VIENNA - The OPEC Fund for International Development, OFID, and the Sultanate of Oman have launched a new strategic partnership to help drive development in line with the country’s ambitions to become a major regional logistics hub.
The first joint project, the Alsharqiya Expressway Tunnels Project, is already underway to improve connectivity between the north and eastern regions of the country. The project is co-financed by a US$130 million OPEC Fund public sector loan and the Sultanate’s government.
The project aligns with Oman’s plans to strengthen the transportation sector to reinforce its credentials as a regional logistics hub: the Alsharqiya Expressway Tunnels Project is just one in a series of new investments with this goal in mind and the OPEC Fund stands ready to provide further support.
As part of the project, two ‘twin-tube’ tunnels have been constructed with a combined length of around four kilometres. The tunnels safely bypass a critical floodplain, a major town and an area prone to landslides. The ultimate objective is to provide better access to jobs, markets and public services.
OPEC Fund Director-General, Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said, "We are delighted to launch a major development partnership with the Sultanate of Oman. It is befitting to mark the beginning of our cooperation with such a landmark project that includes the first-ever tunnels in the country and provides safer travel for over one million people. We look forward to building our partnership and working on many more development projects together."
The project aligns with a number of Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, including SDG 9 on industry, innovation and infrastructure, and SDG 8 on decent work and economic growth. In addition, agriculture and tourism, two key sources of income-generation in the region, will be strengthened.
OFID was established in January 1976 by the then 13 member countries of OPEC; including the United Arab Emirates. It is the development finance institution established as a channel of aid to developing countries.
© Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2020.