The Tunisia Africa Business Council, an organization that works to increase Tunisia’s visibility in Africa, and the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC) – a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group – have signed an agreement aimed at fostering trade with a number of key African countries and the international community.
The deal was signed in Tunis during an event dubbed the 43rd Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group this week.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) participated in the affair with the hope of increasing joint Arab integration ventures, strengthening strategic relations with the international community and fostering development through innovation.
The Annual Meeting, themed ‘Forging Smart Partnerships with Multi- Stakeholders for the SDGs’, was also attended by Ms. Adejoke O-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant to the President of Nigeria on Sustainable Development Goals, who shared the Nigeria experience with high profile individuals at the event.
“The solution to development problems of today is to change mindsets and development patterns,” explained IsDB Group President, Dr. Bandar Hajjar, who spoke at the event.
The gathering was held in tandem with a meeting of Governors of Arab States at the Islamic Development Bank, who convened to discuss the outcomes of the first phase of a movement known as the Aid for Trade Initiative for Arab States (AFTIAS). The Governors also discussed the launch of second phase of the Initiative.
AFTIAS was initially financed by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to a tune of $3 million, while Kuwait contributed $2 million, the Kingdom of Sweden provided $1.5 million, Egypt gave $500,000million, the United Nations Development Program gave $1 million, the Islamic Development Bank gave $1 million, the ITFC $1 million, and the Egypt-based Industrial Training Council provided $500,000.
Since AFITAS was launched, 23 top-priority projects have been implemented in 19 Arab states, which included a number of African countries that benefited from the projects. These projects helped enhance Arab cross-border linkages by connecting borders of Egypt, Sudan, Jordan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. P
Projects were implemented to, among other things, facilitate trade and enhance consumer protection, and develop logistics platform to facilitate trade and invest among Morocco, Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Following these accomplishments, the Governor of Turkey, who also attended the April event, has suggested that developing countries should have their own local capital markets instead of relying on foreign direct investment (FDI).
“IsDB is in the position to influence the Governments in the Islamic world to focus on STI driven development,” stated Prof Mohamed Hassan, Co-Chair of a South Africa-based global network known as the InterAcademy Partnership, who also attended the Annual Meeting.