Societies and economies are being affected by the unprecedented and unpredictable nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. These include a major shift in global trade routes, changes in consumption and extraordinary levels of monetary easing and stimulus packages at a scale never experienced before. The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) is moving quickly to consolidate efforts to mitigate the socio-economic risks that the virus poses to all our stakeholders in member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
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. This is in addition to practical measures that have already been taken.
ITFC has moved quickly to put in place emergency financing measures to ensure that member countries continue to receive the support needed. Our COVID-19 ‘Rapid Response Initiative’ (RRI) has made US$ 300m immediately available.
ITFC is also responding to the different requests made by member countries to provide immediate crisis-related technical assistance programs, including capacity building for medical personnel and capacity enhancement of laboratories. ITFC is also assisting in sourcing medical equipment and medicines from its network.
These funds are being directly funnelled 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.
An additional fund – the ‘Recovery Response Program’ (RRP) – earmarks another $550m for deployment over the next two years. The RRP is aimed at fixing the socio-economic damage which is expected to last longer than immediate impact of the virus.
ITFC is actively engaging international, regional and local partners as a strategic means of scaling these interim financing measures to contribute to the critical needs of the member countries and where necessary, on the mobilisation of trade development support services during the pandemic. This includes helping OIC member countries with strategies for the control and production of healthcare facilities.
ITFC employees continue to work remotely through virtual platforms and other online means of communication, to ensure business is running as usual. We remain fully engaged and responsive to the business and socio-economic needs of the many millions of people we serve.
Whilst the challenges and impact of COVID 19 continue to evolve, we are certain by uniting and standing in solidarity with our member countries, we will overcome the crisis.