JEDDAH, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, October 28, 2021 / APO Group / –
The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) (ITFC-idb.org) today launched the second phase of the Aid for Trade Initiative for the Arab States (AfTIAS 2.0) at the Bank Group Headquarters Islamic Development Center (IDB) in Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
The main objective of AfTIAS 2.0, which will be implemented over five years, is to improve the international business environment in the Arab region and make it more efficient and inclusive, to create employment opportunities. and contribute to sustainable development in the region. The program also aims to facilitate access to foreign markets, remove restrictions on the supply of goods and services and improve the business inclusion of women, youth and disadvantaged groups, who have recently suffered from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The launch ceremony was marked by the signing of grant agreements with the Islamic Republic of Mauritania and the Arab Organization for Agricultural Development (AOAD), through which each of them donated $ 1 million to the program. The agreements were signed by Ing. Hani Salem Sonbol, Chief Executive Officer of ITFC and Chairman of the Board of Directors of AfTIAS, on behalf of AfTIAS, and HE Prof. Ibrahim El Dukheri, Director General of AOAD, and Mr. Mohammed Lamine Ould Dahbi, on behalf of AOAD and Mauritania, respectively. On this occasion, Ing. Hani Salem Sonbol expressed the gratitude of the IDB Group for the support this initiative has received from Arab leaders, reflected in the resolution adopted at the 4th Arab Economic Summit, held in Beirut in January 2019, which invited ITFC to prepare and launch the second phase of the AfTIAS program, in cooperation with the League of Arab States and its Member States.
Ing. Sonbol also expressed his sincere thanks and gratitude to the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, HE Mr. Ahmed Aboul Gheit, for his personal support to the IsDB Group for the implementation of this resolution and for ensuring the appropriate conditions for a launch of AfTIAS 2.0. He also thanked the donors who responded to the Arab Summit resolution and provided financial support to AfTIAS 2.0, including Mauritania, AOAD, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Algeria, the Africa Development Fund. commerce, IDB and ITFC.
In the second phase of the AfTIAS program, Arab countries look forward to projects that will help them achieve the following goals:
Trade development and competitiveness: Solve the problems related to the removal of non-tariff barriers, the promotion of regional trade, the promotion of institutional innovation and the increase of technical readiness for action in the region, as well as supporting access to trade finance; Support for inclusion: focus on low income groups, empower women and increase youth participation in commerce; Regional investment: By preparing documentation for projects on tradable infrastructure; South-South Cooperation (IsDB Reverse Link Mechanism) to support and build the capacity of government agencies, non-governmental organizations, chambers of commerce and others. Research and investigation: Support NGOs and provide information necessary for decision-making on the Program.
AfTIAS 2.0 will also provide a platform for economic recovery to address the medium and long term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on trade in the Arab region, with a focus on unemployment issues, new barriers trade, difficulties in engaging in regional value chains, scarcity of investment finance and the digitization of trade.
In a recorded statement, HE Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, Chairman of IsDB Group, said: “The Islamic Development Bank Group views the AfTIAS 2.0 program with great optimism and hope. With its new phase, the program aspires to meet the needs of Arab countries facing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic ”.
In his speech, the CEO of ITFC underlined the importance of the initiative, saying: “Our meeting today is the culmination of more than two years of preparation, starting with the design of the AfTIAS program. 2.0 and its unanimous approval by all parties. He added, “Trade is the main engine of economic growth, promotion of development and investment attraction, and is a vehicle for sustaining and developing relations between countries. Therefore, through AfTIAS 2.0, we are calling for a joint action plan to support the development goals of Arab countries and help them recover from the impact of the pandemic. This is possible thanks to our partners inside and outside the Arab region, whom we invite to join this important program. “
Dr. Kamal Hassan Ali, Assistant Secretary General for Economic Affairs of the League of Arab States, on behalf of HE the Secretary General of the League of Arab States, said: “AfTIAS 2.0 is aligned with the main objective of the League. States, which should increase economic integration among Arab countries and improve income levels – reduce poverty and unemployment and make Arab economies more resilient to economic turmoil. He also added that “the second phase provides a new platform and a practical strategy to unleash the potential and resources that the region possesses and is working to meet the challenges imposed by the pandemic.”
It should be noted that ITFC oversaw the execution of the first phase of the AfTIAS program between 2013 and 2018, with the aim of supporting trade in the Arab region. During the first phase of this program, 28 projects were implemented for the benefit of 19 Arab countries.
In early 2019, the IsDB Group responded to the request of HE the Secretary General of the League of Arab States to implement the decision of the Arab Economic Summit held in Beirut in 2019, which called the ITFC on behalf of the Group. of the IsDB. prepare and launch the second phase of the AfTIAS program, in cooperation with the League of Arab States and its Member States. Based on this mandate, between 2019 and 2020, ITFC prepared and approved AfTIAS 2.0, with the aim of creating an enabling environment for international trade in the Arab region to make it more inclusive and effective in contributing to the job creation and the achievement of sustainable development. .
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