Best Trade Financier in the Middle East and North Africa – First Abu Dhabi Bank
FAB is the largest bank in the UAE by total assets and market capitalisation, with the strongest combined credit ratings of any other bank in MENA.
“FAB is proud to receive the “Best Trade Financier in MENA” award from the Trade Finance Global and BAFT team. This award, recognises our efforts in developing bespoke, innovative solutions for our clients in supporting their diverse trade needs. We continue to develop our products and offerings both in traditional trade as well as in the open account space which will be offered to our clients digitally and in a simplified manner.”
– Manoj Menon, SMD & Head of Global Transaction Banking, Global Head of Trade
• We are recognised as one of the safest and strongest banks worldwide (Global Finance- Safest Bank rankings: #1 in the UAE & MEA, #4 in emerging markets, #22 safest commercial bank worldwide)
• FAB has been ranked 71st out of 500 banks in terms of brand value- which is equivalent to USD 4.02 billion (Brand Finance report)
• FAB is rated as one of the top 1000 banks worldwide (The Banker: #1 in UAE by tier 1 capital strength, #2 in MEA by tier 1 capital strength, #86 globally by tier 1 capital strength, #108 globally by total assets)
What are the biggest challenges that First Abu Dhabi Bank faces in relation to international trade or finance right now?
• 2019 marked another year of growth for FAB, despite challenging market conditions regionally and internationally.
• The Group’s solid financial results for the full year of 2019 are testament to the strength of our leading corporate and retail businesses, and demonstrate clear progress in our strategy as we continue to better serve our clients in the UAE and across our global network.
• FAB’s diversified business model, strong financial profile, and leading role as a strategic partner to Abu Dhabi’s economic growth and diversification plans, position us well to successfully navigate an ever-evolving economic and regulatory landscape, and transform challenges into opportunities
• In 2020 the outlook is cautious due to persistent market uncertainties: global market pressures and impact caused by COVID-19 virus, general slow-down of world economy
What should we be looking forward to in 2020, and what are the short to medium term priorities of First Abu Dhabi Bank?
• Maintaining cost and risk discipline
• Strengthening our leading position in the UAE by growing market share in chosen segments, and deepening client relationships
• Enhancing and rolling out product capabilities across our global network to support fee-based business, client flow activity, and cross-sell
• Accelerate growth in strategically-targeted markets
• Continuing to invest in key strategic and digital initiatives to support business growth and efficiencies
What is the strategic focus for First Abu Dhabi Bank in the short to medium term?
• Our vision is to create value for our customers, employees, shareholders and communities to grow stronger through differentiation, agility and innovation.
• As a leading and responsible bank, our long-standing commitment to sustainable finance is firmly embedded in our business model and strategy.
• As the UAE approaches its Golden Jubilee, FAB will continue to be a key partner to support the government’s long term sustainable growth agenda, and help build a better world for future generations
• Looking ahead, we remain firmly committed to maximising shareholder returns, and supporting our employees, customers and the communities we operate within as we grow stronger, together
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Best Trade Financier in Africa
Trade and Development Bank
TDB helps to foster trade, regional integration and sustainable development through trade & project finance
“We are honoured to have been recognized among the best players in the African trade finance industry. It is a testament to our dedicated board, exceptional management team and talented professionals’ commitment to drive quality growth and impact in our region. We look forward to continue working to develop innovative world-class solutions to further bridge the trade finance gap, and deliver triple returns for our partners, clients and shareholders.”
– Admassu Tadesse, President and Chief Executive
2019 Case Studies and Highlights
Examples in trade finance:
- TDB’s $22M sugar blockchain trade finance transaction whereby 50,000 tons of white cane sugar was shipped from India to Ethiopia, with a Singapore-based trader and supplier, Agrocorp. TDB was the first African DFI to close a trade finance transaction using blockchain technology. It is also the first sugar trade finance deal completed via blockchain globally, and the largest single-trade transaction to date to have been completed by dltledgers, the world’s largest production blockchain platform for global trade finance, via which TDB has been able to close the transaction.
- TDB’s $300M structured trade finance facility to facilitate the import of refined fuel products to Mozambique. TDB acted as sole arranging and funding bank in the facility and our quick execution of the facility under extremely tight timelines was able to avert a fuel supply shortage in the country.
What are the biggest challenges that TDB faces in relation to international trade or finance right now?
Overall Africa’s share in global trade is still less than 5%. Along with other challenges, for example in infrastructure and availability of foreign exchange reserves, lower levels of development of the African banking sector and skills available on its market, are barriers to the expansion of intra and extra-African trade.
Likewise, an increasing number of large correspondent international banks are responding to the call of regulators and shareholders to reduce risks, and as a result severing relationship with African banks, and in some cases, closing shop in Africa.
Africa’s trade finance deficit is estimated by the International Chamber of Commerce at US $110 billion to $120 billion – representing about 25 per cent of the demand for trade finance in Africa.
It is both an opportunity for, and the duty of African investment-grade banks such as TDB to play a greater role in facilitating and de-risking trade finance in more challenging environments, through innovative solutions, which will ultimately serve to reduce the trade finance gap.
As such, working with trusted partners and clients from around the globe and in the region, TDB has become the ideal intermediary for global and regional capital in the region.
Along with significant increases in levels of disposable income on the continent, African trade has come a long way, increasing almost 5-fold as compared to 2001 as a result of diminishing transaction costs including tariffs, opening of financial borders, and mostly, of the reality of the ‘Africa rising’ story. Much remains to be done but there is reason to be optimistic about the future of African trade and development as a whole.
What should we be looking forward to in 2020, and what are the short to medium term priorities of TDB?
Our current Corporate Plan VI (2018-2022) lays out the strategic and corporate objectives of the bank, which are to continue mobilizing resources to support growth in trade and development financing for a range of priority sectors. The Bank will be looking for its financing and interventions to advance greater development impact and address inclusiveness and sustainable growth in the region, with a focus on economic transformation through infrastructure, enterprise and trade financing, including in growth sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing.
In 2020 we will take stock of our progress towards achievement of these strategic objectives while continuing to execute our current pipeline to deliver sustainable, high impact interventions.
As President and Chief Executive of TDB, what is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?
Our trade finance business has three primary strategic drivers. First, leveraging our investment grade credit rating, we are expanding our Financial Institution strategy to provide funded and unfunded solutions to address the African trade financing gap caused by the pullback of funding by global banks. Second, we are partnering with strategic suppliers selling into or exporting out of our Member States, to ensure the availability of vital commodities and the growth of foreign exchange earning export industries. Third, we are advancing introduction of open account trade solutions such as receivables financing and invoice discounting. Through these strategic objectives, we intend to facilitate greater intra and inter-African trade, facilitate increased regional integration and position our business to capitalize on future opportunities arising for secular industry trends.
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Best Islamic Financier
International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation
ITFC is the leading provider of trade solutions for OIC Member Countries’ needs.
“ITFC’s overarching goals are directly aligned with the UN SDGs. Our mandate is to advance trade and improve lives in all OIC member nations.”
– Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO
In 2019 the cumulative trade finance approvals reached US$51 billion while disbursements stood at US$40.6 billion, with trade support extended to the critical sectors of Energy, Agriculture, and SMEs, among others. At the same time, total cumulative funds mobilized from partner banks and financial institutions reached US$31billion, reflecting ITFC’s crucial role as a catalyst to attract funding for the Member Countries’ large-ticket trade transactions.
On the trade finance side, ITFC extended trade financing to governments, private & public sector companies, and Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) through lines of financing extended to local and regional Banks. In 2019, ITFC continued to extend financing to a number of Member Countries under multi-year framework agreements for many of the large-ticket sovereign clients.
In the area of trade development, the Corporation extended its services, technical assistance and capacity building activities through various programs some of which were launched in 2018 such as: (i) Indonesia Coffee Export Development Program; (ii) West Africa SME Program; (iii) ; and (iv) The Gambia Aflatoxin Project.
What are the biggest challenges that ITFC faces in relation to international trade or finance right now?
The slow growth of Global Trade:
Because of the high degree of uncertainty associated with trade forecasts under the current circumstances, the estimated growth rate of global trade in 2019 has been within the range of 0.5 percent to 1.6 percent. Member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) have also had their share in declining growth rate projections. The average overall GDP growth of the Member is at 2.7 percent in 2019 lower than the 3.4 percent growth in 2018
The fall in energy commodities prices:
The negative outlook is expected to continue to 2020 in most of the commodity prices as stated by the World Bank in its recent statement end of October 2019. After falling sharply in 2019, energy and metal prices will continue to fall due to weak global growth expectations and the consequent decline in demand. According to the bank’s experts, crude oil prices are expected to average $ 60 a barrel in 2019 and then fall to $ 58 a barrel in 2020. These forecasts are $ 6 and $ 7 a barrel lower than expected in their statement in Q1 2019. Overall, energy prices, which also include natural gas and coal, fell by about 15% in 2019 compared to 2018 and continue to fall in 2020.
The fall in agriculture commodity prices
Agricultural commodity prices fell in 2019 but expected to stabilize in 2020. Resolving trade tensions could lead to higher prices for some agricultural commodities, such as soybeans and corn, while lower energy prices could lower fuel and fertilizer costs, reducing energy-intensive crops such as oilseeds.
What should we be looking forward to in 2020, and what are the short to medium term priorities of ITFC?
In 2020, ITFC is embarking on offering new products to add to the range of products that are provided to our clients and will witness the launching of innovative Shariah compliant trade financing products.
More intra-regional integration through flagship programs led by ITFC such as the Arab Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) Program and others. To support global and regional initiatives like the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA) and contribute to the SDGs.
Work closer with the strategic partners to alleviate poverty and generating job and employment through women empowerment and youth, SMEs development and food security.
ITFC is now placing emphasis on ‘future-proofing’ the business by exploring new opportunities across Digitalization, Innovation and Trade Advisory. The purpose is to augment ITFCs Vision in the market as the “Leading Provider of Trade Solutions for OIC Member Countries’ Needs”.
What is the strategic focus of ITFC in the short to medium term?
focus on :
- Enhancing Intra-OIC trade
- Contribute to the Growth in Islamic Trade Finance
- Supporting the Diversification of Member Countries Economies (through trade financing)
Specifically, ITFC’s Strategic Objectives are supported through three Strategic Pillars:
Private Sector Development:
- ITFC’s contribution to private sector development within member countries is significant, given that trade is the most significant driver of economic development.
Co-operation between Member Countries:
- Expanding co-operation between member countries is facilitated by ITFC’s trade solutions, which specifically aims to increase trade between member countries.
Islamic Trade Finance Development:
- ITFC focuses on developing Islamic Trade Finance solutions both through its own provision of products, as well as by working with local banks to increase their capacity to provide such products.
“ITFC’s overarching goals are directly aligned with the UN SDGs. Our mandate is to advance trade and improve lives in all OIC member nations.
Our goal is to support member countries’ strategic sectors and to improve their trading capacity.
A key component in our strategy is to work through strategic partnerships with key stakeholders with vested interest in the socio-economic development in Member Countries. This allows ITFC to develop Integrated Trade Solutions with Trade Finance and Trade Development components to help remove barriers to trade while providing stronger access to the financing of new trading opportunities. ” – Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO
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MENA Fintech Innovator Award
komgo provides a blockchain based software to support trade finance execution ins a simple, secure and efficient way
“We are very proud to receive this award that we dedicate to the komgo team and all shareholders. This is a remarkable milestone of our journey”
– Souleïma Baddi, Chief Executive Officer
- Closing of second fund raising with 3 new investors
- Opening offices in Asia
- Onboarding more than 100 clients, 20000 LCs and SBLCs opened
What are the biggest challenges that komgo faces in relation to international trade or finance right now?
Lack of adapted regulations on e-documents to fully digitize trade finance
What should we be looking forward to in 2020, and what are the short to medium term priorities of komgo?
- Continue growing the komgo network
- Servicing our clients across all geographies (Americas, EMEA and Asia)
Refining our product offer
As Chief Executive Officer of komgo, what is the strategic focus of the company in the short to medium term?
With an established community of users across Europe and the UK, and growing adoption in Asia and the US, global expansion of the platform that is becoming the central one stop shop in the trade finance community
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Methodology and Process
Trade Finance Global (TFG) takes the judging of the International Trade Finance Awards to be a serious matter. In the interests of transparency around the selection process, the methodology is detailed below.
TFG have a team of both in house analysts and external consultants who would’ve conducted a mixture of quantitative and qualitative reviews on a number of trade finance banks and liquidity providers, as well as SAAS companies, fintechs / non-bank liquidity providers, law and insurance firms.
1. TFG announced a ‘call for award nominations’ on the 2nd December 2019, which was published through TFG’s email, social and online channels, as well as BAFT’s channels. Nominations were put forward by both TFG and nominees (i.e., companies self nominating)
2. The award nominations window closed on the 20th December 2019. Nominations that were received were also selected are then sorted into respective award categories. A staff member passed these nominations to the first stage TFG internal judging team and then to an internal member of staff to further judge
3. The TFG judging team, independently of each other, read each of the submissions and decide if it (A) Meets the criteria of the category (B) Is worthy of being a finalist
4. The TFG judging team grades each submission 1 to 5 (with 5 being the most suitable for the finalist list). The first stage judges pass on the top five nominations for each category to the steering committee. If there are less than five entries all nominations go on to the second stage of judging
5. The above marking criteria (point 4) was based on a mixture of, public information on deal volumes, and transactions numbers by market, as well as the company’s ability develop innovative finance structures and products in the changing market
6. TFG also looked at public reviews on client satisfaction, the quality of, and content produced (on site) around their products, as well as brand share in the category, looking extensively at social coverage and brand advocacy
7. The TFG steering committee members then take part in the judging process, selecting winners from the shortlist. The steering committee board members are industry experts from the field and academia in structured trade and commodity finance, fintech and technology or law. A staff member sends an information guide of the finalist selections to each advisory board member for each award category they have selected to judge
The steering committee comprised of:
- Sean Edwards, ITFA
- Cecile Andre Leruste, Accenture
- Peter Mulroy, FCI
- Rudolf Putz, EBRD
- Alisa DiCaprio, R3
- Erik Timmermans, WOA
- Johanna Wissing, Lloyds Bank
- Robert Besseling, ExxAfrica
- Silja Calac, ITFA, SwissRe
- Harri Rantanen, Standardised Trust
- Emmanuelle Ganne, WTO
- David Bischof, ICC Banking Commission
- Vinco David, Berne Union
- Stacey Facter, BAFT
- Ian Sayers, International Trade Center
- Dr. Benedict Oramah, Afreximbank
- Ziyang Fan, World Economic Forum
8. With attention to confidentiality, the awards submissions are returned to TFG staff members who sorted the information. Data is then cleaned (any conflicts of interest or votes being abstained)
9. In the unlikely event of a tie following the second stage of judging, the tie will be broken by an impartial industry expert on the TFG staff or contributing editorial board
10. TFG collates quotes and assets from the winning companies under embargo, for release on the 19 March 2020
See the full terms and conditions here, or download the Brochure. Find out about the 2020 Awards here.
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