BY Ron Chen, Correspondent ASEAN Region
A member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) has approved a Murabaha Financing Facility of US$10 million for the Uzbekistan Joint Stock commercial bank “Agrobank” to support private sector development through the provision of financing for local SMEs in the country.
The financing, implemented under a US$500 million Framework Agreement signed between the Republic of Uzbekistan and ITFC in January 2019, will support import and pre-export financing needs of SMEs in Uzbekistan and contribute to the nation’s recovery from the negative economic impact of COVID-19.
This financing is in line with the ‘recovery’ initiative of IsDB Group ‘3Rs’ Program aimed at supporting member countries to mitigate against the overall impact of the pandemic.
The CEO of ITFC, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, spoke of the contribution that the financing will make, saying, “The trade finance agreement between ITFC and Agrobank will support the provision of financing to local SMEs across the country as Uzbekistan’s private sector recovers from the adverse economic impact of COVID-19. The funds, which are allocated under Murabaha structure, will provide needed lifeline to importers and exporters during a time of global economic crisis and help protect the lives and livelihoods of people dependent on the country’s job creating SMEs.”
It is worth-mentioning that ITFC has previously approved six other lines of finance totaling US$46 million in favor of local banks in Uzbekistan since 2018.
Winners Of The 2020 AWIEF Awards Announced And Celebrated At The 6th AWIEF Africa Women Innovation And Entrepreneurship Forum Virtual Conference And Awards
The 6th edition of the benchmarking Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) conference and awards held on December 2 and 3, 2020 hosted more than 60 African and global thought leaders across business and politics who shared insight and thought leadership. The flagship event was attended by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) Secretariat, City of Atlanta, GA, US Embassy in South Africa, Embassy of Switzerland in South Africa, UNDP, UNIDO, IFAD, ITC, The World Bank, Nedbank, Afreximbank, AGRA, USAID, Deutsche Post DHL, APO Group, Visa, SAP, The Economist, KPMG, Dalberg, African Development Bank (AfDB), MEDA, African government representatives, Mohammed VI Polythenic University (Morocco), Thunderbird School of Global Management (USA), and many more.
The conference theme this year was, Reimagining business and rebuilding better. The two-day event aimed to explore post-pandemic recovery for the African markets, and to address women’s economic empowerment; share entrepreneurship trends; connect and network with trailblazers from all over Africa and beyond.
AWIEF2020 prestigious keynote speakers included the Mayor of City of Atlanta, Keisha Lance Bottoms, U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, H. E. Lana Marks, and the Secretary General of the AfCFTA Secretariat, H. E. Wamkele Mene.
According to Mayor Bottoms, “Atlanta’s Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative (WEI) and Africa Women Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum (AWIEF) are connecting to strengthen the ties between Atlanta and the African continent”. “Africa holds a very special place in the heart of Atlanta,” said Mayor
Bottoms. “The global health crisis has put a lens of uncertainty on our world, we are treading uncharted territory across the globe. The definition of balance in our lives has been stretched for everyone, especially for women who lead our communities. Programs like WEI and AWIEF serve to level the playing field while bringing more women leaders to the table and helping to foster diverse business communities.”
Winners of the 2020 AWIEF Awards
The AWIEF Awards, held on December 3, honoured and celebrated the achievements of women entrepreneurs and innovators across the African continent. Eight women founders and entrepreneurs emerged winners across eight different categories, out of the twenty-four selected as finalists from across the continent, including Botswana, Cameroun, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Tanzania.
YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR AWARD
Winner: Founder Hannah Lavery (South Africa) Hannah Lavery
AGRI ENTREPRENEUR AWARD
Winner: Managing Director, Homes Industries (Malawi) Victoria Mwafulirwa
TECH ENTREPRENEUR AWARD
Winner: Founder and CEO, Response24 (South Africa) Marlize Holtzhausen
CREATIVE INDUSTRY AWARD
Winner: Lulu Arts and UnEarthical (Nigeria) Ayanfeoluwa Olarinde
Winner: CEO, MUSODEV (Mali) Porcho Marguerite Sogoba
CEO, Willette Safehouse (Liberia) Rita Stryker
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
Winner: Founder and Vice Chancellor, ABM University College (Botswana) Daisy Mmabatho Molefhi
AWIEF Awards 2020 featured also the 2020 APO Group African Women in Media Award with Zimbabwean journalist Debra Matabvu emerging as the winner.
AWIEF2020 sponsors and partners included: Nedbank, Afreximbank, AGRA, USAID, APO Group, UNDP, and WESGRO.