Wed, 13 Jan 2021 - 12:59 GMT
International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation logo - ITFC website
CAIRO – 13 January 2021: Egypt signed the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation's (ITFC) program for 2021 to provide integrated financing solutions to Egypt for $1.1 billion, according to Ministry of Planning.
The program was signed by CEO of the ITFC Hani Salem Sonbol, and Executive Vice President of the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), Ashraf Abdullah, and Vice-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) Ahmed Youssef.
Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Governor of the Arab Republic of Egypt at the Islamic Development Bank Group Hala El-Saeed, Engineer Tarek El-Molla, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources, Ali Moselhi, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade, Minister of International Cooperation, Rania Al-Mashat, and Minister of Trade and Industry Nevine Gamea, witnessed the signing ceremony via video conference.
El-Saeed said that the signing includes the provision of funds and a package of projects and programs aimed at facilitating trade, building capacities, institutional support, and enhancing the competitive capabilities of various sectors related to foreign trade. It also aims to implement projects to digitize commercial operations and improve the performance of value chains in the cotton sector in Egypt, in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
Moreover, the program promotes women's entrepreneurship through the Women in Global Trade (SheTrades) program, which the Foundation supervises its implementation within the framework of the Aid for Trade Initiative for Arab Countries (Aftiyas) program.
She added that the signing of the annual work program within the framework of the strategic partnership between the Egyptian government and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation comes under the framework agreement concluded between the two sides in 2018.
Through it, the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation has provided financing for $3 billion for five years to provide basic food commodities, crude oil products, and petroleum products, enhance internal value chains, accelerate the growth of small and medium enterprises and develop trade.
Egypt is the third-largest beneficiary of the total appropriations from the Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB), amounting to $12.7 billion, according to El-Saeed.
The Planning Minister, who is also Egypt’s Governor at IsDB, said that Egypt is one of the bank’s founding members, joining the bank’s membership in 1974. The country also has a permanent seat on the IsDB’s Board of Executive Directors.
The minister added that Egypt is the bank’s seventh-largest contributing country, and the owner of the largest number of shares, with 357,965. The country’s share reflects 7.07 percent of the bank’s capital subscription, amounting to $5 billion.
El-Saeed praised the remarkable development activity of the institution, as well as the good rate of implementation of the financing programs presented to Egypt, and the successful course of work between Egypt and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, as that process has so far resulted in a financing cooperation portfolio between Egypt and the Foundation, worth $11.2 billion.
For his part, El-Molla, expressed his appreciation to the International ITFC for its keenness and continuous support for the petroleum sector to contribute to the performance of its vital role entrusted to it to meet the country's needs of crude oil, petroleum products, and butane.
He praised the essential role of the ITFC in the work of social and economic development in Egypt, noting that 5 framework agreements were signed with Egypt represented by the Ministry of International Cooperation, with a total value of $9.2 billion. These include the fifth framework agreement signed at the end of January 2018 at a value of $3 billion.
Furthermore, Moselhi, praised the role of the Ministry of International Cooperation for its full support of these agreements and praised the Foundation's role in helping to provide basic food commodities, which contributed to strengthening the strategic reserves, wishing for continued fruitful cooperation between Egypt and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation.
Al-Mashat, said that the programs implemented by the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation in Egypt enhance development plans and support the trade sector. It also improves indicators of economic and commercial cooperation among the member states of the ITFC, in light of the great role of the trade sector in enhancing economic efficiency.
For her part, Nevine Gamea affirmed the government's keenness to strengthen cooperation frameworks with various global and regional financial institutions, on top of which is the ITFC.
She pointed out to Egypt's endeavour to maximize the benefit from all programs. The financing is provided by the corporation, especially in the areas of developing the small and medium enterprises sector, industrial projects, and trade promotion programs.
Gamea noted that the cooperation programs focus on implementing three initiatives, such as the "Better Cotton" initiative aimed at increasing the competitiveness of Egyptian cotton in global markets. The other two initiatives are namely, the "Women in International Trade" initiative, "She Trades", with the aim of economic empowerment of Egyptian women by raising the exports of the companies that they own in the sector.
“This latest financing is of exceptional importance especially given the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic on local trade ecosystems. There are many companies, including SMEs, and exporters who have been severely affected by this pandemic, and we, by ensuring the availability of import of basic commodities, will also be able to focus on reviving trade,” CEO of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, Hani Salem Sonbol, said.
Sonbol explained that this program comes within the framework of the fifth agreement signed in 2018 with Egypt. Since 2008, the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation has provided financing facilities of $ 9.361 billion, mainly aimed at covering the import needs of oil and refined petroleum products, in addition to the basic raw materials required for the manufacture of food products such as wheat.
The program will support the Egyptian government's efforts to advance the economic recovery in Egypt in light of the repercussions resulting from the Covid 19 pandemic, which will lead to improving social and economic development initiatives and internal trade, as well as importing basic commodities such as food, crude oil, and petroleum products.
What distinguishes the program for the year 2021 is its focus on integrated trade solutions, which aim to support the Egyptian entities benefiting from the commercial finance provided by the corporation through projects that will be agreed upon and implemented during 2021. These projects and activities will provide institutional support, build capacities, and raise the skills of those working in these beneficiaries of the funding. The focus during 2021 will be on the priority sectors to be identified by the Egyptian government.