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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)

OIC Economies
OIC news wrap: Saudi hosts historic GCC-ASEAN summit. What were the key takeaways?

Here's a roundup of key developments across the OIC ecosystem during the first three weeks of October

Editor's note: Energy, energy, energy. Its all about fueling our works, businesses and lives. And this has dominated much of the OIC airspace in recent weeks.

The UAE is looking to strength its energy cooperation with Kyrgyzstan, while it launched three contracts with Iraq to develop oil and gas fields. 

Of course, there was this much-talked-about GCC-Asean summit held in Riyadh, offering a platform for leaders to explore collaboration in various fields, including energy security. 

Trade Developments

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia hosts historic GCC-ASEAN summit to strengthen ties

Leaders of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) convened in Saudi Arabia on October 20, 2023, at the invitation of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

 

The leaders declared to join efforts to promote security and stability, explore cooperation on specific areas of common interest, promote trade and investment between the GCC and ASEAN, and encourage technical assistance and capacity building for entrepreneurs, among other things. (GCC-SG)

 

Iraq / UAE

Iraq, UAE's Crescent launch deals to develop three oil and gas fields

Iraq has initiated three energy contracts with UAE-based Crescent Petroleum to develop oil and gas fields in the country, as announced by the oil ministry.

 

Crescent Petroleum had previously signed three 20-year contracts in February to develop these fields in Iraq's Basra and Diyala provinces. (Zawya)

 

Morocco

IsDB president's Morocco visit to bolster global partnerships and sustainable initiatives

The President of the Islamic Development Bank, Dr. Muhammad Al Jasser, is leading a delegation to Morocco from October 9 until 20.

 

This visit underscores the IsDB's dedication to foster collaborative relationships and promote sustainable development initiatives within its member countries.

 

Dr. Al Jasser will commence his visit by participating in the World Bank/International Monetary Fund (WB/IMF) annual meetings in Marrakech. (IsDB)

 

Africa

Agreement signed to enhance trade between Organization of Islamic Cooperation and Africa

An agreement has been reached to enhance economic activities between member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Eastern and Southern African Trade and Development Bank (TDB).

 

The TDB and the International Islamic Trade Finance Corp., a member of the Islamic Development Bank Group, signed a memorandum of understanding. (Arab News)

 

Saudi Arabia / Egypt

Egyptian chemical export council sign agreement with Saudi Tabseer platform to boost trade

The Chemical and Fertilizers Export Council (CEC) has entered into a joint cooperation agreement with the Saudi Tabseer platform, aimed at facilitating the entry of Egyptian companies into the Saudi market and simplifying their interactions with Saudi counterparts.

 

The agreement is a significant step in enabling Egyptian companies to export their products more efficiently, using the Tabseer platform to conduct tests and obtain accreditation certificates. (Zawya)

 

Türkiye

IsDB-ICIEC’s Istanbul event explores impact of information sharing for OIC members

In Istanbul, Türkiye, a groundbreaking event took place from September 26 to September 28, at the Hilton Istanbul Maslak.

 

This event brought together over 80 distinguished attendees to examine the vital role of information sharing and business intelligence in supporting trade and investment decisions within the member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). (ICIEC)

 

 

ESG Developments

 

Afghanistan / Kuwait
Afghanistan Humanitarian Trust Fund receives $2 million boost from Kuwait Society 

 Mohammad J. Alsaati, special adviser to The President and Coordinator of Afghanistan Humanitarian Trust Fund (AHTF), signed an agreement with Dr. Ebrahim A. Alsaleh, Chairman of the Board of Kuwait Society For Relief (KSR).

 

This agreement marks a Donor Contribution Agreement, through which KSR will provide $2 million in funding to the AHTF. (IsDB)

 

UAE / Kyrgyzstan
UAE, Kyrgyzstan strengthening energy cooperation

Suhail bin Mohammed Al Mazrouei, the Minister of Energy and Infrastructure for the UAE, led a high-level delegation on a visit to the Kyrgyz Republic.

 

The purpose of this visit was to explore opportunities for cooperation between the two countries across various sectors.

 

President Sadyr Japarov of the Kyrgyz Republic welcomed Al Mazrouei and his delegation, along with the UAE's Ambassador to Kazakhstan, Dr. Mohammed Al Arqi. (Zawya)

OIC Economies
OIC ecosystem in review

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

Editor's note: Its a month of cross-border collaborations. Especially for Saudi Arabia. The Arab world's largest economy is calling for clean energy cooperation on a global level, looking to beef up coordination with Qatar at land border ports, and is also calling for greater integration among Gulf strategies across the transport and logistics sector. 

Meanwhile, Oman and Tunisia are also exploring ways to boost economic and investment cooperation.

INVESTMENT


 

Mauritania

IsDB to fund Mauritanian institutes with $49.69m

The Board of Directors of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) have sanctioned $49.69 million in funding for the establishment of higher education institutions in Mauritania.

 

This initiative aligns with IsDB's commitment to expand access to quality higher education, acknowledging that education plays a pivotal role in providing opportunities for young people in Mauritania and beyond. (Zawya)

 

Saudi Arabia
IsDB injects $800m to support critical projects across member countries

The Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) has given the green light for $800 million in financing during its 352nd meeting in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

 

These funds are aimed at supporting critical projects in sectors such as energy, education, health, and transportation, with the end-goal of addressing socio-economic challenges in IsDB member countries, especially vulnerable communities.

 

Additionally, the IsDB has initiated an emergency intervention to aid approximately 125,000 individuals impacted by the conflict in Sudan, delivering a multi-sectoral response to provide life-saving assistance. (IsDB)

 

Egypt
Al Baraka Bank secures $30m in financing

Al Baraka Bank Egypt (SAUD) has announced the acquisition of $30 million in financing from the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD), affiliated with the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB).

 

Al Baraka Bank Egypt, part of the Al Baraka Banking Group, offers Islamic Sharia-compliant banking services, including retail, corporate, and investment banking, through a network of 32 branches in Egypt. (Zawya)

 

TRADE DEVELOPMENTS


 

Qatar / Saudi Arabia

Qatar, Saudi Arabia discuss beefing coordination at land border ports

Qatar and Saudi Arabia conducted their second coordination meeting between their interior ministries to discuss the single port project and data exchange between the Abu Samra Qatari Port and Saudi Salwa Port. (Zawya)

 

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia calls for integrated Gulf strategies in logistics sector

The Federation of Saudi Chambers has urged for greater integration of Gulf strategies across transport and logistics services.

 

It has emphasized the importance of private sector involvement in developing logistics policies, fostering international partnerships, enhancing infrastructure and procedures, stimulating the logistics sector, and advancing the privatization of operational activities. (Zawya)

 

Oman / Tunisia

Oman, Tunisia explore ways to enhance economic, investment cooperation

Government officials in Oman and Tunisia held a meeting to discuss ways of enhancing bilateral cooperation. 

 

The discussions were held between Said Mohammed al Saqri, Oman's minister of economy and Samir Saied, Tunisian minister of economy and planning and his delegation.

 

Deliberations were centred on strengthening cooperation in economic and investment domains between the two nations. Both sides expressed their commitment to exploring new avenues for collaboration, particularly in economic, commercial, investment, and other relevant sectors. (Zawya)

 

ESG DEVELOPMENTS


 

Saudi Arabia

Saudi foreign minister emphasizes global clean energy cooperation

Saudi Arabia's foreign minister, Prince Faisal Bin Farhan, representing King Salman, addressed the G77 + China summit, reiterating the kingdom's dedication to a collective, integrated approach for development, prosperity, and stability.

 

He emphasized the significance of investing in clean energy technology as a means to transition towards clean energy solutions. (Zawya)

 

OPERATIONAL DEVELOPMENTS


 

Saudi Arabia

New water transmission project launched for Makkah, Madinah

Alkhorayef Water and Power Technologies Co. is set to construct and operate pipelines to supply water to Madinah and Makkah as part of the Rayis-Rabigh independent water transmission pipeline project.

 

The initiative, under a build-operate-transfer agreement with Saudi Water Partnership Co., will have a capacity of 500,000 cubic meters per day and a length of 150 km. (Arab News)

OIC Economies
Aug OIC news wrap: BRICS welcomes Egypt, UAE, Saudi; Bahrain signs deal for largest solar project; & others

Here's a roundup of key developments across OIC countries during the month of August

Editor's note: As a key signal of shifting regional sands, BRICS announced the admission of six new members, four of which are OIC countries, a development that rightfully dictated global news in the wake of the bloc's summit held in August. Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, is also mulling trade ties with Jordan and Qatar. 

With strong markers highlighting the looming climate crisis and its implications, countries across the world are either commissioning out or operating renewable energy projects to beckon a greener future. Bahrain too, inked deals for a 72 megawatt solar power plant. Though rather shy of the MENA region's largest solar energy project (a feat eyed by GCC member Saudi) it still remains the country's largest of its kind yet. 

In news coming from the subcontinent, Pakistan is looking to partner with West Asian countries - Iran and Iraq - on collaboration and economic development.

 

Trade Developments


Tajikistan
Tajikistan signs agreements to improve water resources management 
The Republic of Tajikistan's Ministry of Finance, along with Tawhidbank, Imon, and Asr Leasing, have inked the "Wakalah Agreements" backed by the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) to enhance Water Resources Management in Khatlon Region.

The initiative, witnessed by the IsDB's local representative, will promote a rural credit scheme for agriculture, using various Islamic financing methods. The goal is to offer shariah-compliant finance, aiding farmers in the agriculture value chain and bolstering Islamic finance principles. (IsDB)

Pakistan / Iran
Pakistan, Iran chalk out five-year plan with $5bn trade target
Pakistan and Iran have set out a five-year collaboration plan, targeting $5 billion in trade.

This initiative was announced during a meeting in Islamabad between Pakistan's foreign minister, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and Iran's Hossein Amir-Abdollahian. The plan focuses on removing trade barriers, instituting a free trade agreement, and building ties between private sectors of both countries. (Anadolu Ajansı)

Egypt / Turkiye
Egypt eyes joint industrial ties with Turkiye
Egypt and Turkiye anticipate an uplift in industrial collaboration after high-level ministerial discussions.

Ahmed Samir, Egypt's trade and industry minister, held talks with Mehmet Fatih Kacir, Turkiye's minister of industry and technology, in Ankara, marking the first visit of its kind in a decade.

Their discussions spanned the potential of a Turkish industrial zone in Egypt, increased cooperation in sectors like furniture, carpets, and chemicals, and a joint strategy until June 2024. (Arab News)

Egypt / Jordan
Egypt, Jordan sign MoUs to boost cooperation in several fields
Egypt and Jordan ratified 12 memoranda of understandings to strengthen bilateral ties.

The preliminary agreements cover key focus areas. These include economic development, securities regulation, environment, social affairs, media collaboration between Petra and the MENA region, as well as cultural exchange for 2023-2026.

Agreements also extended to manpower, social insurance coordination, and health sector collaboration. (Zawya)

Pakistan / Iraq
Pakistan, Iraq sign agreement to improve tax mechanism, economic cooperation
Pakistan and Iraq have inked a convention to counter double taxation on income and curb tax evasion, a move aimed at enhancing economic ties, as confirmed by Pakistan's Federal Board of Revenue.

Negotiations held in August saw both sides resolving various matters before agreeing on the convention draft. This pact promises to bolster investments, ensure clarity on taxation for cross-border transactions, and offer tax relief to residents of both nations, thus promoting trade. (Arab News)

Tunisia / Libya
Tunisian-Libyan continental trade corridor towards sub-Saharan Africa created
Tunisia and Libya have declared the establishment of a continental trade corridor, to connect the two countries with sub-Saharan Africa, as unveiled at a joint ministerial meeting.

Deliberations spotlighted on the need to modernize the Ras Jedir border crossing to meet international standards. (Zawya)

Morocco / Saudi Arabia
Morocco's king stresses on strong bilateral relations with Saudi Arabia 
King Mohammed VI of Morocco has penned a letter to Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, emphasizing the robust bilateral relations and the aim to enhance them further.

This move, reported by both Saudi and Moroccan news agencies, aligns with efforts to fortify ties between the allied nations.

The correspondence was delivered during a meeting in Riyadh, where officials discussed strengthening relations and tackled global matters of mutual concern. 

Syria / Egypt / Brazil
Arab Brazilian Chamber discusses Syria-Egypt-Brazil trade
The Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce's Cairo office deliberated on collaboration with the Federation of Syrian Chambers of Commerce to streamline trade between Egypt, Syria, and Brazil.

The discussions involved key figures including Tamer Mansour, CEO of the Arab Brazilian Chamber of Commerce(ABCC), and Mohamed Firas Jijakli of the Syrian Federation.

Mansour highlighted the significant involvement of Syrian entrepreneurs in Brazil and expressed optimism about Syria's economic resurgence in the near future. (ANBA)

Saudi Arabia / Jordan
Saudi-Jordanian joint committee meets in Riyadh to promote trade ties
The 18th session of the Saudi-Jordanian Joint Committee convened in Riyadh, focusing on enhancing the economic ties laid down in the 1962 bilateral agreement.

Saif bin Saad Al-Faqar from Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Transport emphasised the shared intent to broaden cooperation, while Jordan's Dana Al-Zoubi highlighted last year's efforts in Amman, signalling continued growth in trade and economic interactions(Arab News)

Egypt/UAE/Saudi
BRICS expands to include Egypt, UAE and Saudi Arabia
Egypt, UAE and Saudi Arabia have officially joined the BRICS alliance, making it a group that now includes Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa, and Egypt, UAE and Saudi Arabia.

The countries business communities heralds the move, seeing potential for increased trade and investment opportunities(Zawya)

Read: BRICS expansion: What's in store for the global halal industry?

Saudi Arabia / Qatar
Qatar-Saudi co-ordination council meets in Doha
In a meeting in Doha, representatives from Qatar and Saudi Arabia discussed ways to boost bilateral trade and economic relations, particularly focusing on import and export initiatives.

The meeting, part of the Qatari-Saudi Co-ordination Council, witnessed discussions about fortifying the fraternal ties between the two nations. (Zawya)

Investment


Côte d’Ivoire
IsDB-financed bridge inaugurated by Côte d'Ivoire's President
President Alassane Ouattara unveiled the Cocody Bridge on August 12, a 530 million euros engineering feat backed financed by the Islamic Development Bank.

Spanning 630 meters across Cocody Bay and towering over 100 meters, the cable-stayed bridge in West Africa is set to ease traffic in Abidjan, connecting its commercial heart with residential areas. (IsDB)

GCC
GCC seeks strengthening international trade via free-trade agreements
The Gulf Cooperation Council, under Secretary-General Jassem Mohamed Albudaiwi, is keen to bolster its foreign trade and investments via free-trade agreements.

Talks with New Zealand's Trade Minister, Damien O'Connor, hint at a nearing trade deal between the GCC and New Zealand.

Amid global economic shifts, such accords are pivotal for GCC's growth and global relations. (Zawya)

ESG Developments


Bahrain
Bahrain pens deal for largest solar power project
Bahrain plans to build its largest solar power project, a 72 megawatt initiative in the Sakhir region.

The plant will feature rooftop, ground-based solar units, car park systems, and electric vehicle charging stations. It supports the kingdom's ambition for carbon neutrality by 2060 and accounts for 28% of its renewable energy target of 250 megawatt by 2025.

Yasser bin Ibrahim Humaidain, the minister of electricity and water affairs, said the project aligns with Bahrain's National Renewable Energy Action Plan.  (Zawya)

Operational Developments


Egypt / Libya
Egyptian authorities strategize to create logistic zone adjacent to Libyan border
Aiming to spur economic growth, Egypt plans a new logistics zone near the Salloum land port, adjacent to Libya.

Unveiled by President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, this move seeks to strengthen trade with Libya and enhance the Western Region's economic landscape. (BNN Network)


 

Read more: News wrap for August: Spain unveils tourism travel guide; Saudi rolls out visa waiver for British nationals; & others


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