ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, — During the 33rd Ordinary Session of the African Union Head of States Summit, the CEO of the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank Group, duly represented by Mr. Ikbal Daredia, Senior Advisor to the CEO and the CEO and the Chairman of the African Electronic Trade Group (the AeTrade Group and Mr. Mulualem Syoum), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and an Action Plan 2020- 2022 with the A-eTrade Group, a major public-private partnership that is recognized by the African Union Commission as an e- platform for deepening and promoting intra-African trade and economic integration.
The MoU was signed in the presence of several dignitaries including the Commissioner for Trade and Industry, His Excellency, Ambassador Albert MUCHANGA, as well as Ms. Chileshe Kapwepwe, Secretary-General of COMESA and Ms. Treeasure Maphanga, AeTrade Director, the A-eTrade Group Host countries and the African Union Commission.
The scope of cooperation envisaged in the MoU provides for a landmark contribution to Africa’s economic structural transformation, when fully executed, including enabling SMEs in Africa, especially women and youth, to be active participants and beneficiaries of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). This will no doubt have a positive impact on the implementation of the Africa Union SME Strategy which was endorsed by the AU Summit of Head of States Aand Government in February 2019. Against the backdrop of the launch of the Operational Phase of AfCFTA on 7 July 2019 in Niamey, Niger, the coming on stream of the financial support valued at USD 20 billion over the next Ten years is a major boost to the A-eTrade program in partnership with African countries across the continent.
Commissioner Albert Muchanga commended the parties for the bold initiative and their commitment to accompany the African Union in its quest to improve the lives of ordinary citizens. He urged the stakeholders to work with other key stakeholders such as Afreximbank amongst others who have designed instruments to support the implementation of the AfCFTA. One specific opportunity that can be considered is the 2nd Intra-African Trade Fair to be hosted by the Republic of Rwanda in Kigali from the 1-7 September 2020.
On his part, Mr Ayman Sejiny, the CEO of the ICD and through his representative noted; “Special tribute should be paid to the current Commission, under the leadership of H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, for its vision and foresight in engaging the African Diaspora which brings innovative solutions in order to ensure that African citizens in all 55 AU member states can benefit from the digital capacity building programs that will enable them to be active participants and shareholders in the digital economy which is the future. The future is now. That is why we are moving expeditiously. We are proud of our solid partnership with the A-eTrade Group and we look forward towards many years of fruitful cooperation in the service of the people of Africa and the Middle East”.
“Our goal is to create 600,000 SMEs in 4 years with 22 million jobs, and 5 million SMEs in 15 years with 80 million jobs”, said the CEO and Chairman of the AeTrade, Mr Mulualem SYOUM. “This is ambitious and achievable according to our robust program in partnership with the private sector and the public sector across the continent. We welcome the solid partnership which we are building with the ICD and the Islamic Development Bank Group in general, which we expect to create opportunities for addressing key bottlenecks in intra African trade and financing through:
- Extending SME financial empowerment services and SME insurance services
- Supporting the development of logistics and warehousing capabilities across Africa
- Championing the promotion of Public-Private Partnerships
- Supporting the delivery and financing of E-Government services to AU Member States
- Joint implementation of strategic initiatives in partnership with the African Union and partners involved in the Intra-African Trade Fair, the AeTrade Innovation Centre, the Multi-payment Gateway system and encouraging regional integration of solutions in line with international benchmarks