Arab Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) Program Outlines Actions to Support Developing Countries Cope with the COVID-19 Crisis
Initiatives focusing on pharmaceuticals and healthcare and other value-added sectors such as agriculture and textiles to take precedence
In this unprecedented situation our institutions have no choice but to be agile, innovative and results oriented
The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) (www.ITFC-IDB.org), and its partners have approved an AATB Program Action Plan to support African and Arab countries to strengthen their socio-economic resilience in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to ITFC, the 4th Executive Committee meeting of the AATB Program, held virtually, was attended by heads of member institutions including Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and ICIEC as well as senior officials from other members such as from Afreximbank and Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).
AATB has the mandate of driving regional economic integration between the African and Arab regions and strengthening SME export development across key sectors. With the present crisis, member organizations will realign all existing financing engagements towards a range of interim and medium-term measures that respond directly to the needs of both regions.
With the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors prioritized, immediate measures include supporting the Network of Laboratories in West Africa with the supply of COVID-19 testing kits, lab equipment and personal -protection equipment (PPE) for medical and para medical staff. In tandem with material and financial aid, African laboratories will be able to access critical knowhow through a range of capacity building and knowledge sharing programs including online trainings, protocols and standard operating procedure (SOP) to diagnose and manage the coronavirus.
Other measures will be aimed at enhancing the resilience of the health institutions in African and Arab countries by improving the capacities of national pharmaceutical agencies and related institutions in the areas of management, standards and procurement best practices. With the healthcare systems in many African countries left vulnerable, AATB, in partnership with the relevant African entities, will focus on harmonizing pharmaceutical standards in Africa and improving market access for pharmaceutical products.
“In this unprecedented situation our institutions have no choice but to be agile, innovative and results oriented. We are collectively committed to work hand in hand with governments, development partners and all other stakeholders.”, said Dr. Sidi Ould Tah, DG BADEA and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the AATB Program.
Commenting on the meeting outcomes, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, ITFC CEO, said: “The AATB program partners have moved swiftly to realign priorities and redirect support towards African and Arab countries that are most vulnerable to the impending socio-economic impact from this pandemic. With existing initiatives focused on trade integration and capacity development in the highly critical sectors of pharmaceuticals and agri-foods, we will do everything we can over the coming period to aid the governments from both these regions to limit hardship.”
Since the inception of the AATB program, pharmaceuticals have been prioritized as a key sector for regional trade integration. To date, trade initiatives under the program have resulted in US$ 150 million worth of transactions. The vast AATB network of pharmaceutical buyers and sellers will play a key role in ensuring the steady supply of products where they are needed most during this period.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC).
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Arab-Africa Trade Bridges (AATB)
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 International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC):
The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) (www.ITFC-IDB.org) 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 since consolidated all trade finance businesses that used to be handled by various windows within the IsDB Group. Earning the A1 rating by Moody’s is a reflection of the Corporation’s creditworthiness and financial strength to responding swiftly to customer needs in a market-driven business environment.
Since 2008, ITFC has provided more than US$51 billion to OIC Member Countries, making it the leading provider of trade solutions for the 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.