The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) has been launched at a meeting of over 50 finance and planning ministers from the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) nations convened in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The body is the first specialist entity dedicated to developing trade and finance in Islamic countries.
The ITFC aims to increase trade volume among OIC member countries; develop and finance such trade in accordance with the principle and provisions of Islamic law; and upgrade the OIC nations’ export capacity. The ITFC has an initial capital of US$3bn.
At the new body’s launch, Ibrahim Bin Abdul Aziz Al-Assaf, Saudi Arabia’s minister of finance and national economy, emphasised the importance of reinforcing trade relations between the member countries and highlighted the role of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) in increasing intra-regional trade.
“The IFTC has been created to boost the economic development of member countries by enhancing intra-trade volumes from the current 14% to as high as 20% by 2015,” Al-Assaf adds.
As an independent organisation, the ITFC will also monitor market trends and launch specialised funds in its efforts to combat poverty and improve economic performance in the Islamic world. The ITFC will also support IsDB investments and initiatives.
Some 55 OIC nations have signed the ITFC’s articles of agreement.