SAARC Development Fund (SDF), the umbrella financial institution for projects in SAARC member countries, is working to strengthen its credit portfolio and tap the financial market, before converting itself into a full-fledged SAARC Development Bank, according to a press release from SDF.

At the SDF Partnership Conclave in New Delhi, India on July 3, SDF’s CEO Dr Sunil Motiwal said that with an authorised capital of USD 1.5 billion and a total capital base of USD 500 million, the SDF is working to enhance its credit portfolio to USD 300 million in the next few years by financing a range of projects including renewable sources, transportation, telecom and environment in the SAARC region.

“Our strategy is to convert the SDF into a regional bank in the near future,” Dr Motiwal said.

Established in 2010 by heads of eight member states, the Thimpu-headquartered SDF has so far completed financial closure of USD 73.75 million of which USD 47 million has already been disbursed.

According to a World Bank study, the South Asia Region needs to invest between USD 1.7 trillion and USD 2.5 trillion to close its infrastructure gaps mainly in energy, power, transportation, telecom and environment.

Staff Reporter