The OPEC Fund is a multilateral development finance institution, which seeks to promote co-operation between Member States of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and other developing countries. It was conceived at the Conference of the Sovereigns and Heads of State of the OPEC Member Countries held in the Algiers, in March 1975. The Fund was established in January 1976, as a collective financial facility to consolidate the assistance extended by its Member Countries. The Fund’s resources are additional to those already made available by OPEC states through a number of bilateral and multilateral channels. The resources of the Fund consist mainly of voluntary contributions by OPEC Member Countries and income derived from the Fund’s investments and loans (interest and service charges). The Fund’s operations were launched in August 1976 with initial resources of about USD 800 million, which have been replenished three times. They have been further increased by the profits accruing to seven OPEC Member Countries through the sale of gold held by the International Monetary Fund (IMF). At the end of 2003, pledged contributions were USD 3.4 billion while paid-in contributions were USD 2.9 billion.
All non-OPEC developing countries are, in principle, eligible for Fund assistance. However, the least developed and other low-income countries are accorded priority and, therefore, receive a larger share of the Fund’s assistance. Over the years, the Fund has spread its total lending activities to 111 countries, of which 48 are in Africa, 35 in Asia, 24 in Latin America and the Caribbean, and four in Europe.
The Fund undertakes the technical, economic and financial appraisal of a project submitted to it, or entrusts such an appraisal to an international development agency or the qualified agency of an OPEC Member Country. The Fund often co-finances projects and programmes already appraised and approved by other development institutions. Similarly, the administration of a number of the Fund’s project and programme loans has been entrusted to appropriate development aid agencies.
Since its inception, the Fund has implemented 14 lending programmes. The 15th lending programme, approved for a 3-year duration, became effective on 1 January 2002. By the end of March 2004, USD 5.5 billion had been committed in the form of 990 public sector loans, and USD 3.5 billion had been disbursed. In the private sector area, where the Fund started recently to be active directly, 51 operations have been approved, in support of private entities in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean and Europe. Loans are supplemented by grants to support technical assistance, research and similar activities, food aid, emergency assistance, etc.
From 1977 till 2003, OPEC Fund provided loans worth around USD 220 million for 15 projects in India.