A high level delegation of Pakistan under the leadership of SAARC CCI Senior Vice President (SVP) Iftikhar Ali Malik will leave for India on June 30 to participate in three days SAARC Development Fund (SDF) Partnership Conclave 2018 commencing from July 01 aimed at strategic growth in the South Asia region through project collaboration and regional integration.
Talking to a traders delegation from Islamabad jointly led by Zubair Ahmad Malik and Malik Sohail Hussain here Thursday , he said the conclave proposes to solicit cross-border project co-financing under the “social, economic and infrastructure windows of SDF” in SAARC member states. “The thematic concepts to be discussed during the conclave for funding would be energy, transportation, ICT, trade and commerce, agriculture and allied sectors, and poverty alleviation, among others,” he added.
He further said SDF has also invited bankable project as it is exploring the possibility of forming a consortium of funding agencies for co-financing of projects in the SAARC countries. Shedding light on the aims of SDF, he said the main purpose of establishing SDF is to promote the welfare of the people of SAARC region, improve their quality of life and accelerate economic growth, social progress and poverty alleviation in the region. “SDF serves as the umbrella financial institution for SAARC projects and programs which are in fulfillment of the objectives of the SAARC Charter. SDF promotes Regional Integration and Economic Cooperation in the region and has three funding windows viz. Social, Economic and Infrastructure,” he added.
Iftikhar Malik said that SDF is currently implementing twelve regional projects with more than 70 implementing and lead implementing agencies covering all the eight Member States under the Social Window funding. “We have already committed USD 73.74 million for social window projects as of date out of which it has disbursed USD 47 million to the Member States for Social Window projects. Recently we have in-principle approved two energy infrastructure projects in the region with a loan commitment of USD 30 million under our Infrastructure Window. Other potential regional connectivity projects are under our active consideration to co-finance in SAARC Member states,” he added.
Throwing light on the upcoming project of SDF, he said soon Social Enterprise Development Program (SEDP) as part of its Social Window will be launched and this program will be implemented in all the SAARC Member States with the objective of identifying and building social enterprises by using a mix of grants and concessional returnable capital. The program intends to fund around 80 enterprises across the 8 SAARC Member States annually.