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Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the leading national entity for international development aid, is supporting the seventh edition of the World Government Summit (WGS 2019) as a strategic partner, and participating in several crucial sessions and meetings.

At WGS 2019, the Fund was recognised by the Global Council for Sustainable Development Goals for its efforts in achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

On day two of WGS 2019, His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi, Director General of ADFD, participated in an open session entitled ‘Investing in Digital Economy: New Approach for Development Funds’.

Moderated by His Excellency Dr Abdulrahman Al Hamidy, Director-General and Chairman of the Board of the Arab Monetary Fund (AMF), distinguished panellists headlining the session included Dr Fahad Abdullah Al Mubarak, Minister of State, and Secretary General of the G20 Saudi Secretariat, Abdul Hakim Elwaer, Adviser to the President at Islamic Development Bank (IDB), Jin Liqun, President of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and Ferid Belhaj, Vice President, MENA Region at the World Bank Group.

The session highlighted that within the prevailing digital era, development funds play a crucial role as key partners in supporting sustainable development and in advancing the process through the financing and management of development projects and digital infrastructure.

In strengthening national economies, development funds reduce the financial burdens on the state budget, and improve key sectors needed to achieve sustainable development. The panelists concluded that the right digital infrastructure investments act as the backbone of better functioning economies and more inclusive societies.

Speaking at Investing in Digital Economy: New Approach for Development Funds’ session, His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi said: “Development funds design their policies to meet the outlined national priorities of beneficiary countries. We work to enhance government capacity and bring the national plans of beneficiary countries to fruition, through supporting them in building their institutions and financing infrastructure projects. Digitalized economies are today crucial to achieving the challenging sustainable global agenda and therefore financial institutions have begun to invest in financing information, technology, and communication (ICT) projects.”

His Excellency Al Suwaidi added: “In order to shape an enabling ecosystem for a digital economy, countries need to implement innovative policies and strategies to strengthen education systems, build capacities, ensure a solid and reliable electricity supply, instil good governance mechanisms, and strengthen big data infrastructure. Strong ICT infrastructure is the building block for a digital economy. ADFD’s funding operations help in achieving that by creating an enabling environment, building capacities and funding major development projects in all key sectors including education and electricity.”

Commenting on the importance of collaboration, His Excellency Al Suwaidi concluded: “The Arab Coordination Group is a perfect example of coordination in optimizing co-financing and sharing best practices. At ADFD we fund up to 50 per cent of the total project cost thus creating an opportunity for joint financing either from governments or the private sector.”

Speaking on ADFD’s participation at WGS 2019, His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi said: “As a strategic partner, ADFD is proud to attend the seventh edition of the World Government Summit. As a leading national institution driving sustainable and economic development, we are keen to join key stakeholders in discussing best practices and contribute to building a roadmap for the rapidly changing global socio-economic landscape.”

His Excellency Mohammed Saif Al Suwaidi also joined the fourth Arab Fiscal Forum, which gathered regional finance ministers and experts to analyze current challenges and discuss strategies for fiscal sustainability, transparency, debt management and capacity building in Arab countries.

The World Government Summit organization is the primary global forum dedicated to shaping the future of governments worldwide. The summit takes place in February every year in Dubai, UAE, bringing together prominent leaders from the public and private sectors, as well as scientists, authors, and entrepreneurs to engage in future-focused dialogues.

Since its inception in 1971, ADFD has financed thousands of development projects worth approximately AED84 billion in 88 beneficiary countries. Mandated to implement Abu Dhabi government’s development program policies, the Fund provides concessionary loans, manages Abu Dhabi government grants and injects direct long-term investments with the aim of driving economic development in partner countries.