Tuesday 17 October 2017

IDB Group, Morocco to bridge trade gap with Africa

IDB Group, Morocco to bridge trade gap with Africa
(APA 10/12/17)
President of Islamic Development Bank Bandar Al Hajjar

APA-Dakar (Senegal) - The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and the National Company of Transports and Logistics (SNTL) based in Morocco have launched a study to bridge the gap between Morocco and Africa. A press release issued Thursday October 12, 2017 by the ITFC from Casablanca, Morocco, said “this is under the umbrella of the AfTIAS, but is also at the core mandate of the Arab Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) Programme, which is created for bridging the trade gaps between the Arab and African countries.”

According to the release, ITFC a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, signed a partnership agreement with Morocco’s SNTL, under the umbrella of the Aid for Trade Initiative for Arab States (AfTIAS), to launch a Study for the Development of Logistical Platforms for Trade and Investment Facilitation between Morocco and Sub-Saharan Africa, SSA.

It added that the signing took place during the opening session of the OIC Trade Promotion Organizations (TPOs) Meeting in Casablanca, Morocco, on 11 October, 2017 between Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of ITFC and Fouad Ktib, deputy Director General of SNTL. The opening session was inaugurated by Dr. Zahra, Maarefi, the Director General of Maroc-Export, and keynote speeches were delivered by Hani Salem Sonbol of the ITFC, Dr. El Hassane Hzaine, Director General of the Islamic Centre for Development of Trade (ICDT), and Anne Chappaz, Chief, Trade and Investment Support Institutions, ITC.

ITFC CEO Sonbol said: “We aim at reducing the gap of physical infrastructure constraining trade and investment flows between Morocco and Sub-Saharan Africa. This signing is under the umbrella of the AfTIAS, but is also at the core mandate of the AATB Programme, which is created for bridging the trade gaps between the Arab and African countries”. ITFC has identified the importance of developing trade hubs in Africa; therefore its involvement in this project will improve trade solutions in Morocco and some SSA countries by reducing logistical costs, and encouraging trade exchanges among them.

Both the ITFC and SNTL agree that trade and investment are among the key pillars of a new collaboration between Morocco and Sub-Saharan governments. In adherence to that, this plan will open doors, and create possibilities for investment in infrastructure, develop capacity building skills, and help create private businesses that offer many services to the public, such as logistics services including transport, storage, cold storage, distribution, and stabilizing the value of agriculture goods.
During the last decade 2004-2014, trade exchanges between Morocco and Sub-Saharan African countries have been rising steadily.

“I am very positive about this agreement and partnership with SNTL, and expecting many encouraging outcomes from it, which will ease the trade routes between them, and flourish their economies,” announced ITFC CEO Sonbol. The ITFC is an autonomous entity within the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group. ITFC commenced operations in January 2008 to consolidate the IsDB Group’s trade finance activities under a single umbrella. It is a leader in Shari’ah-compliant trade finance, and deploys its expertise and funds to businesses and governments in member countries.

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