AATB programme outlines action plan for COVID-19 Crisis

AATB Vinia storyThe International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) and its partners have approved an Arab Africa Trade Bridges (AATB) programme action plan to support African and Arab countries to strengthen their socio-economic resilience in light of the COVID-19 pandemic

In addition to ITFC, the virtually-held fourth executive committee meeting of the AATB programme was attended by heads of member institutions including Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) and Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC) as well as senior officials from other members such as from Afreximbank and Islamic Development Bank (ISDB).

AATB drives the regional economic integration between African and Arab regions and strengthens SME export development across major sectors. During the present crisis, member organisations will realign the existing financial engagements, with the help of a range of interim and medium-term measures, to respond to the immediate needs of regions.

Placing importance on the healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors, the measures include supporting the network of laboratories in West Africa, with the supply of COVID-19 testing kits, lab equipment and personal-protection equipment (PPE) for the medical and para-medical staff.

In addition, African laboratories will have access to critical knowhow, through a range of capacity-building and knowledge sharing programmes. These include online training, protocols and standard operating procedure (SOP) to diagnose and manage coronavirus cases.

Other measures focus on improving the capacity of pharmaceutical agencies in African and Arab countries, in terms of management and procurement. AATB, in partnership with the relevant African entities, will focus on harmonising pharmaceutical standards and improving market access for pharmaceutical products. AATB’s vast network of pharmaceutical buyers and sellers will play an important role in ensuring the steady supply of products where they are needed the most.

“The AATB programme partners intend to realign priorities and redirect support towards African and Arab countries that are most vulnerable to the socio-economic impact of the pandemic. We had existing initiatives, focused on trade integration and capacity development in the critical sectors of pharmaceuticals and agri-foods,” said Hani Salem Sonbol, ITFC CEO.

“In this unprecedented situation, our institutions have to be agile, innovative and result-oriented. We are collectively committed to work hand-in-hand, with governments, development partners and all other stakeholders,” said Dr Sidi Ould Tah, DG BADEA and chairman of the executive committee of the AATB programme.


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