Over 1,000 Financial Stakeholders Participate in the Arab-Africa Trade Bridges Program Investment Pillar Webinar Aimed at Growing Regional Trade Investment and Technology Transfer

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Initiative showcased key investment, trade and insurance pillars designed to improve trade between Arab and African countries, targeted at key sectors including agro-food, health, and pharmaceuticals amongst others

Jeddah: Under the umbrella of the Arab-Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) Program, three IsDB Group Private Sector Entities hosted a webinar on key trade finance and investment components aimed at fostering regional trade. The entities included the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC) and the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) in collaboration with IsDB Group Business Forum “THIQAH”. Over 1,000 development institutions, sovereign funds, banks, investment and private equity companies, and key government and corporate sector representatives were in attendance. 

The event, which focused on the investment, trade and insurance pillars of the AATB program showcased potential business opportunities existing between the two regions particularly in key industries such as agro-food, health and pharmaceutical, building and construction materials and equipment, as well as machinery and electrical equipment. Projects and activities involving the growth of trade related investment and knowledge and technology transfer between the Arab and African countries were explored with the aim of growing AATB member base.

The webinar was inaugurated with keynote speeches from Mr. Oussama Kaissi, Chief Executive Officer of the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), Mr. Ayman Sejiny, Chief Executive Officer of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, Chief Executive Officer of International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC).

Key outcomes from this session noted considerable progress in terms of launching and implementing the projects involving the growth of trade investment and technology transfer between Arab and African countries. The session also addressed the key challenges limiting the business community and concerned trade and investment authorities of the countries in both regions by nurturing an environment where the parties can benefit from the opportunities that exist.  

In his opening address, Mr. Oussama Kaissi, said: “Despite the tragedy presented by the pandemic, these unprecedented times have brought development institutions together to seek solutions and encourage innovation, teaching us that the best way forward is together. ICIEC believes that through the AATB program, our multilateral efforts can enhance pandemic responses, capacity building efforts, and economic security, providing the citizens of Arab and African countries the knowledge and materials to build a better future.”

Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, corroborated the sentiment, saying: “Since its launch in 2017, AATB has become the foremost platform in driving trade between the Arab and African regions, with important initiatives that strengthen growth and prosperity in beneficiary countries. The program facilitates financial and technical support for trade and investment-related activities aimed at promoting intra-trade between the regions through specific interventions and dedicated trade finance and investment components”.

ICD will lead the Investment Pillar of the AATB Program, which aims to mobilize and allocate resources to impactful investments in Arab and African countries including recovery packages to overcome the adverse impacts of Covid-19. In line with our global approach, we aim to expand existing and build new partnerships with financial institutions to design and launch special financial packages for the benefit of member countries under the umbrella of the AATB Program.” said Mr. Ayman Sejiny. 

Moderated by Mr. Nasser M. Al-Thekair, General Manager, Trade & Business Development, ITFC, the first session presented by Mr. Syed Quadri, Acting Director, Resilience and Social Development Department in IsDB discussed key features and benefits of the AATB investment pillar to financial institutions and key partner networks. A panel discussion on the benefits and features of AATB’s trade, investment and insurance pillars featured key speakers including Mr. Aymen Kasem, Division Manager, Trade Development, Trade & Business Development of ITFC, Mr. Essaied Ben Ahmed, Principle, Infrastructure & Corporate Finance Global Markets & Fixed Income of ICD, and Mr. Ismail Filali Allach, Country Manager, Morocco, Middle East & North Africa Region Division, ICIEC. 

AATB is a multi-donor, country and organization program designed to leverage new trade partnerships, strengthen existing ones, and increase trade and investment flows between the Arab and African regions. At present, its partners and members include IsDB, ITFC, ICIEC, Afreximbank, Arab Bank for Economic Development (BADEA), and OPEC Fund with member country representation consisting of Benin, Cameroon, Egypt, Morocco, Senegal, Togo, and Tunisia.  

About the Arab-Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) Program:

AATB is a multi-donor, multi-country, and multi-organizations program, aiming to promote and increase trade and investment flows between African and Arab member countries; provide and support trade finance and export credit insurance; and enhance existing capacity building tools relating to trade. The program specifically focuses on the key sectors of agriculture and related industries including textiles; health industry including pharmaceuticals; infrastructure and transport; and petrochemicals, construction material and technology. 

About the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC):

ICIEC is a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group. ICIEC was established in 1994 to strengthen the economic relations between member countries of the OIC. Since its inception, the utilization of ICIEC services by member countries reached USD 106.34 billion of trade and investments. ICIEC’s cover has been provided to its 47 member countries across the Muslim world, assisting in their economic prosperity, development and diversification. ICIEC is rated Aa3 insurance financial strength credit by Moody’s with a Stable Outlook. ICIEC’s vision is to be recognized as the preferred enabler of trade and investment for sustainable economic development in Member Countries. Its mission is to facilitate trade and investment between member countries and the world through the provision of Shariah compliant risk mitigation tools and financial solutions. 

About the International Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC):

The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) is a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group. It was established with the primary objective of advancing trade among OIC member countries, which would ultimately contribute to the overarching goal of improving socioeconomic conditions of the people across the world. Commencing operations in January 2008, ITFC has provided more than US$55 billion of financing to OIC member countries, making it the leading provider of trade solutions for these member countries’ needs. With a mission to become a catalyst for trade development for OIC member countries and beyond, the Corporation helps entities in member countries gain better access to trade finance and provides them with the necessary trade-related capacity building tools, which would enable them to successfully compete in the global market.

About the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD):

The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) is a multilateral development financial institution and is member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group. ICD was established in November 1999 to support the economic development of its member countries through the provision of finance for private sector projects, promoting competition and entrepreneurship, providing advisory services to the governments and private companies, and encouraging cross border investments. ICD is Rated A2’ by Moody’s, ‘A’ by S&P and, A+ by Fitch. ICD establishes and strengthens cooperation and partnership relationships with an aim to establish joint or collective financing. ICD also applies financial technology (Fintech) to make financing more efficient and comprehensive.

About the Islamic Development Bank Group Business Forum (THIQAH):

The Islamic Development Bank Group Business Forum (THIQAH) is the window of the IsDB Group that facilitate contact and coordination between entities concerned of the IsDB Group and private sector firms and related institutions in IsDB Group member countries. The main objective of THIQAH is to establish a unique platform for effective dialogue, cooperation and inclusive partnership for business leaders committed to partnering in promising investment opportunities. Through facilitation and catalyst roles, THIQAH will be leveraging IsDB Group’s resources to offer necessary services and confidence to investors and to establish strategic partnerships with the leaders of the private sector. The primary focus will be on maximizing cross-border investment among member countries to be supported by IsDB Group’s financial products and services.