The OPEC Fund for International Development-the development finance institution of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries-has signed a USD 50 million loan with Tanzania to finance the ‘Fourth Tanzania Poverty Reduction Project’.
The project will build rural infrastructure in the Arusha, Mwanza, Geita and Simiyu regions in northern Tanzania and the Njombe region in the south to boost economic opportunities and improve access to social services for more than 900,000 people.
Although Tanzania has made progress in reducing poverty over the past decade, around 26 million people – close to half the total population – live on less than USD1.90 per day.
The Tanzanian government has launched a number of programs to tackle this challenge, including social safety net initiatives and three previous phases (also co-financed by the OPEC Fund) of the new project.
Phase four will build infrastructure for education, health, water, agriculture and transportation, and create income-generating activities in animal husbandry and vegetable growing, in addition to employment opportunities.
OPEC Fund Director-General Dr. Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said: “The OPEC Fund has been committed to helping Tanzania reduce poverty and improve socio-economic conditions for many years. The present loan will help communities to help themselves by building capacity, strengthening food security and household incomes, and improving access to social amenities. We have a strong partnership with Tanzania and look forward to seeing more progress on key development indicators in the near future.”
The OPEC Fund and Tanzania have a partnership that spans 45 years. During this time, the organization has committed more than USD 370 million for 38 public sector operations (including the present project) across a wide range of sectors.
Transportation is one vital sector receiving OPEC Fund support. A recent USD26 million commitment from the organization is financing the Kazilambwa-Chagu Road Upgrading Project.
The road is part of the 1,260 km east-west corridor, which links Tanzania’s two major ports of Dar Es Salaam in the east to Kigoma in the west.
Improved connectivity will help increase agricultural and tourism-related activities, and facilitate trade with neighboring Burundi and DR Congo.