grants and implemented strategic projects to support the socioeconomic objectives of developing countries. These projects comprise sectors such as infrastructure, transport, housing, agriculture and water, industry, renewable energy, education, health and tourism. The Fund’s support enabled beneficiary countries to advance their economies and raise the quality of life.

Promising quality investments.

The Fund’s investments have contributed to stimulating economic growth and achieving sustainable development across countries benefiting from its development assistance. In partnership with the public and private sectors, ADFD pursues investment opportunities in strategic companies and segments that serve vital sectors in different countries by holding full or partial ownership of shares, along with investment in capital markets through deposits and bonds. Such investment activities translate into a profound impact on developing countries by providing many job opportunities and improving the quality of life of communities.

Competitive national economy.

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development majorly supports the national economy through various initiatives and innovative financial tools. The aim is to enable the economy to be more diverse, competitive and sustainable. ADFD’s efforts in the UAE include the following: Financing private sector investments.

Abu Dhabi Fund for Development realises that the private sector is the growth engine of the national economy; thus it supports and promotes Emirati companies within and outside the country. It is with this aim that ADFD allocated AED3 billion for the period 2021-2025 to provide financing for projects that produce a tangible impact on the economy.

Driving exports through Abu Dhabi Export Office.

The Abu Dhabi Exports Office, the export-financing arm of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, continued to work according to the directives of the leadership to support the Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030 and the UAE Centennial 2071 by strengthening Emirati companies and enabling them to expand their businesses beyond the national borders. The ultimate objective is to help diversify the economy.

The Exports Office works towards bolstering the export sector by providing financing solutions for Emirati businesses to expand their global footprint. It also provides credit facilities on attractive terms to buyers, thus encouraging them to purchase Emirati products and services, which would eventually enable the country to consolidate its position as an export hub.