Arab Africa Trade Bridges Programme concludes successful meetings in Tunis

Daily News Egypt
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The Arab Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) Programme held its 4th Board of Governors (BoG) Meetings alongside the Tunisia Africa Business Meeting (TABM) from July 2nd in Tunis, Tunisia.

The event marked a significant step forward in fostering trade, economic cooperation, and regional integration between Africa and the Arab world.

The 11th Executive Committee Meeting preceding the BoG Meetings featured discussions on critical areas like agricultural sustainability, food security, and economic empowerment for Arab and African nations. Key stakeholders and representatives from member institutions participated, including the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC).

Feryel Ouerghi Sebai, Tunisia’s Minister of Economy and Planning, highlighted the AATB Program’s importance as a platform to strengthen economic relations between Arab and African countries.

She emphasized Tunisia’s commitment to actively contribute to initiatives that further connect these regions for mutual benefit. Both Arab and African nations, the Minister noted, possess rich resources and capabilities that pave the way for robust economic, trade, and investment partnerships across various sectors.

Benedict Oramah, President and Chairperson of Afreximbank and the AATB Executive Committee acknowledged the AATB Program’s role in expanding trade and investment ties between the two regions.

He emphasized the program’s focus on trade, investment, insurance, and infrastructure, areas crucial for deepening relations within the framework of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The AfCFTA, Prof. Oramah highlighted, has created a vast integrated market of 1.3 billion people with a combined GDP exceeding US$3.4 trillion.

Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of ITFC and Acting CEO of ICD, emphasized the historical cultural and economic ties between Africa and the Arab world. He acknowledged recent initiatives aimed at reviving these connections and called on all countries to actively participate in the AATB Program’s activities. He stressed the importance of providing the program and its secretariat with the necessary resources and support to transform it into a full-fledged regional institution.

Key Agreements and Initiatives

The event facilitated the signing of several agreements that align with the AATB Program’s commitment to fostering sustainable economic growth and resilience:

  • Letter of Intent for Egypt’s Membership Renewal in the AATB Program: This aims to boost Egyptian exports, support various economic sectors, and implement a comprehensive work plan.
  • Agreement to Support the Development of the Common African Agro-Parks (CAAPs) Programme: A joint effort by ITFC, Afreximbank, and the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA) to provide institutional support for the CAAPs Programme from 2024 to 2026. This initiative focuses on enhancing agricultural productivity and sustainability in Africa through the creation of agro-industrial parks that promote innovation, technology transfer, and economic development.
  • Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) between the Tunisian Agency for Technical Cooperation (ATCT) and ITFC: This MoC aims to develop and support technical capacities and skills development in ITFC member countries. The cooperation covers areas such as technical assistance missions, training courses, and workshops in Tunisia.

A panel discussion on “Bridging the Gap to Support Food Security” was a key highlight. The AATB Program established a US$1.5 billion Food Security Programme in 2023 to address pressing food security challenges in the Arab and African regions. The program focuses on enhancing agricultural productivity, ensuring sustainable food systems, and improving livelihoods across communities.

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