Abu Dhabi Fund for Development earmarks AED11 billion to support education, healthcare sectors

In a bid to elevate the standard of living in developing countries and eradicate global poverty, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, ADFD, revealed that it has allocated nearly AED11 billion for development projects in the education and healthcare sectors.

By WAM
ABU DHABI, Oct 16 2018 (WAM)

In a bid to elevate the standard of living in developing countries and eradicate global poverty, the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development, ADFD, revealed that it has allocated nearly AED11 billion for development projects in the education and healthcare sectors.

In a report marking International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, which is observed on 17th October every year, ADFD, the leading national entity for development aid, highlighted its mission to help developing countries achieve sustainable economic growth and reduce poverty.

ADFD provides concessionary financial resources in the form of loans that satisfy concessional conditions in accordance with the requirements of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, OECD. The ADFD also manages Abu Dhabi government grants.

In cooperation with international financial institutions, the ADFD has worked to increase spending on key sectors such as health, food security, transport, housing, education, water, agriculture, and energy in order to reach the goals outlined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, as well as to achieve social and economic growth in developing countries.

Over the last four-and-a-half decades, ADFD has disbursed AED81 billion in concessionary loans and government grants across 88 countries.

Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director-General of ADFD, said, “The international community is taking great strides to improve the economic and social situation in many developing countries, which suffer from high rates of poverty and unemployment and the deterioration of health services and education. The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is an opportunity to further mobilise international efforts and boost cooperation, ensuring the creation of job opportunities and overall socio-economic well-being.”

Al Suwaidi added, “Over the years, the ADFD has intensified its efforts to finance health care as well as education projects, in particular, to reduce poverty rates and increase the standard of living in beneficiary countries.”

In addition to supporting sustainable development in key socio-economic sectors, the ADFD aims to reduce poverty rates by contributing to the healthcare and education sectors.

Among the strategic healthcare projects funded by ADFD is the 200-bed children’s hospital in King Hussein Medical City in Jordan. The fund earmarked AED73 million for the first two phases of the project.

Fitted out with the latest medical equipment to offer specialised care and treatment, the hospital has contributed to the development of the healthcare sector in Jordan by enhancing the quality of health services available to its citizens. The ADFD also supported the expansion of King Hussein Medical City through the allocation of AED735 million for the construction of a new 940-bed hospital, a state-of-the-art facility that can accommodate more than 1,200 patients daily. The ADFD also funded the Al-Bashir Hospital and the King Hussein Cancer Centre in Jordan.

In Pakistan, the ADFD provided AED94 million to build the Emirates Hospital, an integrated specialty medical centre with 1,000 beds. The facility has the capacity to receive 6,000 patients daily. The hospital is also equipped with laboratories and lecture halls to train military personnel and civilians to perform medical duties.

In the Seychelles, the ADFD funded an AED16.3 million integrated healthcare project that seeks to provide high-quality healthcare and treatment at an affordable cost.

In Turkmenistan, the fund allocated AED 43 million for the development of a series of integrated health projects that aim to improve the quality of healthcare services offered by the government. The project involves the construction of specialty hospitals to treat complicated diseases in a bid to reduce disabilities and mortality rates among the population.

The ADFD also financed the construction of the AED16 million Sheikh Khalifa Hospital in the Comoros and an AED 562 million cardiac centre in Bahrain to reduce the pressure on specialised heart disease treatment facilities in the country.

In line with the Pakistani government’s development goals, the ADFD has played a crucial and supporting role in improving and advancing the country’s education sector. In 2013, the ADFD managed an AED46 million grant earmarked for training colleges. This project led to the construction of three training colleges for individuals living in remote areas, including Warsak College in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, and Wana College and Spinkai Cadet College, both of which are located in South Waziristan.

In 2009, ADFD allocated AED 7 million to fund expansion works at the Sheikh Zayed International Academy, SZIA, in Pakistan. In Afghanistan, the ADFD managed an Abu Dhabi government grant worth an estimated AED27 million to develop the Sheikh Zayed University in Khost Province. This grant helped source and enhance specialised faculties at the university, particularly in the fields of medicine, engineering, law, arts, literature, and education sciences, among other diverse disciplines. The project also includes vocational career support initiatives to prepare all students for employment and equip them with knowledge and capabilities to overcome socio-economic challenges.

In Morocco, the fund managed an Abu Dhabi government grant worth AED239 million. The grant helped purchase equipment for the 916-bed Mohammed VI University Hospital in Marrakesh, a specialist medical complex that spans 8.8 hectares.

 

WAM/Hazem Hussein/Tariq alfaham

Water: a Private Privilege, not a Community Resource

By Shekhar Kapur
MUMBAI, India, Oct 16 2018 (IPS)

Water is becoming a private privilege rather than a community resource. It is also one of the world’s most precious resources. As vital to the survival of the human species as the air that we breathe.

Yet while many of us take water for granted, readily buying a pair of jeans that take 7,600 litres of water to produce or luxuriating in power showers, 844 million people across the world still live without access to clean water. What’s more, an estimated four billion people face severe water scarcity for at least one month every year.

That is why I have created short animation Brides of the Well, with international development charity, WaterAid, adapted from one of my short stories. It tells the tale of Saraswati and Paras; two teenagers living in Punjab, northern India, who are forced into child marriage and a life of servitude, centred round walking long distances to collect water for their aging husbands.

The story, while fictional, tells a universal truth; that we are a world divided between the haves and the have-nots. That while many think nothing of turning on the tap for a glass of clean, safe water, millions of others are forced to walk long distances for this most basic necessity, often from contaminated sources; their health, education, livelihoods and dreams curtailed as a result.

Growing up in India, I would wake between 4am and 5am every day to fill tankards of water for the household because that was the only time it was available. Today, in Mumbai, I see people living in slums struggling to find a safe, clean water source while across the road, wealthier homes have endless supplies on tap.

In India, Saraswati and Paras are typical of a staggering 163 million people – including roughly 81 million women – living without access to clean water close to home, meaning it has the highest population of people in the world without access.

A lack of clean water close to home affects women and girls disproportionately throughout their lives, with many bearing the burden of walking long distances to collect water, often from contaminated sources.

This means that often girls have no choice but to drop out of school from an early age, missing their education and opportunities and – in some cases – making them more vulnerable to early marriage.

Each year, more people gain access to clean water, but at the same time India is facing severe water shortages, with 600 million people affected by a variety of challenges including falling groundwater levels, drought, demand from agriculture and industry, and poor water resource management; all of which are likely to intensify as the impacts of climate change take hold.

According to a government think tank, the country’s water demand is projected to be twice the available supply by 2030. India is by no means alone. These rising demands mean that this life-giving resource is increasingly under threat across the globe.

In January, authorities in Cape Town, warned of an impending ‘Day Zero’; when they would be forced to turn off the city’s taps after three consecutive years of drought. While in China, the country’s first National Census of Water showed that in the past quarter century, 28,000 riverbeds have vanished and groundwater levels are falling by one to three metres per year.

Saraswati and Paras might be works of fiction but their story – of lives centred round collecting water from drying wells – is a daily reality for millions of people across the world.

My hope is that Brides of the Well will impress upon people the injustices that result from not having clean water; of lives curtailed and dreams left unfulfilled simply because an accident of birth has denied them this most basic human right.

I hope it will act as a rallying cry for action, encouraging people to think more about where our water comes from, and call for better access for everyone everywhere.

The global water crisis is not a problem for the next generation to tackle; it is a problem playing out across our television screens and in our newspaper headlines today.

We need urgent action, not just from our governments, private companies and the international community to help people currently living without access to this most basic resource. Only then will people like Saraswati and Paras truly be free.

*Shekhar Kapur went on to direct the hugely popular and multi-award winning historical biopics of Queen Elizabeth I, Elizabeth and its sequel Elizabeth: The Golden Age. He has been the recipient of the Indian National Film Award, the BAFTA Award, the National Board of Review Award, and three Filmfare Awards. His most recent project,Vishwaroopam II, is due for release this year.