AFESD Activities

The Arab Funds' Contribution to Achieving Sustainable Development Goals

Home AFESD Activities Sustainable Development Goals

The Arab Fund has devoted its efforts during its nearly fifty years of work to meeting the economic and social development needs of the Arab countries. The Arab Fund’s activities have helped Arab countries achieve several Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for more than four decades, well before the issuance of the United Nations document in 2015, specifying the 17 SDGs aiming to be achieved by the year 2030. The Fund had contributed both directly and indirectly to achieving these goals, which were first instilled by the UN as a global partnership to face the economic and social development challenges for the decade 2021-2030.

Since the start of its financing operations in 1974 until the end of march 2023, the Arab Fund has granted 710 loans, amounting to about 11,207 million Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of about 36,983 million US Dollars. The Fund also provided grants amounting to about 258 million Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of 852.7 million US Dollars, in addition to grants and aid aimed at supporting Palestine through the “Urgent Program to Support the Palestinian People”. The Arab Fund’s grants included all Arab countries, either directly or through joint projects, and comprised public sector grants, joint Arab action grants, and grants directed to non-government organizations.

In order to evaluate the contribution of the Arab Fund in achieving SDGs, the goals associated with each loan and grant were identified, and results indicate that the loans and grants covered all 17 SDGs directly or indirectly, albeit in varying and overlapping proportions. Press any of the following goals to learn more about the Arab Funds’ contribution towards the achievement of that goal.

End to poverty in all its manifestations

Poverty is a byproduct of economic and social development deficiencies. The Arab Fund has been actively working towards making poverty reduction a direct and indirect goal in all its development interventions. The number of direct and indirect loans focused on combating poverty reached 90 loans, representing 9.3% of the total number of loans given by the Fund, amounting to a total of about 993 million Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of 3.2 billion US Dollars, which constitutes about 6.7% of the total value of loans provided. These loans were concentrated in social development projects, rural development, public works, small and micro projects that generate job opportunities, social welfare programs, integrated and inclusive development, and social housing projects.

The Fund also granted 57 direct and indirect grants to help reduce extreme poverty, which constituted about 4% of the total number of grants provided by the Fund. These grants focused on supporting handicrafts, helping marginalized groups, supporting rural development, and covering part of the funding for the costs of field studies, and research aimed at examining and measuring poverty and extreme poverty.

End hunger and all Forms of Malnutrition

The agricultural sector, which serves as the main source of food and employment for the population in most Arab countries, has received great attention from the Arab Fund and from the Arab countries that benefit from its loans. The number of loans aimed at contributing to the development of food production, eliminating hunger, and promoting sustainable agriculture reached 102 loans, representing about 10.6% of the total number of loans, which amounts to 1,235.4 million Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of about 4.1 billion US Dollars, and constitutes about 8.3% of the total value of loans granted by the Fund. These loans were distributed between financing irrigation projects, expanding crop production areas, increasing livestock and fish production, developing productive assets, storage and marketing resources, as well as agricultural research development programs, and raising productivity levels. The Fund also provided 101 grants, amounting to 23 million Kuwaiti Dinars, which constitutes about 8.8% of the total value of grants distributed between food aid for the displaced and those affected by conflicts, wars and natural disasters, studies and research in agricultural issues, support for food security programs, support for agricultural pest control efforts, and technical support in the fields of plant agriculture, fisheries, and livestock.

Good Health and Well-Being

The Arab Fund preceded 18 loans worth 297.1 million Kuwaiti Dinars, equivalent to 980.4 million US Dollars, to finance the construction of hospitals for treatment and educational purposes and centers to combat infectious diseases, and to support efforts to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus. The Fund also provided 127 grants with a total value of about 27.9 million Kuwaiti Dinars, equivalent to 92 million US Dollars, which constitutes about 10.7% of the total value of grants given by the Fund. All grants in the health sector were directed to help treat cancer, provide therapeutic assistance to refugees and those affected by conflicts and wars, support efforts to combat viruses, especially the coronavirus, and to support the efforts of NGOs working to serve indigent patients.

Quality Education

Being a basic asset for raising the efficiency of human capabilities, work productivity and combating unemployment and poverty, education received special attention from the Arab Fund. To this effect, the Fund provided 17 loans worth 235.6 million Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of 777 million US Dollars, which financed the establishment and equipment of colleges and universities and supported the development of basic and secondary education by supporting school infrastructure and developing educational curricula and services in several Arab countries.

The education sector also received the largest amount of grants provided by the Arab Fund, with a total of 277 grants, worth about KD 30.9 million, equivalent to $102 million. These grants contributed to the provision of education services for refugee children, war-affected children, and people with special needs, and provided aid for selected disadvantaged students, training and research programs and skills acquisition, and equipment with modern educational means such as computers and the preparation of computer programs. The grants also contributed to funding children’s education programs, heritage preservation, and humanitarian work, distance education, and supported research and training programs for a number of institutions such as the Economic Research Forum and the Arab Planning Institute.

Gender Equality

The Fund provided 34 grants, amounting to 2.3 million Kuwaiti Dinars, equivalent to about 7.3 million US Dollars, directed to empowering women and girls. The Fund contributed to financing the activities of women’s associations aimed at rehabilitating and training women in handicraft professions, orphanages, blind women, elderly homes, educational facilities for girls, maternal health centers, dormitories for female students, laboratories for the rehabilitation of girls, and other activities related to the education, work, health, and rights of girls and women. All loans and grants provided by the Arab Fund contribute to empowering women by combating underdevelopment and poverty, especially in the fields of education, health, provision of clean drinking water and projects to provide job opportunities, as women’s vulnerability in these areas are doubled, especially in rural areas and marginal neighborhoods on the outskirts of cities.

Clean Water and Sanitation

The Arab region is located within the arid and semi-arid desert regions and is classified among the most water-poor countries in the world. Therefore, the Arab countries were keen to adopt water strategies within the framework of each country and at regional levels. The global production of desalinated water in the world, and the countries of the Arab Maghreb, tended to store rainwater through building dams, while the Nile Basin countries (Egypt, Sudan) and the Arab Mashreq countries sought to benefit from their rights in the river waters they pass through.

Within this framework, the Arab Fund was keen to actively contribute to financing drinking water and sanitation projects in the Arab countries. To this effect, it provided 157 loans for this purpose, with a total value of about 2.7 billion Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of about 8.9 billion US Dollars, which constituted about 18.1% of the total loans extended by the Fund. The Fund also provided 64 grants worth 13.5 million Kuwaiti Dinars, which were directed to finance private and rural activities for drinking water and to finance studies, research and conferences related to irrigation, drinking water and sanitation.

Affordable and Clean Energy

The energy sector obtained more than 31% of the Arab Fund’s loans, as it financed 168 loans for the generation, transmission, and distribution of electric power, at a cost of about 3,470 million Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of 11.4 billion US Dollars. The interest of the Arab countries and the Arab Fund has grown in developing energy resources for development and services, as it has contributed to financing the construction of about 53 generating stations in 17 Arab countries with a generating capacity of about 24 thousand MW, the largest percentage of which was in Egypt (60%), followed by Syria (20%), and Jordan (7.5%), with the remaining amount distributed amongst the rest of the member states.

The Fund also provided 62 grants worth 10.9 million Kuwaiti Dinars, equivalent to 35.9 million US dollars, allocated to financing research and conferences related to energy, for restructuring and organization, for the study of the electrical interconnection between Arab countries, and to equip small projects with solar energy.

Decent Work and Economic Growth

Achieving economic growth and providing job opportunities is one of the main areas of interest to the Arab Fund. To this effect, it granted member states 47 loans worth 653 million Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of 2.2 billion US Dollars, that was used to finance small and medium enterprises, private sector investment activities, and public sector services and production activities, in order to achieve growth and provide job opportunities. The Fund also provided 137 grants, amounting to about 17.6 million Kuwaiti Dinars, equivalent to 58 million US Dollars. These grants included most of the member states, with some being jointly financed between some or all of the member states, and contributed to financing economic and employment activities for youth, helping refugees by providing sustainable income and work opportunities, supporting development and public works funds, contributing to funding conferences, research, studies and consultancy programs to raise institutional and absorptive capacities to implement and manage economic and social development projects, and fund economic feasibility studies for related projects.

Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure

The Arab Fund financed the industry, innovation and infrastructure sectors in the Arab countries with about 100 loans, amounting to about 651.2 million Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of about 2,148 million US Dollars, which included establishing new and rehabilitating existing factories for the public and private sectors, financing the infrastructure of new industrial zones and cities, or modernizing and expanding old industrial areas, and financing the establishment and development of telecommunication and fiber-optic networks in the Arab countries. The Fund also provided 77 grants, amounting to 11.4 million Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of 37.6 million US Dollars that contributed to financing research and studies in the fields of industry and communications, implementing programs for training and qualifying cadres, equipping industrial laboratories, electronic portals and windows that serve industrial activity, informatics, communication networks, and digital language programs.

Reduced Inequalities

The Arab Fund has provided 24 direct and indirect loans worth 480 million Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of 1,584 million US Dollars, which constitutes 3.3% of the total loans approved by the Fund to member states. These loans contributed to reducing inequality within and among member states, and to financing rural development projects, integrated development programs, social development funds, and social housing projects. The Fund also provided 87 grants, amounting to about 7.0 million Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of 23 million US Dollars, which contributed to covering the costs of social care programs for people with disabilities, orphans, indigent patients and marginalized women, and the development of civil society organizations working in the areas of social and humanitarian work, the protection of vulnerable and marginalized groups, and support for empowerment efforts and access to basic public services.

Sustainable Cities and Communities

Cities and populated centers are growing very rapidly in the Arab world as a result of natural population growth and migration from the rural to urban areas and cities in search of job opportunities and services. Therefore, the challenges of providing services and adequate housing are increasing. From its part, the Arab Fund provided 170 loans to member states that included financing the construction and paving of roads, the construction of bridges, ports and airports, the construction of housing and railways, and urban development projects at a cost of 3,201.0 million Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of 10.6 billion US Dollars.

The Fund also awarded 90 grants, amounting to 57.3 million Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of 189 million US Dollars, which were allocated to support the maintenance of buildings and archaeological and historical sites, and the preservation of religious and cultural monuments, as well as financial support for project technical studies, the repairing of homes damaged by wars and natural disasters, and support for services in refugee camps, especially Palestinian camps.

Responsible Consumption and Production

To ensure the existence of sustainable and safe consumption and production systems in the Arab countries, the Arab Fund provided 25 loans, worth 302.4 million Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of 998 million US Dollars, which were allocated to financing projects for the establishment and development of commodity stores, fish preservation and processing markets, ports to facilitate the import and export of consumer goods and fishing, as well as storage projects.

The Fund also provided 21 grants worth about 2.3 million Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of 7.6 million US Dollars, dedicated to contributing to the formation of strategic stocks of commodities, the development of markets and marketing systems, safety control of imports and exports of commodities, health management of waste and residues, and the preparation of feasibility studies for some ports. Moreover, environmental safety conditions are essential in all projects financed by the Fund, whereby high-pollution projects such as coal-fired power plants are excluded from its financing policies.

Climate Action

The Arab Fund provided 18 loans, amounting to about 281.5 million Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of 929 million US Dollars, to contribute to help implement the necessary measures to combat climate change and its destructive impact by regulating gas emissions and promoting developments in the field of renewable energy. The Fund also provided 19 grants, worth 2.7 million Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of 8.9 million US Dollars, to combat climate change. These loans and grants have been directed to reducing heat emissions, meteorological monitoring of climate changes, support for climate awareness, financing conferences that discuss environmental issues and the impact of climate changes in member states, contributing to funding adaptation programs to climate changes in marginal areas, combating drought and desertification, and supporting seismic monitoring stations, and crops in saline regions. The Fund also financed projects that contribute to mitigating global warming levels, such as power plants using renewable sources and environmental sanitation projects.

Life Below Water

The Arab Fund contributed to the preservation of marine resources and life under water, by granting 10 loans worth about 47.8 million Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of about 158 million US Dollars. The Fund also provided 11 grants, amounting to 1685 thousand Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of 5.6 million US Dollars. These loans and grants have been allocated for the development of fisheries, the development of marine fishing, the study and support of fish farming, conducting of surveys of the Arabian Gulf, the financing of the sustainable management program for fish resources in the Red Sea, and the development of several piers and ports for marine fishing.

Life On Land

The Arab Fund has contributed to protecting wildlife and forests and ensuring their sustainability by financing 7 projects with loans amounting to about 50 million Kuwaiti Dinars, equivalent to 165 million US Dollars. The Fund also provided 87 grants, amounting to 15.2 million Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of 50.1 million US Dollars. These loans and grants were devoted to combating the effects of droughts and agricultural pests, developing oases, supporting agricultural research in dry areas, establishing public gardens and parks, improving agricultural production systems, preserving agricultural resources, constructing desert barns and dams, developing life science research, marketing biotechnology, supporting veterinary health care and rural development, and supporting the preparation of studies, maps and agricultural and water surveys.

Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions

The Arab Fund provided 6 loans, amounting to 118.5 million Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of about 391 million US Dollars, and 73 grants, amounting to 20.2 million Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of 66.7 million US Dollars, directed to support education, health, water and shelter in refugee camps, and emergency relief. Moreover, these loans and grants contributed to covering the costs of demining programs and raising awareness of their dangers, supported judicial activity, institutional activity, knowledge, religious tolerance, community peace, combated corruption and violence, supported youth activities and conferences, as well as meeting the urgent needs of the damage caused by the Israeli occupation.

Partnerships For The Goals

The Arab Fund is keen on strengthening the national, regional, and international development partnership and strengthening the partnership between Arab countries collectively or within the framework of regional organizations. From this standpoint, the Arab Fund has financed several joint projects in the fields of electric power, roads, and communications, and awarded 117 grants, worth about 12.5 million Kuwaiti Dinars, the equivalent of 41.2 million US Dollars, which were directed towards contributing to the financing of Arab and international economic conferences, joint development programs, work and training, specialized economic studies and research, activities of Arab youth, civil and humanitarian associations, and activities related to the preservation of antiquities and heritage, as well as cultural and intellectual productivity.

The Arab Fund also coordinates between 11 Arab funds, banks, institutions, and joint Arab financing programs to finance development in the Arab countries. Moreover, the Fund coordinates with international financial institutions to contribute to meeting the financing needs of large development projects in the Arab region.

Furthermore, the first two links below show the cumulative distribution of the loans and grants, provided by the Arab Fund, in order to achieve the various sustainable Development Goals in the Arab countries, while the third link refers you to an article describes the Contributions of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development in satisfying Arab development needs and achieving SDGs.
Distribution of Arab Funds’ Loans according to the Sustainable Development Goals (by number)

Distribution of Arab Funds’ grants according to the Sustainable Development Goals (by number)

The Arab Fund recently prepared and published a paper titled “Contributions of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development in satisfying Arab development needs and achieving SDGs”

The paper was included in a special edition of the “A Better World” book, the special edition was dedicated to highlighting International Actions and Commitments in support of the Sustainable Development Goals SDG Summit 2023.