The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) (www.ITFC-idb.org) organized its first event to bring together partner institutions from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) Region on the sidelines of the 2021 Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group Annual Meetings held in the city of Tashkent in Uzbekistan.
The event was inaugurated by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Investments and Foreign Trade of Uzbekistan, H.E. Mr. Sardor Umurzakov, and IsDB President and Chairman of the IsDB Group H.E. Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser.
Hosted by ITFC CEO, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, the high-profile event witnessed the presence of ranking officials and senior officers from the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Investments and Foreign Trade as well as the Central Bank of the Republic of Uzbekistan, Government officials and ITFC partner banks in the CIS region, as well as Trade Support Institutions and Regional Bodies.
IsDB President and Chairman of IsDB Group, Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, in his keynote address, meantime, emphasized on the key role the Islamic Development Bank Group is playing in supporting its member countries to overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic through its Strategic Preparedness and Response Package (SPRP) under the “3Rs” Framework: ‘Respond, Restore, and Restart’ tracks. Dr. Al Jasser added: “During our four decades of engagement, the IsDB Group has played an important role in supporting several economic and social sectors regionally. Total financing provided by IsDB Group to CIS member countries amounts to US$ 6.4 billion, to support key sectors and development projects – in education, health, energy, transportation, and rural development. In the area of trade, ITFC, being IsDB Group’s catalyst for trade, takes the leading role in the region with approved financing exceeding US$ 1.2 billion. These interventions have supported funding for the private sector, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and the critical sectors of agriculture and food security.”
Complementing the message, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol emphasized on the important role ITFC partners played in supporting the member countries in the CIS region. “Together with OIC countries and our partners, ITFC has identified specific challenges and constraints to a more robust growth and competitiveness. Among them are issues related to access to trade finance by SMEs and trade related capacity development. We, at ITFC, intend to do much more in these two areas to support the region’s sustainable development.”
Building on the successful development interventions in the region marking US$ 1.2 billion of trade financing, the event showcased ITFC’s Trade Solutions provided to support the private sector, mainly SMEs, for the procurement of equipment and raw material in addition to financing and developing the import and export of strategic commodities and essential goods. ITFC also announced new Trade Development initiatives, like the CIS Trade Development Program.
During the ceremony, ITFC also recognized the efforts of its partners in addition to signing agreements including a financing facility of US$ 15 million with Joint-Stock Commercial Bank, Trustbank in Uzbekistan. Furthermore, Technical Assessment Agreements extending integrated Trade Solutions for Turonbank and Agro Bank in Uzbekistan to support their adoption of IFRS were signed along with an MoU, which aims at extending technical assistance for the Uzbek Export Promotion Agency to enhance its key exporting sectors.
The Corporation has offered extensive support activities in Uzbekistan since 2018 through the approval of US$ 211 million in financing for 13 operations and conducted several rounds of capacity building activities benefitting 150 experts from the public and private sectors. It has channeled its financing to SMEs via eight local Banks and supported the Ministry of Finance in collaboration with the State Fund for Agricultural Support.
Eng. Hani Sonbol concluded: “ITFC’s vision is to become a leading provider of trade solutions to its member countries while continuing to offer support as they look to overcome challenges imposed by the pandemic. This commitment to restore economic growth in the post-COVID era is best demonstrated by our COVID-19 Response Strategy for which ITFC provided US$ 1.1 billion of trade financing.”