(INEWS)Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) Chief Executive Officer, Sultan Al-Marshad, today signed two development loan agreements worth $150 million with the Guyana’s Minister of Finance Dr. Ashni Singh, to fund the “Infrastructural Development Works for the Housing Sector Project”, and the “Construction of Wismar Bridge Project”.
The signing ceremony was attended by the Collin Croal, Minister of Housing and Water, Juan Edghill, Minister of Public Works, Deodat Indar, Minister within the Ministry of Public Works, Susan Rodrigues, Minister within the Ministry of Housing and Water, and other officials from both sides.
The signing of these agreements is part of the efforts undertaken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through the SFD, to support sustainable development in developing countries and Small Island Developing States (SIDS).
Since its establishment in 1974, SFD has implemented more than 700 development projects and programs in 87 countries worldwide. Therefore, the signings today mark SFD’s first presence in Guyana, making it the 88th country to receive funding from SFD for major development projects. These agreements align closely with SFD’s goal of supporting the housing, social, and transport infrastructure sectors in developing countries.
The first loan agreement, worth $100 million, for the Infrastructural Development Works for the Housing Sector Project, aims to respond to the growing population demands by developing the infrastructure to provide about 2,500 housing units across three different regions in Guyana.
Additionally, the project includes paving the main and secondary roads, establishing water, sewage and electricity networks, digging wells for each of the project areas, and the construction of social facilities serving multiple benefits. It will not only address the current housing shortage and improve living conditions, but also stimulate the local economy through direct and indirect job opportunities in the housing sectors.
The second loan agreement, worth $50 million, for the Construction of Wismar Bridge Project, aims to build a four-lane bridge parallel to the existing Mackenzie-Wismar Bridge, to improve road network connectivity and the flow of transportation, relieving traffic jams, and enhancing road safety. The bridge will also link to the existing road network on both sides of the Demerara River, ensuring easier access to nearby public facilities such as Mackenzie Hospital, and other government facilities. While positively impacting transportation, the bridge is also expected to contribute towards social and economic development and creating employment opportunities in Guyana.
During the signing ceremony, President Ali thanked the Kingdom and People of Saudi Arabia and complimented the leadership of the Saudi Fund for Development for the efficient manner in which they were able to conclude the agreements and the ease in which they do business. He also complimented the local team led by the Minister of Finance, Hon. Dr. Ashni Singh for the efficient way in which they were able to advance the projects.
“We are very pleased that we were able to advance the projects at such a pace”, the Head of State said as he reminded that projects will not only bring temporary relief but also permanent benefit to citizens as it forms part of the larger infrastructure masterplan of the country and will help Guyana on its journey to modernisation.
On this occasion, the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) Chief Executive Officer, H.E. Sultan Al-Marshad, said: “Today’s agreements mark SFD’s first presence in Guyana and the beginning of development cooperation between both our countries. The two agreements signed today aim to support the housing and transportation infrastructure sectors in the country, which will lead to major benefits in health, education and the standard of living. Both of these infrastructure projects will support access to vital services, and represent an essential drive for achieving seven United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG 3, Good Health and Wellbeing, SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation, and SDG 11, Sustainable Cities and Communities.”
The development cooperation emphasizes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to supporting Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to overcome sustainable development and climate change challenges. The agreements, furthermore, reaffirm the importance of international cooperation and solidarity to achieve sustainable development goals and foster economic and social growth, particularly in SIDS.