ITFC Provides US$1 Billion of Financing for the Development of Strategic Commodities in Member Countries

On the side-lines of the Islamic Development (IDB) Group 42nd Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors held in Jeddah recently, the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) (www.ITFC-idb.org), member of the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group has signed two Murabaha agreements between the Republic of Tunisia represented by the Tunisian Electricity and Gas Company to contribute to financing resourcing of natural gas for an amount of US$ 160 million and the Tunisian Company of the Refining Industries to contribute to financing resourcing of crude oil and petroleum products for an amount of US$ 150 million. The agreement has been signed by Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of ITFC and H.E Mohamed Fadhel Abdelkefi, Minister of Development, Investment and International Cooperation of Tunisia (Governor of Islamic Development Bank).

ITFC has also signed a US$ 35 million agreement with the Republic of Suriname for the support of the medical, agricultural, energy and industrial sectors. The agreement was signed by Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of ITFC and H.E Gillmore Hoefdraad the Minister of Finance of Suriname (Governor of Islamic Development Bank).

Another agreement was signed between ITFC and the Republic of Mali for the purchase of petroleum products and electricity. The agreement which amounts to €40,000,000 has been signed by Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of ITFC and H.E Dr. Boubou CISSE, the Minister of Economy and Finance (Governor of Islamic Development Bank).

The corporation has also signed a framework agreement with the Government of The Gambia amounting to US$ 210 Million over a period of 3 Years. The agreement signed is for the imports of petroleum products and fertilizers, in addition to the provision of pre-export financing for groundnuts and cashew nuts. The agreement has been signed by Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of ITFC and H.E Mr. Amadou Sanneh, Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs of The Gambia(Governor of Islamic Development Bank).

It is worth mentioning that the signing of these agreements contribute to the diversification of the sectors financed by the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) in the member countries, thus enhancing the role of the institution as a partner for the comprehensive development of these countries.

Distributed by APO on behalf of International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC).

About ITFC

The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (www.ITFC-idb.org) is an autonomous entity within the Islamic Development Bank Group. It was created with the purpose of advancing trade, which would ultimately contribute to the overarching goal of improving socioeconomic condition of the people across the Islamic world. ITFC has since consolidated all the trade finance businesses that used to be handled by various windows within IDB Group. It commenced operations in Muharram 1429H (January 2008G). The consolidation of IDB Group’s trade finance activities under a single umbrella enhanced the Corporation’s efficiency in service delivery by responding swiftly to customer needs in a market-driven business environment.

As a leader in Sharia-compliant trade finance, ITFC deploys its expertise and funds to businesses and governments in its Member Countries. Its primary focus is to encourage more intra-trade among OIC Member Countries. As a member of IDB Group, ITFC has unique access to Member Countries’ governments and it works as a facilitator to mobilize private and public resources towards achieving its objectives of fostering economic development through trade. The Corporation helps entities in Member Countries gain better access to trade finance and provides them with the necessary trade-related capacity building tools in order to help them compete successfully in the global market. www.itfc-idb.org

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MainOne advocates need for greater investments to drive data explosion in Africa

Experts at the International Telecoms Week conference in Chicago have highlighted the need to accelerate investment in Africa to facilitate the continent’s broadband data explosion.

Based on the theme “Achieving A Connected Continent: Leading The Data Explosion Across Africa”, the expert panel session with participation from Google, Facebook, WIOCC, Liquid Telecom and Angola Cables discussed strategies for achieving improved broadband access across the continent. The session reviewed the state of broadband infrastructure and data traffic trajectories in different countries on the continent and made comparisons to other markets globally. This included areas in which investments had been made such as submarine cables, data centers, and access networks including 3G4G and FTTH networks as some of the elements that have accelerated the growth in data traffic on the continent. The consensus was that the data explosion will need to be driven by further investment in local networks to reach more end users rather than new submarine cables. The session revealed that while most African submarine cable systems had the capability to deliver 100 GBPS wavelengths, Africa has not utilized near enough capacity to saturate those systems. According to the panelists, for broadband to become more pervasive, there is need for continued investment and innovative business models to aid the rapid deployment of Access networks across the continent.

Facebook’s Regional Head, Africa for Express Wifi, Uche Ofodile shared the company’s experiences working with carriers to jointly make infrastructure investments and highlighted its initiatives in Uganda, where it is working with Airtel to deploy fiber backhaul, but noted that demand and favorable regulatory environments informed their decisions to invest. The need to go beyond mobile infrastructure was also highlighted by the CEO of Liquid Telecom, Nic Rudnick, whose company just completed its acquisition of South African operator, Neotel for $429million. “As consumers in Africa start to use the internet for content, TV and on-demand services, mobile will have its limitations, not just in terms of technology, but also in price. We need to look at other technologies to achieve cost effectiveness”.

The panelists’ assessment of data center growth in Africa also indicated that uptake is not as rapid as experienced in other parts of the world and that most of the content consumed in Africa is hosted in Europe. Data center operators, MainOne and Liquid shared their experience that initial demand on the continent has been driven by Enterprises and financial institutions as against other geographies where OTT players are the biggest data center players. “We do not see any of these OTTs hosting their services from Africa. We are not seeing meaningful investments coming into Africa (from OTT players) and with the sizeable population of the continent, we need to see them play a larger role in the African ecosystem”, the panel concluded.

For the sixth year in a row, MainOne raised Africa’s profile as a target for broadband investment at the recently concluded global telecoms conference, International Telecoms Week in Chicago, USA, where it hosted an over-subscribed Africa Panel Session. The session which was a gathering of major international and African carriers, data center operators, mobile network operators and content distribution companies, provided a platform for players to share perspectives on the opportunities and challenges across the region with a global audience. The discussions also focused on infrastructure challenges as well as regulatory and economic constraints that impede faster proliferation of broadband access across the continent.

Distributed by APO on behalf of MainOne.

Media contact:
Temitope Osunrinde
Temitope.Osunrinde@mainone.net

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Gender Based Violence (GBV) Multi-sectoral Coordination in Libya

UNFPA, United Nation Fund for Population, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and IFRC, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, have jointly organized a training on “Gender Based Violence Multi-Sectoral Coordination in Libya” during the period 14th to 18th of May 2017.

The overall objective of the training is to raise awareness of GBV in humanitarian settings in the region and specifically in Libya and to provide fundamental skills to formulate appropriate prevention, mitigation and response strategies and programme interventions, and strengthen coordination across all relevant sectors. The training is the outcome of the combined efforts of UNFPA, Ahfad University in Khartoum and the KAWTAR Center for Arab Women for Training and Research and a new partnership between IOM and UNFPA with regards to the protection of vulnerable women in Libya. The workshop is aiming to set a new structure to ensure the protection of the most at risk women and girls among displaced and conflict affected families including migrants.

Thirty participants from the Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Health/ National Control Disease Center, Ministry of Interior and local CSOs/NGOs working on protection and GBV in Libya and Tunisia took part in the training. This synergy of efforts among the Libyan authorities and humanitarian actors is critical in order to provide seamless services to the most vulnerable efficiently.

“I salute the Libyan women, who is facing challenges inside and outside the house and who, we should guarantee their protection by providing psychosocial support, health services and legal counselling. This is only possible by close coordination with partners and a multi-sectorial approach on the ground with the line ministries and civil society actors” said Dr. Georges Makram GEORGI, UNFPA Libya Country Director.

“Partnership is an essential part to ensure women protection, it allows for more coordinated and cohesive approaches on Sexual and Gender based-violence” said Amelia MARZAL, IFRC Head of Country Cluster. “This training is a great example of coordination, led by UNFPA with its partners, to work together to achieve common goals. And from the International Federation together with the Libyan Red Crescent we are very glad to join efforts in this initiative.”
Maysa KHALIL, Programme Officer, IOM Libya, stated “IOM is ensuring that the protection of women and men is mainstreamed in all our Programmes though our strategic partners in Libya such as the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Social Affair and Ministry of Health. This workshop serves as a good opportunity to further enhance the coordination between UN agencies and partners inside Libya to better assist vulnerable populations”.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL).

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IMF Staff Completes Review Visit to Guinea-Bissau

IMF team reached a staff-level agreement with the authorities on the economic policies needed to complete the third review of the ECF which is subject to approval by the IMF Executive Board.

The rebound in economic activity that started in 2015 has continued and become more entrenched and growth has been supported by high cashew prices, increased construction activity, and continued improvements in the supply of electricity and water.

To maintain the positive economic trajectory, continued efforts will be needed to maintain and strengthen fiscal discipline and advance structural reforms.

An International Monetary Fund (IMF) team led by Tobias Rasmussen visited Guinea-Bissau from May 10 to 19, 2017, to conduct discussions on the third review of Guinea Bissau’s IMF-supported program under the Extended Credit Facility (ECF). [1]

At the end of the visit, Mr. Rasmussen issued the following statement:

“The IMF team reached a staff-level agreement with the authorities on the economic policies needed to complete the third review of the ECF. The staff-level agreement is subject to approval by the IMF Executive Board, which is slated to consider the third ECF review in mid-July 2017. Upon approval, drawings of SDR 3.030 million (about US$4.1 million) would become available to Guinea-Bissau.

“The authorities have reiterated their commitment to the ECF-supported program. Discussions focused on the key fiscal actions to maintain a disciplined path based on enhancing revenue mobilization and strengthening expenditure controls.

“The rebound in economic activity that started in 2015 has continued and become more entrenched. Growth has been supported by high cashew prices, increased construction activity, and continued improvements in the supply of electricity and water.

“The authorities have made significant progress in improving public financial management. The institutionalization of an operational treasury committee has enabled better expenditure control and, notably, the elimination since the start of this year of non-regularized spending. Moreover, improvements in tax and customs administration are helping boost revenue collection.

“To maintain the positive economic trajectory, continued efforts will be needed to maintain and strengthen fiscal discipline and advance structural reforms. Key measures include ensuring a firmly established budget approval process, enhancing debt management, addressing financial pressures stemming from the power sector, and allowing fluctuations of domestic fuel prices in line with international prices. Finally, it will be important to ensure a healthy competitive environment in the cashew sector by clearing out uncertainty about the regulatory regime for trading.”

The mission met with President José Mário Vaz, Prime Minister Umaro Sissoco Embaló, Attorney General António Sedja Mam, Minister of Finance João Fadia, Central Bank of West African States (BCEAO) National Director Helena Nosolini Embaló, other high level officials, as well as representatives of civil society, the private sector, and the donor community.

The IMF team wishes to express its gratitude to the authorities for the constructive discussions and for their hospitality.

Distributed by APO on behalf of International Monetary Fund (IMF).

[1] The ECF is a lending arrangement that provides sustained program engagement over the medium to long-term in case of protracted balance of payments problems. The arrangement for Guinea-Bissau, in an amount equivalent to SDR 17.04 million (about US$23.5 million, or 60 percent of quota) was approved on July 10, 2015 (see Press Release No.15/331).

End-of-Mission press releases include statements of IMF staff teams that convey preliminary findings after a visit to a country. The views expressed in this statement are those of the IMF staff and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF’s Executive Board. Based on the preliminary findings of this mission, staff will prepare a report that, subject to management approval, will be presented to the IMF’s Executive Board for discussion and decision.

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