Islamic Trade Group Offers $850 million for COVID-19 Emergency Interventions

Uganda could benefit from an $850 million (Shs 3.1 trillion) fund set up by the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) www.ITFC-IDB.org  to mitigate the socio-economic risks posed by coronavirus pandemic in member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

 According to Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, the ITFC Chief Executive Officer, the fund is part of the trade group’s emergency financing measures to ensure that member countries continue to receive the much need support to respond to COVID-19 induced emergencies.

“As we assess how COVID-19 affects the work we do and the impact on member countries, ITFC is engaging closely with government stakeholders, partners, businesses and the financial institutions we work with. That dialogue enables us to respond in a coordinated manner to soften the economic fallout,” Sonbol said in a statement.

ITFC is a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group which was established with the primary objective of advancing trade among OIC member countries.

In the interim, Sonbol said, ITFC has made $300 million (Shs 1.1 trillion) immediately available under its COVID-19 Rapid Response Initiative.

“An additional fund – the ‘Recovery Response Program’ (RRP) – earmarks another $550 million for deployment over the next two years. The RRP is aimed at fixing the socio-economic damage which is expected to last longer than the immediate impact of the virus,” he stated.

 The statement also indicated that ITFC is also responding to the different requests made by OIC member states to provide immediate crisis-related technical assistance programs, including capacity building for medical personnel and capacity enhancement of laboratories. 

 “These funds are being directly funneled towards eligible OIC member countries in most need of support – for critical supplies of energy, healthcare, food security and other life support requirements. ITFC is in continuous consultations with OIC member countries to ascertain their most pressing needs as the pandemic unfolds,” Sonbol said.

 Last week, President Museveni appealed to individuals and organisations to support the government’s efforts to respond to social challenges caused by the pandemic.

As of Monday, Uganda’s tally of confirmed coronavirus cases stood at 52.

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