Riyadh– The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD), represented by CEO Sultan bin Abdulrahman Al-Marshad, and Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne today signed an agreement worth USD 80 million to finance the expansion of the West Indies University in Antigua and Barbuda, making it the 85th country to receive funds from SFD in the world, out of plans to expand SFD’s activities in the Caribbean countries and to contribute to realizing Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The agreement aims to develop the higher education sector, promote scientific innovation and add extra educational facilities which contribute to enhancing education services at the level of Caribbean countries to achieve SDGs.
The signing ceremony was held at the university headquarters in the presence of several officials from both sides, as well as students of the university and some residents of the region.
This agreement is the largest of its kind to finance an educational development project in the Caribbean countries spanning from the Southeast of North America, East Central America, and North and East South America, which reflects the SFD's support for development projects, out of its belief in the principle of prosperity for all, and providing support to various countries in the world with the aim of achieving sustainable development.
The agreement includes the construction of 7 buildings, designed according to the energy conservation system to match clean and innovative energy solutions, with an estimated total area of around 95,160 square meters, where the project will contribute to increasing the university's capacity from 600 to about 5,000 students per year, as well as developing educational services so that the university becomes able to provide high-quality and equal educational services. The project is also designed to increase access to higher education for the population and members of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, in addition to boosting economic growth by creating more direct and indirect jobs that positively support the local economy.
Browne praised the development efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, through SFD, expressing his happiness and appreciation for supporting the project that will improve the educational sector in Antigua and Barbuda and neighboring countries, commending the concern through SFD’s support to develop and expand the university.
For his part, Al-Marshad said that the fund, through financing this project, seeks to expand its operations in the Caribbean countries in line with efforts of the Saudi government to enhance development cooperation with the international community and help international efforts aimed at realizing SDGs in various economic and social fields.
The CEO said: “The government of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia attached great concern to support development sectors across the world through development projects and programs that are funded by the Saudi Fund for Development, and signing the agreement is in light of the fund’s awareness that good education is a noble message, human requirement and part of the Sustainable Development Goals.”
Source: Saudi Press Agency