Abu Dhabi: A total of Dh2.5 billion has been granted so far by the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the Abu Dhabi Government’s foreign aid agency, to set up 129 educational projects in 14 countries, the Fund announced in a statement on January 26.

A report by the Fund released on Thursday, January 24 to mark the International Day of Education revealed that the contributions had helped establish 40 schools around the world. In addition, 35 universities and colleges had been able to use the funds for renovation and infrastructure upgrades.

“The financing of development projects in the education sector is a key priority for ADFD. The sector is crucial to developing countries, as it helps qualify future cadres, promote talent growth, drive sustainable development and ensure national self-sufficiency in the long run,” said Mohammad Al Suwaidi, director general of the Fund.

“Since the 1970s, the Fund has taken a keen interest in financing education projects, including the construction of schools, universities, colleges and technical training centres. These projects have contributed to building the capacities of millions of people in developing countries, enabling them to live more prosperous and fulfilling lives,” he added.

A statement sent by the Fund showed that the organisation had granted Dh466 million to a project to develop nine public universities in Jordan. The money was used to construct faculty buildings, auditoriums, laboratories, power stations and water desalination plants. Another Dh124 million was given for the construction of 30 new schools, while a Dh33 million funding initiative helped enhance the capacity of community colleges while expanding their technical and applied science education programmes.

In Morocco, a grant worth Dh239 million was given for the purchase of equipment for the 916-bed Mohammad VI University Hospital in the city of Marrakesh, a specialist medical complex that spans 8.8 hectares.

Three training colleges in remote areas – the Warsak College in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Wana College and Spinkai Cadet College, were constructed through a Dh46 million grant to Pakistan. Meanwhile, Dh14 million was used in 2009 to help build up the Shaikh Zayed International Academy, which is today famed for its international curriculum and high academic standards.

Meanwhile, Dh37 million was used to construct three universities in Zambia.

And in Palestine, the Fund worked with the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Internationl Cooperation to administer a grant of Dh42 million to the United National Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East. The funding helped support the provision of education for 15,000 Palestinian refugee children in 14 schools within the Gaza Strip.