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OPEC Fund approves over US$600 million in new financing for global development




VIENNA, Dec. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — The OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund) has approved more than US$600 million in new development financing at the meeting of its Governing Board today and in the final quarter of 2023.

The 18 new projects reflect the OPEC Fund’s commitment to advancing sustainable social and economic development in its partner countries. The new funds will support projects in the transportation, health, education and energy sectors, and will promote climate action and food security, and bolster international trade.

OPEC Fund Director-General Abdulhamid Alkhalifa said: “In 2023 we continued to strengthen our impact and increase commitments in support of sustainable social and economic development in our partner countries all across the globe. The new projects approved today will empower communities and improve living conditions for millions of people, while promoting climate resilience, food security, international trade and better health and education services.”

The OPEC Fund Governing Board approved the following projects:

Public sector operations:

China: A US$50 million loan will support the financing of the Jiangxi Vocational Education Project to expand and strengthen vocational education in the Jiangxi province and provide market-oriented education for about 5,000 students every year.

Comoros: A US$17 million loan will co-finance the El-Maarouf Hospital Project, improving the existing hospital infrastructure and extending its capacity by 300 beds to provide modern healthcare services to the island state’s population.

Liberia: A US$20 million loan will support the Mano River Union Road Development and Transport Facilitation Project (Liberia Section). The upgrading of the existing road infrastructure will facilitate trade between Liberia and Sierra Leone by reducing travel times and increasing trade volumes. 

Madagascar: A US$30 million loan will support the co-financing of the Facilitation of Commerce Corridors Project, enabling the interconnection of the Island’s southern region and integrating commercial road and sea networks. This will increase access to remote areas, increase economic activity and improve living conditions.

Malawi: A US$20 million loan will co-finance the Shire Valley Transformation Program, Phase II, providing access to sustainable irrigation services and promoting the commercialization of agricultural production in the south of Malawi to the benefit of nearly 50,000 households and smallholder farmers.

North Macedonia:  A €50 million loan will co-finance a Sustainability and Resilience Program for the implementation of policy reforms to promote climate action in the energy and financial sectors, strengthen the sustainability of public finances and safeguard the stability of the financial sector.

Paraguay: A US$50 million loan will co-finance the Rehabilitation, Upgrading and Maintenance of National Route PY22 (Concepción Vallemi-San Lazaro) and Access Roads Project. This will improve the connection between the Port of Vallemi and the city of Concepción, promoting regional integration and trade.

Senegal: A €38.03 million loan will co-finance the Cities Modernization Program, which will develop urban roads and improve social and economic infrastructure in the six cities Podor, Richard-Toll, Ourossogni, Mékké, Dahra and Kébémer.

Tajikistan: A US$10 million loan will co-finance the Guliston-Farkhor-Panj-Dusti Road Reconstruction Project (Phase 1) to improve the efficiency and quality of Tajikistan’s road network and to promote the country’s potential for international transit traffic.

Tanzania: A US$41 million loan will co-finance the Upgrading Kagwira-Karema Port Road Project (Kasekese-Karema section). The upgraded transport infrastructure will raise living standards in the Katavi region in the Western part of the country by unlocking economic opportunities in trade, agriculture, fisheries and tourism.

Türkiye: A US$50 million loan to the Development and Investment Bank of Türkiye (TKYB) will co-finance a Food Security and Resilience Project providing immediate financial support to the agriculture and food production sectors, particularly in provinces affected by the February 6, 2023 earthquakes.

Private sector and trade finance operations:

Armenia: A US$20 million loan to a bank in Armenia will support on-lending to micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, including women-owned enterprises and in-country climate projects.

Azerbaijan: A US$50 million loan to ACWA Power Wind Azerbaijan Renewable Energy will support the construction of a 240 MW Khizi-Absheron wind power plant, strengthening electricity supply, diversifying the energy-mix and reducing carbon emissions.

Bangladesh: A US$30 million loan to a local bank will support international trade by providing financing to import and export companies, especially in the agriculture and green energy sectors.

Nepal: A US$25 million loan to a local bank will increase access to finance for micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, including women-owned firms as well as climate-smart projects.

Uganda: A US$25 million loan to a power company will help construct a 42 MW run-of-river hydroelectric power plant.

Uzbekistan: A US$35 million loan to a local bank will support food security and climate action projects.

Regional Africa: A US$40 million participation in a trade finance facility will promote the international trade of agricultural products and benefit at least 600,000 small-holder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa.

About the OPEC Fund

The OPEC Fund for International Development (the OPEC Fund) is the only globally mandated development institution that provides financing from member countries to non-member countries exclusively. The organization works in cooperation with developing country partners and the international development community to stimulate economic growth and social progress in low- and middle-income countries around the world. The OPEC Fund was established in 1976 with a distinct purpose: to drive development, strengthen communities and empower people. Our work is people-centered, focusing on financing projects that meet essential needs, such as food, energy, infrastructure, employment (particularly relating to MSMEs), clean water and sanitation, healthcare and education. To date, the OPEC Fund has committed more than US$24 billion to development projects in over 125 countries with an estimated total project cost of US$190 billion. The OPEC Fund is rated AA+/Outlook Stable by Fitch and AA, Outlook Positive by S&P. Our vision is a world where sustainable development is a reality for all.


Basak Pamir
[email protected] 

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Velo Is Enhancing Its Own Ecosystem Through Interoperability




Interoperability in Velo: To Infinity and Beyond

BANGKOK, March 5, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — As new blockchains and blockchain-based platforms emerge, it’s crucial for these ecosystems to be interconnected, enabling users to seamlessly transfer their assets without complications. Velo is enhancing its own ecosystem through interoperability, aspiring to become a pivotal connection point for various blockchains.

A significant update within Universe is its support for multiple wallet addresses on a single platform, catering to users who possess multiple wallets across different platforms. This feature is essential for managing diverse assets conveniently.

Furthermore, Universe is integrating multi-chain login and registration support for networks such as Solana and Tron, thereby improving Velo’s accessibility and usability. Efforts are in place to refactor the user database and management code, ensuring a smooth and secure experience.

Velo is advancing its blockchain integration by incorporating the Solana and Tron networks, aiming to offer enhanced deposit and withdrawal functionalities to enrich its ecosystem. This initiative involves deploying Solana and Tron chain-node and full-node functionalities, thereby broadening the network’s diversity and user options. Additionally, Universe is introducing a dedicated user interface (UI) for Solana transactions, encompassing deposit-withdrawal and account management across Webplus and mobile platforms, ensuring a seamless user experience.

This streamlined approach guarantees that Velo’s users have comprehensive and intuitive access to a broader range of transaction options, significantly boosting the platform’s utility and user engagement.

The integration with the Lightning Network marks a significant advancement in improving Bitcoin transactions. By implementing Lightning chain-node and deploying a BTC full-node, Orbit aims to streamline Bitcoin deposits and withdrawals, making them faster and more cost-efficient.

Velo’s dedication to ensuring inclusivity and connectivity with other blockchains is evident through the concrete steps it has taken. With aggressive strides towards unlocking the full potential of the Velo Protocol, Velo is poised for significant growth and innovation.

About Velo Labs

Velo Labs is a global pioneer in Web3-based financial solutions, offering a cutting-edge liquidity and settlement network for secure, efficient value transfers. Backed by Stellar Network and CP Group, our reach has expanded beyond Southeast Asia and the Pacific, now serving partners worldwide. We connect and complement the gap between traditional banking infrastructure and Web3, leading the way in blockchain mass adoption. Our extensive Web3-based payment network and Lightnet, our licensed settlement partner, position us as a global heavyweight. Velo Labs offers a diverse range of Web3-based products, notably Orbit, tailored for individuals, merchants, corporations, and enterprises worldwide — dedicated to empowering global financial connectivity and expanding accessibility globally.

Follow us for more info: Twitter / Telegram / Website

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CGTN: China vows to develop new quality productive forces in modernization drive




BEIJING, March 5, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — China saw the number of contracted technology transactions grow by 28.6 percent in 2023, an achievement that speaks volumes of the country’s enhanced capacity for innovation-driven development.

China will leverage the leading role of innovation, spur industrial innovation through advancements in science and technology, and press ahead with new industrialization, according to a government work report submitted on Tuesday to the national legislature for deliberation.

Chinese Premier Li Qiang delivered the report at the opening meeting of the second session of the 14th National People’s Congress in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

The report says that the country will strive to modernize the industrial system and develop new quality productive forces at a faster pace.

Developing new quality productive forces

With innovation leading the way, new quality productive forces mean going beyond the traditional models of economic growth. This path features high technology, high efficiency and high quality, and aligns with China’s new development philosophy.

In order to develop these new quality productive forces, the government work report lists a series of tasks.

It calls for improving and upgrading industrial and supply chains besides cultivating emerging and future-oriented industries, such as hydrogen power, new materials, biomanufacturing, commercial spaceflight, quantum technology and life sciences.

The report also says that innovative development of the digital economy will be promoted, an Artificial Intelligence Plus initiative will be launched, and the country will consolidate and enhance its leading position in industries such as intelligent connected new-energy vehicles.

Moreover, China has set an economic growth target of around 5 percent for 2024 and vowed to promote high-quality development. It will issue ultra-long special treasury bonds annually over the next several years for implementing major national strategies and building up security capacity in key areas, starting with 1 trillion yuan of such bonds this year, according to the report.

The report also stresses efforts for invigorating China through science and education and consolidating the foundations for high-quality development.

China will speed up efforts to build a contingent of personnel with expertise of strategic importance and cultivate more first-class scientists and innovation teams.

The country will develop platforms for identifying basic research talent, train high-performing engineers and highly-skilled workers, and enhance support for young scientists and engineers, according to the report.

Acting on people-centered development philosophy

China will make efforts to ensure and improve the people’s welling and promote better and new ways of conducting social governance, the report says.

It highlights that China will deliver real benefits to the people to their satisfaction by acting on the people-centered development philosophy.

In 2023, China’s per capita disposable income of residents increased by 6.1 percent, and over 66 million taxpayers benefited from an increase in the special additional deductions for individual income tax, which cover children nursing expenses, children’s education and elderly care expenses, according to the report.

In 2024, the country expects to create over 12 million jobs in urban areas and keep the surveyed urban unemployment rate at around 5.5 percent.

China will also enhance ecological conservation and promote green and low-carbon development, including taking comprehensive steps to improve the environment and boosting the green and low-carbon economy, according to the report.

In 2023, China’s installed renewable energy capacity surpassed its thermal power capacity for the first time in history and it accounted for over half of newly installed renewable energy capacity worldwide, according to data released by the National Energy Administration.

The country will advance the energy revolution and actively and prudently work toward peaking carbon dioxide emissions and achieving carbon neutrality, according to the report.

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SK chemicals, Hyosung Advanced Materials, and Hankook Tire Commercialize South Korea’s First Chemically Recycled PET Tire



  • Establishing a circular economy that extends from recycled PET to high-strength tire cords and electric vehicle-exclusive tires
  • Leading the global tire industry’s sustainable management by commercializing products with 45% eco-friendly certified materials

SEONGNAM, South Korea, March 5, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — To reduce carbon emissions, the South Korean industrial sector has developed and commercialized the country’s first tire using chemically recycled PET.

SK chemicals (CEO Ahn Jae-hyun), Hyosung Advanced Materials Co., Ltd. (CEO Cho Yong-soo), and Hankook Tire & Technology Co., Ltd. (CEO Lee Soo-il, hereafter Hankook Tire) announced on the 5th that they have successfully developed the electric vehicle-exclusive tire “iON” applying “circular recycled PET (polyester) fiber tire cords.” Circular recycling is an exclusive chemical recycling technology of SK chemicals that breaks down discarded plastics through chemical reactions into molecular units and then uses these raw materials to produce recycled plastics.

Before the commercialization phase, there were instances where chemical recycling technology was applied to concept tires or prototypes, but the release of a tire product to the market using chemically recycled PET-based tire cords through to commercialization is a first in South Korea.

SK chemicals, Hyosung Advanced Materials, and Hankook Tire have collaboratively developed this tire over a period of about two years. SK chemicals has reliably supplied the circular recycled PET “SKYPET CR”, and Hyosung Advanced Materials developed the high-strength recycled PET-based tire cords using this as a raw material. The developed tire cords were applied to Hankook Tire’s premium electric vehicle tire brand, iON. The iON tire, with a 45% sustainable material content, has recently passed the stringent reliability verification by a European automotive manufacturer, securing final approval for use and being mounted as tires for new vehicles.

Tire cords are fiber reinforcement materials that help maintain the shape of the tire and withstand the load and impact applied during driving, enhancing the tire’s durability, driving performance, and ride comfort.

SK chemicals’ “SKYPET CR” has the advantage of maintaining high-quality properties and safety even after infinite recycling, compared to the physical recycling method of washing discarded plastics or cutting them into flakes for reuse, and it can achieve properties equivalent to petrochemical-based materials.

The iON model developed by Hankook Tire incorporates 45% sustainable materials, including bio-based, circular, and bio-circular polymers, bio-based silica along with Hyosung Advanced Materials’ tire cords, and the model is the first tire to bear the ISCC PLUS certification logo.


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