Dr. Walid Al-Wohaib, Chief Executive Officer of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), member of the Islamic Development Bank Group, announced on Saturday a major trade capacity development initiative for Arab countries.
With the support of five United Nations specialized agencies, the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Trade Centre (ITC), the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the IITFC will provide a platform to assist Arab countries to mobilize resources to accelerate the pace of trade reforms and enhance competitiveness in global and regional markets in a manner that addresses the challenges of unemployment, particularly youth unemployment and provides momentum for the full realization of the Pan-Arab Free Trade Area. The League of Arab States is collaborating closely with the ITFC in the implementation of the initiative.
In announcing the initiative, Dr. Walid Al-Wohaib mentioned that there are exciting new possibilities for the Arab region in this special period of its history. Unleashing entrepreneurial potential and creative talents, diversifying Arab economies, and providing women and men with economic opportunities they need to live a better life will lead to more resilient and inclusive societies. “The Arab Aid for Trade Initiative I am announcing today will help Arab countries to mobilize resources to expand trade beyond current levels, boost economic growth and employment, reverse deindustrialization, and ultimately achieve poverty elimination and human development outcomes”, Dr. Walid Al-Wohaib said..
The Islamic Development Bank Group will contribute USD 2 million to the first phase of the initiative. Resources from within and outside the region are being mobilized to support the implementation of policy reforms as well as the building and operation of trade-related physical infrastructure and trade corridors in the region. UNDP has been tapped to provide coordination in the implementation of the initiative across the region and the delivery of results on the ground. The other UN agencies will provide specialized interventions including assistance in the design of policy reforms to address unemployment and competitiveness and enhance the implementation of the Pan-Arab Free Trade Area.