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Press Release - February 11th 2020

Addis Ababa 10 Feb 2020 –During the 33rd Ordinary 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 GroupGroup 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, Ambassador Albert MUCHANGA, as well as

high level representatives from Regional Economic Communities, the A-eTrade Group Host countries and the African Union Commission.

The scope of cooperation envisaged in the MoU is a landmark contribution to Africa’s economic 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). The operational phase of AfCFTA was launched on 7 July 2019 in Niamey, Niger, and in that regard the financing support of a total of USD20 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 said; “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 Multipayment Gateway system and encouraging regional integration of solutions.

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