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The Second Arab-Africa Trade Forum
Thursday، 04 November 2021 - 08:16 PM
Under the patronage of the Egyptian Prime Minister Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADIA) and the Arab-African Trade Bridges Program (AATB) organized the Second Arab-Africa Trade Forum, at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Cairo, from 3rd to 4th November 2021.
About 200 economic and financial figures from the African and Arab regions participated in the forum, including ministers and representatives of the ministries of finance, economy, trade and international cooperation and representatives of Arab, regional and international funding bodies and organizations. It, also, hosts about 40 speakers from various Arab and African countries representing financing institutions, export guarantee and insurance institutions, chambers of commerce and export promotion agencies.
About the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADIA)
Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, holds the position of Governor of Egypt at the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa
The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) was established pursuant to the resolution of the 6th Arab Summit Conference at Algiers (28th November 1973). The Bank began operations in March 1975.
BADEA is a financial institution owned by eighteen Arab countries members of the League of Arab States (LAS) which signed its Establishing Agreement in 18th February 1974. The Bank is an independent International Institution enjoying full international legal status and complete autonomy in administrative and financial matters. It is governed by the provisions of its Establishing Agreement and the principles of international law.
The Bank’s Headquarters is located in Khartoum, the capital of the Republic of the Sudan.
The Bank was created for the purpose of strengthening economic, financial and technical cooperation between the Arab and African regions and for the embodiment of Arab-African solidarity on foundations of equality and friendship. To achieve this end, the Bank was given a mandate to:
· Participate in financing economic development in African countries.
· Stimulate the contribution of Arab capital to African development.
· Help provide the technical assistance required for the development of Africa.
Activities of the Opening Session of the Second for Arab-Africa Trade Forum
Dr. Mostafa Madbouly, Prime Minister, participated in the activities of the opening session of the Second Arab-Africa Trade Forum, in the presence of Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, Hisham Tawfik, Minister of Public Business Sector, Nevin Gamea, Minister of Trade and Industry, and Counselor Mohamed Abdel Wahab, President Executive Director of the General Authority for Investment and Free Zones.
At the outset, the Prime Minister delivered a welcoming speech to Dr. Fahd Al-Dosari, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, and many economic and financial figures from the African and Arab regions, ambassadors, and representatives of Arab, regional and international funding bodies and organizations, participating in the forum, in which he expressed his happiness to attend this important forum, which seeks to strengthen the frameworks of Arab-African trade, and give a strong impetus to economic relations, thus contributing to the consolidation of relations between peoples.
During his speech, the Prime Minister thanked the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa for its efforts in organizing this forum, and for its elite and distinguished attendees, expressing his hope that this event would contribute to advancing economic cooperation in various fields, especially in the fields of trade, which reflects the enormous potential and capabilities of the countries of the region.
Dr. Mostafa Madbouly praised, in this regard, the efforts made by the Bank to strengthen economic, financial and technical cooperation between African countries and the countries of the Arab world, through its mechanisms that increase contributions to economic development in African countries, and encourage the participation of Arab capitals in African development. This is in addition to providing the necessary technical aid for development in Africa, as the Bank’s allocations during the year 2020 amounted to 27% for the development of trade and the private sector as well, which confirms the bank’s keenness and interest in supporting Arab and African trade.
The Prime Minister noted the pivotal role of the private sector in driving exports and increasing the rates of trade exchange between the Arab world and the continent of Africa, praising in this regard the Egyptian private sector, and its vital role in implementing major projects in various sectors, and the experience gained by Egyptian companies, through the implementation of these mega projects.
Dr. Mostafa Madbouly stated that the whole world is suffering from the Corona pandemic, its repercussions, and the resulting human tragedies, economic and social crises and a new financial crisis of greater impact than the financial crisis of 2008, adding that this pandemic brought the global economy into a state of severe recession, because the rapid spread of this virus represented a painful blow to the global economy, which had begun to witness a state of recovery and recovery from the previous financial crisis, pointing out that this calls for solidarity and better coordination of policies to confront this pandemic among all countries of the world.
The Prime Minister, also, explained that the tendency to manage the repercussions of the crisis by only managing demand will not have a positive impact in the long term, and will not achieve the desired sustainability for our emerging economies, saying: "From this point of view, I call on all African and Arab countries to move towards policies of managing supply and increasing it by not being content with trade exchange, but by concluding strategic alliances between our promising economies through which the optimal use of our diverse resources of natural resources, human resources and energy sources will enable us to increase our productivity in the brown continent and the Arab world and increase the competitiveness of our economies and make us more sustainable and solid in the face of crises and guarantee our peoples renewable job opportunities."
During his speech, the Prime Minister called on all participants in the forum's activities to attend the COMESA summit gathering, which Egypt will host in the coming weeks to discuss many important matters that achieve the aspirations of our countries.
Madbouly indicated that Egypt has adopted an ambitious approach to achieve comprehensive and sustainable development, and has proven that it is a strong and resilient country in the face of various economic, social and political challenges. He pointed out, in this context, that the government has adopted a comprehensive program of economic reform that includes taking legislative, financial and structural measures, creating an environment that attracts investment, in addition to implementing a number of major and diversified projects that will put Egypt on the global map economically. On top of these projects is the establishment of new cities, including the new administrative capital, the development project of the Suez Canal axis, land reclamation projects, and many other mega projects.
The Prime Minister stressed that the success of the economic reform program, and the praise of international institutions for the reforms achieved, is now a role model, saying: "We have multiple experiences, and a promising development experience, and we are pleased to share the successes we have achieved with our brothers from Arab and African countries.“
Dr. Mostafa Madbouly added that attracting investments requires a developed infrastructure, and that Egypt has managed with all determination to provide an infrastructure that is not limited to serving local development efforts only, but also extends to serving development in the entire African continent, explaining that the national road network that has been completed across the country is integrated with road networks that exist or can be established in neighboring countries, stressing the readiness to participate in creating an infrastructure that supports development in Africa, in line with the UN goals for sustainable development, and Egypt’s belief that development is the key to peace and stability in all countries of the world.
At the conclusion of his speech, the Prime Minister thanked all the organizers of the forum for their efforts, and in particular the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa for choosing Cairo to host the second Arab-African Trade Forum, wishing to work together to achieve comprehensive and lasting development and find serious partnerships between Arab and African countries.
Dr. Rania Al-Mashat, Minister of International Cooperation, delivered a speech at the opening session of the forum, in which she stressed that the private sector can play a pivotal role in strengthening inter-relations between the Arab world and the continent of Africa, as a major partner in achieving development, based on the huge potentials enjoyed by private sector companies in Egypt as well as Arab and African countries, based on the huge potentials enjoyed by private sector companies in Egypt, Arab and African countries.
In her speech, the Minister of International Cooperation clarified that promoting Egyptian joint economic relations with Africa and Arab countries is an essential part of the work strategy of the Ministry of International Cooperation, aiming to consolidate economic relations in various fields, through the mechanism of joint committees between Egypt and many countries, in addition to bilateral relations. The ministry is also working to provide an opportunity for more partnerships between international financial institutions and the private sector, with the aim of enhancing its role in development at the local and regional levels. During the year 2020, the ministry concluded development financing agreements with the value of $9.8 billion, including $3.1 billion for the private sector.
She referred to the great role of the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa in supporting joint relations between countries; in addition to strengthening the access of Arab exports to African markets through trade financing operations, which confirms the bank’s keenness and interest in supporting Arab and African trade. The bank, also, provided earlier a credit line to Banque Misr with a value of 50 million dollars to support the access of Egyptian products to African markets. She added that there is a lot that the bank can offer in this regard during the coming period.
She also commended the Arab Bank for Economic Development for responding to the efforts of countries in combating the Corona pandemic, as it approved 20 urgent response operations to assist member countries in combating Corona, with a value of 171 million dollars.
Dr. Rania Al-Mashat explained that PPP projects are of great importance to infrastructure development in Africa, and are considered as an attractive factor for international financial institutions to play their role in providing development funds aimed at achieving sustainable development, as well as innovating new financing mechanisms that enhance the involvement of the private sector in the implementation of developmental projects.
The Minister of International Cooperation touched on the ministry's endeavor to advance the state's development plan and its efforts to improve the lives of citizens, by strengthening joint economic relations with multilateral and bilateral development partners, in addition to providing development funds and technical support to the various sectors of development in the country, through the principles of economic diplomacy, which is the platform for joint coordination, matching development funds with the UN goals for sustainable development, and listing international participation.
Al-Mashat pointed out that the Ministry of International Cooperation organized the Egypt-ICF Forum last September, under the auspices of President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, which witnessed high-level international and regional participation, which comprised 26 ministers from Africa, Europe, the Arab region and many Institutions, including the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa, and more than 155 participants from 52 countries worldwide. She highlighted that among the most important topics discussed were the activation of the African Free Trade Agreement and the implementation of adequate e-commerce infrastructure to provide opportunities for more participation of the private sector in promoting intra-African trade.
Engineer Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, member of the Islamic Development Bank Group, delivered a speech at the opening of the forum, in which he stressed that the Corona virus had a negative impact on the economies of Arab and African countries, pointing out that the role of the Arab-African Trade Bridges Program (AATB) has emerged in these special and challenging times through an emergency plan for the benefit of member states, especially African ones, to support them in overcoming the negative effects, especially in the health and food sectors.
He added that the Arab-African Trade Bridges Program (AATB) launched, in partnership with the Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA), the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) and the African Standardization Organization (ARSO), the African Standards Coordination Program in Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices, which will have a significant impact on strengthening the health sector in the African continent and opening up prospects for trade and investment in the medium and long term, in addition to creating new job opportunities.”
He emphasized that the Arab-African Trade Bridges Program was strong in its commitment to encourage and increase trade and investment flows between African and Arab countries.
Sonbol pointed to the pivotal role of the private sector in stimulating trade and investment between the Arab and African regions, as the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation recently updated its strategy and launched its 2.0 strategy, which includes one of the main pillars, which is the establishment of a section dedicated to the private sector aimed at increasing financing and commercial solutions for the private sector for member states.