ITFC, Afreximbank sign $200m pact to boost sub-Saharan Africa’s agric sector
• Say agreement would deliver critical support to thousands of farmers
The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, has signed a $200 million syndicated financing agreement with the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank), to help sub-Saharan African countries address the economic impacts of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic on its agriculture sector.
According to the groups, the Murabaha Financial Agreement (MFA), supported by partners and financial institutions that allocate resources to Africa’s agriculture sector, would deliver critical support to thousands of farmers exporting food commodities across the continent, as COVID-19 continues to impact global food commodity prices.
The agreement would finance the export of soft commodities, such as raw cashew nuts, cocoa, sesame seeds, and maize, and provide other critical support to the sector, which is the continent’s largest employer of labour and a key driver of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) development in 11 sub-Saharan African countries.
Speaking on the MFA, Chief Executive Officer, ITFC, Hani Salem Sonbol, said financing agricultural exports during these extremely challenging economic conditions would provide a lifeline to exporters affected by the impact of COVID-19 on the price of commodities.
According to him, millions of people in Africa rely on agriculture for employment, while many
countries’ food security rests on the smooth and affordable import and export of foodstuff, saying the partnership with Afreximbank would ensure that businesses and ordinary people get the needed support to survive the pandemic.
His words: “The African region has been a priority for ITFC since its inception in 2008, mandated to answer to the developmental and economic requirements of the member countries on the continent.
“For this reason, ITFC disbursed $2.38 billion in Africa in 2019 alone, taking the total since 2008 to $15.6 billion, helping OIC member countries in the region to achieve sustained economic growth, job creation, and value creation in the key export sectors of agriculture, energy, and manufacturing.
“It is worth mentioning that ITFC first partnered with Afreximbank in 2017, with the signing of a $100 million agreement with the aim of facilitating and financing exports amongst African countries and between Africa and the rest of the world.
“Afreximbank is also a key partner in the Arab Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) Program initiated by ITFC, a programme with a mandate of enhancing economic integration between the Africa and Arab regions and strengthening SME export development across key sectors.”
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