Abu Dhabi – MENA Herald: Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD) has offered the Government of Cuba AED55 million in concessionary loan to support the energy sector and promote the overall economic development in Cuba.
The loan agreement was formalized at a signing ceremony held during a visit by the UAE delegation headed by His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs to Cuba.
The agreement was signed by His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, and His Excellency Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment in the Republic of Cuba.
The loan will be allocated towards the installation of four 10 megawatt solar power plants in four provinces of Cuba, providing clean, sufficient and uninterrupted electricity to nearly 5,300 Cuban citizens. The project will help reduce cost of energy generation in Cuba, while the construction, operation and maintenance works will create many job opportunities and will improve the performance of Cuban economy.
ADFD’s gesture demonstrates its priority to strengthen the power sector in brotherly and friendly nations, through financing renewable energy projects due to their significant role in accelerating sustainable economic and social development.
His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of Abu Dhabi Fund for Development said: “ADFD places high importance on supporting renewable energy sector given its profound impact and numerous benefits on economies of developing countries and their sustainable development.
“The continued support for renewable energy projects will contribute to the creation of new economic opportunities for Cuban citizens through attracting new investments to the country and encouraging people’s participation in development.”
He added: “This project marks a new chapter in the mutual collaboration between ADFD and Cuba. At ADFD, we look forward to furthering this cooperation through supporting vital development projects that will support the Cuban economy and serve the mutual interests of the two parties.”
The renewable energy project involves the supply and installation of silicon photovoltaic panels at four power plants in the provinces of Matanzas, Santasbertos, Kmagoy and Sandicocopa and linking them to the national grid. The scope of the project also includes civil, electrical and mechanical works required for the operation and maintenance of the power plants.
The project falls within the Cuban Government’s strategy to install about 400 megawatts of solar power by 2020. It also articulates ADFD’s ongoing efforts to provide necessary funding for the development of renewable energy sector in developing countries.
In its priority to support renewable energy sector, ADFD in 2009 committed AED1.285 billion (US$350 million) towards the deployment of renewable energy in developing countries across seven loan cycles. ADFD agreed to provide loans worth AED183 million annually in each cycle to finance renewable energy projects in IRENA member countries.
The 10 megawatt project at a total cost of AED110.2 million is being funded as part of the second cycle of the ADFD/IRENA Project Facility that was announced in January 2015. Upon completion, the project will provide reliable and clean electricity to Cuba, proving the economic viability of renewable energy to meet the raising electricity demand in Cuba.
On the sidelines of the signing ceremony, ADFD delegation explored avenues of future cooperation with the Government of Cuba by financing further development projects in sectors prioritized by the Government of Cuba.
Commenting on ADFD’s pivotal role in supporting sustainable development in Cuba through financing this renewable energy project, His Excellency Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, Minister of Foreign Trade and Investment in the Republic of Cuba said: “Cuba is keen to synergize efforts and joint cooperation with ADFD towards financing development projects, which will positively reflect on various economic sectors and improve the standard of living for citizens of Cuba.”
He also praised the UAE’s efforts to support the economic stability and development programs in his country.
ADFD closely worked with IRENA in the assessment and selection of projects submitted to ADFD/IRENA Project Facility within the first and second project cycles in accordance with the set criteria.
These cycles provided US$98 million in loans to fund 11 projects in Ecuador, Maldives, Mali, Samoa Island, Mauritania (two projects), Sierra Leone, Argentina, Cuba, Iran, St. Vincent and the Grenadines.