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OIC Economies
OIC wrap: Saudi, Morocco look to enhance economic cooperation

Here's a roundup of key developments across the OIC network during the month of June

Saudi Arabia is in the news for all the right reasons. It partnered with Morocco to foster economic cooperation, as well as introduced AI-driven services for the Hajj pilgrimage. 

 

Meanwhile, Google has partnered with Pakistan to create smart classrooms in an attempt to enhance access to education. 

 

 

Trade Developments


Saudi Arabia / Morocco

Saudi Arabia and Morocco look to enhance economic cooperation

Saudi Arabia and Morocco aim to enhance economic cooperation in the mining sector, and empower financial institutions.  

 

Saudi minister of industry, Bandar Al-Khorayef, met Moroccan officials including the country's energy transition and economy minister.

 

Al-Khorayef led Saudi Arabia's delegation at the Arab Industrial Development, Standardization, and Mining Organization's 28th General Assembly in Rabat. 

 

Egypt / Uzbekistan

Egypt, Uzbekistan explore trade, investment opportunities

An Egyptian trade mission, organized by the Egyptian Business Council for International Cooperation (EBCCI), visited Uzbekistan in June to strengthen economic and trade ties.

 

The delegation included parliament members, senators, and leading businessmen from various sectors.

 

EBCCI Chairperson Moataz Raslan emphasized discussions on cooperation in industry, agriculture, tourism, health, and education. (Zawya)

 

Kazakhstan

IsDB & Kazakhstan sign agreement, discuss development

A framework program agreement was signed in Vienna between Kazakhstan's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of National Economy, Nurlan Baibazarov, and Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) President, Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser.

 

Signed during the 19th Meeting of Heads of Institutions of the Arab Coordination Group and the OPEC Fund for Development Forum, the agreement aims to accelerate Kazakhstan’s economic advancement and enhance its competitive ability. (IsDB)

 

Sierra Leone

IsDB and Sierra Leone join forces to boost socio-economic development

Sierra Leone and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) will partner to enhance the country's socioeconomic development. This was discussed between Sierra Leone's President, Julius Maada Wonie Bio, and IsDB Group Chairman, Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, in Vienna on June 24, 2024.

 

The meeting, held during the Arab Coordination Group Heads of Institutions meeting and the OPEC Fund for Development International Forum, highlighted Sierra Leone's support for the IsDB and the growing mutual development cooperation. (IsDB)

 

Company News


Iran / Russia / Turkey

Iranian firm signs oil, gas deal with Russian, Turkish companies

Ghadir Investment Company, Zarubezhneft of Russia, and Turkey's Unit International have partnered to finance and develop oil and gas projects in and outside Iran.

 

Ghadir will lead exploration and production, with equal financing from both partners. Projects include Darkhowin phase 3, Sepehr and Jofeir oil fields, and the Kish gas field.  (Hürriyet Daily News)

 

Education


Pakistan

Google partners with Pakistan for educational transformation

Google has teamed up with Pakistan's Ministry of Federal Education to modernize the country's education system.

 

The partnership aims to enhance access to education for out-of-school children, implement smart classrooms, and establish a local assembly line producing over 500,000 Chromebooks by 2026.

 

The initiative seeks to expand educational opportunities and equip students for the digital economy. (Arab News PK)

 

Technology


Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia introduces AI-driven services for Hajj
Saudi Arabia has implemented AI-driven technologies to enhance the Hajj pilgrimage experience, including smart robots for disinfection, AI multi-lingual guides, and drones for monitoring pilgrim flow.

 

These innovations aim to manage the large influx of pilgrims, ensure safety, and enhance efficiency.

 

Augmented reality glasses are used for transportation oversight, while smart golf carts and electric scooters assist pilgrims with mobility issues. (ARY News)

 

Investments


Nigeria

OIC Arbitration Centre to boost foreign direct investment

The Organisation of Islamic Countries Arbitration Centre (OIC-AC) aims to enhance foreign direct investment in Nigeria through dispute resolution.

 

Dr. Umar Oseni, Secretary General of OIC-AC, stresses the inclusion of dispute resolution clauses in Nigeria's bilateral treaties to bolster investor confidence.

 

The initiative is set to attract more foreign investment into Nigeria, supported by Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Olayemi Cardoso's emphasis on Islamic banking and finance. (IFC Review)

 

OIC Economies
OIC wrap: Qatar, Morocco review trade, investment ties

Here's a roundup of key developments across the OIC network during the first two weeks of May

Editor's note: Qatar is looking to ramp up bilateral ties with OIC countries. Proof? Its officials discussed cooperation in trade and investment with Moroccan authorities. Qatari and Omani officials also met to discuss matters of mutual interest.

Trade Developments


Egypt / Pakistan

Al Baraka Group launches portal to boost Egyptian, Pakistani cooperation

Al Baraka Banking Group (ABG), listed on Bahrain Bourse and the Egyptian Exchange, has launched an inter-franchise collaboration portal to boost business opportunities for customers in Egypt and Pakistan.

 

This initiative aims to strengthen ties between Pakistani exporters and Egyptian importers, enhancing communication and supporting commercial endeavors. (Zawya)

 

Qatar / Morocco

Qatar, Morocco review trade, investment ties

Qatari commerce and industry minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim Al Thani, held discussions with Moroccan minister of industry and trade, Ryad Mezzour, on enhancing bilateral cooperation in trade, investment, and industry.

 

He also met with Malaysian minister of investment, trade, and industry, Tengku Zafrul Abdul Aziz.

 

Both meetings highlighted Qatar’s economic policies, incentives, legislation, and investment opportunities aimed at attracting investors and supporting the private sector. (The Peninsula)

 

Saudi Arabia / Nigeria

Saudi Arabia, Nigeria discuss agricultural cooperation and food security

Saudi environment, water, and agriculture minister Abdulrahman Alfadley met with Nigeria’s minister of agriculture and food security Sen. Abubakar Kyari during his visit to Nigeria.

 

The ministers explored cooperation across various sectors, emphasizing agricultural collaborations and the potential benefits of shared agricultural resources and food products for both countries. (Saudi Gazette)

 

Saudi Arabia / Azerbaijan

Saudi Arabia, Azerbaijan issue statement on energy cooperation

Saudi Arabia’s energy minister Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman met with his Azerbaijani counterpart Parviz Shahbazov in Baku, resulting in a joint statement, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

 

Both countries reaffirmed their dedication to oil market stability and sustainability, aligning with OPEC Plus and global climate goals.  (Al Aswat)

 

Oman / Qatar

Oman, Qatar explore means of boosting cooperation, exchanging expertise

Sayyid Saud Hilal Al Busaidi, governor of Muscat, met with Abdullah Hamad Al Attiya, Qatar's minister of municipality, and his delegation to enhance bilateral cooperation.

 

They discussed matters of mutual interest, shared experiences, and highlighted projects. Both officials emphasized the importance of cooperation and expertise exchange.  (Zawya)

 

Malaysia / Kyrgyz Republic

Malaysia, Kyrgyz Republic place importance on cooperation in halal industry

Malaysia and the Kyrgyz Republic emphasized the importance of cooperation in developing the halal industry, recognizing its global economic significance and potential for economic growth.

 

In a joint statement, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim and Kyrgyz President Sadyr Zhaparov expressed their commitment to enhancing the halal industry through collaboration between relevant agencies. (New Straits Times)

 

Mauritania

IsDB, Mauritania sign partnership framework agreement

President of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser signed a partnership framework agreement with Mauritania’s Minister of Economy and Sustainable Development, Abdesselam Ould Mohamed Saleh.

 

The agreement aims to support Mauritania’s efforts towards economic transformation. (Zawya)

 

Saudi Arabia / Qatar

Saudi Arabia and Qatar sign tax rules agreement

Saudi Arabia and Qatar signed an agreement to avoid double taxation and prevent tax evasion.

 

During the signing ceremony in Doha, Al-Jadaan emphasized that the agreement aims to strengthen legislative coordination between the two countries, boost bilateral trade, and attract investment, according to the Saudi Press Agency.

 

Al-Kuwari highlighted the agreement's significance and its role in ensuring transparency by exchanging financial information, as both nations collaborate on taxation and economic relations.   (Arab News)

 

Trade Developments


Spain / Norway / Ireland

OIC welcomes Spain, Norway, and Ireland’s recognition of the state of Palestine

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) welcomed the decision of Spain, Norway, and Ireland to recognize the State of Palestine.

 

The OIC noted that this historic step aligns with international law and United Nations resolutions, affirming the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and enhancing Palestine's status internationally.(OIC ORG)

 

OIC Economies
OIC wrap: IsDB leads group of banks to expand lending capacity

Here's a roundup of key developments across the OIC network during the month of April

Editor's note: It's Islamic Development Bank's 50th anniversary this month, so it is only right to kickstart this wrap with lender-relevant news. The group leads a consortium of development banks in broadening lending capacity over the next decade to address global challenges. It has also agreed to finance water projects in Kazakhstan. 

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's ACWA Power inks deal to drive renewable energy production in Azerbaijan.

Trade Developments


Organization of Islamic Cooperation

Arab League, OIC Islamic Broadcasting Union sign protocol

The Arab League announced plans to sign a media cooperation protocol between its secretariat’s media and communication sector and the OIC Islamic Broadcasting Union.

 

This initiative aims to strengthen ties between the General Secretariat of the League of Arab States and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Radio and Television Union.

 

It underscores the commitment of the General Secretariat to enhance relations with regional and international organizations. (Arab News)

 

Oman / Uzbekistan

Oman, Uzbekistan sign agreement to strengthen cooperation

Oman's foreign minister met with his Uzbek counterpart in Tashkent to bolster ties between the two nations.

 

The discussions centered on enhancing cooperation in trade, investment, education, and cultureAn agreement was signed to fortify future collaboration strategies.

 

Both ministers explored avenues to boost trade, focusing on energy, transportation, agriculture, and industry, while also encouraging business ventures between Omani and Uzbek companies. (Zawya)

 

UAE / ASEAN

UAE, ASEAN discuss economic cooperation and halal industries

UAE Minister of Economy, Abdulla bin Touq, engaged in talks with ASEAN Secretary-General Kao Kim Hourn in Riyadh, covering various economic aspects. The dialogue encompassed bilateral trade and investment, finance, and the halal industry.

 

Both parties explored avenues to bolster economic collaboration, particularly emphasizing small and medium enterprises, halal industries, and finance, highlighting potential areas for mutual growth. (The Print)

 

 

Investment


Pakistan
IsDB celebrates finalizing Pakistan’s Mohmand Dam Hydropower project

The completion of the Mohmand Dam Hydropower Project in Pakistan was celebrated at the Islamic Development Bank's headquarters in Jeddah. This project underscores the bank's dedication to member countries and its vision for sustainability.

 

With an estimated annual generation of 2,862 gigawatts of renewable energy, the dam reduces reliance on fossil fuels while supporting agricultural development over 6,773 hectares, bolstering food security and livelihoods for farmers. (Zawya)

 

Saudi Arabia
Islamic Development Bank leads group of banks to widen lending target

A coalition of financial institutions, spearheaded by the Islamic Development Bank, plans to boost its lending capacity by $300-$400 billion over the next decade to address global disparities.

 

The initiative follows a meeting of presidents from ten multilateral development banks in Washington, D.C., aimed at enhancing their collective impact on development challenges and coordinating efforts for 2024 and beyond. (Arab News)

 

Kazakhstan
Islamic Development Bank to finance water projects in Kazakhstan

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has agreed to extend grants and financing for water projects in Kazakhstan, following discussions between Kazakh deputy prime minister Nurlan Baibazarov and IsDB group chair Muhammad Al Jasser in Saudi Arabia on April 29.

 

The funding will support initiatives including the construction and renovation of reservoirs, hydraulic structures, and irrigation systems, alongside investments in digitalization and water-saving technologies. (The Astana Times)

 

Türkiye
Islamic Development bank approves $418m fund for new development projects 

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has allocated a $418 million fund for new development endeavors spanning Tajikistan, Benin, Ivory Coast, and Türkiye, as revealed in a statement during its annual meeting and golden jubilee in Riyadh.

 

The bank's board, convening for its 355th meeting, greenlit these projects, emphasizing socio-economic development and sustainability. (Daily Sabah)

 

 

ESG Developments


Azerbaijan / Saudi Arabia
ACWA Power inks deal to drive renewable energy development in Azerbaijan

Saudi energy major ACWA Power is forging ahead with renewable energy projects in Azerbaijan through a new agreement with its state oil company SOCAR.

 

This collaboration centers on evaluating the 'Low-Carbon/Green Fertilizer' project.

 

It aims to produce green hydrogen to aid in the decarbonization of SOCAR's downstream assets, advancing sustainable energy development in the region. (Arab News)

OIC Economies
OIC wrap: Uzbekistan signs multiple agreements with ITFC

Here's a roundup of key developments across the OIC network during the month of March

 

Editor's note: Trade appears to be the Middle East's flavour of the month, with Egypt looking to boost trade alliances with GCC states of Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Bahrain has inked agreements with Saudi on the future of transportation. 

 

In Central Asia, Uzbekistan is also gearing up with agreements worth $715m inked with the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation.

 

 

Trade Developments


Saudi Arabia / Egypt

Saudi Arabia's commitment to boosting trade ties with Egypt

During the 18th session of the Saudi-Egyptian Joint Committee, Minister of Commerce Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi emphasized Saudi Arabia's commitment to strengthening trade ties with Egypt.

 

The session aimed to bolster economic relations between the two nations. (Zawya)

 

Qatar

Qatar, Egypt joint supreme committee discusses cooperation in trade

The 5th session of the joint supreme committee between Qatar and Egypt convened in Doha, with Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani leading Qatar's delegation and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sameh Shoukry leading Egypt's.

 

Discussions centered on enhancing cooperation and development in areas such as trade, investment, diplomacy, social affairs, education, and youth.  (The Peninsula)

 

Malaysia

IsDB, Malaysia hold talks on deeper development ties

A delegation from the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group met with Malaysian senior officials and stakeholders at an 'Open Day' for the 'Strategic Realignment Exercise' of the IsDB Center of Excellence in Kuala Lumpur.

 

The delegation was received by Seri Amir Hamzah Azizan, Minister of Finance II, and Johan Mahmood Merican, Secretary General of Treasury. (IsDB)

 

UAE / Kyrgyzstan

UAE and Kyrgyzstan launch second cohort of government accelerators

The UAE and Kyrgyzstan launched the second cohort of government accelerators during a recent visit by a delegation from the Knowledge Exchange Office of the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs to Bishkek.

 

The delegation aimed to enhance cooperation and partnership in government modernization and development.  (Zawya)

 

 

Investment


Uzbekistan
Tashkent hosts signing of agreements with International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation

During the Arab Coordination Group meeting in Tashkent, agreements worth $715 million were signed between the ministries of Uzbekistan and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC).

 

The ITFC delegation is in Tashkent for discussions with Uzbek ministries, international organizations, and local banks. (Daryo)

 

Nigeria / Malaysia

Islamic Development Bank approves $225m to finance new projects in energy, infrastructure

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) approved approximately $225 million to finance new development projects in member countries.

 

Nigeria secured a $125 million financing package for the Abia State Integrated Infrastructure Development Project.

 

 

The Board has approved the US$100 million Pengerang Energy Complex Project (PEC) in Malaysia, as part of the Bank’s Public Private Partnership program. (IsDB)

 

Pakistan

IsDB, Pakistan sign financing agreements for reconstruction project

The Government of Pakistan and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) signed financing agreements for the Sindh Flood Emergency Housing Reconstruction Project.

 

Valued at €188.7 million, the project aims to rebuild communities in the Sindh province, which was severely affected by the 2022 floods and to provide climate-resilient housing. (IsDB)

 

Bangladesh

Bangladesh’s energy sector receives $1.4bn funding boost from ITFC

The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) has pledged $1.4 billion to Bangladesh's energy infrastructure, aiming to enhance the nation's energy resilience.

 

In a strategic agreement with Bangladesh Petroleum Corp., ITFC aims to bolster the country's energy sector.  (Arab News)

 

 

ESG Developments


Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia unveils new framework in sustainability push

Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance has unveiled the Green Finance Framework, signaling a commitment to sustainability and net-zero emissions by 2060.

 

The initiative aims to boost public and private participation in climate financing, positioning the kingdom as a regional leader in sustainable finance.

 

Aligned with the Paris Agreement, the framework targets a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, fostering a circular carbon economy approach.  (Arab News)

 

 

Operational Developments


Saudi Arabia / Bahrain

Saudi Arabia, Bahrain sign MoUs on future of transportation, road safety

Saudi Arabia and Bahrain have inked two memoranda of understanding focusing on transportation and road maintenance and safety.

 

The agreements aim to bolster cooperation in logistics services.  (Asharq Al-Aswat)

OIC Economies
How are OIC countries bolstering food security?

Food security remains a key priority for the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) countries.

As in other developing economies, agricultural activities are vital to OIC economies in terms of offering employment and sustaining local food requirements. 

The agriculture sector across the OIC bloc accounts for 10.4% of its GDP, topping the world average of 4.3%, according to the Agriculture and Food Security in OIC Member Countries 2023 report launched last year. 

The agriculture sector employs 216 million people across OIC member states, representing 32% of the bloc’s total employment. Despite its prominent role, constraints and challenges continue to persist, including regional conflicts that have disrupted agricultural production; volatility of global food prices, and the looming specter of climate change. 

These challenges have stymied the overall journey toward food security.

Conor Clifford Murphy, partner at DinarStandard, said: "Food insecurity persists due to the Covid-19 pandemic, rising food prices associated with the Russia-Ukraine war, conflicts, insecurities, and other factors."

Effects of food insecurity

Food insecurity refers to a situation where individuals or communities have limited or uncertain access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. It can manifest in various forms, ranging from chronic hunger and undernourishment to acute food crises and famine.

Undernourishment remains a significant issue in OIC countries, with approximately 203 million people deemed undernourished in 2020 alone. 

This can be attributed to the ongoing crises faced by several OIC members classified as low-income food-deficit countries requiring external food assistance.

Eight of the top ten countries in the Economist's Global Food Security Index (GFSI) 2022 come from high-income Europe, led by Finland, Ireland, and Norway. None of the OIC countries made it to the top ten. 

The GFSI is an assessment that measures food security through affordability, availability, quality and safety, and sustainability and adaptation. 

Countries like Syria, Yemen, and Sudan face significant challenges in food security, ranking low in the index. Ongoing conflicts, instability, and disruptions to agricultural production have severely impacted food availability and access in such countries.

"Six of the bottom ten scoring nations in 2022 come from Sub-Saharan Africa. The Middle East and North Africa, along with Latin America, are home to the three worst performing nations," the GFSI report read. 

Meanwhile, the UAE led the OIC bloc in the index, ranking 23rd, followed by Qatar (30), Kazakhstan (32), Oman (35), Bahrain (38) and Malaysia/Saudi Arabia (41).

"The contrasting food security situations among the top and bottom OIC countries underscore the importance of targeted interventions, investments in sustainable agriculture, and international cooperation to address food insecurity and ensure a stable food supply for all populations," Afzal Hussain, chairman of Al-Mukarramah told Salaam Gateway.

Al-Mukarramah is a strategic implementation partner to the Islamic Organization for Food Security (IOFS), which serves as a platform for enhancing food security and agricultural cooperation among OIC member states.

To address these challenges, OIC countries are considering sustainable agricultural systems, adaptation measures to climate change, and equitable access to food, helping achieve long-term food security.

Agricultural innovation, particularly in technology, has emerged as a cornerstone in addressing food security challenges.

"Despite major reduction in food insecurity and hunger over the past 50 years, the world now faces new challenges to global food supply whose vulnerabilities have been exposed by major climate change inducing weather conditions and global pandemic. Due to the multifaceted complexity of these interlinking threats, agri-tech investments are at the highest level ever to find innovative solutions such as the application of calculated measures of agricultural inputs for yield optimization and use of drones and automated tractors to increase productivity," added Murphy. 

Key initiatives

The UAE has prioritized investments to modernize its agricultural sector, leveraging advanced technologies like hydroponics and vertical farming to boost food production.

With plans to increase the contribution of food and agriculture to its economy by $10 billion and create 20,000 jobs over the next five years, the nation is laser-focused on beefing its food security.

The UAE published its national strategy for food security in 2018, with the aim to lead the Global Food Security Index by 2051.

Initiatives like the Agtech loans program introduced by the Emirates Development Bank underscore the country's dedication to innovation and growth in the agricultural sector. 

Last year, Qatar achieved almost 100% self-sufficiency in vital food supplies aligning with its strategic policy outlined in the early 2000s. The country initiated its National Food Security Strategy 2018-2023 to enhance local food production, diversify trade routes, establish strategic reserves, and improve food distribution systems. 

By the end of last year, Qatar had achieved substantial improvements in self-sufficiency rates, reaching 46% for five essential vegetables, 100% for fresh poultry, 70% for dates, and 75% for fish. 

The Gulf country announced a new food security strategy in 2024, continuing to focus on sustainability, technological advancements, and agricultural innovations.

Another OIC country prioritizing food security is Kazakhstan. The country plays a vital role in supplying wheat and wheat flour to OIC member states, making it a significant contributor to regional food security.

Globally, it ranks among the top 10 largest suppliers of wheat and flour, exporting approximately nine million tonnes annually. Kazakhstan also played an integral part in establishing the IOFS.

Saudi Arabia also increased local food production by investing in agricultural technologies, desalination projects, and greenhouse farming. In September 2023, the kingdom announced that it had achieved complete self-sufficiency in dates, fresh dairy products, and table eggs, with production exceeding local demand.

It also announced significant progress in producing other food items, such as potatoes, poultry, tomatoes, red meat, carrots, fish, and onions. 

The government has introduced several investment and loan initiatives. In June 2023, the Agricultural Development Fund announced the approval of approximately $400 million in funding to support small farm production of vegetables, fish, and poultry. 

In 2023, the Halal Products Development Company, a subsidiary of Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund (PIF), established a joint venture with Brazilian food processor BRF to enhance the halal meat industry in the region. Saudi Agricultural and Livestock Investment Company, another PIF subsidiary, obtained a 10.7% stake in BRF, too. 

Meanwhile, Malaysia ranks 41st on the GFSI. The country has championed sustainable agriculture practices such as agroecology and organic farming to enhance food production, while stringent food safety regulations and quality standards ensure the safety and integrity of the food supply chain.

The government launched the National Agrofood Policy 2.0 for the years 2021–2030 to create a sustainable, competitive, and high-tech agro-food sector. It allocated three billion Malaysian ringgitts as part of the policy.  

What lies ahead?

The GFSI report suggests that through concerted initiatives, public, private, and non-governmental entities are best placed to address many of the core drivers of food insecurity, ultimately strengthening a sustainable food system and improving its capacity to withstand shocks.

“In essence, the journey towards food security and economic resilience is not without challenges, but with strategic partnerships, innovative solutions, and a steadfast commitment to empowering communities, OIC countries can overcome adversity and chart a course towards a more equitable and sustainable future,” said Hussain. 

OIC Economies
OIC wrap: IsDB backs education development strategy in Tajikistan

Here's a roundup of key developments across the OIC ecosystem during the month of February

Editor's note: The Islamic Development Bank is backing key initiatives, such as Tajikistan's education development strategy to enhance its learning ecosystem. It also inked a preliminary agreement with Azerbaijan on a nationwide engagement framework.

Meanwhile, ITFC, an IsDB Group member, signed an agreement to back Djibouti's energy sector.

The UAE partnered with Uzbekistan to help integrate AI in the latter's landscape. The GCC nation is also looking at investing in Egypt. 

 

Trade Developments


Qatar / Egypt
Qatar Chamber, Egypt Investment Authority review investment opportunities

Qatar Chamber's first vice-chairman, Mohamed bin Towar al-Kuwari, met with Ahmed Abdulhamid, the vice-president of Egypt's General Authority for Investment and Free Zones, in Doha.

 

The discussion centered on strengthening economic and commercial ties between the two countries, alongside exploring investment opportunities. (Zawya)

 

Azerbaijan

IsDB and Azerbaijan sign MoU on country engagement framework

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) and the Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Azerbaijan have inked a memorandum of understanding, marking the commencement of a collaborative effort for the Country Engagement Framework (CEF) spanning from this year until 2026. (IsDB)

 

Tajikistan

IsDB supports implementation of education development strategy in Tajikistan

IsDB and Tajikistan signed financing agreements for a joint project to implement Tajikistan's national education development strategy (phase-II).

 

The project aims to enhance the learning environment and strengthen the education system to improve student outcomes in Tajikistan. (IsDB)

 

Egypt / UAE

Egypt, UAE sign major investment deal for Ras al-Hikma peninsula

Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have formed a significant investment partnership to develop the Ras al-Hekma peninsula, injecting $35 billion into Egypt's economy.

 

The project aims to boost economic growth and address currency challenges, according to Egyptian Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly.

 

The UAE's sovereign wealth fund, ADQ, will lead the investment, allocating $24 billion for Ras al-Hekma to create a resort city with an airport managed by the UAE. (Zawya)

 

Egypt

Egypt seeks manufacturing, trade cooperation with Arab, Turkish partners

Egyptian minister of trade and industry Ahmed Samir has urged the business communities in Arab and Turkish countries to leverage their robust political relations to enhance economic cooperation across sectors.

 

He emphasized the importance of joint manufacturing, integration of inputs, bilateral trade, transportation and logistics, agriculture and food production, and energy networks.   (Daily News Egypt)

 

Saudi Arabia / Egypt

Saudi-Egyptian alliance inks development agreement for $1bn projects

The Egyptian government, through the Arab Organization for Industrialization (AOI), has signed a memorandum of understanding with a Saudi-Egyptian alliance comprising Alupco, Olayan Group, Okta International, and City Edge Developments.

 

This alliance aims to undertake projects totaling around $1 billion in the near future. (Zawya)

 

Qatar / Kazakhstan

Qatar, Kazakhstan business roundtable focuses on boosting bilateral trade

Kazakhstan President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, alongside commerce and industry minister Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-Thani, inaugurated a business roundtable between Qatar and Kazakhstan in Doha.

 

The event focused on showcasing investment prospects in both nations and exploring avenues to strengthen economic cooperation and partnerships. (Zawya)

 

 

Technology

 

Uzbekistan / UAE
Uzbekistan partners with UAE to accelerate tech adoption

The UAE’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Digital Technologies of Uzbekistan during the World Governments Summit 2024.

 

This collaboration seeks to utilize ATRC's technical capabilities to integrate artificial intelligence into Uzbekistan's technological landscape and public services. (AFP)

 

 

ESG Developments


Saudi Arabia
OIC considers fund for youth support and employment in the Sahel Region and Lake Chad Basin

The OIC held a workshop in Jeddah in February, to implement CFM's recommendations on establishing a fund for youth training, employment, and support in the Sahel region and the Lake Chad Basin.

 

Participants included officials and experts from member states and relevant OIC organs and institutions. (Zawya)

 

 

Investment


Republic of Djibouti
International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) signs $90m agreement for Djibouti

ITFC, a member of the IsDB Group, signed a $90 million master Murabaha agreement with Djibouti, facilitated by SIHD.

 

The agreement aims to support Djibouti's energy supply by importing petroleum products for electricity generation, boosting economic sectors. (Social News)

 

Saudi Gazette
Saudi-Pakistan business forum begins with $20bn trade target

The Saudi-Pakistani Business Forum commenced in Riyadh, overseen by Minister of Commerce Dr. Majid Al-Qasabi, organized by the Federation of Saudi Chambers.

 

High-profile representatives from both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan attended the event. (Saudi Arabia / Pakistan)

OIC Economies
OIC wrap: Saudi Arabia, Türkiye to forge stronger defense ties

Here's a roundup of key developments across the OIC ecosystem during the first two weeks of January

Editor's note: The momentum around crossborder agreements, that was at fever pitch in the year gone by, seems to have spilled into this year, with strong state-to-state and entity-to-entity alliances.

Leading the pack is Saudi Arabia, which is looking to tie up with Turkiye to bolster defence cooperation. One step down, financial institutions in both countries are also looking at lucrative agreements. And then, there's Qatar, looking to enhance cooperation with Egypt. 

 

Trade Developments


Saudi Arabia / Türkiye
Saudi Arabia, Turkiye forge stronger defense ties in high-level talks
Saudi Arabia and Turkey are set to bolster defense cooperation following discussions on military capabilities, technology transfer, and scientific research development.

The fourth meeting of the bilateral committee, held in Istanbul, saw the participation of Saudi Assistant Minister of Defense Talal bin Abdullah Al-Otaibi, Turkish Deputy Minister of Defense Celal Sami Tufekci, and President of Turkey’s Defense Industry Agency Haluk Gorgun. (Arab News)

Egypt / Qatar
Egypt, Qatar discuss ways of enhancing future cooperation
Egypt and Qatar are exploring avenues to strengthen future cooperation, as confirmed by a statement from the Ministry of Planning and Economic Development.

Minister of Planning and Chairman of the Sovereign Fund of Egypt (TSFE), Hala ElSaid, met with Qatari Ambassador Tariq Ali Al Ansari to discuss ways of enhancing collaboration. (Zawya)

Saudi Arabia / Türkiye
Saudi Exim inks line of credit agreements with Turkey Finans
Saudi Exim Bank has inked line of credit agreements totaling $51 million with Türkiye Finans Katılım Bankasi and Albaraka Türk Katilim Bankasi.

These agreements aim to enhance trade between Saudi Arabia and Turkey, facilitating the smooth flow of Saudi non-oil exports into Turkish markets.

The deal with Türkiye Finans Katılım Bankası A.Ş is valued at $26 million, while the agreement with Albaraka Türk Katilim Bankasi A.S. amounts to $25 million. (Zawya)

 

ESG Developments


Oman
Oman unveils sustainable finance framework in green push
Oman has introduced a sustainable finance framework as part of its efforts to reduce dependence on fossil fuels and attract environmental, social, and governance (ESG) investors.

The framework includes plans to issue financial instruments such as green, social, and sustainability bonds, along with loans and sukuk (Islamic bonds). (Reuters)

Saudi Arabia
Greening Economies: ICIEC and GE Vernova partner for renewable energy solutions
During the COP28 conference, the Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC) and GE Energy Financial Services (GE Vernova) have solidified their collaboration through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The partnership is focused on bolstering sustainable development and climate action across ICIEC’s 49 member states, reflecting a joint commitment to address environmental challenges through innovative and collaborative efforts. (Solar Quarter)

OIC Economies
OIC wrap: Saudi Arabia, Malaysia ink cooperation pact

Here's a roundup of key developments across the OIC ecosystem during the month of December

Editor's note: Crossborder agreements seem to continue in momentum as the year draws to a close. 

Leading the pack is GCC's largest economy, which sealed a cooperation agreement with Malaysia to foster halal industry growth. The kingdom also inked seven deals spanning several fields with Tunisia. OIC members  - Iraq and the UAE - meanwhile, agreed on financing trade and imports in the Emirates' currency. 

On a corporate level, Saudi and Turkish companies penned several agreements to bolster trade ties. The Qatari-Saudi Business Council is also reviewing avenues to strengthen trade and investment collaboration.

 

Trade Developments


 

Saudi Arabia / Türkiye
Saudi, Turkish companies sign eight agreements to strengthen trade 
Saudi and Turkish companies, as part of the Saudi-Turkish Business Council, signed eight trade agreements aimed at enhancing trade and investment ties between the two countries.

The agreements were formalized during a round table attended by officials, including the Governor of the Saudi Standard, Metrology, and Quality Organization Dr. Saad Bin Othman Al-Kasabi, Turkish Minister of Trade Dr. Omar Bolat, and representatives from the Federation of Saudi Chambers of Commerce. (Saudi Press Agency)

Saudi Arabia / Malaysia
Saudi Arabia, Malaysia sign cooperation agreement 
The Halal Products Development Company (HPDC), a subsidiary of the Public Investment Fund (PIF), has entered into a cooperation agreement with the Halal Development Corporation (HDC) in Malaysia to foster the growth of the halal industry on both local and international fronts.

The agreement, signed during the Halal Expo London 2023, an international exhibition in the United Kingdom, outlines collaboration in exchanging information and experiences related to successful practices and business models in the halal sector.  (Saudi Gazette)

Saudi Arabia / Qatar
Qatari-Saudi Business Council discusses facilitating trade and investment exchange
The Qatari-Saudi Business Council convened to explore avenues for enhancing trade and investment collaboration on the sidelines of the Made in Qatar 2023 exhibition.

Chaired by Sheikh Khalifa bin Jassim al-Thani, Chairman of Qatar Chamber, and Hamad bin Ali al-Shuwaier, his Saudi counterpart, the meeting included council members from both countries. (Zawya)

Pakistan / Türkiye
Pakistan-Türkiye to finalize OIC (TPS-OIC) agreement
Pakistan and Türkiye emphasized the crucial need to finalize the implementation of the Trade Preferential System among the Member States of the OIC (TPS-OIC) agreement on December 4.

Both nations stressed the importance of establishing a clear and achievable deadline for this strategic move. (APP Digital)

Saudi Arabia / Tunisia
Saudi Arabia, Tunisia sign seven deals in various fields
Saudi Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Bandar Ibrahim Alkhorayef, and Tunisian Interim Minister of Economy and Planning, Sihem Boughdiri Nemsia, signed seven preliminary agreements in Tunis during the 11th session of the Saudi-Tunisian Joint Committee.

These MoUs are intended to strengthen cooperation between the two countries across various fields. (Zawya)

Saudi Arabia / Kazakhstan
Saudi EXIM Bank, Development Bank of Kazakhstan ink agreement
The Saudi EXIM Bank has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Development Bank of Kazakhstan to establish guiding principles for cooperation and bilateral relations. The aim is to enhance the export of products and services between Saudi Arabia and Kazakhstan. (Ajel)

Iraq / UAE
Iraq, UAE agree on financing trade and imports in dirham denomination
Iraq and the UAE have reached an agreement to finance trade and imports using the Emirates' currency, as reported by Iraq's state news agency.

Additionally, the two nations have decided to initiate financial transfer operations, with the initial phase involving five Iraqi banks. This move aims to strengthen economic ties and facilitate financial transactions between the countries. (Zawya)

Qatar / Senegal
Qatar, Senegal chambers discuss ways to bolster private sector ties
Chamber officials from Qatar and Senegal, including Qatar Chamber's second vice-chairman Rashid bin Hamad al-Athba and Federation of Senegalese Chambers vice-president AbdulKader Anjay, convened in Doha to discuss and enhance cooperation ties in the private sector, as well as economic and commercial cooperation between the two countries. (Gulf Times)

 

 

ESG Developments


 

UAE
ICIEC joins forces With GE Vernova to promote sustainable projects 
In a significant development at COP 28, The Islamic Corporation for the Insurance of Investment and Export Credit (ICIEC), a multilateral credit and political risk insurer and a member of the IsDB Group, formalized a collaboration with GE Energy Financial Services (GE Vernova) through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

The agreement is geared towards enhancing sustainable development and climate action across ICIEC’s 49 member states. (ICIEC)

OIC Economies
OIC wrap: Key Mideast countries look to bolster bilateral agreements

Here's a roundup of key developments across the OIC ecosystem during the first two weeks of November

Editor's note: Cross-border agreements have historically been a stronghold in the Middle East, leveraging strategic strengths of partner countries for transnational gains. If anything, this has gained momentum in recent times. 

Qatar held key discussions to bolster trade and investment with Senegal, and is looking to review ties with Lebanon. Other GCC nations Oman and Saudi look to establish projects in economic zones, while the UAE and Jordan sign a massive investment MoU to boost bilateral cooperation. 

 

Trade Developments


Qatar / Senegal
Qatar, Senegal review trade, investment ties
Qatar's Minister of Commerce and Industry, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim Al Thani, held discussions with the visiting Minister of Commerce, Consumer Affairs, and Small and Medium Enterprises of Senegal, Abdou Karim Fofana.

The meeting centered on mutual interests, focusing on bolstering collaboration in trade, investment, and industry between the two nations. (The Peninsula Qatar)

Saudi Arabia
Friday’s Saudi-African Summit set to establish strategic cooperation in key sectors
The upcoming Saudi-African Summit in Riyadh is anticipated to play a pivotal role in fostering strategic cooperation across political, economic, investment, security, and cultural domains, assert knowledgeable sources.

The summit aims to strengthen mutual interests, promoting development and stability between Saudi Arabia and African nations. (Zawya)

Bahrain 
Bahrain-Bosnia trade ties to get a boost with reciprocal visa regime
The anticipated implementation of a reciprocal visa system between Bahrain and Bosnia and Herzegovina is poised to bolster bilateral trade and investments.

Jawad Al Hawaj, Chairman of the Bahrain-Bosnia and Herzegovina Friendship and Business Society, anticipates that this move will significantly contribute to fostering cooperation in the realms of economy, tourism, and culture. (Zawya)

Oman / Saudi Arabia
Oman, Saudi Arabia discuss opportunities to establish projects in economic zones
In Riyadh, discussions unfolded on Tuesday regarding the potential for strengthening economic cooperation and exploring investment opportunities within the economic zones, free zones, and industrial cities of the Sultanate of Oman.

Held at the Federation of Saudi Chambers, the meeting convened a delegation from Oman's economic zones, free zones, and industrial cities, alongside members of the Saudi-Omani Business Council and prominent representatives from major companies and businessmen in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. (Zawya)

Qatar / Azerbaijan
Qatar, Azerbaijan sign agreement to enhance labour ties
Qatar and Azerbaijan have inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to strengthen cooperation in labor-related matters. The agreement, signed on the sidelines of the Islamic Conference of Labour Ministers in Baku, outlines a collaborative strategy between the two countries' labor ministries.

The MoU emphasizes the exchange of experiences, research, and mutual visits, particularly in areas such as labor relations, inspection, and occupational safety and health. (Zawya)

Egypt / Malaysia
Egypt, Malaysia to boost cooperation in petroleum field
Egypt's Cooperation Petroleum Company (Copetrole), a subsidiary of the Egyptian General Petroleum Corporation (EGPC), has entered into a cooperation protocol with Malaysia's Petronas to strengthen collaboration in the petroleum sector.

The agreement outlines joint efforts in exchanging experiences, with a particular emphasis on research and development. Additionally, both entities will provide consultations on new investments, fostering a mutually beneficial partnership in the field of petroleum. (Zawya)

Qatar / Lebanon
Qatar and Lebanon review trade ties
Qatar's Minister of Commerce and Industry, Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim Al Thani, held discussions with the Caretaker Minister of Economy and Trade of Lebanon, Amin Salam.

The meeting focused on mutual interests, with an emphasis on enhancing cooperation in trade, investment, and industry between the two nations.  (The Peninsula Qatar)

Tajikistan
Tajikistan and Islamic Development Bank leaders to advance economic ties
The President of the Islamic Development Bank, Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, engaged in discussions with the President of Tajikistan, Emomali Rahmon, to strengthen existing ties and promote economic collaboration.

The meeting, preceding the OIC extraordinary Islamic summit on November 11 in Riyadh, aimed at enhancing the partnership. President Rahmon expressed satisfaction with the Islamic Development Bank's contributions to socio-economic development projects in Tajikistan and its ongoing support in addressing global challenges.  (IsDB)

The Gambia
IsDB and The Gambia fortify development ties
President of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, engaged in discussions with Gambian President Adama Barrow in Riyadh, focusing on strengthening cooperation between IsDB and The Gambia.

The meeting built on their previous encounter earlier this year, where they assessed progress on key infrastructural and educational projects funded by IsDB.  (IsDB)

 

ESG Developments


Azerbaijan
ACWA Power teams up with UAE’s Masdar to develop clean energy projects in Azerbaijan
ACWA Power of Saudi Arabia is set to collaborate with Masdar (Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co.) to develop 500 megawatts of renewable energy projects in Azerbaijan, as per a memorandum of understanding signed with the State Oil Co. of Azerbaijan.

The joint venture aligns with Azerbaijan's ambitions for net-zero emissions and contributes to global decarbonization efforts. (Arab News)

 

Investment


UAE / Jordan
UAE and Jordan sign $2bn investment MoU to boost bilateral cooperation
The UAE's Ministry of Investment has inked a $2 billion memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Jordan, establishing a framework for investment cooperation.

The agreement encompasses investment in infrastructure and development projects, with a focus on strengthening the enduring strategic partnership between the two nations. (Arab News)


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