Kuwait will loan African countries $1 billion over the next five years and invest another $1 billion, the ruler of the Gulf state said at an economic development conference on Tuesday.
The soft loans will be granted through the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED), Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmed al-Jaber al-Sabah told the opening session of a joint Arab-African summit in Kuwait, whose oil revenues make it one of the richest countries in the world per capita.
“I have instructed the officials in the fund to provide loans with easy terms to the African countries worth $1 billion over the next five years,” he said.
The loans would come on top of investments by Kuwaiti companies in a number of sectors, he said.
The emir also said that Kuwait, in coordination with the World Bank and other international institutions, aimed to “invest and guarantee the investment of a billion dollars over the next years to African countries, with a focus on the infrastructure sector”.
Africa has two special attractions for the arid desert countries of the Gulf: it is a source of food and arable land, and it is launching an infrastructure building boom that recalls the Gulf’s own construction spree of the past decade.