OPEC Fund extending $25.5m loan to Benin to empower workforce

The OPEC Fund for International Development has announced a $25.5 million loan to the Government of Benin aimed at enhancing the technical and professional skills of the nation’s workforce.

The agreement, signed by OPEC Fund Director-General Abdulhamid Alkhalifa and Benin’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Romuald Wadagni, took place at the Saudi-Arab-African Economic Conference in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

This financial assistance will propel the Ouidah & Djougou Vocational Training Schools Project, set to overhaul technical high schools in the cities of Djougou and Ouidah. The project’s focus is to modernize facilities and revise educational curricula, ensuring they are attuned to the current job market’s requirements. It will also provide teacher training to equip them with the latest skills.

Photo from OPEC Fund

The initiative is expected to benefit approximately 2,000 students annually, with a commitment to empower female students, who will make up a quarter of the total. The move is part of a broader strategy to reduce youth unemployment and shrink the informal sector, consistent with the government’s developmental programs.

The collaboration between the OPEC Fund and Benin dates back to 1976, with the Fund having approved over 25 public sector loans totaling nearly US$150 million to date. These loans have supported a range of sectors, including transport, energy, education, rural development, and health.

The OPEC Fund stands as a unique global finance institution, providing support exclusively from member countries to non-member countries.

Since its inception in 1976, the Fund has committed over US$24 billion to developmental projects across more than 125 countries, with the aim of promoting economic growth and social progress. The OPEC Fund’s vision is to foster a world where sustainable development is a reality for all, with its efforts recognized by credit rating agencies Fitch and S&P.

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