The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, has signed a framework agreement with the Government of Tunisia, represented by the Ministry of Economy, Finance and Investment Support, to increase trade flows and build trade capacity within the Republic. The US $ 1.5 billion agreement is aimed at supporting Tunisian State-owned companies to finance the importation of essential commodities such as energy and industrial products amongst others, as well as to access trade development programs to drive exports and promote inter-regional trade with other Arab and African countries.
Under the agreement, signed by Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO ITFC and H.E. Ali Kooli, Minister of Economy, Finance, and Investment Support, ITFC will contribute to mobilizing financial resources from international and regional banks and financial institutions. In addition, the agreement will make way for further cooperation between the two parties in the areas of trade development. Tunisian state-owned companies will have access to ITFC’s integrated trade solutions, and benefit from regional trade platforms such as the Aid for Trade Initiative for Arab States (AfTIAS) and the Arab-Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) programs, which promotes trade and investment ﬂows between Arab and African countries through enhancing enterprise competitiveness, reducing trade costs, and improving technological capacities. These companies will also benefit from ITFC’s LC confirmation/ ICR issuance products to secure export-related transactions.
In addition, a grant agreement was signed totalling US$15,000, for covering the cost of subscriptions to virtual education and training platforms that provide certification education and training for the benefit of the National Center for Technologies in Education as part of its Distance Education Program in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Referring to the agreement, the Minister of Economy, Finance and Investment Support of Tunisia, H.E. Ali Kooli praised the successful partnership and cooperation between Tunisia and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, considering the support it provides to the benefit of many national institutions and key players in strategic sectors, to help them secure their needs of raw materials. He also stressed that the Tunisian government is keen to further enhance this cooperation and benefit from the various programs and mechanisms of the financial institution.
Reiterating ITFC’s commitment to supporting its member countries, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, the ITFC CEO, said: “ITFC’s ongoing financial and trade development support in Tunisia is part of our efforts to diversify the local economy and boost recovery from the impact of COVID-19. It is essential that Tunisian import-export companies continue to trade with its Arab and African counterparts. The agreement will facilitate access to ITFC’s integrated trade solutions and key trade-related platforms such as the AfTIAS and AATB which are target value-added sectors, promote a skilled workforce, and drive knowledge and technology transfer amongst local trading companies.”
It is worth mentioning that ITFC had provided about US$ 1.5 billion during the last three years under the last framework agreement signed in 2018 to boost and diversify the Tunisia economy across the agricultural, energy, industrial, and pharmaceutical sectors. Beneficiaries of ITFC financing to date include Société Tunisienne de l’Electricité et du Gaz (STEG) Groupe Chimique Tunisien, the Tunisian Company of Refining Industries (STIR), and El Fouladh, the Tunisian steel company.