SDF ready to play a key role in form­ing Eco­nomic Union of SAARC

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The fourth meet­ing of SAARC De­vel­op­ment Fund’s (SDF’s) Gov­ern­ing Coun­cil was held along with the Sev­enth meet­ing of the Fi­nance Min­is­ters of South Asian As­so­ci­a­tion for Re­gional Co­op­er­a­tion’s (SAARC) on Thurs­day, Au­gust 20, 2015.

The Gov­ern­ing Coun­cil of SDF com­pris­ing the Fi­nance Min­is­ters of the SAARC Mem­ber States agreed to ex­tend as­sis­tance in eco­nomic and in­fra­struc­ture sec­tor of the Mem­ber States by op­er­a­tional­iz­ing the Eco­nomic and In­fra­struc­ture Win­dows of the SAARC De­vel­op­ment Fund (SDF). The meet­ing also agreed on al­low­ing the SAARC De­vel­op­ment Fund (SDF) to in­vest in in­fra­struc­ture projects in a sin­gle SAARC Mem­ber State pro­vided it has di­rect ben­e­fits to at least one more SAARC mem­ber state, in an at­tempt to ac­ti­vate the in­fra­struc­ture and eco­nomic win­dows un­der the SDF.

“The pri­mary ob­jec­tive of SDF is to pro­mote the wel­fare of the peo­ple of SAARC re­gion, im­prove their qual­ity of life, and ac­cel­er­ate eco­nomic growth, so­cial progress and poverty alle­vi­a­tion. To sup­port these ob­jec­tives, SDF has man­date to iden­tify the projects, fi­nance projects, mo­bi­lize funds, pro­vide fi­nanc­ing and tech­ni­cal as­sis­tance in­clud­ing man­ag­ing of the Fund.” said Dr. Su­nil Moti­wal, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Of­fi­cer of SDF.

Dr. Moti­wal also said, “SDF is cur­rently im­ple­ment­ing nine re­gional projects with 56 im­ple­ment­ing and lead im­ple­ment­ing agen­cies cov­er­ing all the eight Mem­ber States un­der the So­cial Win­dow fund­ing. Our projects are in­tended to meet im­por­tant so­cioe­co­nomic needs in our mem­ber coun­tries. They range from strength­en­ing the liveli­hood of home-based work­ers and ad­dress­ing the needs of small farm­ers, en­abling con­nec­tiv­ity and con­tent of e-gov­er­nance to ru­ral pop­u­la­tion, to re­duc­ing in­fant mor­tal­ity and tak­ing steps at end­ing vi­o­lence against chil­dren. The SDF Sec­re­tar­iat has al­ready com­mit­ted USD 66.512 mil­lion for so­cial win­dow projects as of date out of which it has dis­bursed USD 32.54 mil­lion to the Mem­ber States for So­cial Win­dow projects as of date. We are now ready to ac­ti­vate the eco­nomic and in­fra­struc­ture win­dows as the Gov­ern­ing Coun­cil has agreed to al­low the SDF to in­vest in in­fra­struc­ture projects in a sin­gle SAARC mem­ber state pro­vided it has di­rect ben­e­fits to at least one more SAARC mem­ber state.”

Dr. Moti­wal fur­ther said that the Gov­ern­ing Coun­cil of SDF has ap­proved co fund­ing of projects through tech­ni­cal and fi­nan­cial sup­port from UN agen­cies, mul­ti­lat­eral/re­gional funds and other non-re­gional part­ners. This will lib­er­ate SDF to work and col­lab­o­rate with other in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions.

“SAARC De­vel­op­ment Fund is ready play a key role in form­ing eco­nomic union of SAARC through fund­ing of projects un­der its So­cial, Eco­nomic and In­fra­struc­ture Win­dows”

“I am happy to an­nounce that SDF is in­tend­ing to com­mence fund­ing of projects in Mi­cro, Small and Medium En­ter­prises (MSME) Pro­gram through re­gional fund­ing agen­cies in the SAARC Mem­ber States. SDF is also in the process of launch­ing the So­cial En­ter­prise De­vel­op­ment Pro­gram (SEDP) with col­lab­o­ra­tion of the World Bank Group. The goal of SEDP is to lever­age knowl­edge, skills and so­cial mo­bi­liza­tion ca­pac­ity of So­cial En­ter­prises to scale and dis­sem­i­nate in­no­va­tive so­lu­tions in the SAARC Re­gion”, said Dr. Moti­wal.

The SDF was es­tab­lished and in­au­gu­rated on 28th April, 2010 by the Heads of States/ Gov­ern­ments dur­ing the Six­teenth SAARC Sum­mit held in Thim­phu. The Fund serves as the um­brella fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tion for SAARC projects and pro­grammes, which are in ful­fil­ment of the ob­jec­tives of the SAARC Char­ter. It is aimed to con­trib­ute to re­gional co­op­er­a­tion and in­te­gra­tion through pro­ject col­lab­o­ra­tion.

SDF has three fi­nanc­ing win­dows – namely So­cial, Eco­nomic and In­fra­struc­ture. The So­cial Win­dow pri­mar­ily funds projects, on poverty alle­vi­a­tion, so­cial de­vel­op­ment fo­cus­ing on ed­u­ca­tion; health; hu­man re­sources de­vel­op­ment; sup­port to vul­ner­a­ble /dis­ad­van­taged seg­ments of the so­ci­ety; fund­ing needs of com­mu­ni­ties, mirco-en­ter­prises, ru­ral in­fra­struc­ture de­vel­op­ment. The Eco­nomic Win­dow ex­tends fund­ing to non-in­fras­truc­tural projects re­lated to trade and in­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment, agri­cul­ture, ser­vice sec­tor, science and tech­nol­ogy and other non-in­fra­struc­ture ar­eas and the In­fra­struc­ture Win­dow is pri­mar­ily uti­lized to fund projects in ar­eas such as energy, power, trans­porta­tion, telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions, en­vi­ron­ment, tourism and other in­fra­struc­ture ar­eas. Out of to­tal fund of USD 426 mil­lion, USD 117 mil­lion is com­mit­ted to the So­cial Win­dow, USD 154 mil­lion to Eco­nomic Win­dow and USD 147 mil­lion to the In­fra­struc­ture Win­dow.

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