Saudi urges 50 pct rise in capital for Arab lender

DUBAI Mon Jan 21, 2013 1:42pm EST

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DUBAI Jan 21 (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia called for a minimum 50 percent increase in the capital of the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development, a leading Arab soft-loan development institution, and urged more commerce between Arab countries.

The website of the Kuwait-based fund states that as of Dec 31, 2011, the fund's capital stood at two billion Kuwaiti dinars ($7.10 billion).

Owned by 21 Arab governments, the fund lends at low rates over 20 to 25 years mainly for power, water and communications projects.

"I invite the increase of capital to the Arab Fund for Economic Development by an increase not less than 50 percent," Crown Prince Salman told an Arab economic summit in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

He said that the kingdom was ready to pay for its share in whatever increase was agreed by the fund's owners.

"The level of trade between our countries does not reflect our capabilities and aspirations, this requires for all of us to work hard to build the desired Arab economic integration," he said. ($1 = 0.2818 Kuwaiti dinars) (Reporting by William Maclean; Editing by Helen Massy-Beresford)

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