GENEVA - Dr. Waleed Al Wohaib, CEO of the International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC) headed a delegation of officials from the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) Group at the 2nd Global Review of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Aid for Trade initiative held in Geneva on July 6-7, 2009.
It was rrganized to evaluate progress made since the First Global Review in 2007 with the key objectives of moving from commitment to implementation, mainstreaming trade in national and regional development strategies, sustaining trade flows during the global economic downturn, and assessing the effectiveness of Aid for Trade.
Speaking on behalf of IDB in a session chaired by Pascal Lamy, WTO director general, on the subject from commitment to implementation, Dr. Al Wohaib pointed out that Aid for Trade is at the heart of the IDB Group’s mission and vision and synergistic with ITFC’s brand promise Advancing Trade, Improving Lives.
He described how the spillover from the global economic crisis has hit the world’s poor countries hard through faults not of their own making.
In view of this and to help offset the impact of the crisis, the IDB Group is scaling up its operations to assist OIC member countries by an additional $2.5 billion to increase its annual growth rate from 15 percent to 30 percent over the period 2009-2011.
Supporting the need for this increase, Dr. Al Wohaib stated that no country or region in the world has grown successfully without large expansion of trade, adding that trade has a very special importance for the Islamic Development Bank Group and its 56 member countries due to its critical role in poverty reduction, growth and development.
Dr. Al-Wohaib said while intra-OIC trade has risen from 14 percent ($333 billion) in 2004 to around 17 percent ($421 billion) in 2007, the share of OIC trade to the world remains low considering OIC countries account for 20 percent of the world population and many have abundant natural resources. – SG