Trade among Islamic states to grow 20%
By P. K. ABDUL GHAFOUR | ARAB NEWS Available at: http://arabnews.com/economy/article514760.ece
JEDDAH: The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), an affiliate of the IDB Group, is making intense efforts to increase trade among members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to 20 percent of their total trade by 2015. It has given $13 billion since 2008 to finance trade.
“This is the target set by the extraordinary Islamic summit held in Makkah on Dec. 7-8, 2005. Since then a lot of improvements have taken place in intra-OIC trade,” said Waleed Al-Wohaib, CEO of ITFC, adding that his organization had given $10 billion during the past three years to finance trade.
He was talking to Arab News following a meeting of IDB and OIC officials at the bank’s headquarters to discuss ways and mechanisms to boost trade between the member countries.
“This year alone we’ll give a record $3 billion to finance trade,” he said.
The meeting was important as it comes in the wake of global recessions that have affected intra-OIC trade.
The ITFC, which was formed in 2006 and began its operations in 2008, has been instrumental in promoting intra-OIC trade by strengthening coordination between the various trade-related organizations in the OIC countries. The intra-OIC trade reached a record 17 percent last year with trade exchanges of member countries crossing $500 billion.
“We want to mobilize the resources of the Ummah to boost intra-OIC trade,” Al-Wohaib said, adding that such a move was essential to confront the Western economic tsunami that had a negative impact on OIC countries.
“It’s unfortunate that the intra-OIC trade is still stagnant at 16 percent. So it was necessary to review our mechanisms and what should be done to overcome this situation,” he said.
He said the meeting was successful as it brought forth a number of new ideas to strengthen intra-OIC trade.
He disclosed plans to hold more consultations in this respect involving heads of various OIC and IDB organizations, experts from OIC countries and international bodies and politicians to discuss ways to boost trade and overcome obstacles.
Al-Wohaib said the meeting called for reviewing the current executive program, greater coordination among OIC and IDB organizations, and greater involvement of member countries.
“OIC countries have to include intra-trade in their national plans,” he said while explaining the meeting’s proposals.