ITFC and SESRIC’s report focused on selected OIC countries, exploring the importance of creating regional value chains and support smart infrastructure investment projects to improve connectivity, the facilitation of investments in productive capacities to differentiate products and strengthen the competitiveness of domestic companies.
Jeddah – 12th July 2021: The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and its partner the Statistical, Economic and Social Research and Training Centre for Islamic Countries (SESRIC), today launched a technical report on the potential impacts of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on selected OIC countries, namely Côte d’Ivoire, Egypt, Guinea, Mozambique, Tunisia and Uganda.
The objective of the AfCFTA is to integrate, diversify and enhance the industrialisation of the African economies of about 1.3 billion people with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of US$2.5 trillion in current prices, or US$6.8 trillion based on purchasing power parity (PPP).
To shed light on the important findings of the research report, a virtual event was organised with the participation of Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of ITFC; Mr. Nabil Daboor, Director General, SESRIC; Mrs. Ngone Diop: Director of UNECA – Sub-regional Office West Africa; Mr. Saliou Sow, AfCFTA Chief Negotiator for Guinea; Mrs. Astou SY, Deputy AfCFTA Chief Negotiator for Senegal and Mr. Chaouki Jaballi, Director of Cooperation with Arab countries and African Union, Ministry of Cooperation Tunisia.
The launching event unveiled the key findings of the report, covering important topics including the facilitation of investments in productive capacities to differentiate products and strengthen the competitiveness of domestic enterprises. In addition, the webinar also revealed the need to create regional value chains and support smart infrastructure investment projects to improve connectivity and allow for smooth movement of goods and people while protecting vulnerable segments of societies to achieve more balanced growth.
Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO, ITFC stated that “The AfCFTA is a great opportunity for Africa to integrate more and create transnational value that can be reflected in the socio-economic growth of the continent. ITFC is committed to supporting OIC members to make the most of the agreement not only to boost trade but to create sustainable jobs, enhance international cooperation and expand local industries, which are all crucial for the continental and global post-covid economies. In support of our commitment, ITFC will keep investing into programmes such as the Arab Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) Program and the ITFC-IsDB AfCFTA Inititiaveto promote intra-African and intra-OIC trade.”
Mr Nebil Dabur, DG SESRIC stated that “The African Continental Free Trade Area is a critical milestone in enhancing economic cooperation and integration among the African countries. For partner countries to take advantages of opportunities and address challenges associated with this path-breaking initiative, appropriate policies, tools and resources will be required to effectively implement these policies. The SESRIC-ITFC partnership serves exactly this purpose and we look forward to proceed with the next two series of our partnership. The SESRIC, strong of fourty years of experience and successful achievements in the three areas of its mandate, namely statistics, research and training will continue to support the efforts of the OIC and its member countries in the era of the AfCFTA.“
On 1 January 2021, the AfCFTA became operational with the ratification of 34 African Union (AU) member states, which later increased to 37 as of 7 July2021 according to the latest report by Trade Law Centre (TRALAC). This is a major step towards boosting regional trade and economic integration among the African countries. The AfCFTA will facilitate, harmonize and better coordinate trade regimes and eliminate challenges related to overlapping trade agreements across the continent. The expected gains are not to be limited to international trade only. The agreement would support greater economic integration, foster competitiveness of the domestic industries, facilitate better allocation of resources and help to attract greater foreign direct investments.