Minister of Planning, Dr. Hala El-Said, took part in the closing ceremony of “ She Trades Egypt” in the presence of Eng. Hany Salem Sonbol, CEO of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, Ms. Elena Panova, UN Resident Coordinator in Egypt, Lilia Naas, Chief Office for the Middle East and North Africa(OMENA) International Trade Centre (ITC), Nevine Gamea, Former Minister of Trade and Industry, and Regional Head, Regional Hub Cairo, May Ali Babiker.
Dr. Hala delivered opening remarks, stating that “She Trades Egypt”, which was launched in 2020, represented an exceptional model of exquisite partnerships under the umbrella of the AfTIAS program. Accordingly, various efforts have been exerted to ensure the program’s success and maximize its returns. Such success had been driven by the fruitful collaboration between The International Trade Centre, the Islamic International Trade Finance Corporation, the Export Development Authority of the Egyptian Ministry of Trade and Industry, the Egyptian Businesswomen’s Association, the Export Council for Crafts and Handicrafts, along with the generous support of the Islamic Development Bank in which she acts the current Chairperson of the Board of Governors.
She stressed the keenness on boosting this cooperation in the next stage, which was reflected in the signing of the annual work program for 2022 between the two sides in February 2022, as well as the renewal of the framework agreement concluded between the two sides in 2018, with an increase in the credit limit of the agreement to $6bn.
She referred to the continuous cooperation and coordination and providing support in all its forms; for the success of the SheTrades Egypt project, which was specifically designed to achieve a strategic goal of empowering women economically by focusing on supporting businesswomen in the handicraft sector in Egypt to maintain and develop their businesses and actively participate in development efforts, more job opportunities for women and girls, and building a more supportive environment to enhance their ability to play a more effective economic role.
For his part, Sonbol confirmed that Egypt is one of the most important partners of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation, as the corporation has provided billions of dollars in financing since its inception in 2008, and signed five framework agreements with Egypt so far. These funds contributed to supporting the food and energy security of Egypt in addition to the development of medium, small and micro enterprises, while its services also included technical assistance and capacity-building projects in the field of trade development.
He added that the SheTrades program in Egypt is evidence of the trade development projects supported by the Foundation, since its launch in 2020, and despite the conditions of the Coronavirus pandemic, the program has assisted thirty small and medium-sized companies owned and managed by women in Egypt, and the program has provided technical assistance activities and capacity building to enable beneficiary institutions to diversify products and services and expand in local and international markets, in addition to providing support to bodies working in trade development in evaluating their trade support services and adapting them to the needs of women and entrepreneurs