Hala El-Said, the Minister of Planning and Economic Development and Governor of Egypt at the Islamic Development Bank Group (IsDB), has met with Hani Sonbol, the CEO of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) — one of the IsDB’s institutions — in order to discuss joint cooperation between the two sides.
During the meeting, which was held on Wednesday in Cairo, El-Said referred to Egypt’s hosting of the third meeting of the Governance Board of the Arab Africa Trade Bridges Programme (AATB) as well as the annual meeting of the Board of Governors of the Islamic Development Bank to be held in Sharm El-Sheikh in June 2022.
She also stressed that Egypt met its obligations to the bank group.
Additionally, the two parties discussed implementing the corporation’s work programme for the year 2021, which was signed remotely last January. The year 2021 witnessed an increase in the financing portfolio of the ITFC in Egypt.
El-Said indicated that the corporation implemented programmes and activities in the field of trade and business development in its 2021 financing plan for Egypt.
She explained that the AATB programme supports Egyptian exporters in cooperation with the relevant authorities, especially the Export Development Authority (EDA). Two workshops were held for Egyptian exporters in 2020 in Cairo and Damietta.
Moreover, a training programme on “enhancing the understanding of international trade for entrepreneurs” was held in cooperation between the programme and the ‘Egyptian Exporters Association – Expolink’, the ‘National Institute for Governance and Sustainable Development’, and the ‘Foreign Trade Training Centre’, in addition to a training programme for exporters in Cairo.
With regard to the ‘She Trades Project’, the minister said that two outcomes have been achieved from the programme, which are strengthening the capacities of the EDA and selected trade support institutions to empower women-owned SMEs to sell in local and regional markets and increasing women-owned SMEs’ capacities to sell in local and regional markets.
Furthermore, El-Said said that there are many projects in Egypt that aim to obtain the ITFC’s support to improve the capabilities of the institutions responsible for developing exports and increasing access to foreign markets, as well as enhancing the role Egypt plays with Arab countries in global value chains, refining the skills of youths and women, developing SMEs in the field of e-commerce, along with mechanising and digitising business operations in vital sectors of foreign trade and removing obstacles and barriers to accessing Arab and international markets.
On the field of digitisation, the minister said that during 2021, the ITFC contacted the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation and the General Authority for Supply Commodities to present the proposed digital solutions within the framework of Egypt’s 2030 Vision for digital transformation.
Workshops were held to explore ways to benefit from them, with the aim of developing trade operations in the areas of digitising shipping documents and documentary credits. Coordination was also made with the two authorities and in cooperation with the Egyptian Customs Authority and Banque Misr to apply digitisation to trade operations.