The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and the International Financial Corporation (IFC) Partner for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in common member countries

The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) (www.ITFC-IDB.org) and the International Financial Corporation (IFC) signed a Letter of Intent for Partnership with the aim to intensifying and reinforcing their joint work and cooperation to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The signing took place on the sidelines of WTO’s Aid for Trade Global Review 2017 in Geneva by Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO of ITFC, and Mr. Dimitris Tsitsiragos, Vice President of IFC.

The two institutions will be working on a variety of topics including integrated trade programs and trade development initiatives. In particular, energy security programs in Africa and agriculture sector development programs in sub-Saharan Africa. Other areas of cooperation include climate finance, smart agriculture trainings and SMEs development. This signature reflects the strong partnership between ITFC and IFC that is already materialized through ongoing joint-work, like the structuring of cotton sector programs in West Africa.

Commenting on the signing, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO ITFC, said: “I am very delighted and optimistic about the partnership with IFC. We share a common commitment for the sustainable development of our member countries. This is a milestone in the IsDB Group, as it is in line with the new strategic orientation to capitalize on the additionality effect and the advantages of respective organization.”

From his side, Mr. Dimitris Tsitsiragos, Vice President of IFC said, “This partnership will support trade and export, enhancing the access of Sub-Saharan Africa to global markets. We believe that increasing cross-border trade is vital to private sector development, which is key to helping local companies build markets and create jobs.”

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

Media contact:
Raghda Elsharawy
Asst. GM Corporate Communication & Marketing
RElsharawy@ITFC-IDB.org
+966 12 646 8409

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Source:: The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and the International Financial Corporation (IFC) Partner for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in common member countries

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IMF Management Completes the Second Review under the Staff–Monitored Program for Somalia and IMF Managing Director Approves a New Staff–Monitored Program

  • IMF staff welcomes the authorities’ continued commitments to policy and reform implementation despite daunting challenges, including a humanitarian crisis.
  • IMF staff encourages the authorities to avoid new domestic arrears and to implement the reform measures envisaged under the Staff–Monitored Program.
  • IMF staff welcomes the authorities’ continued progress on currency reform and plans to revive the financial sector.

On June 21, the management of the IMF completed the second and final review under the first Staff–Monitored Program (SMP)[1] with Somalia, and the Managing Director of the IMF approved a new SMP covering the period May 2017–April 2018.

Somalia’s 2016 electoral cycle was completed on February 8, with the election of Mr. Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed as President. The new government has renewed its commitment to continue with strong policies and reforms to rebuild economic institutions, and to lay the foundations for inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction.

The international community and key donors of Somalia have welcomed the new government’s commitment, reaffirming their support to Somalia at a roundtable held last April in Washington, D.C. and at the Somalia Conference in London in May.

Somalia is a fragile state and the country’s post-war economic situation continues to be very difficult, with poverty remaining widespread. The authorities are lacking the resources and capacity, as well as the policy instruments, such as social safety net programs, to respond to their challenging development needs, including meeting the humanitarian needs resulting from the ongoing drought.

The drought is weakening economic activities and pushing up food prices. The government’s budgetary expenditures in 2017 will be largely consumed by wages and salaries, as well as goods and services. On the revenue side, donor grants are projected to finance about 40 percent of the 2017 budget. Somalia is still facing a large trade deficit, which will be covered by grants, remittances, and foreign direct investment from the Somali diaspora.

Program implementation through end-December 2016 and end-March 2017 was broadly satisfactory. In view of this performance and the remedial measures by the authorities to address shortcomings in performance under the first SMP, IMF management agreed to the completion of the second and final review of the program.

In view of the major challenges Somalia faces, the authorities requested a new 12-month SMP covering the period May 2017–April 2018, which the Managing Director of the IMF has now approved. The new program will help the authorities maintain macroeconomic stability; rebuild institutions and capacity for macroeconomic management and governance; and to implement the necessary measures to lay the foundation for achieving debt relief in the future under the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Initiative.

The new SMP is founded on three pillars: fiscal policy and reforms, monetary and financial sector policies and reforms, and governance and capacity development.

  • Fiscal policy will focus on improving budget execution and avoiding accumulation of domestic arrears; broadening the tax base; and improving public financial management.
  • The monetary and financial sector agenda will include further steps toward currency reform, financial sector development, and establishment of effective regulations for money-transfer businesses. The latter includes improvements to the legal and operational framework in connection with issues related to money laundering and combatting the financing of terrorism, which will help to facilitate the inflows of remittances to support economic activity and poverty reduction.
  • Capacity development and reforms to improve governance will be central to the program. These efforts will be supported strongly by technical assistance from the IMF which will continue to be financed from a donors’ Trust Fund.

Risks to the program and the outlook are high, including the fragile security situation, weak institutional capacity, and major refugee and humanitarian crises. However, the authorities’ continued commitment to the program and sustained and coordinated international support should help mitigate these risks. Improved ownership of the program by the authorities will also be essential to its success.

[1] An SMP is an informal agreement between country authorities and Fund staff to monitor the implementation of the authorities’ economic program. SMPs do not entail financial assistance or endorsement by the IMF Executive Board.

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

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Air Seychelles Introduces State-of-the-Art Passenger Handling Technology at Home Airport

Air Seychelles (www.AirSeychelles.com), the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, will be introducing SITA’s (www.SITA.aero) state-of-the-art common-use passenger processing systems (CUPPS) at Seychelles International Airport from today. This investment provides greater flexibility for international airlines operating from the airport by allowing them to share common-use terminal equipment for check-in and boarding.

The airline – which provides ground-handling services to airlines operating from Seychelles International Airport – is currently upgrading its technology to ensure a smooth travel experience every step of the way. The upgrade is being performed in partnership with the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority and SITA, a global technology provider to the air transport industry.

The new systems will optimize the use of terminal facilities, speed up the flow of passengers and improve service levels for all international travelers flying from Seychelles International Airport.

Roy Kinnear, Chief Executive Officer of Air Seychelles, said: “The new common-use terminal equipment will enable Air Seychelles to connect to various Departure Control Systems used by other airlines operating to Seychelles, providing more flexibility to our ground handling operations.

“Even more importantly, it will enable us to streamline the check-in and boarding process for all the international travelers that are handled at Seychelles International Airport, making sure they have a smooth experience. This development from SITA follows the long list of innovative technological solutions which we have implemented to ensure an improved guest experience.”

Gilbert Faure, Chief Executive Officer of the Seychelles Civil Aviation Authority, said: “Introducing cutting-edge CUPPS infrastructure at Seychelles International Airport puts us on par with some of the most modern airports in the world. Having a standardized system for handling passengers will improve the airport experience for all international travelers, irrespective of the airline they are flying with, which is a fantastic achievement. We have developed a strong relationship with both Air Seychelles and SITA and are pleased to have worked together to install this new technology.”

Maneesh Jaikrishna, Vice President Indian Subcontinent, Eastern & Southern Africa said: “Our common-use systems bring new efficiencies to Seychelles International Airport for both Air Seychelles and other operators. This in turn will have a dramatic impact on passengers who will benefit from a smooth and seamless travel experience.”

Distributed by APO on behalf of SITA.

For further information (not for publication) contact:
SITA
Julius Baumann
Media Relations Manager
Mobile: +41 78 901 4123
Email: Julius.Baumann@SITA.aero

SITA (Indian Subcontinent, Eastern & Southern Africa)
Vishwendra Verma
Regional Marketing Manager
Mobile: +91 9650017018
E-Mail: Vishwendra.Verma@SITA.aero

Leidar
Charlie Pryor
Tel: +44 (0)20 7872 5465
Email: Charlie.Pryor@LEIDAR.com
Skype: LEIDAR_Charlie

Air Seychelles
Maja Gedosev
Air Seychelles Corporate Affairs
Tel: +248 2500 833
Email: MGedosev@AirSeychelles.com

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About SITA:
SITA is the communications and IT solution provider that transforms air travel through technology for airlines, at airports and on aircraft. The company’s portfolio covers everything from managed global communications and infrastructure services, to eAircraft, passenger management, baggage, self-service, airport and border management solutions. Owned 100% by more than 400 air transport industry members, SITA has a unique understanding of its needs and places a strong emphasis on technology innovation.
Nearly every airline and airport in the world does business with SITA and its border management solutions are used by more than 30 governments. With a presence at more than 1,000 airports around the world and a customer service team of 2,000+ staff, SITA delivers unmatched service to more than 2,800 customers in more than 200 countries.
In 2016, SITA had consolidated revenues of US$1.5 billion. SITA’s subsidiaries and joint ventures include SITAONAIR (www.SITAONAIR.aero), CHAMP Cargosystems (www.CHAMP.aero) and Aviareto (www.Aviareto.aero).
For further information go to www.SITA.aero.

About Air Seychelles:
Air Seychelles was established in 1978 and began long-haul service in 1983. The airline currently offers international flights to Abu Dhabi, Antananarivo, Johannesburg, Durban, Mauritius, Mumbai, Paris and Dusseldorf. Air Seychelles also offers more than 200 domestic scheduled flights a week throughout the archipelago, including domestic charter services. As the national airline of the Republic of Seychelles, Air Seychelles is a pillar of tourism, the island nation’s strongest and growing economic sector. The airline maintains a strategic partnership with Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates and 40 per cent stakeholder. For more information, please visit: www.AirSeychelles.com.

Source:: Air Seychelles Introduces State-of-the-Art Passenger Handling Technology at Home Airport

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Africa’s Great Lakes: How Trade Is Essential to Regional Peace and Prosperity

Promoting development, peace and security in the Great Lakes region of Africa will be in focus during an upcoming meeting organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Office of the Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Great Lakes region.

Attended by both the Secretary-General of UNCTAD, Mukhisa Kituyi, and the UN Special Envoy, Said Djinnit, the meeting is aimed at exploring the connection between humanitarian and development issues in order to promote security in the region, which includes Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda. It will take place on 11 July at the Palais des Nations in Geneva (Switzerland) in Room XVII from 3 to 5 pm.

Today, the Great Lakes region counts over 7 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and 3.5 million refugees. Displacement in the region has increased as a result of insecurity and political conflict in Burundi, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan, further compounded by drought in many areas. Uganda has become the largest host country in Africa with over 1 million refugees. The number of IDPs in the Democratic Republic of Congo is currently estimated at 3.7 million making it the country in Africa most affected by internal displacement.

“Involving UNCTAD in these regional discussions is a recognition of the wide range of expertise tackled by the Geneva trade hub, and is an expression of its high potential for a deeper leading role in dealing with interrelated complex issues,” said UNCTAD Secretary-General Mukhisa Kituyi.

For his part, Special Envoy Said Djinnit highlighted the need to ensure that political engagement goes hand-in-hand with multi-sectoral approaches. “More than ever, the Great Lakes Region requires predictable, coordinated and coherent support to avoid reversing the progress achieved to date,” he said.

Discussions at the meeting on 11 July will focus on the Great Lakes Regional Strategic Framework (GLRSF) – a multi-agency, regional and cross border coordination mechanism which fosters collaboration between stakeholders working towards solving and preventing conflicts and crisis in the region. The GLRSF also outlines the coordinated UN response in support of the implementation of the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework for the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Great Lakes region.

Endorsed in March 2016 by the UN Security Council, the Great Lakes Regional Strategic Framework is supported by a Multi-Donor Trust Fund (MDTF) which ensures the framework is fully operational and reinforced by effective inter-agency collaboration. During the meeting, donors will be encouraged to financially contribute to the Fund.

UNCTAD is the latest Agency to begin participation in the regional trust fund, and it is expected that the Agency will use its leading role in the UN Inter-Agency Cluster on Trade and Productive Capacity to help the framework team to broaden the scope of its work on economic development and trade.

A specific area of expertise UNCTAD could offer in the Great Lakes Region is leveraging informal cross-border trade for the empowerment of women. UNCTAD is currently addressing trade barriers affecting informal female traders in Malawi, Tanzania and Zambia, and could possibility replicate these activities in the Great Lakes Region.

Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

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