Egypt and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) have signed a finance cooperation programme for 2021, providing the country with integrated financing solutions worth $1.1bn.
The programme was signed by ITFC CEO Hani Salem Sonbol; Executive Vice President of the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC) Ashraf Abdullah; and Vice-Chairperson of the General Authority for Supply Commodities (GASC) Ahmed Youssef.
The signing was attended by: Hala El-Said, Minister of Planning and Economic Development and Egypt’s Governor at the Islamic Development Bank Group; Tarek El Molla, Minister of Petroleum and Mineral Resources; Aly Meselhi, Minister of Supply and Internal Trade; Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation; and Nevine Gamea, Minister of Trade and Industry.
During her speech, El-Said said that the signing includes the provision of funds and a package of projects and programmes aimed at facilitating trade, building capacities, and providing institutional support.
It also aims to enhance the competitive capabilities of various sectors related to foreign trade, as well as implement projects to digitise commercial operations. At the same time, it seeks to improve the performance of value chains in Egypt’s cotton sector, in partnership with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).
The programme also seeks to promote women’s entrepreneurship through the Women in Global Trade (SheTrades) programme, the implementation of which the Foundation supervises as part of the Aid for Trade Initiative for Arab Countries (AfTIAS) programme.
El-Said added that the funds come as part of the strategic partnership between the Egyptian government and the ITFC, as well as the $3bn agreement concluded between the two sides in 2018.
El Molla praised the ITFC’s pivotal and essential role in Egypt’s social and economic development, noting that five framework agreements were signed between the two, with Egypt represented by the Ministry of International Cooperation.
The five agreements have a total value of $9.2bn, including the fifth framework agreement signed at the end of January 2018 at a value of $3bn. For the financing of basic commodities, 16 financing operations amounting to $2.225bn were approved within the agreement’s framework.
Sonbol said, “This latest financing is of exceptional importance especially given the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic on local trade ecosystems.”
He added, “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.”
Sonbol said that this programme comes as part of the fifth agreement signed in 2018 with Egypt. Since 2008, the ITFC has provided financing facilities of $9.361bn, mainly aimed at covering the import needs of oil and refined petroleum products. This is in addition to the basic raw materials required for the manufacture of food products such as wheat.
The programme will support the Egyptian government’s efforts to advance the country’s economic recovery in light of the repercussions resulting from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
It 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 programme for 2021 is its focus on integrated trade solutions, which aim to support 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.