Arab states governors recently met in Tunisia to discuss the first phase of the Aid for Trade Initiative for Arab States (AFTIAS) outcomes, as well as the launch of its second phase.
Currently, the first phase is undergoing independent and comprehensive assessment to identify the outcomes achieved and the lessons learnt from implementing the projects approved for this phase. The results of the assessment will assist the International Islamic Trade Finance Cooperation (ITFC) and its partners launch and design the second phase of the AFTIAS.
The meeting was attended by the Assistant Secretary-General and Director of Center of the League of Arab States, Tunisia, Ambassador Abdullatif Abdulrahman Obaid as well as Dr. Bandar Hajjar, the President of the Islamic Development Bank.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Kingdom of Sweden, Egypt, United Nations Development Program, Islamic Development Bank, ITFC, and Egypt-based Industrial Training Council were the donors that initially financed AFTIAS.
Many beneficial projects were implemented in several Arab states. The projects supported the League of Arab States to improve its regional trade integration and boost Arab cross-border linkages by connecting the borders of Sudan, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. Projects to enhance the role of trade supporting corporations in Lebanon, Oman, Egypt, Kuwait, Algeria, and Saudi Arabia were also implemented.
Projects implemented also included a design of the national export strategy for Algeria, the enhancement of Libya’s export capacity, improve genetically-modified organisms testing in Iraq so as to facilitate trade and enhance consumer protection, train and hire youth for Egypt’s export as well as the development of a logistics platform to facilitate trade and investment in Morocco and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Eng. Hani Sonbol, said that from the moment they began implementing the initiative’s projects, they noticed its importance for many Arab states that are in dire need of vital development projects. He added that the resources were however not sufficient to meet the increasing needs.
The International Islamic Trade Finance Cooperation (ITFC) looks forward to the second phase and hopes there will be better levels of cooperation with all international trade agencies to assist Arab states implement major development projects that will have positive impact on Arab trade.