The Commonwealth Secretariat (www.TheCommonwealth.org) and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) (www.ITFC-idb.org) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to collaborate in key areas of development.
Key areas of focus in the MoU include women’s economic empowerment, digital trade and e-commerce, private sector and small and medium enterprise development, climate change and environmental protection, capacity building for trade negotiations and trade finance.
At the signing ceremony, Secretary General Scotland said:
“Both the Commonwealth and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation share the goal of strengthening and supporting the economic and development aspirations of our member states. Our collaboration will provide us with greater opportunities and better access to harness our collective ideas, knowledge, skills and combined financial resources to serve the development needs of our common members. The six agreed areas of cooperation, together with our combined defense and convening power, can provide vital support for the recovery of our small and developing states, which are the most vulnerable to global economic shocks.”
ITFC CEO Ing. Hani Salem Sonbol said:
Commenting on the signing, Mr. Hani Salem Sonbol, ITFC Chief Executive Officer, said “really pleased to see that ITFC’s partnership with the Commonwealth Secretariat is a partnership of action. As we celebrate the signing of a new Memorandum of Understanding, we are also making official the first two projects ready for implementation in Cameroon and Pakistan”.
Recognizing the role of alliances in promoting trade development, Mr. Hani Salem Sonbol said: “At ITFC, our goal is to work effectively with our partners to identify and offer the best solutions, in all areas of trade finance. and business development, including taking advantage of opportunities manifested in emerging business issues such as digitalization, agriculture technology and climate change, to name a few.”
There are twelve common member states between the two organizations, showing significant common interest. These countries include Cameroon, Gambia, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Guyana, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Maldives, Brunei, and Malaysia.
A project highlighted in the MoU between the Commonwealth Secretariat and the ITFC includes a trade development project in Pakistan that improves the country’s overall trade competitiveness by building the capacity of the Pakistan Ministry of Commerce and improving its overall trade negotiation skills.
Another agreed initiative is a digital boot camp to be held in Cameroon to support the government’s e-commerce strategy through capacity building programs that support women and SMEs. Approximately 100 women-owned SMEs are expected to benefit from this programme.
Through this collaboration, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the ITFC aim to help create decent jobs, increased trade and greener economies for the benefit of all, but especially women and SMEs.