By Ron Chen, Correspondent ASEAN Region
The Arab Bank for Economic Development in Africa (BADEA) intensifies its partnership with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) to support African Countries to fight COVID-19 through a joint programme under the Arab Africa Trade Bridges (AATB).
This took place during a signing ceremony at the Headquarters of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) between Chief Executive Officer of ITFC Engr. Hani Salem Sonbol and BADEA’s Director-General, Dr. Sidi Ould Tah.
The contribution of BADEA will help finance key initiatives targeting the health and pharmaceutical sectors in Africa. The collaboration also includes technical assistance which will be provided within the framework of the recently announced initiative: Harmonisation of Standards for Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices co-launched by ITFC, Afreximbank and ARSO to promote the quality and safety of medicines and medical devices imported or produced in Africa.
On this occasion, Engr. Sonbol commented on the importance of this collaboration, that it is coming at the most needed time for African countries. “COVID-19 had deeply impacted the region, specially the health sector; and it is within the core mandate of the AATB Programme and working closer with partners we need to provide critical life-saving support to our member countries who need immediate help. We will work together with BADEA, who is a founding member of the AATB Programme and a constant supporter, in joint initiatives that will also provide economic integration between African and Arab countries.”
From his side, Dr. Tah of BADEA also expressed his continuous support to the AATB Programme and commended the partnership with ITFC specially at these critical times. He emphasized that enhancing the capabilities of the healthcare facilities in Africa cannot be overlooked anymore. “The AATB Programme’s initiatives such as the Harmonization of Standards of Pharmaceutical Products, business matching activities that open trade and investment doors between Africa and the Arab world have been indispensable to effectively respond to challenges imposed by COVID-19 outbreak.”
It is worth mentioning that since the outbreak of the pandemic, ITFC and its partners have approved an AATB Programme Action Plan to support African and Arab countries to strengthen their socio-economic resilience in light of the COVID-19. The healthcare and pharmaceutical sectors were prioritized, with immediate measures including supporting the Network of Laboratories in West Africa with the supply of COVID-19 testing kits, lab equipment and personal protection equipment (PPE) for medical and para medical staff.