February 13, 2020: The Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), the private sector arm of the Islamic Development Bank Group, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) and an Action Plan 2020- 2022 with the African Electronic Trade Group (A-eTrade Group), during the 33rd Ordinary Session of the African Union (AU) Head of States Summit.

Ayman Seijiny, CEO of the ICD; Ikbal Daredia, senior advisor to the CEO; and Mulualem Syoum, chairman, A-eTrade Group inked the deal.

The partnership will 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 the 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.

A-eTrade Group is a major public-private partnership that is recognised by the African Union Commission as an e-platform for deepening and promoting intra-African trade and economic integration.

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 and government in February 2019. Against the backdrop of the launch of the operational phase of AfCFTA on July 7, 2019, in Niamey, Niger, the coming on stream of the financial support valued at $20 billion over the next Ten years is a major boost to the A-eTrade program in partnership with African countries across the continent.

Sejiny said, “Special tribute should be paid to the current commission, under the leadership of 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 to 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 Syoum. “This is ambitious and achievable according to our robust program in partnership with the private sector and the public sector across the continent.”

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